Is Christianity Illegal In North Korea

North Korea is often referred to as an isolated state due to the presence of government imposed restrictions on its citizens’ access to data and ideas beyond the nation’s borders. In the midst of this, the issue of Christianity and its legal status in the country has been brought up recently. Many outsiders have reported cases of the practice and study of the religion being restricted or even forbidden by law and some have even suggested that Christianity is, in fact, illegal in North Korea.

In order to answer the question of whether or not Christianity is illegal in the country, it is important to understand the legal framework in which it operates. According to the North Korean Constitution, freedom of religion is granted to all citizens and it is also stated that the government should protect religious activities.

However, some experts believe that the legal protection accorded to Christianity is merely a façade and that the true restrictions lie in the heavily censored media of the country. Reports have emerged of the government denying access to foreign media and literature about Christianity, and of religious services being regularly disrupted by the police. In addition, reports of persecution against religious believers have also been commonplace.

The impact of such restrictions cannot be underestimated. Over the years, Christianity has decreased considerably in the country and is now facing extinction, with a study showing a sharp decline in the number of Christians since 1999. This has been a cause of great concern amongst religious and human rights activists, who are worried about the government’s lack of protection for religious freedom. In particular, they point to the use of anti-Christian propaganda in state-run media and an increasingly oppressive attitude towards Christians.

Ultimately, while the North Korean constitution stipulates the legal protection of religion, it is clear that in practice, Christianity is severely persecuted in the country. From the disruption of religious services to anti-Christian propaganda, there is a tangible feeling of fear amongst those who dare to practice their faith in the face of brutal suppression.

Religious Conflict Within North Korea

Religious conflict within North Korea is not a new development. Historically, the county’s official encouragement of atheism and ongoing suppression of religion have been longstanding source of tension between religious and non-religious groups. Traditional religions such as Christianity and Buddhism have been particularly hard hit by this, with reports of believers facing imprisonment, torture, and even death for their convictions.

This religious strife has been further exacerbated in recent years due to the North Korean government’s attempts to create a “cult of personality” around its leader, Kim Jong-un. This has resulted in the creation of an official state ideology which is heavily influenced by traditional Confucian propaganda and encourages citizens to venerate and support the leader. This has been seen as a direct attack on religion in the country, further exacerbating the existing tensions.

The resulting conflict has had a devastating impact on the country’s religious demographic, with many believers choosing to either go into hiding or flee the country in search of more religious freedom. The North Korean government has thus far been unwilling to make any serious attempts to resolve the conflict, opting instead to continue its policies of suppression and censorship.

While some outsiders have suggested that the current religiosity of the country is due to the suppression of Christianity and other religions, it is difficult to tell as information is often heavily censored by the North Korean media. However, it is clear that the country’s legal framework does not protect religious freedom in the way that it should, leaving many believers in an increasingly vulnerable position.

Consequences of Suppression

The effects of the suppression of Christianity and other religions in North Korea have been far-reaching. For example, without religious freedom, access to education has been drastically diminished. Many have noted that, without religious education, citizens are unable to learn critical thinking skills that could be beneficial to their future prospects. The lack of access to information beyond the country’s borders due to censorship has also been damaging, with many North Koreans going without access to international news sources and knowledge of foreign cultures.

It is clear that the suppression of Christianity in North Korea has had a lasting negative impact on the country. From a decline in religious education to a lack of access to knowledge of the outside world, the suppression of religion has had a deep and lasting impact.

The reality is that North Koreans, who live in such an oppressive regime, are often unable to fight for their right to practice their religion. Consequently, they are left vulnerable to the whims of the regime and often forced to choose between staying in their homeland or being exiled to countries with a more tolerant attitude towards religion.

International Interference

In order to tackle the issue of the suppression of religion in North Korea, there needs to be international interference. Unfortunately, due to the nation’s highly authoritarian stance, it is all but impossible for outsiders to gain access to the country and the people. As a result, much of the intervention needs to come from countries without diplomatic ties to North Korea.

The United Nations and world leaders must take action to put pressure on the government, as well as to condemn the ongoing religious repression in the country. Furthermore, countries must try to ensure that North Koreans have access to reliable sources of education and information by increasing the amount of aid they provide to the nation.

However, this is easier said than done. North Korea’s isolationist stance makes it difficult for international institutions to intervene, leaving North Koreans with little hope of reversing their current situation. This makes it all the more important that the international community takes action, as the lives and freedoms of North Korean citizens are at stake.

North Korean Citizens Speak Out

Though many North Korean citizens face difficult conditions, some have chosen to speak out on the matter. In recent years, a number of North Korean defectors have emerged who have chosen to publicly share their stories of religious repression. These harrowing accounts have often been met with shock and disbelief by those unfamiliar with the situation in the secretive nation.

The stories of religious persecution have often been met with outcry, with some international aid organizations vowing to bring attention to the issue. Furthermore, some have suggested that the United Nations put forth a sanctions resolution to ensure that the North Korean government no longer perpetuates religious persecution in its nation.

Despite this, the reality is that very little can be done without direct access to North Korea and the ability to speak to North Korean citizens. In addition, it is difficult to ascertain the true nature of the situation as reported stories of suppression and discrimination often differ significantly from officially reported accounts.


Overall, it is evident that the restriction of Christianity in North Korea is a significant issue. The implications of this are far-reaching, with citizens denied access to education and knowledge of the outside world. Furthermore, the government’s oppressive stance means that citizens are unable to fight for their right to practice their faith.

The only way to truly rectify the issue is for international interference, yet this is difficult due to North Korea’s isolationism. Citizens must thus rely on the courage of defectors to shine a light on their situation and put pressure on world leaders to take action. Only then will North Koreans be able to enjoy the religious freedom they deserve.

Jennifer Johnson is an experienced author with a deep passion for exploring the spiritual traditions of different cultures and religions. She has been writing about religion and spirituality for the past ten years in both print and digital platforms, engaging readers in meaningful dialogue about the soul's journey through this life. With degrees in Comparative Religion and English Literature, she brings an insightful perspective to her work that bridges the gap between traditional knowledge and modern theories. A lifelong traveler, Jenn has lived in multiple countries exploring various paths to understanding faith, and her dedication to learning new things is palpable in every piece she creates.

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