I hope that you managed to watch a few of the videos about North Korea that I recommended the other day (I highly recommend The Vice Guide to Korea, in three parts, and A Day in the Life of North Korea, in four parts).
At any rate, have a look at a short article by Tom Chivers in the December 19 Telegraph: “Kim Jong-il was a Lefty atheist in the same way that Hitler was a conservative Catholic.” This should dispel any lingering doubts that North Korea is not an example of the evils of atheism. Here are two excerpts:
Kim Jong-il, the Shining Star of Mount Paekdu, was not, of course, born in a log cabin on the mountain at all, but in exile in Siberia. (I am also unable to confirm the reports of talking birds and celestial miracles.) But the birth of a great Son to a great Father in humble-yet-holy circumstances, accompanied by heavenly signs, is very familiar, as is death and reincarnation. Mithras, a pagan sun-god, was apparently born of a virgin to great miracles, and died and was reincarnated. That story has many obvious parallels to that of Jesus Christ. In Greek mythology, Dionysius, the son of the great god Zeus, was killed and resurrected. . .
None of this is intended to mean that religious societies are all going to be like North Korea, or that religion implies dictatorship, or that all atheists are lovely people. But to suggest that North Korea is what happens when atheism holds sway in a country is equally ridiculous. Saying Kim Jong-il was a Lefty atheist is like saying that Hitler was a conservative Catholic, and we all know that that is very silly indeed.
And legend has it that the first time Kim played golf, he shot 11 holes-in-one and carded a score about 20 strokes lower than the best round ever for a professional event over 18 holes.
The notion that dictatorships like that of North Korea are not atheist regimes but theocracies—complete with godheads, miracles, slavish worship, and sacred books—was best expressed in a talk on the “Axis of Evil” that Christopher Hitchens gave in California. I have never seen him give a better talk, and it appears to have been done entirely without notes.
The man was amazing, and the talk is mesmerizing. It shows that you don’t need Powerpoint slides to keep an audience entranced. When you see the passion with which he speaks, perhaps you can better understand why he persisted in his misguided position on the invasion of Iraq. It was not an idle opinion, but one based on his compassion for the oppressed and deep-seated hatred of tyranny.
If you want to see the video of Saddam Hussein’s purge of the Baath party in 1979, which Hitch describes so graphically beginning at 5:24, here it is as part of a documentary: