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Chuncheon: Following the Irish Legacy in Korea

Virgin Mary, Jungnim-dong Cathedral
Virgin Mary holding baby Jesus, Jungnim-dong Cathedral

We’ve visited quite a few old Catholic churches on this blog. Most were built by French missionaries in the closing years of the Joseon era and the Japanese colonial era.

The Paris Foreign Missions Society weren’t the only Catholics doing missionary work in Korea, however. They were joined by the Missionary Society of St. Columban of Ireland, who first came to Korea in 1933 and had a considerable presence in Jeollanam-do and Gangwon-do, and later by the Maryknoll Fathers of the United States.

Themselves from a land brutalized by colonization and fratricidal war, the Irish priests must have understood better than anyone the plight of their Korean flock.

To experience the Irish legacy to Korean Catholicism, you need to head to Chuncheon, the capital of Gangwon-do. Located here are two churches which have recently been registered as cultural properties by the Cultural Heritage Administration, Jungnim-dong Cathedral and Soyangno Catholic Church. Both churches are worth seeing regardless of who you are, but a visit can be a particularly moving experience if you’re Irish or of Irish heritage… as this blogger happens to be.

Jungnim-dong Cathedral

Jungnim-dong Cathedral

Jungnim-dong Cathedral is the central church of the Diocese of Chuncheon, which has ecclesiastic jurisdiction over the province of Gangwon-do. Bishop Thomas Quinlan, Prefect of Chuncheon since 1940, had been planning to build a Western-style church since 1941, but conditions in colonial Korea made it difficult to do. In 1946, he revisited plans for the cathedral, but again, conditions for such an ambitious project were less than ideal. Luckily, however, Quinlan got help this time from a nearby US Army unit, and work began on the new cathedral in 1949. With designing the church, he entrusted a Chinese Catholic who’d followed him up from Gwangju (where Quinlan served prior to coming to Chuncheon).

By 1950, most of the exterior of the church was completed. The Korean War interrupted things, however, and one wall would collapse during fighting between UN and Chinese forces in May 1951. In August of that year, work to rebuild the church began, and the cathedral was finally completed in 1952.

Unlike the French missionary churches, which tend to be built of brick, Jungnim-dong Cathedral is built of stone. It’s a long church with double transepts, typical of English (and, I’d image, Irish) Gothic churches — if you want more architectural info and can read Korea, click on to here. The interior is simple, but not ugly… which is nice. Sitting on a hill with a nice view of the rugged mountains that surround Chuncheon, it’s a very pleasant place to spend some time.

Jungnim-dong Cathedral

Jungnim-dong Cathedral

Jungnim-dong Cathedral

Jungnim-dong Cathedral

Cornerstone, Jungnim-dong Cathedral

Processional Door, Jungnim-dong Cathedral

Steeple, Jungnim-dong Cathedral

Interior, Jungnim-dong Cathedral

Altar, Jungnim-dong Cathedral

I was rather pleasantly surprised by the interior. Simple, yes, but unlike Uijeongbu 2-Dong Cathedral, which was built in the same period with US Army help, it doesn’t look like the inside of a Quonset hut. You can tell a lot of love got put into building the church, which must have been a monumental task at the time.

Church Cemetery

In back of the cathedral is a small cemetery. If you’re Irish, it’ll move you to tears.

Graves, Jungnim-dong Cathedral

This is the final resting place of 16 Korean and Irish clergymen who served the Diocese of Chuncheon. In front are two large markers marked by Celtic crosses, one for Bishop Quinlan (right) and the other for his successor, Bishop Thomas Stewart.

Graves of Bishop Thomas Quinlan & Bishop Thomas Stewart, Jungnim-dong Cathedral

Quinlan, of Borrisoleigh, Ireland, came to Korea in 1934 at the age of 38, after spending 13 years as a missionary in China. In 1940, he was named Prefect of Chuncheon, a position that would be elevated to Vicar Apostolic in 1955 and Bishop in 1962. In 1965, he stepped down as bishop at the age of 69, with the position passing to Thomas Stewart of Woodford, Ireland. In 1970, Quinlan died in Chuncheon, and Stewart would serve as Bishop of Chuncheon until his death in 1994.

In the back row is another set of Celtic crosses. Unlike Quinlan and Stewart, who lived very full lives, these men died far, far too young. And the dates of death on all their markers read the same — 1950.

'Dead Irishmen Row,' Jungnim-dong Cathedral

Now, many sons of Ireland gave their lives in the Korean War, many of them in US military uniforms. The men buried here, however, were young priests who refused to leave their parishes despite being urged to do so by US military officers, and paid for their dedication with their lives.

The following information I take from the homepage of the Missionary Society of St. Columban:

Grave of Father Tony Collier, Jungnim-dong Cathedral

ANTHONY COLLIER: Killed by North Korean soldiers on 27 June 1950. North Korean forces had crossed the 39th Parallel, the dividing line between North and South Korea, on June 25. Tony was in charge of the second Columban parish in Chunchon city, not many miles south of the 38th Parallel. He, Monsignor Tom Quinlan and Frank Canavan had been urged by a U.S. Army officer to leave Chunchon on 26 June but they decided to stay. Tony was taken into custody, briefly interrogated and then shot dead. He was 37 years old. Quinlan, Canavan and later Phil Crosbie were taken into custody and the three of them took part in the notorious “Death March” to the far north of Korea. Along with them were many U.S. POWs and some civilians (many of them missionaries); the death rate from the hardships of the march was appallingly high. Consult PHIL CROSBIE’S book THREE WINTERS COLD and CAPTIVE IN KOREA by Philip Deane. Tony was born in Clogherhead, Co. Louth, on 20 June, 1913. Educated in C.B.S., Drogheda, 1921-1926; St. Patrick’s College, Armagh, 1926-1931. Came to Dalgan 1931 and ordained there 1938. Went to Korea 1939.

Grave of Father James Maginn, Jungnim-dong Cathedral

JAMES MAGINN: Killed in Korea 4 July 1950, two days after North Korean troops occupied Samchok, his parish on the east coast, about 50 miles south of the border between North and South Korea. In the week between the outbreak of war and the occupation of his parish he had been urged by his people to leave but he refused to do so. He was 38 years old. It was not until March 1952 that his grave and body were located by Fr. Brian Geraghty. Jim was born in Bute, Montana, USA on 15 November 1911. Educated in St Mary’s Newcastle, Co Down and St Malachy’s, Belfast. Came to Dalgan in 1929 and ordained 1935. Went to Korea 1936.

Grave of Father Patrick Reilly, Jungnim-dong Cathedral

PATRICK REILLY: Killed by North Korean soldiers on 29 August 1950 near Mukho, his parish, not far south of the border. He had gone to hide in the house of a catechist on June 28 or 29, when the North Korean army occupied Mukho. The catechist’s house was about 5 miles northwest of the town. After 26 days the North Koreans discovered Paddy’s whereabouts. He was arrested and taken to the police station in Mukho. The exact details of his death are unknown. His body was found on a mountain path by an old man gathering wood. He had been shot through the chest. Paddy was 35 years old. Paddy was born in Drumraney, Co. Westmeath, on 21 October 1915. Educated Drumraney N.S. 1920-1929, and St. Finian’s College, Mullingar, 1929-1934. Came to Dalgan 1934 and ordained there 1940. Did pastoral work in diocese of Clifton, England, 194 1-1946. Went to Korea 1947.

Grave of Father Frank Canavan, Jungnim-dong Cathedral

FRANCIS CANAVAN: Died in North Korean prison camp on 6 December 1950 as a direct result of hardships experienced on notorious Death March of prisoners. See Anthony Collier above. He was 34 years old. Born Headford, Co. Galway, on 15 February 1915. Educated Headford Convent School 1919-1922; Headford N.S. 1922-1929; St. Mary’s College, Galway, 1929-1934. Came to Dalgan in 1934 and ordained there 1940. Served in Galway diocese 1941-1948. Went to Korea in 1949.

Collier was 37. Maginn was 38. Reilly was 35, and Canavan was 34.

Quinlan and Canavan were actually arrested by the North Koreans as they were performing the Mass. As we learned when we visited Gupodong Catholic Church in Anseong, the North Korean didn’t treat captured clergy with kid gloves. Another Irish victim of the war was Sister Mary Clare, a 67-year-old Anglican nun who died in captivity following the Death March.

Soyangno Catholic Church

Soyangno Catholic Church

Not far from Jungnim-dong Cathedral, and commanding a nice view of Uiam Lake and what until last year was Camp Page, is Soyangno Catholic Church, which last year joined its parent cathedral on the Cultural Heritage Administration’s list of registered cultural properties. In fact, thanks to its listing, the church is now undergoing some restoration work, so it was a little messy when I visited. Still, it was a pleasant place to stop, the people there were exceedingly nice, and as one of them told me, “You won’t find another Catholic church in Korea like this one.”

Soyangno Catholic Church

Indeed, it’s a very unusual design, and was quite controversial when it was first built. The present Soyangno Catholic Church was built in 1955. Designing the church was Father James Buckley (not to be confused with Bishop James Pardy of Brooklyn, who was the long-time Bishop of Cheongju and the designer of the very pretty Osong Catholic Church, Bugang Catholic Church and Naedeok-dong Catholic Church, all of which scream “I was designed by the Maryknoll Fathers), a Columban tasked by Bishop Quinlan — back in charge after three years as a guest of the Korean People’s Army — with rebuilding Soyangno Catholic Church as memorial church for his martyred priests, particularly Tony Collier, the head priest at Soyangno who refused Quinlan’s advice to flee and was executed by the North Koreans while he was tending to believers and the wounded.

Buckley decided to try something a bit different. Forgoing the Gothic designs popular at the time, he went with a semi-moon with a dome roof. Inside, meanwhile, the pews are arranged like a spread fan, and the altar is very simply done. Oh yeah, and no steeple.

The flock was less than impressed initially, and complained vocally about their strange new church. “Where’s the heck is the steeple?” they cried. Over time, however, they grew to like it, and architecture fans — including the Cultural Heritage Administration — love its mixture of classic and modern architectural concepts.

Soyangno Catholic Church

Soyangno Catholic Church

Soyangno Catholic Church

Soyangno Catholic Church

Soyangno Catholic Church

Soyangno Catholic Church

Soyangno Catholic Church

Like I said, the church is now undergoing renovation with the intent of restoring it to its original condition. I don’t know, however, whether that means removing the Touchdown Jesus from the roof.

Oh, and as always, be sure to check out the Flickr slideshow… because photos always look better when they’re bigger.

About the author: Just the administrator of this humble blog.

  • http://koreanamerican431.blogspot.com/ baduk

    Korea owes much debt to these God’s messengers and the country which sent them.

    Despite what some Koreans believe, Korea is a part of the earth and the human race.

    And, slowly Korea is becoming a Christian country. Korea sends out most Christian missionaries to the world with the exception of the US. (Actually a sizeable portion of American Christian missionaries are KoreanAmericans).

    Korea received so much from the rest of the world and now it is going to repay the debt.

    It is God’s country!

  • http://koreanamerican431.blogspot.com/ baduk

    I like to add also that in ten years Korea may send out most missionaries to the world, becoming bona fide the Christian country.

    The line of succession runs like Germany->Spain->England->US->Korea.

    It is God’s country!

  • Sittang

    I really wanted to comment. You’ve done a swell job with this effort to photograph and provide history on churches in Korea. It’s a worthy effort.

    I was married at Soyang-no Catholic Church in 1982, and we lived just a few hundred meters down the hill in a very nice old Han-ok jib.

    The Army required us to go to the diocese for our mandatory marriage counseling, and we got it from some of the remaining Columbans. By then, Koreans had taken over the bulk of parish work, but the Irish were very much in the background; our counselor was pushing 80 and worked as the (Korean) bishop’s secretary.

    I had a job then that took me all over Kangweon-do, and I got to know Fr. Connor over at Pocheon quite well. As late as 1988, Janghoweon was still being run by a Columban; forget his name, but he was mad about golf, and pissed that it was not such an egalitarian sport in Korea.

    My job took me next to Burma for several years, and in working with Catholics there I once again found myself finding Irish footprints everywhere, especially in Kachin State, another hunting preserve for the Columbans.

    These guys were all tough as woodpecker lips, and had what it takes to be long-term missionaries. More than a few were directly involved in the Catholic Farmer’s Union, which was practically banned under Park Chonghui and Chon Duhwan. I don’t know how things turned out for this outfit, but at the time, they were doing some awfully dodgy things to organize factory labor…

  • http://rjkoehler.com Robert Koehler

    Thanks for that wonderful information. And thanks for your kind words about the photo essays — they’ve been a lot of fun to do.

  • Netizen Kim

    I’d like to say a few words about the Virgin Mary.

    For atheists, the idea of the immaculate conception is one of their favorite tools of argument for why Christianity is implausible. For them, the story of the virgin birth is a fairy tale which shares its roots with similar mythological stories told by the different pagan religions which circulated around the ancient world. While the ancients, who lacked an advanced understanding of reproductive biology may be pardoned for believing in such miracles, we who live in a modern, scientific era have no excuse. To believe that a child was conceived and born 2000 years ago without the involvement of a father is to deny reason.

    However, atheists also believe there is no God the Creator. The universe was conceived by a spontaneous cosmic explosion with no first cause or prime mover. Of course, we have no direct evidence of this and is merely based on theory and sheer speculation but it is accepted by mainstream science as fact. In other words, according to science, the universe was conceived by its own version of the Virgin Birth.

    Herein lies a direct contradiction in the reasoning of atheists regarding Jesus’s birth and that of the origin of the universe itself. How is it possible that atheists are unable to accept the birth of a child without the involvement of a father yet at the same time are able to accept the birth of the universe without the involvement of a Father?

  • cmm

    @5 I believe that the Catholic Church has accepted the Big Bang Theory as well, over a decade ago, but I think they said God caused it to happen or something. Any Catholics out there wanna clarify this?

  • Christian

    Baduk’s “Gods Pissing Contest” is back!

    Netizen Kim, you seem to ask a sincere question.

    There are several theories for the origin of the universe. The mainstream one indeed supposes the Big Bang, a universe in expansion from a singularity. (Don’t be fooled by anthropomorphic terms like “born”.) Now, it doesn’t mean that the singularity was so singular (see A Short History of Time, by Stephen Hawking), just as black holes are not that black (see the paradox of information or the horizon effect). But theses are speculations __nowadays__ and they are compatible with a creative God or with cyclic buddhist cosmogonies or with atheism.

    Facts will never prove that God does not exist (consider deism for example). But a rational mind tend to think that since God does not seem to interfere with the laws of physics, Her existence is not necessary. That’s all. (This could simply lead to agnosticism if there were no other way to argue against the plausibile existence of God, but there are, henceforth atheism.)

    Being born from a virgin is possible for some species, but not observed in humans until now. So it is highly improbable. (There are textual arguments against the translation “virgin”, by the way.) Buddhist scritures let implicit that Gautama was born without the help of his father, but no Buddhist I know actually believe that, even 스님. The ancient Greeks, for sure, had such myths too. (But if they are myths, then why is not Mary’s virginity called a myth?)

    Scientific knowledge improves over time and what is now a speculation will perhaps become knowledge. Also, remember that there is no problem in science in saying “We don’t know.”, contrary to holistic religious thought.

    As a side note, in the theory of the Big Bang, which has a lot of facts in its favour, there is no meaning in asking who or what is the cause OUTSIDE the singularity, since there is no “outside” outside the universe. Same for time. There is no NEED for a space-time into which the universe expanded…

  • Zonath

    How is it possible that atheists are unable to accept the birth of a child without the involvement of a father yet at the same time are able to accept the birth of the universe without the involvement of a Father?

    Simple. Copious evidence exists that tends to show the Big Bang is at least plausible (although plenty of mainstream scientists still debate it), while there’s essentially zero evidence of the whole virgin birth thing.

  • http://www.jdlink.co.kr Linkd

    Netizen Kim, it works this way: the thing that defines a scientist is curiosity, not belief. The scientist begins with an observation of some phenomenon that interests him, but is not fully understood by current knowledge. He looks at the phenomenon, looks at what is known, then forms a hypothesis to explain it. Then he goes to the lab and devises an experiment to test the theory. This is done to TEST the theory. It might prove or disprove it, the true scientist doesn’t care. He seeks to understand. If the experiment disproves the theory, then he needs a new theory. Knowledge is created.

    Over the course of many, many scientists performing many experiments, scientific “facts” or “laws” are agreed upon, and taught to students, but the scientists are careful to tell the students that these laws will only exist as long as experiments continue to support them.

    For example, we used to think an atom looked like a ball. Then we thought it looked like plum pudding. Finally we came up with that image like a planet with revolving moons that is so commonly known. But no one has seen one. It’s just that our current experiments support that model of an atom. It may one day be proven false.

    The problem with things like evolution and the birth of the universe is we can’t devise an experiment to fit into a laboratory. So we devise theories that fit observable phenomena. Any real scientist will say “Theory of Evolution” and “Big Bang Theory”. Theory. That’s different than BELIEF.

    Current observations make Evolution sound plausible to scientifically-minded people who are fundamentally curious and want to understand how things work. “God” just doesn’t explain why the natural world works the way it does. “God” doesn’t explain why apples fall from trees, why copper conducts electricity and rubber doesn’t, why hurricanes never travel east. This doesn’t necessarily make the two incompatible. I have known an evangelical biochemist, but they’re rare. His belief: evolution happened up to the point where Man became divine. Then God stepped in.

    Whatever. If that works for him, what do I care? I believe in evolution.

  • Herod

    Why is it, if Jesus was born of a virgin, that the gospels have Joseph in his family tree?

  • http://rockyfella.blogspot.com/ Mr Kim

    Just to clarify, the immaculate conception refers to the conception of Mary by her mother, not the events leading up to the virgin birth of Jesus.

  • Uri Onara

    Re: 10. Because according to multiple Old Testament prophecies given hundreds of years before he was born, the Messiah had to be a direct descendent of Israel’s King David, which Joseph was. (The Messiah also was to be born in Bethlehem, the “City of David”). Jesus’ earthly father played an important role (establishing this legal genealogy and thus qualification to rule as Israel’s King).

    Baduk, can you get some of those Korean missionaries to go evangelize Japan?

  • Herod

    That explains why the family tree had to be contrived to look that way, I suppose. Though it doesn’t make the family tree true, does it? Jesus was not a descendant of Joseph, was he?

  • Netizen Kim

    The problem with things like evolution and the birth of the universe is we can’t devise an experiment to fit into a laboratory. So we devise theories that fit observable phenomena. Any real scientist will say “Theory of Evolution” and “Big Bang Theory”. Theory. That’s different than BELIEF.

    I looked up the definition of “belief”. Here are some of them:

    - any cognitive content held as true
    - belief is a psychological state in which an individual is convinced of the truth of a proposition
    - agreement with a given worldview

    There are several theories for the origin of the universe. The mainstream one indeed supposes the Big Bang… But theses are speculations __nowadays__ and they are compatible with a creative God or with cyclic buddhist cosmogonies or with atheism.

    Current observations make Evolution sound plausible to scientifically-minded people who are fundamentally curious and want to understand how things work. “God” just doesn’t explain why the natural world works the way it does. “God” doesn’t explain why apples fall from trees, why copper conducts electricity and rubber doesn’t, why hurricanes never travel east. This doesn’t necessarily make the two incompatible.

    I’d like to point out that I don’t think evolution explains why an apple falls from a tree either. For the record, I do not think micro-evolution is incompatible with creationism. I think it’s perfectly reasonable to expect living creatures to adapt to their environment. It’s macro-evolutionary theory that is the real problem. The idea that some molecules were floating around in a primordial soup and they combined to form single-celled organism, and these in turn combined to form multi-celled organisms, and on and on, to give rise to the incredible diversity of life we see today is nothing short of a huge miracle. Whether it’s regarding the origin of the universe or that of life, atheists (agnosticism = atheism lite) have this peculiar and stubborn belief that given enough time, matter has a tendency to organize itself into patterns of increased complexity, and go from states of high entropy to lower entropy, all by themselves, for no apparent reason.

    I’m asking why does atheism believe in miracles? I’m not asking whether Creationism is compatible with evolution or the big bang theory. I’m asking whether atheism is even compatible with itself, on its own terms.

  • Zonath

    I’m asking why does atheism believe in miracles?

    They don’t. The examples you gave are generally explained (albeit imperfectly) by various scientific theories. Sure, there are parts of those theories that haven’t quite been explained or ironed out yet, but saying that an inscrutible being (i.e. Jehova, Kali, San-shin, Cthulhu, or the Flying Spaghetti Monster) did it (in other words, “It’s a miracle!”) is essentially the equivalent of throwing up ones hands and giving up on the whole inquiry.

  • wjk

    atheism believes in miracles.

    they say constantly regarding natural selection observed (bacteria resisting an antibiotic, birds over decades favoring one trait) as being,

    hey, wait, millions and millions of years, and they will evolve !

    I think someone said a dude-faced fish will over millions of years become human.

    that is faith.

    faith in millions and millions of years.

    you cannot observe it.

    bacteria is still bacteria.

    birds are still birds.

    Regarding virigin birth, it is SUPPOSED TO BE scientifically IMPOSSIBLE.

    an act of God, 2000 years ago or now.

    that a woman should give a virgin birth.

    faith, ok?

  • Netizen Kim

    They don’t. The examples you gave are generally explained (albeit imperfectly) by various scientific theories. Sure, there are parts of those theories that haven’t quite been explained or ironed out yet, but saying that an inscrutible being (i.e. Jehova, Kali, San-shin, Cthulhu, or the Flying Spaghetti Monster) did it (in other words, “It’s a miracle!”) is essentially the equivalent of throwing up ones hands and giving up on the whole inquiry.

    So, this is what science has been reduced to

    “There’s a perfectly good explanation for all this inconsistency…we just haven’t thought of it yet.”

    which basically is a faith in the unknown.

  • Zonath

    “There’s a perfectly good explanation for all this inconsistency…we just haven’t thought of it yet.”

    which basically is a faith in the unknown.

    No. It’s an admission that we don’t have all the answers yet, but continue to look for them. It’s a continual process of inquiry.

  • Netizen Kim

    No. It’s an admission that we don’t have all the answers yet, but continue to look for them. It’s a continual process of inquiry.

    Fair enough. BTW, the answer is 42.

  • Sonagi

    Did God hear the cries of Washington DC resident Banita Jacks’ four children as she stabbed and strangled them to death? Did God hear the agonized screams of the doomed man in Unit 731 as they were vivisected, boiled, and frozen? Who eases the pain of patients with end stage bone cancer?

    I have an easier time believing that matter can organize itself into increasingly complex structures than accepting the notion of an omnipotent, omniscient, sentient being who has witnessed for ages all kinds of horrible suffering yet does not intervene because of free will or some other constructed explanation.

  • Sonagi

    man = men

  • wjk

    God allows pain, death, rape, torture, failure, poverty, suffering,

    and He sure tasted it Himself.

    but nothing more than what can cause you to denounce God permanently, IF you were predestined to be saved.

    chew the cud on that.

  • wjk

    Did God hear the cries of Washington DC resident Banita Jacks’ four children as she stabbed and strangled them to death? Did God hear the agonized screams of the doomed man in Unit 731 as they were vivisected, boiled, and frozen? Who eases the pain of patients with end stage bone cancer?

    this is a classic line used by unbelievers or shallow faith Christians.

    note that 90%+ of the 12 apostles died quite gruesomely.

    it’s ironic a Korean points this out to the white man.

    tsk tsk.

    was it world war 1,2, or the flower power?

  • wjk

    they died that way, and did not change gods, curse, etc.

    God already knew that, too.

    it’s not supposed to be understood.

    faith is for the believers.

  • Sonagi

    Third time’s always the charmer for wjk.

  • wjk

    Who eases the pain of patients with end stage bone cancer?

    uh, opiods that God allowed to exist on earth, and death, which God allowed after Adam’s sin, and eternal life to those who still believe in God despites all the signs that point otherwise?

    read your Bible, like wjk.

  • globalvillageidiot

    “it’s ironic a Korean points this out to the white man.”

    wjk, what does one’s ethnicity or race have to do with faith?

  • wjk

    white man brought Jesus to East Asia.

    100 some years later, East Asian man goes on Christian missions.

    white man wonder why the hell East Asian man will do that.

    Chew on this.

    baduk, Netizen Kim, and wjk will most likely go to heaven and be with God. I say this simply by their statements which reveal they understand + and – and still believe, which is a real child of God.

    some others here, who ironically and coicidentally hate all of the above named individuals will not be in heaven, IF they persist in their unbelieving.

    I say, just to show them up, believe in God, if you try, that’s all God asks. The rest will come.

    just to show them up? What a silly idea ! But, how bitter it would be when like the rich man and lazarus story, you look up from hell, and say, hey I know you ! You are wjk ! WHY? Why are you in heaven?

    wjk will say, Uh, I belive in Jesus. Quite sincerely, too.

    I just don’t want you to suffer that. That’s extra, unecessary, etc.

    It’s in the interest of God and his children that ALL be saved.

  • Sonagi

    it’s ironic a Korean points this out to the white man

    Why? Jesus wasn’t European. His hair, eyes, and skin were probably the same color as yours.

  • Zonath

    some others here, who ironically and coicidentally hate all of the above named individuals

    That’s a bit inflammatory, isn’t it? Having a fundamental disagreement about metaphysics does not equate to ‘hate’ in any way.

  • Netizen Kim

    Did God hear the cries of Washington DC resident Banita Jacks’ four children as she stabbed and strangled them to death? Did God hear the agonized screams of the doomed man in Unit 731 as they were vivisected, boiled, and frozen? Who eases the pain of patients with end stage bone cancer?

    I have an easier time believing that matter can organize itself into increasingly complex structures than accepting the notion of an omnipotent, omniscient, sentient being who has witnessed for ages all kinds of horrible suffering yet does not intervene because of free will or some other constructed explanation.

    You’d probably think I’m a terrible bastard if I said that suffering and death is just nature’s way of conducting the usual business of natural selection and survival of the fittest.

    Yet, that’s basically what it boils down to if you subtract God and have only evolution to explain everything.

  • wookinponub

    I like how being a believer allows you to be an asshole your whole life, then you can “repent” and go to heaven. How convenient. The Holier Than Thou judgemental fucks will burn in hell, if it exists.

  • wjk

    no, it’s not convenient.

    Because those people doubt and don’t even really believe, and go to you know where, IF that’s how it was meant to be.

    another false argument.

    It’s too convenient, too easy, etc.

    Real Christians will tell you it definately is not easy.

    zonath, be honest. You hate me for non-Christian issues, like anything related to Japan, Korea, etc.

    I’m done here. Discuss among yourselves and learn something besides what the liberals taught you in higher education.

  • Zonath

    zonath, be honest. You hate me for non-Christian issues, like anything related to Japan, Korea, etc

    Not true. Anyhow, you impliedly equated not believing in your favored theology to hating you and ending up in hell. Unless you’re also saying that Christians who hate you will end up in hell, as well… Which kind of makes me wonder — what makes you so special? ;)

  • dogbertt

    baduk, Netizen Kim, and wjk will most likely go to heaven and be with God. I say this simply by their statements which reveal they understand + and – and still believe, which is a real child of God.

    some others here, who ironically and coicidentally hate all of the above named individuals will not be in heaven, IF they persist in their unbelieving.

    Fine with me. What you’ve just described as heaven is my own personal vision of hell.

  • abcdefg

    If I believed a virgin Jew was the cause of the big bang or anything else that furnishes this universe, and then if I went around proselytizing this belief to others on the streets and the rest of the nine, setting up churches, praising and supporting my beliefs dogmatically and irrationally in the way that brainwashed folk must do, that is without non-specious evidence and argumentation; if I asserted that such beliefs were neccesary for moral health and did so as a simpleton with very little understanding of human nature, science, and society — then please criticize me. Call me a moron too. I will most definitely deserve it.

    When it comes to discussing all the ways that Christians are such amusing dolts, it doesn’t help to oversimplify. There are many reasons why I think Christian faith is bunk; and all of these reasons are logically independent of, say, my inability to scientifically articulate what happened at t = -n.

  • Sonagi

    You’d probably think I’m a terrible bastard if I said that suffering and death is just nature’s way of conducting the usual business of natural selection and survival of the fittest.

    Yet, that’s basically what it boils down to if you subtract God and have only evolution to explain everything.

    Artful dodge, but I’m not letting you off the hook. Nature is not sentient. It does not make conscious decisions. It has no power to intervene when humans make harmful choices.

    What you’ve just described as heaven is my own personal vision of hell.

    :)

  • Netizen Kim

    I like how being a believer allows you to be an asshole your whole life, then you can “repent” and go to heaven. How convenient. The Holier Than Thou judgemental fucks will burn in hell, if it exists.

    Who are you to pass judgment on those who pass judgment?

  • Netizen Kim

    Sonagi,

    If God were a conservative, white person and not Morgan Freeman as Hollywood would currently have us believe, He’d say the following:

    - quit whining about your suffering
    - quit asking me for free handouts
    - take responsibility for your own actions
    - stop playing the “hypocrisy card”

  • Sonagi

    Well, God’s not a conservative white person, so..?

    Keep dodging, Net Kim.

  • http://rjkoehler.com Robert Koehler

    I just like taking photos of old churches…

  • Netizen Kim

    Well, God’s not a conservative white person, so..?

    Keep dodging, Net Kim.

    OK, you got me by the balls and you ain’t letting go. Fair enough.

    But I still happen to think that the existence of suffering only proves, well, the existence of suffering.

  • wookinponub

    I like the pictures, Mr.Koehler.I wish I had the time get out and see more.Thanks for bringing them to me. It’s sad, but entertaining in a snipy way,that the origin of this thread would bring the freaks out of their burrows.

    http://www.youtube.com/profile_videos?p=r&user=patcondell

  • http://koreanamerican431.blogspot.com/ baduk

    Netizen Kim,

    One day, about thirty years, I was praying to Jesus. And, suddenly I have felt a great joy. This joy cannot be explained in human terms. Only explaination is that it is beyond this world. It was supernatural.

    I hope you sincerely pray to God and read Bible frequently. One day, God will meet you, just He has appeared to me.

    I will pray for that event. Then, you will know God. You will know that Bible is not just a fiction. And, you will come to know these saints who shed their blood in Korea were not fools,rather they were most wise men in the world.

    Experience God. You will be changed as well.

  • http://koreanamerican431.blogspot.com/ baduk

    Netizen Kim,

    Sorry, I did not read your posts fully. Glad to have another Korean Christian on board!

    My last post applies to any non-Christians(heathen, savages) but not to Netizen Kim.

    Hallelujah! Jesus is the Lord.

  • abcdefg

    baduk,

    If I were an emotionally and morally shallow person, I’d be a Christian too. Thank God I’m not!

  • abcdefg

    …Err, great pictures as usual, Mr. Koehler! I have since childhood enjoyed the aesthetics of the church, even if I find it a bit alien in the Korean setting.. Then again I also find the Indian aesthetics of Buddhism rather mismatched in the Korean setting too.

  • Sonagi

    OK, you got me by the balls and you ain’t letting go

    Oh, don’t you wish! :b

  • http://briandeutsch.blogspot.com Smee

    Chuncheon is a fine town.

    A few days ago I did a little write-up about missionaries in Suncheon.

    http://briandeutsch.blogspot.com/2008/01/missionaries-in-suncheon.html

    The original church they founded here is still there, though the original structure has been replaced twice. They did found the first church in the Honam area, though, in Mokpo. When you were in Gwangju you might’ve visited the Honam Theological University and Seminary. About two dozen foreigners are buried there, including Eugene Bell.

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