The dynamic movie, Operation Chromite, skillfully directed by John H. Lee, was released in August 2016. If the viewer can move past all the action of the acclaimed movie, he or she will discover an ideological war that is still playing itself out today within several countries around the world. In fact, the conflict of ideologies that were revealed in this movie have been the root cause of endless conflicts since humans have populated the world.
The setting of the movie was the Korean War conflict that began in 1950. In that year, North Korea, with the support of Russia and China, invaded South Korea. In order to defend themselves, and subsequently retain the freedom of the Korean people, the commander and chief of the United Nations forces, Gen. Douglas MacArthur, covertly sent a team of several South Koreans behind enemy lines. The team was sent in order to secure a lighthouse that would mark the way for US ships to land on the beaches by evading sea mines that the North Korean forces had deployed in order to guard the harbor Incheon. The brave South Korean covert team accomplish their mission to light up the lighthouse beacon, but they did so at a great cost.
A. Ideological conflict between faith and atheism
What is significant in reference to the movie is the ideological conflict that tore apart the Korean people into two very different civilizations. The atheistic ideology that resulted in this division is still at work today throughout the world, even in America. The America we once knew as a faith-oriented society is now faced with a rising dark cloud of atheistic anarchy that is moving aside the faith of the forefathers who built America.
The sides in this sociological conflict will continue into the future because atheism satisfies the narcissism of those who want to be in power. Such is the persistent nature of those who choose to give up a knowledge of the one true God. We would be very naive to think that this confrontation is based on race. Those who would believe that race is the root problem in the conflict are walking in the darkness of their own self deception. The confrontation is about power and wealth. A racial event may trigger an uprising, but we must not be confused that the social trigger itself is the problem. In the West, accusations of race are often the disguise of something far more significant that is buried beneath the social surface of a civilization that is living in the chaos of an economic paradigm shift.
What is transpiring in America is a class war. The middle class in America has been displaced by the economic rise of an upper class that now controls the wealth. What was formerly the middle class has become the lower economic class of a new two-class society. The lower economic class is now in a perpetual struggle to have a piece of the economic pie. But the upper one-percent class of the population is privileged, and thus, continues to maintain their bank accounts and stocks at the expense of the ninety-plus percent who cannot seem to get ahead. It is now that the one-percent class use their wealth to either gain or retain power.
But there is more to this paradigm shift. While growing up in America, the reason for the Korean War was never explained to us as youth. If it had, we probably would not have understood the global implications of two ideologies that were beginning to clash worldwide following the conflict of WW II. For us as the baby boomer generation, the Korean War was simply another one of those wars in which America involved herself. We subsequently interpreted the Korean War through the veil of the senseless Vietnam War. But the conflict in ideology of the two wars was completely different. One was about preserving freedom and faith and the other was about preserving privilege on the part of those who had economic interests. The brilliance of the movie was in the fact that it revealed the tremendous ideological conflict that struggled against one another in the Korean war. We are witnessing the same being played out again in many places around the world today.
Though the primary drama that was portrayed by the movie on the screen was the tearing apart of families, there was a specific ideological conflict that was tearing apart the Korean population. The origin of the ideologies that set the stage for the conflict came from the atheistic ideologies of Karl Marx (1818 – 1883) and Vladimir Lenin (1870 – 1924). The German philosopher Marx said, “The last capitalist we hang shall be the one who sold us the rope.” In contrast to this fascist ideology of Marx, Lenin said, “Fascism is capitalism in decay.” Therefore, he concluded, “The goal of socialism is communism.” Hitler of Germany accepted the ideology of Marx and Stalin adopted the world view of Lenin. WW II ended the influence of Hitler’s fascism. But at the same time it boosted Lenin’s communism around the world through the influence of Russia. It was this atheistic communism after WW II that spread to the people of the Korean Peninsula.
Atheistic state communism emerged on the world stage through the adventurism of Joseph Stalin’s Russia. After the close of WW II, Russia and China sided with those of North Korea, and subsequently, started, through propaganda (lies), to invade the minds of all Koreans. As the malignant virus of atheistic communism began to make its way down the Korean peninsula, the South Koreans reached out to the United Nations in order to stop this ideological attack against their right to choose, specifically their right to choose faith over atheism. The UN subsequently came to the rescue of those who chose freedom and faith.
Therefore, there was more involved in the Korean conflict than demigods struggling for power. In the south, the Koreans fought to retain their right to choose, and in particular, their right to choose a God who created all things. Under the direction of the movie, Operation Chromite, John Lee skillfully brought out this conflict of ideologies that prevailed between the god of an atheistic state communism and the God of heaven. Lee’s subminimal and spiritual meaning of the words “brother” and “sister,” that were used by MacAthur’s covert team, indicated something beyond family relationships. The South Korean freedom fighters were “brothers” and “sisters” who were engaged in a conflict between atheism and faith in God.
B. Consequences of giving up on God
The Korean War was an event in history that renewed again the relevance of the revelation of the Holy Spirit in Romans 1:18-32. It was as if the words of this text were written specifically for this world conflict of ideologies that gave birth to the Cold War that eventually grew on the world stage after WW II. During the existence of the Roman Empire two thousand years ago, Romans 1:18-32 was a context that laid bear the naked truth of individual Caesars or kings of government who would become the god of a subjugated people. With the same emphasis, the Holy Spirit warned against those who would also make the state the “faith” of the people.
Though Caesar Nero personally assumed lordship when the Roman letter was written, he was not proclaimed such by the Senate of Rome. In the latter part of the first century, however, Caesar Domitan was eventually proclaimed lord by the state. Everyone, therefore, who did not proclaim Domitan as lord were considered insurrectionists of the state. The result was inevitable. Since Christians proclaimed only one Lord (Ep 4:5), this meant that in the eyes of the “deified” state of Rome, Christians were to be executed as insurrectionists. Throughout the second century, and into the third, many Christians, depending on the self-proclaimed deification of a particular Caesar, were cast into coliseums throughout the Roman Empire to be torn apart and eaten by lions because they would not confess Caesar as their Lord.
Paul wanted to forewarn all the Christians in Rome that these things were coming. Instead of making any prophecies concerning the specifics of the events to come, he focused his readers on the ideological world view of the people of any empire who would exchange the truth of God for the lie that either a fascist leader or communist state should become the god of the people. Paul thus left prophecies concerning the events that would impact the Christians of the Roman Empire to the apostle John who wrote the letter of Revelation (Rv 1:1).
But in reference to the first readers of Romans 1, Paul indicated that the events of conflict would not necessarily come upon them in their personal lifetime. Nevertheless, the conflicts between ideologies would eventually come in the lifetime of their brothers and sisters who would follow them. Therefore, the forewarning of Romans 1:28-32 was an historical warning to which we must refer from the time the ink dried on the original autograph of the letter of Romans. From the time Paul concluded the letter to the Roman disciples, the scenario of societies giving up a knowledge of God would be repeated throughout the history of humanity.
C. Loyalty to demigods and states
Germany was decimated by WW I. The Treaty of Versailles that was signed in January 20, 1920 in Paris, France between the Allied forces and Germany continued the decimation. Unfortunately, the Treaty hindered the economic recovery of Germany because of the restrictions that were placed on the people. The result was that for a decade after WW 1, the German people languished in poverty. At the end of the 1920s, and into the first part of the 1930s, along came Adolf Hitler with promises of a prosperous future. Unfortunately, there was one class of the German civilization that needed to be eradicated. Since this economically privileged class of the Germans controlled a greater part of the economy, Hitler eventually made the decision to steal the wealth of this particular class of Germans. Through persistent political maneuvering, he eventually brought himself and his Nazi Party into power in order to do this very thing to the German Jews.
Hitler realized that in order for him to be acclaimed the sole authority over the people to accomplish such a dastardly deed, he had to deliver economic hope to the people in order to control the people. But in order to do this, all “faith” had to be instilled in him and his newly formed Nazi Party. They had to be in power. Therefore, he believed that that in order to save Germany from abject poverty, the people had to follow the ideology of Karl Marx. Hitler had to become the supreme leader of the people. In order to be proclaimed as such, faith in any other “god” must be removed from the hearts and minds of the people. All political opposition had to be terminated. Contrary political views had to be crushed. As in China, religion had to be vanquished from the German society.
Hitler thus did as Paul wrote in reference to the rise such aspiring demigods. He “changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like unto corruptible man” (Rm 1:23). For the economically ravaged German people, Hitler became the “corruptible man.” Once he had exalted himself as the supreme leader, it was easy to accomplish the next step in creating an atheistic fascist state. So in strict obedience to the Nazi Party, the German people “exchanged the truth of God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator” (Rm 1:25). This is the road map of all demigods. This was the state of affairs in communist North Korea when a brave and faithfully committed team of South Koreans went behind enemy lines in order to turn the invasion of atheistic communism into South Korea.
D. Rise of the god of the state
In a fascist state, the leader must replace faith in the God of creation with an unquestionable loyalty to himself as the leader of the state. Demigods can have no competition in the minds of the people. After the death of the demigod Hitler at the end of WW II, communism became the another god who was proclaimed around the world by Russia. What played itself out in the Korean peninsula was that North Korea had accepted the state god of communism. The state became the “corruptible god” that was at the time preached by both Russia and China. There was a new god in town. It was not an individual demigod, but a system of social collectivism.
Fascism and communism are ideologically opposed to one another. Through fear, Hitler, the fascist, subjected the people with the power of his police force, the SS (the police of the state). But in contrast, Stalin convinced the Russian people that the state must reign supreme over the individual rights of the people. The state must become the god of the people, though fear must be the emotional lever to control the people.
During WW II, therefore, there was a stark contrast between the motives of Nazi Germany and Stalin’s Russia. Nevertheless, there is at least one common theme of the ideologies of both systems of civilization. In order to function as a government of society, both were atheistic. The instrument of control was through fear. In such situations, no heavenly God can take the place of a fascist demigod of the state, and no God can be worshiped who is above the state. Faith in a Supreme God of heaven must be erased from society in order that demigods can freely reign supreme on earth. The fear of the earthly god must be instilled in the hearts and minds of the people in order that the people to be totally focused on the success of the communal state (communism). Whether with fascism or communism, therefore, atheism must prevail over belief in a heavenly God of creation.
After WW II, Russia began its relentless march around the world in order to propagate the ideology of atheistic communism. The state was preached to be the new religion of the people and the “savior” of the economically oppressed. This march continued into the peninsula of Korea, and eventually led to the division of the Korean people into two different ideologies. The god of the North would be the religion of atheistic communism, wherein the people would exchange “the truth of God for a lie and worship and serve” Kim II-sung, with the state being the religion of the people. In the South, democracy would prevail wherein the people would retain their freedom to choose. And in their freedom, they would choose faith over any atheistic leader or ideology of state.
E. Darkness cannot exist in the presence of light.
Today, as the International Space Station makes its journey around the earth every ninety minutes, throughout the years many photographs have been taken at night of North and South Korea. The lights of South Korea beam as a lighthouse beacon of the result of freedom and faith. As industrial power brought prosperity to the people of South Korea, the night lights of the country reflect the hopes of the people for the future. We must never forget that the industrial prosperity of the South was initiated and fought for by people who refused to relinquish their faith and freedom to either an atheist communist state or demigod dictator.
But the night time photographs of North Korea reveals a black hole in one of the civilizations of this world. Not only are the photographs North Korea almost void of any night lights, the photographs also reveal a void of the light of the God of heaven. It is ruled by an atheistic leader who promotes an atheistic civilization. So we are minded of this precious statement of Jesus: “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (Jn 8:12).
At the beginning of the Korean War in 1950, and once the lighthouse of Incheon, South Korea was lite to shine its beacon for the entry of the US invasion to the beaches of Incheon, in the movie, Operation Chromite, the last of the South Korean covert agents the UN forces, who were sent in under the cover of darkness, eventually met their glorious deaths in order to deliver South Korea to what it is today as a free nation with the right to choose faith over atheism.
For just one example, the next time you use a device or appliance of the South Korean Samsung Company, think about the cost that a small group of committed South Koreans paid to make it so. Over three million Koreans died in the Korean War conflict from 1950 to 1953. Many dedicated South Koreans, and over 50,000 US soldiers, gave their lives in order that we have the blessing of the thousands of other South Korean industries.
Faith in the God of creation continues strong in South Korea. The North Koreans, on the other hand, have only the mortal god of Kim Jong-un, who will eventually die. And after him, another mortal will probably arise to continue the hopelessness of an atheistic state.