“Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened” – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
With the 2019 Pew Research Poll showing the percentage of Christians in America dropping from 77% in 2009 to 65% in 2019, the religious transformation of Americans cannot be ignored. For many Americans, religion is seen as a personal matter which should be disconnected from public life. Many of the political left assert Christian values are a danger to public decision making. Amy Coney Barrett was grilled by Democratic Senators about the potential dangerous role her religious beliefs might play during the 2018 Appeals Court confirmation hearings. The reality is that the level of religion in a nation is of utmost importance to the future of the nation. The prophetic warning of the danger of national Spiritual decline, by author and Soviet dissident Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, is what America desperately needs right now. Let me explain.
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was born in Russia in December 1918. Though Baptized in a Russian Orthodox family, Solzhenitsyn experienced the anti-Christian fervor of the Soviet Union growing up and he became a militant atheist communist. During World War II, Solzhenitsyn served as an Artillery Captain and was thrice decorated for bravery fighting Nazi Germany. Despite heroism in the Red Army, in 1945 Solzhenitsyn was given an 8-year sentence to a Soviet Gulag due to private criticism of Stalin. It was during that period the Solzhenitsyn experienced a religious conversion back to the Orthodox Christian faith of his youth. He came to see the hatred of Christianity at the heart of Communism, and came to better understand the ultimate reason for the horror of 60 million dead in the Soviet Union. As Solzhenitsyn wrote, it took root due to the nation turning from God.
Solzhenitsyn was released from the Gulag in 1953, and attempted to publish works critical of the Gulag system and the Soviet Union. After persecution by the Soviet authorities, Solzhenitsyn was ultimately stripped of his Soviet citizenship and expelled from Russia. He lived in America from the 1976 until after the fall of the Soviet Union, when, in 1994, he returned to his home country of Russia. While in America, due to his international acclaim as a writer and dissident Solzhenitsyn was invited to give many speeches to various Western audiences. In 1978, Solzhenitsyn shocked liberal Harvard University by warning of the danger of the materialism and rising secularism he saw pervading and corroding the West. Solzhenitsyn compared the horrible consequences of state enforced atheism in Communism Soviet Union to the secularism and materialism he saw in America.
It was at his 1983 address when receiving the Templeton Award that Solzhenitsyn succinctly explained the reason for the Bolshevik Revolution and the barbarity and atrocities it wrought on the world: “Men have forgotten God, and that’s why all this happened”. This was the ultimate explanation for the horrors of Socialism. Solzhenitsyn was also providing warning that America could experience the same by “forgetting God”.
According to Solzhenitsyn, violent revolution followed Godlessness and increased Godlessness: “It was Dostoevsky, once again, who drew from the French Revolution and its seeming hatred of the Church the lesson that ‘revolution must necessarily begin with atheism.’ That is absolutely true. But the world had never before known a godlessness as organized, militarized, and tenaciously malevolent as that practiced by Marxism. Within the philosophical system of Marx and Lenin, and at the heart of their psychology, hatred of God is the principal driving force, more fundamental than all their political and economic pretensions. Militant atheism is not merely incidental or marginal to Communist policy; it is not a side effect, but the central pivot. To achieve its diabolical ends. Communism needs to control a population devoid of religious and national feeling, and this entails the destruction of faith and nationhood.”
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Bill Connor