Is there really a connection between Militant Atheism and Communism? “Yes” says Harold J Berman, a specialist in Soviet Law from Harvard University. “Militant Atheism was the official Religion, one might say, of the Soviet Union and the Communist Party was the established church”. “The standard Marxist feeling that religion was the opiate of the masses” (1). Also it was that the Russian Orthodox Church “Had always been a pillar of czarism”(2). The churches had strict orders under separation of church and state to destroy all churches, mosques, synagogues, mandirs, madarasahs, religious monuments and also to remove by deportation to Siberia those who had faiths in other religions or beliefs! (3)
Churches in the Soviet Union were under strict rules and forbade giving to the poor, education activities, publish any literature, or have any special meetings. Church property was expropriated. Religious teachings were banned from any educational institute as all was Government ran. Pre Russian Revolution there were 50,000 Orthodox clergymen, by 1939 there was roughly 300. In 1922 by itself the atheist system had murdered 2691 secular priests, 1962 Monks and 3447 Nuns because of their faith! (4)
The late Christopher Hitchens and now believer in God said “One of Lenin’s great achievements, in my opinion, is to create a secular Russia. The power of the Russian Orthodox Church, which was an absolute warren of backwardness and evil and superstition, is probably never going to recover from what he did to it” (5) The bottom line though is that militant atheism has failed to extinguish Christianity! Thanks to many martyrs that gave up their lives in underground churches.
When I hear or read statements that the only difference between “New atheism” and ”atheism” in general is that the New atheists are getting in Christians faces and making a lot more noise. This does worry me. We must stand up to the atheist or are we going to allow this to happen again?
1 Cor. 5: 6 Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough?
This is outright spiritual warfare, and believe me it is going to get a lot worse unless we collectively stand together in the Church. The body of Christ must get its act together and stop the division that is creeping into the Church! Hold the atheist’s feet to the fire! If they make a bold statement like “God doesn’t exist” then ask them how they know that? They sure spend a lot of time and energy trying to prove to the believer that God does not exist. Why?
Notes and references:
(1) Crane Brinton (1995). A History of Civilization: 1648 to the present. Prentice Hall.
(2) Crane Brinton (1995). A History of Civilization: 1648 to the present. Prentice Hall
(3) Simon Richmond (2006). Russia & Belarus. BBC Worldwide. Retrieved on 2011-07-09. “Soviet ‘militant atheism’ led to the closure and destruction of nearly all the mosques and madrasahs (Muslim religious schools) in Russia, although some remained in the Central Asian states. Under Stalin there were mass deportations and liquidation of the Muslim elite.”
(4) R.J. Rummel (1993). Death By Government. Transaction Publishers. “With this understood, the Soviet Union appears the greatest megamurderer of all, apparently killing near 61,000,000 people.”
(5) Christopher Hitchens (2005). Heaven on Earth: The Rise and Fall of Socialism. Public Broadcasting Service. “One of Lenin’s great achievements, in my opinion, is to create a secular Russia. The power of the Russian Orthodox Church, which was an absolute warren of backwardness and evil and superstition, is probably never going to recover from what he did to it.”