Article on the Faith and Christian Testimony of Alexander Solzhenistsyn (on the Imaginative Conservative website)

21 03 2013

An article titled Alexander Solzhenitsyn: The Courage of a Christian by Joseph Pierce (here) is available on the website titled “The Imaginative Conservative”. http://www.theimaginativeconservative.org/

Following is a quote from Pierce from the article about the life experiences that shaped Solzhenistsyn, including his turning from socialism and his conversion to Christianity:

“In such a meretricious age the giant figure of Alexander Solzhenitsyn emerges as a colossus of courage. Born in Russia in 1918, only months after the secular fundamentalists had swept to power in the Bolshevik Revolution, Solzhenitsyn was brainwashed by a state education system which taught him that socialism was just and that religion was the enemy of the people. Like most of his school friends, he enslaved himself to the zeitgeist, became an atheist and joined the communist party.”

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Alexander Solzhenistsyn (source of picture: http://www.preaching.com/)

“Serving in the Soviet army on the Eastern Front during the Second World War he witnessed cold blooded murder and the raping of women and children as the Red Army took its “revenge” on the Germans. Disillusioned, he committed the indiscretion of criticizing the Soviet leader Josef Stalin and was imprisoned for eight years as a political dissident.”

“While in prison, he resolved to expose the horrors of the Soviet system. Shortly after his release, during a period of compulsory exile in Kazakhstan, he was diagnosed with a malignant cancer in its advanced stages and was not expected to live. In the face of what appeared to be impending death, he converted to Christianity and was astonished by what he considered to be a miraculous recovery.”

“Throughout the 1960s Solzhenitsyn published three novels exposing the secularist tyranny of the Soviet Union and received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1970. Following the publication in 1973 of his seminal work, The Gulag Archipelago, an exposé of the treatment of political dissidents in the Soviet prison system, he was arrested and expelled from the Soviet Union, thereafter living the life of an exile in Switzerland and the United States. He finally returned to Russia in 1994, after the collapse of the Soviet system.”

Solzhenistsyn spoke boldly again what Pearce calls the “secular fundamentalism” of modern progressive societies.  Following is a key quote from the article on this subject:

“In 1978, Solzhenitsyn caused great controversy when he criticized the secularism and hedonism of the West in his famous commencement address at Harvard University. Condemning the nations of the so-called free West for being morally bankrupt, he urged that it was time “to defend not so much human rights as human obligations.””

“The emphasis on rights instead of responsibilities was leading to “the abyss of human decadence” and to the committing of “moral violence against young people, such as motion pictures full of pornography, crime, and horror.” At the root of the modern malaise was the modern philosophy of “rationalistic humanism or humanistic autonomy,” which declared the “autonomy of man from any higher authority above him.” Such a view “could also be called anthropocentrity, with man seen as the centre of all.””

We Christians to day need to look to the testimony and legacy of courageous believers such a Alexander Solzhenistsyn in standing for the the Lord Christ in the midst of increasingly secular, godless times.

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Alexander Solzhenistsyn (source of picture: http://en.rian.ru/art_living/)