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Solzhenitsyn, Literary Giant Who Defied Soviets, Dies at 89
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, whose stubborn, lonely and combative literary struggles gained the force of prophecy as he revealed the heavy afflictions of Soviet Communism in some of the most powerful works of the 20th century, died late on Sunday at the age of 89 in Moscow.
His son Yermolai said the cause was a heart ailment.
Mr. Solzhenitsyn outlived by nearly 17 years the Soviet state and system he had battled through years of imprisonment, ostracism and exile.
I remember how much the lib establishment was upset at how he pointed out our WESTERN evils. We hate to have the mirror held up to us. On June 8, 1978 he delivered the commencement address(link below) to Harvard University. In his stirring speech he argued that a demoralised and post-Christian West is no match for, and not much better than, Soviet totalitarianism. He called for a moral and spiritual renewal in America to enable it to withstand atheistic, humanistic communism. Yet his prophetic call was greeted with boos and derision by the educated elites at Harvard.
Despite the poor reception his words received, they are important and vital words nonetheless. Sozhinitsyn knew that secular humanism was not the answer to our problems. Indeed, it was the cause. It gave rise to atheistic Soviet tyranny. Only the Judeo-Christian worldview can provide the hope needed to resist such darkness. Indeed, in his 1983 Templeton Prise speech he put it this way:
â€œOver half a century ago, while I was still a child, I recall hearing a number of older people offer the following explanation for the great disasters that had befallen Russia: â€˜We have forgotten God; thatâ€™s why all this has happened.â€™
"How short a time ago, relatively, the small new European world was easily seizing colonies everywhere, not only without anticipating any real resistance, but also usually despising any possible values in the conquered peoples' approach to life. On the face of it, it was an overwhelming success, there were no geographic frontiers to it. Western society expanded in a triumph of human independence and power." While not only true of western society, this was also true of Imperial Russia. The Lehrer News Hour had interesting comments by people who knew about Solzhenitsyn. They said his interest was always in Russia and its unique culture. The present leadership was not happy with him either.
Engineer, as you see, I did scan through the address, and you are quite correct that people should read it and more carefully than I did. Solzhenitsyn had interesting remarks about the Vietnam War. The need for Christians to have moral fiber has always been an essential. Again, Engineer, thanks for pointing out an interesting and informative site.
moral heritage of Christian centuries WORLD SPLIT His whole speech is worth reading in its entirety. â€œHowever, in early democracies, as in American democracy at the time of its birth, all individual human rights were granted because man is God's creature. That is, freedom was given to the individual conditionally, in the assumption of his constant religious responsibility. Such was the heritage of the preceding thousand years. Two hundred or even fifty years ago, it would have seemed quite impossible, in America, that an individual could be granted boundless freedom simply for the satisfaction of his instincts or whims. Subsequently, however, all such limitations were discarded everywhere in the West; a total liberation occurred from the moral heritage of Christian centuries with their great reserves of mercy and sacrifice. State systems were becoming increasingly and totally materialistic. The West ended up by truly enforcing human rights, sometimes even excessively, but man's sense of responsibility to God and society grew dimmer and dimmer. In the past decades, the legalistically selfish aspect of Western approach and thinking has reached its final dimension ...." READ IT!
I remember a piece of the "Gulag Archipelago" in which Solzhenitsyn pointed out that the Communist secret police would rarely bother with Christians in torturing them, because it would not accomplish anything for them.
It is reported that Solzhenitsyn became a Christian in his later life. He still would not be a darling to too many conservative Christians because he attacked Western materialism. Of course, unlike His Unholiness, he didn't live high off that materialism. Solzhenitsyn's comments have more punch behind them.