Subject: Atheism in USSR (was Re: Why are you an atheist?) Date: 14 Feb 90 00:13:52 GMT Se

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From: genesch@wam.umd.edu (Eugene Schwartzman) Newsgroups: alt.atheism Subject: Atheism in USSR (was Re: Why are you an atheist?) Message-ID: <1990Feb14.001352.14056@wam.umd.edu> Date: 14 Feb 90 00:13:52 GMT Sender: usenet@wam.umd.edu (USENET Posting) In article <90041.184959NETOPRWA@NCSUVM.BITNET> NETOPRWA@ncsuvm.ncsu.edu (Wayne Aiken) writes: =In article <1990Feb9.075050.22084@wam.umd.edu> = genesch@wam.umd.edu (Eugene Schwartzman): => I am an atheist by 'force'. I was born and lived until I was 10 in => USSR. Do I have to elaborate any further? = =The official policy of Atheism in the USSR is continually used by many as a =means of Soviet-bashing- in fact, it was the original reason behind the =McCarthy hysteria, not the fact that the USSR is communist, but that it is =Atheist. In the grade-school history and social studies (indoctrination?) =classes, I remember hearing of how people who adhere to a religion in the =USSR were persecuted. It horrifies me to hear public officials in the USA =make citizenship synonymous with religious worship, or that all Atheists are =communists, yet all these are based on this policy. = =What is the real situation in the USSR with respect to religion? Is it =really an agressive campaign against religion with equally agressive atheist =indoctrination, or is it simply the effect of the removal of the government's =endorsement and support of religious institutions, or something in between? Well, speaking from memory and stories, here's the best picture I can paint: until Gorbachev came to power, any and all religion was completely forbidden. Anybody caught going to services, praying was arrested and faced with prison. All churches were closed and boarded up, except the one in Red Square (damn can't remember the name) which was kept open as a museum to show the evils of religion thru the lavishness of the few. When Gorbachev came to power, slowly that policy was changed to the point where, now, religion is allowed. Anybody out there with better news, feel free to add... gene schwartzman genesch@cscwam.umd.edu _______________________________________________________________________________ | GO BEARS, GO CUBS, GO WHITE SOX, GO BULLS, GO BLACKHAWKS, GO TERPS !!!!! | | Soccer is a kick in the grass (and sometimes on astroturf)! | | GO DIPLOMATS, GO STARS, GO BAYS, GO BLAST !!!! | | CFL -> GO EDMONTON ESKIMOS!!!! AFL -> GO CARLTON BLUES !!!! | |_____________________________________________________________________________| Disclaimer: These are my opinions and not of my employer. --------------------------------------------------------------------- From: livesey@solntze.Sun.COM (Jon Livesey) Newsgroups: alt.atheism Subject: Re: Atheism in USSR (was Re: Why are you an atheist?) Message-ID: <131786@sun.Eng.Sun.COM> Date: 14 Feb 90 01:21:02 GMT References: <1990Feb14.001352.14056@wam.umd.edu> In article <1990Feb14.001352.14056@wam.umd.edu> genesch@wam.umd.edu (Eugene Schwartzman) write > >Well, speaking from memory and stories, here's the best picture I can paint: >until Gorbachev came to power, any and all religion was completely forbidden. >Anybody caught going to services, praying was arrested and faced with prison. >All churches were closed and boarded up, except the one in Red Square (damn >can't remember the name) which was kept open as a museum to show the evils of >religion thru the lavishness of the few. When Gorbachev came to power, slowly >that policy was changed to the point where, now, religion is allowed. Anybody >out there with better news, feel free to add... Is this an "addition"? :-) I worked in Moscow from 1970 thorugh 1973. There were active churches there throughout the time I lived there. There were public Orthodox Easter services in the city of Moscow, well attended both by Russians themselves and by foreign residents. These services spilled out onto the streets, so that the police had to control the crowds. There were other active churches outside Moscow, and I attended services myself. So far as I could see, they were mainly attended by Babushka, Dyedushka and the grandchildren. There was even one active monastery. At Suzdal? Stalin revived the Russian Orthodox church during WWII, and it was in continuous operation thereafter. Before anyone jumps in, I know that there was active discouragement of religion, and active anti-religious propaganda. I also know that there were *few* active churches. I am replying to the absolute statements "any and all religion was completely forbidden" and "All churches were closed and boarded up, except the one in Red Square" (which is S. Basil's). I have visited S Basil's, and it was *not* a museum to atheism, although there were a couple of smaller churches in a side street behind the Rossiya Hotel that were museums to atheism. They were, so far as I saw, never open. There were any number of churches in Moscow that were not boarded up, although many of them were treated as museums, not to atheism in particular. As I have said before, "There are ample perfectly true things you can say to the discredit of authoritarian Communism; you are not absolutely obliged to add untruths". jon. ---------------------------------------------------------------------- From: loren@sunlight.llnl.gov (Loren Petrich) Newsgroups: alt.atheism Subject: Re: Atheism in USSR (was Re: Why are you an atheist?) Message-ID: <48540@lll-winken.LLNL.GOV> Date: 14 Feb 90 03:30:36 GMT References: <1990Feb14.001352.14056@wam.umd.edu> In article <1990Feb14.001352.14056@wam.umd.edu> genesch@wam.umd.edu (Eugene Schwartzman) write >Well, speaking from memory and stories, here's the best picture I can paint: >until Gorbachev came to power, any and all religion was completely forbidden. >Anybody caught going to services, praying was arrested and faced with prison. >All churches were closed and boarded up, except the one in Red Square (damn >can't remember the name) which was kept open as a museum to show the evils of >religion thru the lavishness of the few. When Gorbachev came to power, slowly >that policy was changed to the point where, now, religion is allowed. Anybody >out there with better news, feel free to add... > It's St. Basil's Cathedral in the Red Square. Even that structure narrowly escaped demolition by Stalin. Well, there were lots of churches and synagogues and mosques etc. in operation before Gorbachev came to power. I once passed by one of them in Leningrad with an icon that had developed a gray spot -- from being kissed all the time. Official Soviet policy has varied, from attempts at suppression to relative tolerance. When the Soviet Union was invaded by the Nazis, Stalin brought back the church as part of an effort to get people to fight for him and against Hitler. I wonder if the Soviet Union's official policy toward religion was a by-product of how the Tsarist government had attempted to use the church as an ideological support? I suspect that some of the anti-Tsar revolutionaries did not need much to convince them that the religion business is the Opium of the People. Well, I am happy that Gorbachev has implemented a policy of religious tolerance; the previous policy of intolerance is what has given atheism a bad name for too long. I feel uncomfortable about how he seems to have gone in the opposite direction, seeming to kowtow before the Pope and praising the church as a guardian of moral values. Just the same, I must give Gorbachev a lot of credit for willingness to acknowledge error; has the Pope ever done so? For instance, he has never repudiated the Inquisition in the way that Soviet leaders have repudiated some of their more extreme actions -- Stalin's purges, Eastern European repression, etc. And I have always thought that Marxism was some pseudo-religious belief system. And I find the Soviet cult of Lenin hilarious. Children are taught about "Uncle Lenin", a very wise man who loved children. They are taught about how he studied very hard in school. I even found a reference to Lenin in a book about Quantum Electrodynamics written by Akhiezer and Beresetskii. Most of the book was devoid of Marxism or "dialectical thinking"; it looked just like similar books published out of the Soviet Union. But there was one section in the end which quoted Lenin on "the infinite extensibility of the electron" -- whatever that was supposed to mean. ^ Loren Petrich, the Master Blaster \ ^ / loren@moonzappa.llnl.gov \ ^ / One may need to route through any of: \^/ sunlight.llnl.gov <<<<<<<<+>>>>>>>> lll-lcc.llnl.gov /v\ lll-crg.llnl.gov / v \ star.stanford.edu / v \ v "Crucifixes are sexy because there's a naked man on them" -- Madonna

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