Magazine article The Human Life Review

Socialism Is Absolutely Opposed to Christianity

Magazine article The Human Life Review

Socialism Is Absolutely Opposed to Christianity

Article excerpt

From the Archives: (1985)

Alexander Solzhenitsyn interviewed by Malcolm Muggeridge

MALCOLM MUGGERIDGE: I would very much like to know if you consider it possible, or conceivable, that the whole Gulag apparatus could be abolished without some violent upheaval in the Soviet Union!

ALEXANDER SOLZHENITSYN: It is not only the Gulag which expresses the nature of violence which is inherent in the communist system. It is only its extreme form, it is only the extreme manifestation of violence. But there is a whole gradation of violence; so really your question should be turned round in this way: Is communist totalitarianism possible without violence? The answer is: no, not for one single day.

MUGGERIDGE: That makes it absolutely clear. Well the present situation is that you have, in both the USSR and the USA, this vast nuclear potential. Is it possible to imagine, therefore, that we shall avoid having a nuclear war!

SOLZHENITSYN: You know, for some reason I want to say that I'm convinced that there will be no nuclear war. There can be various interpretations of why such conflict will not take place. If only, after 1945, the West had not disarmed itself, had not let all its armed forces disband but had retained conventional armies, then today there would be no danger of a nuclear confrontation. I won't go through all the various possibilities, but I will stop over one, and it is a very pessimistic variant. It is a possibility which in fact is the summary of ten years of concessions and capitulation. One of the reasons why there will not be a nuclear conflict is that the West has, in fact, given in on nuclear balance, and has lost any kind of initiative in a balance of conventional forces, and is very unprepared for subversion from within. So that, in fact, even without having recourse to any nuclear confrontation, there are all sorts of possibilities for the communist leaders.

MUGGERIDE: I'm a very old journalist now, and it quite often happens that people ask me what is the most significant thing that has happened in the last 50 years. Well I always say one thing, which partly derives from your writings, and that is, in fact, the revival of the Christian faith in the one place in the world where I would have expected it to have had no chance of reviving. In other words, would it be true to say that the efforts of the Soviet authorities to prevent any faith in Christianity or any practice of the Christian religion have been a failure?

SOLZHENITSYN: What you have said has a profound significance. For the last five, six decades we have seen in, oh, many places in the world the victory of communism. True, those are victories which don't really bring much good to people; they are not economic victories, they are not good, positive victories, they are really victories of power. And in my country the communist powers in fact took, so to speak, military steps against the Christian faith. The signal for an attack against Christianity was given right at the very beginning by Lenin and Trotsky. Millions of peasants were slaughtered in order to eradicate faith from the very roots of the people. Millions of hours of propaganda time were used in order to burn out the faith from the hearts of the children. And yet, despite this, we can say that, after all these years, communism has not destroyed the Christian faith. Christianity went through a period of decline, but now it is growing and reviving. And that is the most hope that one can see anywhere, not only in my country, but anywhere in the world. For the moment I see no end to the military victories of communism ... It looks as if the shadow of communism is covering the earth more and more deeply. I would compare this with an eclipse of the sun. But with an eclipse of the sun a small portion of the earth is darkened, whereas with communism it is half the earth which is in darkness, perhaps even threequarters. But because communism has already shown its weakness, its inability to destroy Christianity, for this reason we may hope that the shadow will gradually pass across and clear the earth; and will perhaps clear precisely those countries which have been in the deepest shadow until now. …

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