No More Church Bells

Continuing my theme of religion, this week on the 17 moments page I found an interesting topic about Khrushchev and his role in the (further) destruction of the church. The church was already losing power (Stalin was afraid of the church’s authority competing against his) but there had been a wartime agreement that had allowed the churches some power. With the war being over, Khrushchev, who had been an instigator in the anti-religious movement in 1957, made plans to close even more churches, monasteries, religious schools, etc. in 1961 [1].

In an editorial titled, “Atheists Must Attack”, it talked about how anti-religious propaganda was not being spread efficiently enough [2]. Authority figures began to revitalize anti-religious and scientific programs to deter people from turning to religion, especially when it came to the young people of the generation. The editorial stated that the following things needed to take place in order to root out religion in society:

“In order to protect the working people against the pernicious influence of religion the Party organizations must extend atheist propaganda to all believers. Antireligious work must be conducted not in cities and district centers alone (as often happens), but in every workers’ settlement and on every collective and state farm.

Informational work must take account of local conditions and of the believers’ level of development and nationality. Special attention must be devoted to individual work. …

The Party organizations must provide day-to-day guidance for the whole complex of atheistic propaganda. There must be no blank spaces left in antireligious work. Along with exposing the Orthodox faith, special attention must be devoted to exposing the reactionary nature of Islam, which is widespread in Kazakhstan. An end must be put to the view that the Moslem religion is a faith of old people and will disappear with the old generation. This view is not only wrong but harmful. It is true that the overwhelming majority of Moslems are old people. But they pull the young people along with them. …”[3]

I thought it was interesting that they did not just limit their religious persecution to Christianity, but made the point to include Islam as well. I also was curious as to why they only mentioned Christianity and not Judaism.

This topic interested me not only because I find the history of religion in countries fascinating but because it also seemed to incorporate a view point of Stalin in a different era. However, the manner in which these new regulations were carried out seemed to incorporate violence more than previous attempts to snuff the churches authority.

Below there is a link to a video that “describes” religious people. I use quote marks around describe because it seems to me to very obviously be a propaganda video showing religious people as uncultured or uneducated. One of the things the video says is, “look at the religious people spending their hard-earned money”. The video is meant to portray religious people as backwards.

http://soviethistory.msu.edu/1961-2/fight-against-superstition/fight-against-superstition-video/the-truth-about-holy-places-1961/ 

I think it is interesting that the fight against religion has taken place (in this context) for almost half a century at this point, yet there is still faith in some of the people.  I don’t think that government can ever truly get rid of people’s faith no matter the extremes they go to.

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