Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. ‘Men Have Forgotten God; That’s Why All This Happened’

 

“Over 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: ‘Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.’” – Alexander Solzhenitsyn, May, 1983

I cannot help thinking that this is also the lesson to be learned both from COVID-19 and the riots that have visited American cities.

If you number yourself among those who believe in God, then you humble yourself with the knowledge that nothing happens by chance and that world events are the result of heavenly decrees – which may be brought on by human activity or the lack thereof.

It did not happen by chance that the COVID-19 pandemic originated in a nation – the largest on earth — where atheism is official government policy. Horrible things will inevitably come from such a place and a world that acquiesces in acceptance of this policy will suffer the consequences.

We share in the responsibility for what happened in China. The Hong Kong protests preceded the pandemic and we did little to encourage them. The despicable NBA kowtowed to its Chinese masters and our government’s reaction to the protests was virtually non-existent. Allow China to get away with denying freedom to its citizens, God said, and I will unleash a plague from there that will take away your freedom when you are physically confined and forced to walk around in masks and kept at a distance from one another.

Two of the greatest calamities in recent American history are alluded to in the first verse of Psalm 127. “Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain.” The Twin Towers were the ultimate representation of American success. They were also known as the World Trade Center, a name that put commercial exchange at the heart of America’s largest city, if not of America itself. Why do we continue to deal with China despite its godless ideology? Trade! But did the Lord participate in the construction of the World Trade Center or was it just another money-making venture? “Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain.”

Our cities are in flames. The police are increasingly irrelevant. We are proud of our police. SWAT units are well-equipped. They even have mini-tanks to bust into buildings. But you can have the most powerful police force in the world which, without heavenly guardianship, is still nothing. “Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain.” Yes, the police protect us after a fashion but when we distance ourselves from God, He distances Himself from us, police withdraw, and cities burn.

There is this from Carl Jung:

“Christians often ask why God does not speak to them, as he is believed to have done in former days. When I hear such questions, it always makes me think of the rabbi who was asked how it could be that God often showed himself to people in the olden days while nowadays nobody ever sees him. The rabbi replied: ‘Nowadays there is no longer anybody who can bow low enough.’”

So God sent various thugs to make sure people, even police, experienced what it meant to bow and kneel.

Is it arrogance that has brought us to this state? I confess to being unable to listen to any podcast for more than a few minutes. After that, I become painfully aware that the people talking have an air of know-it-all-ness that is simply unbearable. And so God is knocking us down a peg by bringing on an evasive plague that no one, not even a know-it-all podcaster, knows beans about.

The genius of Solzhenitsyn is to reframe the struggle of our times. It is not between capitalists and communists. It is between believers and non-believers. Both capitalists and communists focus on the shallow material reality that surrounds us. When it comes to thoughts about God, libertarians, and anarchists have much in common. They elevate being true to themselves above any obligation to others. The libertarian and the anarchist cry in unison: “I have no obligations — everything I do is not because I must do it, but because I want to do it.”

More from Solzhenitsyn: “It was Dostoevsky who drew from the French Revolution and its seething hatred for the Church the lesson that ‘revolution must necessarily begin with atheism.’ That is absolutely true. But the world had never before known a godlessness as organized, militarized, and tenaciously malevolent as that preached by Marxism. Within the philosophical system of Marx and Lenin and at the heart of their psychology, hatred of God is the principal driving force, more fundamental than all their political and economic pretensions. Militant atheism is not merely incidental or marginal to communist policy; it is not a side effect, but the central pivot. To achieve its diabolic ends, communism needs to control a population devoid of religious and national feeling, and this entails a destruction of faith and nationhood. Communists proclaim both of these objectives openly, and just as openly put them into practice.”

But laissez-faire Western economies and, by implication, capitalism, get no reprieve from Solzhenitsyn:

“Atheist teachers in the West are bringing up a younger generation in a spirit of hate for their own society. Such incitements to hatred are coming to characterize today’s free world. Indeed, the broader the personal freedoms are, the higher the level of prosperity or even abundance, the more vehement, paradoxically, is this blind hatred. The contemporary developed West thus demonstrates by its own example that human salvation can be found neither in the profusion of material goods nor in merely making money.”

These words are reminiscent of Lenin’s famous quip: “The capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them.”

The spectacle of corporations donating money to BLM, a group that loudly and unapologetically wants to destroy them and their country. Pathetic! It proves the moral bankruptcy of capitalism.

We long for a leader who says that we cannot allow ourselves to forget about God. That we cannot do this alone. That we need God’s help. A sage once asked his disciples “Where is God?” and they answered “God is everywhere” to which the sage replied: “No, God is only present where you let Him in.”

Published in General
This post was promoted to the Main Feed by a Ricochet Editor at the recommendation of Ricochet members. Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

There are 10 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. Arahant Member

    Revolutions revolve. They just change the players. If the system is changed, it is only on the surface. They are not evolutions. They do not create something new. And as we have seen, many recent (since 1789, certainly) revolutions have been Godless.

    The English Civil War was primarily fought by strongly religious believers. It led to more of a codification of “natural” or God-given rights, and those led to the American Evolution. It did not throw out the old just to rename the old and replace the players. It created something truly new, something that changed the world.


    This is the Quote of the Day. Don’t be daunted by the work Mr. Finch put into this. The Quote of the day can be the easiest way to start a conversation on Ricochet. Or, you can make it a masterpiece as Joshua did. Come join us. Sign up for a date in August. New to Ricochet? This is a great way to get your feet wet.

    • #1
    • July 29, 2020, at 11:54 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  2. JoelB Member

    A sage once asked his disciples “Where is God?” and they answered “God is everywhere” to which the sage replied: “No, God is only present where you let Him in.”

    Behold, I stand at the door and knock.

    That second quote was written to Christians.

    • #2
    • July 30, 2020, at 5:02 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  3. Fredösphere Member
    Fredösphere Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Solzhenitsyn’s answer is correct IMHO, but also unsatisfying due to being very high-level and vague. When everyone is at fault…it kind of makes no one at fault. Let’s focus on some of the specifics.

    While doing research for my Cold War novel, I read a fascinating book called The Occult in Russian and Soviet Culture, edited by Prof. Bernice Glatzer Rosenthal. It reveals just how decadent the aristocracy had become in the years before the revolution. As the title suggests, a number of wealthy Russians were dabbling in full-on Satanism. Beyond that, all kinds of perverse intellectual fads were entertained. Lenin’s success was based in part on the willingness of certain aristocrats and businessmen to fund him. (Talk about “Please shoot me last”!) And then the revolution came and brought with it the ideology of terror of Lenin and Dzerzhinsky, not to mention lesser known experiments in various forms of neo-paganism, culminating in the preservation of Lenin’s corpse as an incorruptible icon of the new religion. (“Lenin Lived! Lenin lives! Lenin shall live!” They even made a fetish of the man’s brain.)

    Meanwhile, some “conservative” leaders only made things worse by plunging headlong into conspiracy theories and anti-semitism, or following frauds like Rasputin.

    It was a time of collective madness, a flight into the “freedom” that always leads straight to bondage and death. It was an offspring of the French Revolution, and if anything, it was worse.

    I think it would do us all well to study the details of that period and consider if, and how much, our current state trends in that direction. But of course, the lack of interest in history, and a love of Year Zero thinking, is just one more symptom of decadence. Dang, I guess I really don’t have the solution.

    • #3
    • July 30, 2020, at 3:18 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  4. DudleyDoright49 Coolidge

    @Joshua finch – Amen and Amen! Despite what anyone in any particular political model tries to tell you, you can be absolutely sure of only one thing. The only problem the United States of America has is that we have pushed God out of our nation. Period, full stop.

    • #4
    • July 30, 2020, at 6:29 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  5. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Drew Klavan has been very good recently at pointing out how morally hollow capitalism is. Even among conservatives, he’s a voice crying out in the wilderness. 

    • #5
    • July 31, 2020, at 7:05 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  6. Arahant Member

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    Drew Klavan has been very good recently at pointing out how morally hollow capitalism is. Even among conservatives, he’s a voice crying out in the wilderness.

    That is because too many have taken Marxism seriously and called it “capitalism.”

    Free markets are a tool for the creation and distribution of wealth. It is an imperfect tool, because knowledge is not spread evenly. It also relies heavily on trust. If some people, or whole countries run by communists, happen to violate trust, but there are people demanding that we give them a one millionth chance to do the right thing, the markets will not work due to the interference.

    • #6
    • July 31, 2020, at 7:12 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  7. Stina Member

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    Drew Klavan has been very good recently at pointing out how morally hollow capitalism is. Even among conservatives, he’s a voice crying out in the wilderness.

    That is because too many have taken Marxism seriously and called it “capitalism.”

    Free markets are a tool for the creation and distribution of wealth. It is an imperfect tool, because knowledge is not spread evenly. It also relies heavily on trust. If some people, or whole countries run by communists, happen to violate trust, but there are people demanding that we give them a one millionth chance to do the right thing, the markets will not work due to the interference.

    I also think that attempts to reshape the Republican party into just capitalism as fiscal conservative, conservatarian, intellectual thought on the right as seemingly striven to do makes conservatism weak.

    There should be more to conservative policy than capitalism and I’m not certain capitalism should be the capstone. Yes, economic freedom is important, but it isn’t the only thing that is and it shouldn’t be the only platform for a party to rally behind. I’m not even certain it is the most important.

    • #7
    • July 31, 2020, at 7:53 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  8. Arahant Member

    Stina (View Comment):

    I also think that attempts to reshape the Republican party into just capitalism as fiscal conservative, conservatarian, intellectual thought on the right as seemingly striven to do makes conservatism weak.

    There should be more to conservative policy than capitalism and I’m not certain capitalism should be the capstone. Yes, economic freedom is important, but it isn’t the only thing that is and it shouldn’t be the only platform for a party to rally behind. I’m not even certain it is the most important.

    It was a three-legged stool, not a one-legged one. God, guns, and property rights.

    • #8
    • July 31, 2020, at 7:55 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  9. Fredösphere Member
    Fredösphere Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Arahant (View Comment):
    Free markets are a tool for the creation and distribution of wealth.

    Right. The market does not love you. Trying to make it love you is a disaster. OTOH a world without love is a horror, so we need something more–lots of somethings more–than the market alone.

    • #9
    • July 31, 2020, at 9:27 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  10. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Ever notice how we talk almost exclusively about the consumer side of economics — “free markets” — instead of the producer side — “free enterprise?”

    This gets to the heart of the failure of conservatives to sell their ideas: it’s about the freedom, not the markets. Capitalism is inherently non-coercive because it is “free enterprise.” You build a better mouse trap, you serve others’ needs/desires (and they are free to buy your product or not) and earn the rewards. What is the opposite of “free enterprise?” I guess it’s some form of slavery, right? Socialism is slavery.

    But, capitalism doesn’t provide a moral framework otherwise. And that lack is how socialism gets its foot in the door, as we’re now experiencing. 

    Free enterprise is a participation in God’s creative enterprise. Once we eliminate God. . .

    • #10
    • August 1, 2020, at 6:39 AM PDT
    • 2 likes