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“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