Atheism

Solzhenhitsyn on “Group-think Control”

by Steve Ray on August 17, 2019

This episode is in Alexandr Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago, Vol. 1.  It shows the stupidity and mind control that totalitarian, socialist and intolerant governments and groups can impose upon people. It shows what can happen if we move toward socialism and Communism in our country with the liberals and the Far Left pushing their agenda aScreen Shot 2019-08-17 at 6.49.57 AMnd being very vocal about it.

If you haven’t read Solzhenitsyn you should acquaint yourself with him. He was a devout Russian Orthodox Christian. Start with his One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich which won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1970. It is a short novel but very powerful.

The episode below from his Gulag Archipelago fascinated me so I decided to share it with you.

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Here is one vignette from those years as it actually occurred. A district Party conference was underway in Moscow Province. It was presided over by a new secretary of the District Party Committee, replacing one recently arrested. At the conclusion of the conference, a tribute to Comrade Stalin was called for.

_83277500_gettyimages-2635490Of course, everyone stood up (just as everyone had leaped to his feet during the conference at every mention of his name). The small hall echoed with “stormy applause, rising to an ovation.” For three minutes, four minutes, five minutes, the “stormy applause, rising to an ovation,” continued.

But palms were getting sore and raised arms were already aching. And the older people were panting from exhaustion. It was becoming insufferably silly even to those who really adored Stalin. However, who would dare be the first to stop?

The secretary of the District Party Committee could have done it. He was standing on the platform, and it was he who had just called for the ovation. But he was a newcomer. He had taken the place of a man who’d been arrested. He was afraid! After all, NKVD men were standing in the hall applauding and watching to see who quit first! And in that obscure, small hall, unknown to the Leader, the applause went on —six, seven, eight minutes! They were done for! Their goose was cooked! They couldn’t stop now till they collapsed with heart attacks!

gettyimages-104048816-640x640At the rear of the hall, which was crowded, they could of course cheat a bit, clap less frequently, less vigorously, not so eagerly—but up there with the presidium where everyone could see them? The director of the local paper factory, an independent and strong-minded man, stood with the presidium. Aware of all the falsity and all the impossibility of the situation, he still kept on applauding! Nine minutes! Ten! In anguish he watched the secretary of the District Party Committee, but the latter dared not stop. Insanity! To the last man!

With make-believe enthusiasm on their faces, looking at each other with faint hope, the district leaders were just going to go on and on applauding till they fell where they stood, till they were carried out of the hall on stretchers! And even then those who were left would not falter. . . .

Then, after eleven minutes, the director of the paper factory assumed a businesslike expression and sat down in his seat. And, oh, a miracle took place! Where had the universal, uninhibited, indescribable enthusiasm gone? To a man, everyone else stopped dead and sat down. They had been saved! The squirrel had been smart enough to jump off his revolving wheel.

That, however, was how they discovered who the independent people were. And that was how they went about eliminating them. That same night the factory director was arrested. They easily pasted ten years on him on the pretext of something quite different. But after he had signed Form 206, the final document of the interrogation, his interrogator reminded him:

“Don’t ever be the first to stop applauding!”

  Solzhenitsyn, Aleksandr I. The Gulag Archipelago Part I (NY: Harper & Row, Publ., 1974), 69-70.

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Based on my talk “Swimming Upstream: Living a Catholic Life in a Pagan World,” Steve and Fr. Robert McTeigue, SJ discussed how paganism is coming back in a big way in the Western World. Christianity is being abandoned and alternative “spiritualities” are filling the void.

It was a lively discussion about what paganism is, why the West is enticed by it and how we as Christians need to respond. You can listen to the whole show at the audio link below. Below that are resources Fr. McTeigue put up to supplement the show.


Fr. McTeigue’s Show Resources:

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What Great Faith You Must Have to be an ATHEIST!

by Steve Ray on November 9, 2018

From my friend Bill:

1) Billions of years ago, there just happened to exist these abstract “somethings”
2) Which just happened to be atoms
3) Which just happened to get together
4) In ways which just happened to look like natural laws
5) That some of these configurations of atoms just happened to develop into stars
6) That some other configurations of atoms which just happened to be planets
7) Just happened to form around these stars
8) That one of these planets just happened to be exactly the right distance from its star that water could exist in a liquid state
9) That this particular planet just happened to have certain exact concentrations of carbon, hydrogen,
oxygen, and nitrogen
10) That some of these molecules of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen just happened to get together
to form amino acids
11) That some of these amino acids just happened to develop the ability to reproduce themselves
12) That some of these organisms just happened to develop the ability to evolve into more complex
organisms
13) That some of these organisms just happened to develop self-awareness and personality

14) And that one of these self-aware organisms just happens to be you.

Brother, if you can believe that, all I can say is: “Great is thy faith!”

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Atheism Rationally Explained :-)

October 16, 2018

ATHEISM: The belief that there was absolutely nothing and nothing happened to nothing and then nothing magically exploded for no reason, creating everything and then a bunch of everything magically rearranged itself for no reason whatsoever into self-replicating bits of random stuff thrown together by chance which then turned into dinosaurs who crawled out of […]

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Atheism or God? You are the Detective! My Chart to Use with Family and Friends

October 15, 2018

Atheism is growing in America and around the world. But is there a good reason for its popularity? Do they know something we don’t know — or do they just not want some supreme being or a “God” to tell them what to do and not to do? Is it reasonable to be an atheist? […]

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So You’re an Atheist? A Few Fun Things to Lighten Dark Times

September 13, 2018
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Farewell, “Catholic” Spain and Secular Europe… While in the United States…

June 4, 2018

Scary statistics from Europe – percentages of people who claim no religion. The big surprise is… Spain, where atheists, agnostics, and those without religion are now at 30 percent of the population and have reached that level in a very short time. To measure how overwhelming secularization has been in Spain, it should be enough […]

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If God Is Dead, Who Will Replace Him?

November 25, 2017

Malcolm Muggeridge said (@malmuggeridge) “If God is dead, somebody is going to have to take his place. It will be megalomania or erotomania, the drive for power or the drive for pleasure, the clenched fist or the phallus, Hitler or Hugh Hefner.”

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“Life is about the Journey, not the Destination!” Huh?!

November 10, 2017

“Life is all about the Journey, not the Destination!” (paraphrase of a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson.) I saw this sign at the airport recently. Imagine! In an airport of all places! What stupidity! Grab a passenger arriving at the airport to catch a flight and shout, “Hey, take any flight you want sir, it […]

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Planets, Dr. Seuss and Snowflakes—Combined Proof That There is a CREATOR

May 11, 2016

This reflection is by Larry Peterson of the Catholic Writers Guild. It is reprinted from the guild’s blog April 5, 1016. Ten  years ago, NASA’s new, Horizon Spacecraft left our humble, little planet and began its voyage to to the edges of our solar system and beyond. After traveling 3 billion-plus miles, New Horizon finally passed Pluto, […]

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Is There a God? Does Heaven Exist? The Best Allegory Ever! The Stupidity of Atheists

October 6, 2014

In a mother’s womb were two babies. One asked the other: “Do you believe in life after delivery?” The other replies, “Why, of course. There has to be something after delivery. Maybe we are here to prepare ourselves for what we will be later.” “Nonsense,” says the other. “There is no life after delivery. What would […]

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For those who thought religion was dead or the Catholic Church irrelevant: Feast your eyes on this!

July 30, 2013

For over a hundred years we’ve heard the foolish obituary, “God is dead!” The Enlightenment enlightened us to this truth and told us we were alone in the Universe. No God! We men are in charge and the center of all things. We shape our destiny, we create meaning for our existence, we can rid […]

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Questions Answered on Catholic Answers Live

September 4, 2012

Last week I answered Questions from Non-Catholics. A number dealt with atheism. Very interesting show – and lively. Listen instantly on line HERE. For podcast download, click HERE. Here are the questions I answered: There are resurrection myths in many ancient cultures. Why isn’t the resurrection of Jesus just another one of the myths? What […]

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Atheist Blogger Converts to Catholicism

June 25, 2012

To read the whole story, click HERE. ****************+* Apparently, conversations matter. Former atheist blogger Leah Libresco can tell you. She recently converted to Catholicism, and her story is making waves. One of the main reasons for Libresco’s conversion? The deep connection between the existence of God and the possibility for moral action. As Libresco points […]

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Excellent, Easy-to-Read Article on Atheism

December 9, 2011

Click here for the article

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Why Young People Drop Out of Church (Protestant and Catholic) and Leave the Faith

November 26, 2011

A book and a review evaluate the sad but predictable situation. The Zenit article begins: 1. Churches do have an active engagement with teens, but many of the young people do not grow up to be faithful adult followers of Christ. 2. There are a variety of reasons people drop out, so it is important […]

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