Friday, August 22, 2014

Why Have These Things Happened?

Below is a brief but powerful excerpt from the late Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's 1983 address upon his acceptance of  the Templeton Prize, which "honors a living person who has made an exceptional contribution to affirming life’s spiritual dimension, whether through insight, discovery, or practical works.” His prophetic warning of what happens to a nation that forgets God has also been borne out in America over the past thirty-one years.

"More than 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. Since then I have spent well-nigh fifty years working on the history of our Revolution; in the process I have read hundreds of books, collected hundreds of personal testimonies, and have already contributed eight volumes of my own toward the effort of clearing away the rubble left by that upheaval. But if I were asked today to formulate as concisely as possible the main cause of the ruinous Revolution that swallowed up some sixty million of our people, I could not put it more accurately than to repeat: Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened. What is more, the events of the Russian Revolution can only be understood now, at the end of the century, against the background of what has since occurred in the rest of the world. What emerges here is a process of universal significance. And if I were called upon to identify briefly the principal trait of the entire twentieth century, here too, I would be unable to find anything more precise and pithy than to repeat once again: Men have forgotten God.”

Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn, (December 11, 1918 – August 3, 2008) was an eminent Russian novelist, historian, and tireless critic of Communist totalitarianism. He helped to raise global awareness of the gulag and the Soviet Union's forced labor camp system. He wrote many books most notably "The Gulag Archipelago" and "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, two of his best-known works. For the ethical force with which he has pursued the indispensable traditions of Russian literature", Solzhenitsyn was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1970.

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