Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Forgetting God

I have become fascinated by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn while reading his novel November 1916.  I've commented earlier about the work, and included a quotation from it.  I have been trying to find copies of the last two novels in the Red Wheel series, but it seems they have not yet been translated into English.

While on Solzhenitsyn's Wikipedia page I found this quote that speaks to the simplicity of the human condition.

"Over a half century ago, while I was still a child, I recall hearing a number of old 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 50 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 60 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."

Edward E. Ericson, Jr., "Solzhenitsyn – Voice from the Gulag," Eternity, October 1985, pp. 23, 24.

Solzhenitsyn's reflections contrast nicely with those of Aldous Huxley:

"It's a little embarrassing to have spent one's entire life pondering the human situation and find oneself in the end with nothing more profound to say than to try to be a little nicer."

Where Huxley came up empty and embarrassed, Solzhenitsyn found the simple truth that without God we are bound to perdition both now and in the world to come.

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