This is part 5 in a series. [Status: not yet proofread.]
Live Not by Lies: Being Abhorred as a Christian
A friend on the island has a wife who survived oppression in the USSR, and went on to become a Christian. His wife, he says, was told repeatedly that Christians should be eradicated, but by hearing it so much from her oppressors, she became “convinced that it was untrue, and worth being investigated.”
Richard Wurmbrand, also known as Nicolai Ionescu, was imprisoned by Marxists for saying that Christianity was incompatible with Communism. He survived a decade of imprisonment for his faith, and went on to describe it.
Christians were psychologically and physically tortured in ways that mocked their faith, he said. He gave numerous examples. One such describes what happened to a young Christian man:
“Twice a day the cross was put on the floor and 100 other cell inmates by beating, by tortures, were obliged to fulfill their necessities upon his face and upon his body. Then the cross was erected again and the Communists swearing and mocking “Look your Christ, look your Christ, how beautiful he is, adore him, kneel before him, how fine he smells, your Christ.” (Congressional Testimony)
In another example, he explained that, after being beaten, a Catholic priest was given a plate of feces and a cup of urine. His description of what happened is as follows:
“[They forced him to say] the holy mass upon these elements, and he did it. And I asked him afterward, ‘Father, but how could you make this?’ He was half-mad. He answered to me: ‘Brother, I have suffered more than Christ. Don’t reproach to me what I have done.’ And the other prisoners beaten to take holy communion in this form, and the Communists around, ‘Look, your sacraments, look, your church, what a holy church you have, what fine is your church, what holy ordinance God has given you.” (ibid)
Wurmbrand said that the physical torture was nothing compared to the mental anguish they were made to endure. Their food was drugged routinely to break their minds so that they might be brainwashed. With psychotropic drugs forced down them, the prisoners were then forced to hear over and over:
“…communism is good,” but “Christianity is dead, Christianity is dead, Christianity is dead. Nobody more believes in Christ, nobody more believes in Christ, you are the only fools….Your children hate you. You have nobody to love in the world. You are the only fools. Give up faith. Nobody is more Christians. Christianity is dead.” (ibid)
Alexander Solzhenitsyn, who was imprisoned in the gulags and went on to write, “The Gulag Archipelago” and many other works, said of his own experience:
“It was Dostoevsky, once again, who drew from the French Revolution and its seeming hatred of the Church the lesson that “revolution must necessarily begin with atheism.” [Emphasis mine. —Lucas] That is absolutely true. But the world had never before known a godlessness as organized, militarized, and tenaciously malevolent as that practiced 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.”
Live Not by Lies: Christianity Crushed by Collectivists
Collectivism is almost always opposed to voluntaryism and, as Ludwig von Mises might have said, is opposed to the consideration of taking human action as it denies individual humanity. At least in Christianity, it is human action and individual choices which provide for the cohesion of the body, and results in its fullness of form. As Christians, even giving is “not a command” (2 Corinthians 8:8). As Paul wisely remarked, ” “So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:7)
Why was it so important to stress that none of this was a command? Because Jesus had a focus on principles over precepts, of loving freely through voluntary, human action rather than compelled behavior. When we live by principles, rather than rules, we have a liberty that unlocks our potential and can take action accordingly: perhaps it is right for us to help the person on the side of the road rather than making it to assembly. Perhaps it is better for us to give less one week to one cause and more to another, more pressing cause. Doing this allows us to use all of our minds and their individual powers rather than only one mind’s power, allocating our resources as we have been blessed, and lets us make decisions that we might otherwise have been compelled to avoid. It’s so important that we see in Micah 6:7-8,
“Does the Lord take delight in thousands of rams, in ten thousand rivers of oil?
He has told you, O man, what is good, and what does the Lord require of you?
But to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God!”
The focus of God is on our voluntary, human action at the individual level. Not just being kind, but learning to love it. Not just giving into a plate, but doing justice. Not just talking about God, but living out Christ to others in our generation. Jeremiah 22:16 puts it this way,
“He pled the cause of the afflicted and needy;—Jeremiah 22
Then it was well.
Is not that what it means to know Me?”
Declares the LORD.”
In reading all of this material about human action, and being just, kind, and loving, living a life of service, why would Christians like Wurmbrand, Solzhenitsyn, and my friend’s wife have been so oppressed by collectivists? Why would these socialists have despised people who want to give as they have prospered?
The question is well answered by Adolf Hitler, who remarked on it in his “Table Talk” book, wherein his monologues were transcribed. He is recorded pontificating and musing on many subjects, explaining his philosophies, aspirations, worries, regrets, and more, and says of Christianity,
“When National Socialism has ruled long enough, it will no longer be possible to conceive of a form of life different from ours. In the long run, National Socialism and religion will no longer be able to exist together….we must not replace the Church by something equivalent. That would be terrifying! It goes without saying that the whole thing needs a lot of thought. Everything will occur in due time.”—Adolf Hitler, Table Talk
Hitler went on later to remark in a monologue,
“By means of the struggle, the elites are continually renewed. The law of selection justifies this incessant struggle, by allowing the survival of the fittest. Christianity is a rebellion against natural law, a protest against nature. Taken to its logical extreme, Christianity would mean the systematic cultivation of the human failure.”—ibid
In sum, Hitler realized that strong National Socialism had something in common with Marxism: the need to eradicate Christianity, which was a form of voluntary organization, rather than compelled. In voluntary human action, one gains human dignity because involvement out of choice increases investment and amplifies reward: I chose this, I did this, I helped, and now we are better off. In this action, which Christianity lauds, one learns that there is intrinsic value in the self, which is indeed made in God’s image.
Live Not by Lies: Isolation, Preparation, and Understanding
The Christian must Live Not by Lies if his life is to mean anything at all. Christians should also always be prepared, and much of preparation is in understanding what is happening around them, so that they are not useful idiots.
In America, generation Z reports higher rates of loneliness than ever before. Human action and human connection have been replaced by social media, narrative building, , underemployment, useless degrees, a lack of physical skills, and a desire for socialism. In the deep recesses of history—the year 2000—Harvard scientist Robert Putnam published “Bowling Alone,” which noted the incredible atomization of America since the 50s.
The epidemic of loneliness has gotten much worse since then. Maladaptive behaviors are exploding, people are medicated, and emergent trends are poorly suited for long term success, an example of which is found in this: rather than build enduring skills and knowledge, many women are turning to private pornography, which builds only transient wealth, and as evolutionary biologist Dr. Heather Heying notes, is incredibly negative, because whereas wisdom and knowledge compound with time, women have looks which fade quickly, leaving them with no earning potential when their minds are older and least able to acquire new knowledge.
Sooner or later, loneliness and isolation were destined to become malignant. Hannah Arendt wrote in “The Origins of Totalitarianism” that,
“Out of the fragments of a highly atomized society whose competitive structure and concomitant loneliness of the individual had been held in check only through membership in a class.”
Civic trust is the bond that holds societies together. In their attempt to seize total control, the Soviet government turned its people against each other, with a special focus on killing off the conservative farmers who owned land, known as kulaks. It was a focus on hating those who, through voluntary action, had done better than oneseld.
Now in the United States, we see the quick destruction of civic trust. Institutions are rotten, and separate Americas scrape against each other like tectonic plates, threatening to release explosive, catastrophic energy in a huge outburst, the timing of which no one can discern.
How can this be? Journalism has abandoned objectivity, with Pulitzer-prize winning New York Times author Hannah Nikole Jones writing, “there is no such thing as objective truth.” Academia has committed itself to narrative building and creating activists. Politicians steal from their constituents quietly and then give back flamboyantly, pretending to hate each other in public while hugging in private. They have passed Congressional “martial law” in 2021, which allows a never-seen bill, written at the behest of crony-capitalists (which is not free market) to be passed within an hour of arriving in their “hallowed halls.” (Schumer, Chuck, 2021 in a speech.)
Those who dissent are quickly branded evildoers, and the corporate press is used as an appendage of the State to bludgeon people into submission. These politicians openly encourage violence as a tool while themselves being heavily protected, and Big Tech silences voices while receiving massive subsidies from the State, which it in turn took from the very people who are then silenced.
This is compounded by the lack of face-to-face interaction, which increases sincerity. In Bowling Alone, Putnam noted that Americans went to fewer club meetings, had fewer dinner parties, ate together as families less, and didn’t know their neighbors. They had become disconnected and skeptical. And so Rod Dreher remarked in “Live Not by Lies,”
“A polity filled with alienated individuals who share little sense of community and purpose are prime targets for totalitarian ideologies and leaders who promise solidarity and meaning.”
That America will cease to exist as we know it within 30 years is inevitable at this point, but Christians can be prepared. They must Live Not by Lies. They must abandon “voting for the lesser of two evils,” because that accomplishes only more evil, and leaves one with a degraded character and sense of integrity. In general, some tips are to:
- 1.) Be strong and independent. “Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong”. (1 Cor 16:33)
- 2.) Show Christ in you! “Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” (1 Tim 4:12)
- 3.) Be compassionate and kind. “And when she rose up to glean, Boaz commanded his young men, saying, “Let her glean even among the sheaves, and do not reproach her. Also let grain from the bundles fall purposely for her; leave it that she may glean, and do not rebuke her.” (Ruth 2:15-16)
- 4.) Be above reproach. “Likewise exhort the young men to be sober-minded, in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility, sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you.” (Titus 2:6-8)
- 5.) Be humble. “Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.” (1 Pet 5:5)
- 6.) Be providers. “But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” (1 Tim 5:8)
With these basics in mind, one also has to be prepared to combat the illness of our time: isolation. The sense of community that has been lost must be restored. Do you often skip assembly? Don’t. Go to all of them. Hold extra ones. Have game nights with fellow-Christians and those who can use good company. Go hiking and fishing together. Make dinner for people. It’s just a fact: Jesus fed tons of people, and so should we. The early Christians had literal love feasts to build community, and thus resilience. (Jude, 1 Corinthians 11)
As the United States begins its transition from a Republic into a soft oligarchy and beyond, Christians need to have strong communities. The bonds that others will lack, we must have. And we must remember that Christianity and our love transcends all borders, walls, and moats that men might make.
Be ready. Be active. Don’t lie. Serve others. Live Not by Lies.