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  • Results 1 to 6 of 6
    1. #1
      MennoSota is online now Expert Member
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      Solzhenitsyn: Danger - Politics & Social Reform

      It seems that Solzhenitsyn should be read by all Christians as Christianity puts it's trust in politics and social reform.
      We have placed too much hope in political and social reforms, only to find out that we were being deprived of our most precious possession: our spiritual life.
      Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Speech to the graduating class at Harvard (1978)
      What do you think, was Solzhenitsyn correct?

    2. #2
      jsimms435's Avatar
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      it would be helpful if there was a link to the whole speech so we could see this in its context. I don't know who this is or what he means by "our spiritual life"

    3. #3
      MennoSota is online now Expert Member
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      Solzhenitsyn was a political dissident in Soviet Russia who spent years in concentration camps in Siberia. Here is his speech.
      There is a disaster, however, which has already been under way for quite some time. I am referring to the calamity of a despiritualized and irreligious humanistic consciousness.

      To such consciousness, man is the touchstone in judging everything on earth -- imperfect man, who is never free of pride, self-interest, envy, vanity, and dozens of other defects. We are now experiencing the consequences of mistakes which had not been noticed at the beginning of the journey. On the way from the Renaissance to our days we have enriched our experience, but we have lost the concept of a Supreme Complete Entity which used to restrain our passions and our irresponsibility. We have placed too much hope in political and social reforms, only to find out that we were being deprived of our most precious possession: our spiritual life. In the East, it is destroyed by the dealings and machinations of the ruling party. In the West, commercial interests suffocate it. This is the real crisis. The split in the world is less terrible -- The split in the world is less terrible than the similarity of the disease plaguing its main sections.

      If humanism were right in declaring that man is born only to be happy, he would not be born to die. Since his body is doomed to die, his task on earth evidently must be of a more spiritual nature. It cannot be unrestrained enjoyment of everyday life. It cannot be the search for the best ways to obtain material goods and then cheerfully get the most of them. It has to be the fulfillment of a permanent, earnest duty so that one's life journey may become an experience of moral growth, so that one may leave life a better human being than one started it. It is imperative to review the table of widespread human values. Its present incorrectness is astounding. It is not possible that assessment of the President's performance be reduced to the question how much money one makes or of unlimited availability of gasoline. Only voluntary, inspired self-restraint can raise man above the world stream of materialism.

      It would be retrogression to attach oneself today to the ossified formulas of the Enlightenment. Social dogmatism leaves us completely helpless in front of the trials of our times. Even if we are spared destruction by war, our lives will have to change if we want to save life from self-destruction. We cannot avoid revising the fundamental definitions of human life and human society. Is it true that man is above everything? Is there no Superior Spirit above him? Is it right that man's life and society's activities have to be determined by material expansion in the first place? Is it permissible to promote such expansion to the detriment of our spiritual integrity?

      If the world has not come to its end, it has approached a major turn in history, equal in importance to the turn from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance. It will exact from us a spiritual upsurge: We shall have to rise to a new height of vision, to a new level of life where our physical nature will not be cursed as in the Middle Ages, but, even more importantly, our spiritual being will not be trampled upon as in the Modern era.
      http://www.americanrhetoric.com/spee...synharvard.htm

    4. #4
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      I like these quotes and agree with him (from the link you provided above):

      The West ended up by truly enforcing human rights, sometimes even excessively, but man's sense of responsibility to God and society grew dimmer and dimmer. In the past decades, the legalistically selfish aspect of Western approach and thinking has reached its final dimension and the world wound up in a harsh spiritual crisis and a political impasse. All the glorified technological achievements of Progress, including the conquest of outer space, do not redeem the 20th century's moral poverty which no one could imagine even as late as in the 19th Century.
      "Christianity does not require more work but more trust." Pr. Jonathan Fisk
      "Bearing fruit does not make you a branch. A branch is a branch because it grows from the vine." Pr. Jonathan Fisk
      "A Christian's life is not defined by what the Christian does. It is defined by Christ and what He has done for us." Pr. Rolf David Preus

    5. #5
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      I find it quite interesting to see, especially on an internet that increasingly shifts towards argument-by-meme and argument-by-shouting and away from argument-by-reason, how many people appear more interested in proving Jesus would vote for the same party they choose than considering how best to do what Jesus said. We see the "10 reasons Jesus would vote Democrat" kind of memes (no prizes for guessing the political leanings of the author of that one), matched by the equally predictable "10 reasons Jesus would vote Republican". And then comes the Christian virtue-signalling because Jesus would vote for (my party) because, well, obviously. Then come the accusations that you can't be a proper Christian if you vote for (other-party) because of all the bad stuff that party does that Jesus couldn't possibly condone. The stuff (my-party) does that's less than Biblical is just the price you have to pay to get all that other Good Stuff.

      When people try to use politics to force things nothing ever works well. The Good Samaritan just got on and did what was needed - he didn't organize sit-ins and vote for more public help for victims of crime, he didn't try to publicly shame the priest and the Levite for not helping, he just got on with it. Interestingly, he didn't take the injured man to his own house - he took him to an inn and paid the innkeeper to look after him. It's almost as if Jesus could see into the future....

      In many ways I think of God as the God of the small things. The God who cares about the sparrows of the field and cares for each one of us individually. In the meantime we get so caught up with Bigger, Better, Bolder. Even so many churches and ministries become so large they lose sight of the individuals that comprise them. We can show God's love to those around us by engaging with them, but that involves getting our own hands dirty. It's much easier to figure Someone Else can do the dirty work, write a check and act as if our obligations are fulfilled.
      "Do what thou will shall be the whole of the law" - Aleister Crowley

      "If you love me, obey my commandments" - Jesus Christ

      The Bible comes as a complete package. If we want to pluck verses out of context so make them mean what we want them to mean, if we want to ignore the passages that are inconvenient to our outlook, we should be intellectually honest enough to throw our Bibles in the trash and admit we are following Crowley and not Christ.

    6. #6
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      What a difference 40 years makes. If this man had started today with the first few lines of what you'd quoted in the OP, I wonder how long before the mic got cut off? It'd be mass outrage.
      I can't stop the world from turning around, or the pull of the moon on the tide...
      But I don't believe that we're in this alone, I believe we're along for the ride..
      - Dream Theater

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