Friday, 9 August 2013

Opium Of The Masses

"Religion is the opium of the people" said Communism's philosopher Karl Marx (German original, "Die Religion ... ist das Opium des Volkes"), and the Communists spent 70 years trying to throttle the Orthodox religion to death across much of Eastern Europe, to prove that the Bolshevik revolution was a historical imperative.

Which makes what has happened in the old Soviet Blocks since the fall of the communist regimes somewhat ironic ..... religion has boomed. In Russia millions, including the ex communist leaders of the state such as President Putin, regularly attend masses on national religious days such as Easter Sunday.

Many Ex-Communists Now Attend Church

In many places the Orthodox priests and hierarchy are tainted with both charges of being collaborationist (with the former Communist regimes), and corruption (with vast funds being passed to the churches since the fall of Communism) .... in Romania for example, there are dark suspicions about the vast amount of both private, and more worryingly 'state aid' money, being diverted into the Orthodox church system, especially as the country has been bailed out by the International Monetary Fund.

None of which seems to stem the demands for even more money from parishioners in what is one of Europe's poorest countries. There is no doubting that those politicians who donate most time, influence or money, get 'church backing' during elections, and this is deeply worrying for many democrats in these poor countries, but equally, there is no doubting the genuine resurgence in religion (particularly amongst the middle aged and elderly populations who lived through Communism) across all the countries of this region .....

What makes this is all the more ironic, is that in many places the building of new churches to replace those torn down by the Communist regimes, is so frenetic, that up to 3 a day are being completed .... faster in fact than the pace of the originals being torn down. Often the new churches are on the sites of old Soviet era icons to Lenin or Marx himself.

Bolshevik's Lost The Historical Imperative To Religion.

History has a sense of humour at times .....


  1. I met a traveller from an antique land
    Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
    Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
    Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
    And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
    Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
    Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
    The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed:
    And on the pedestal these words appear:
    "My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
    Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
    Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
    Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
    The lone and level sands stretch far away.


    How the mighty have fallen. Can you imagine predicting all this in the 1960's?

    1. Good comment, I wish I had thought of this allusion, especially to the picture.

      Thanks again Ozymandias!!


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