Men Have Forgotten God

Alexandr Solzhenitsyn

Aleksander Solzhenitsyn

This editorial was sent to me by Chris Banescu, a frequent contributor to my blog. Chris is also a fairly well-known essayist, having been published on The American Thinker (see archives) and other major sites. What struck me about this essay is how much it conforms those principles that animate Monomakhos: faith, culture, tradition, civility, and the rule of law (among others). Please take the time to read Chris’s introductory comments as well as Solzhenitsyn’s prophetic words published on his blog A Voice Crying in the Wilderness.

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Comments by Chris Banescu

As a survivor of the Communist Holocaust I am horrified to witness how my beloved America, my adopted country, is gradually being transformed into a secularist and atheistic utopia, where communist ideals are glorified and promoted, while Judeo-Christian values and morality are ridiculed and increasingly eradicated from the public and social consciousness of our nation. Under the decades-long assault and militant radicalism of many so-called “liberal” and “progressive” elites, God has been progressively erased from our public and educational institutions, to be replaced with all manner of delusion, perversion, corruption, violence, decadence, and insanity.

It is no coincidence that as Marxist ideologies and secularist principles engulf the culture and pervert mainstream thinking, individual freedoms and liberties are rapidly disappearing. As a consequence, Americans feel increasingly more powerless and subjugated by some of the most radical and hypocritical, least democratic, and characterless individuals our society has ever produced.

Those of us who have experienced and witnesses first-hand the atrocities and terror of communism understand fully why such evil takes root, how it grows and deceives, and the kind of hell it will ultimately unleash on the innocent and the faithful. Godlessness is always the first step towards tyranny and oppression!

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Men Have Forgotten God

by Aleksander Solzhenitsyn

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.


Read the entire essay on A Voice Crying in the Wilderness website.


  1. Thanks for posting this timely essay.

    That “Men have forgotten God” is all to clear to anyone willing to look around him. I’m afraid, though, that I can’t agree with the claim that this change in American life has been driven by a campaign by the progressive elites. If only!

    I was struck by this line in Solzhenitsyn’s great essay: “In its past, Russia did know a time when the social ideal was not fame, or riches, or material success, but a pious way of life. ” It seems obvious to me that fame, riches and material success have become the social ideal in this country, across the supposed political spectrum. Some forces are happy to see this ideal replacing “a pious way of life” and do what they can to speed the process. Others imagine that a pious life can somehow coexist with societal worship of Mammon.

    I don’t know what is likely to change the situation, but I’m sure that voting correctly, or exposing a few manipulators of popular opinion, is almost irrelevant.

    Has a society ever voluntarily turned back from decadence? Sometimes I think that only a serious economic collapse (not too unlikely from my reading of current events) could turn us as a people back to God.

    • John B, may I add to your list of malefactors the mainstream Christian denominations which have swallowed the secularist ethos hook, line, and sinker? And now our Church –the Ark of Salvation, hijacked by pirates who proclaim a new gospel–in its pathetic attempt to be au courant rushes headlong into embracing the spirit of the age.

  2. I don’t know what is likely to change the situation…

    Here’s one way it can change John:

    Learning from Solzhenitsyn: One Word of Truth Outweighs the Whole World

    …which I drew from Solzhenitsyn’s 1970 Nobel Lecture:

    One Word of Truth Outweighs the Whole World

    • Fr Hans, Thanks very much for your essay. Prayer (St Seraphim of Sarov) and prophecy (Solzhenitsyn) do seem to me to be real Christian alternatives to (what so often turn out to be) cryto-secularist responses to secularism.

      “Crypto-secularist” isn’t really the word I want, since it implies deviousness and a hidden agenda. What I mean to say is that our well-meaning attempts to respond to secularism are themselves so often shaped by secularist assumptions.

  3. cynthia curran says

    True, George, liberal protestants are responiable for the current messed among themselves and other christian bodies. In the case of liberal protestants they are uncertain of the incarnation and resurrection, so are they really christians?

  4. Wesley J. Smith says

    I wonder: Today, would S be invited to give the commencement address at Harvard (as he once was) or to give the Templeton speech? I fear not.

    • He would be accused of being “insensitive” to atheists and too “intolerant” to deserve such honors.

      • Geo Michalopulos says

        I guess we can thank God that there was a time when he could have given it (and did). Sometimes I guess we have to sustain ourselves on a little holy nostalgia.

  5. In difficult times such as these, I think it helps for us to remember that the Orthodox Church is perfect, eternal, and inviolable. Those who seem to be changing Her are simple deceivers who have left Her and want to convince us otherwise. The question for all of us is not “Is the Church changing?” but “Are we of the Church? Are we really in the Church?”
    I’ve been grateful that our own small jurisdiction (Carpatho-Russian) publishes some strong words on various moral issues, including homosexuality, which can be found on the diocesan web site I was also interested and pleased to note that Fr Jos. Fester, after his unpleasant treatment in the OCA, has been received as a priest in our diocese.
    While in theory I agree that every territory ought to have its own non-overlapping bishops, in practice I’m grateful for the protection that our multi-jurisdictional state has provided the American Church — which, let’s remember, is extremely immature in terms of Church history.

    • William Harrington says

      John. The idea that the American church is immature has been niggling at me for some time. I think I now understand why. The Church, as it exists in the fallen world can only ever be as mature as the living people in it and by this standard the American church is no more immature than any old world church. The Church as a whole in One complete whole with the fullness of the faith in each local church. This is what i have been taught. We can say that the American Church is lacking in monasteries, but not that she is immature. This has, I think, become an excuse for laziness, impiety, and bad behavior in both American and old world churches. The history of our church shows that the tares are always there with the wheat. Having said this, your point about the protection offered by multiple jurisdictions is a good one, but the downside is that bishops in the OCA are not accountable to bishops in ROCOR or the Carpatho-Russian jurisdictions and they should be. Just some thoughts. They may not be worth much.