Not long ago I read a Communist magazine. There was an article on a famous Bulgarian monastery. It told of the shrine’s historic beauty, gorgeous mountain setting and significance in the nation’s history.
Then the author, with bitter atheistic scorn, commented about the “new trends and tides” in Bulgarian life. The monastery, he happily proclaimed, “once a center of religious activity,” was now “mainly a haunt of artists and art lovers.” He added: “… it will no
doubt attract fewer and fewer devotees. For our young men today have set out to build heaven on earth, and they would rather go in for engineering, medicine and aviation than for theology.”
This article is typical of Communist propaganda against religion. The “new trends and tides” refer to communism, of course. Spiritual edifices such as monasteries and churches are mere antiques of history! Theology is the babbling idiocy of diseased minds! The job of building “heaven on earth” means the establishment of communism throughout the world.
Communism is a bitter enemy of religion. Karl Marx was an atheist. He violently attacked religion as an opiate. To him, God was only a figment of the imagination, invented by the “exploiting classes” to drug men’s minds. Lenin was also an atheist, as is Khrushchev. For this reason the Communists attack Western morality and seek to substitute a code of values destructive of the Judaic-Christian way of life.
The Communists would like to extirpate religion. However, even behind the Iron Curtain, they have found this most difficult. Hence, they attempt, wherever possible, to deride, scorn, and ridicule religion as an old wives’ tale or superstition which is contrary to the “modern” mind. “We Communists,” they say, “have outgrown the religious stage of history. Man no longer needs God.” “Bright young men find religion pure foolishness.” Religion is equated with ignorance; atheism with intelligence.
This bitter Communist campaign against religion is world-wide, extending also throughout our nation. The Communist Party, USA—though not as openly vocal as Iron Curtain Communists—is a believer in atheism. It works to weaken the tenets of religion. Every possible device—propaganda, front organizations, literature—is used to attack the believers of God.
The Fate Of Christian Values
What does the acceptance of atheistic communism mean in terms of the individual? What happens to the concept of man when Marxism-Leninism gains control? What is the fate of Christian values?
The answer: the individual is not a creature of God, loved and cherished, but a blotch of skins and bones to be trained, manipulated, and exploited for reasons of state. Love, mercy, and justice become meaningless symbols, mocked as “bourgeois weaknesses.” The state becomes supreme and man exists to serve a supreme master whose every whim is final and irrevocable. Man becomes a tool without personality or individuality. In other words, our Judaic-Christian history is completely reversed.
I think it would be most rewarding—as we celebrate again the Fourth of July—to view some of the evil effects of atheistic communism upon the human personality. To do so, I am sure, will make us appreciate more than ever our glorious heritage of freedom.
1. The inevitable rise of the dictator. Communism is based on dictatorship, brutal, aggressive, and efficient. Both the theory and practice of communism are anti-democratic. The power belongs to the strong, the unscrupulous, and the greedy. At all times the Party becomes the idol to worship—the Communist “Messiah” which is to lead the people to the ideal society. Within the Party there is constantly, overt or latent, a bitter personal struggle for position. Any “collective leadership” in a Communist society can only be a temporary or a facade. Ultimately, by the very nature of communism, the “strong man” emerges—a strong man whose credentials of validity are ruthlessness, tyranny, and naked force.
2. The relationship of person to person within communism cannot be based on love or respect for individual rights, but on deceit, hypocrisy, and falsehood. The history of Russia under Stalin shows how he dealt with his foes as well as his “friends.” Personal vanity, fear of position, and inveterate jealousy were Stalin’s ruling guides in dealing with his associates. He was, in every respect, the “law of the land.” There was no appeal beyond him. To love your enemies as yourself is an admonition unheard of in Communist power politics. Accusations, charges, and countercharges are the techniques of “advancement.” Smear your opponent. Accuse him of a wrong. Belittle his position. Inch your way ahead by any means possible. That is the testimony of Joseph Stalin, Nikita Khrushchev, and Party leaders in the United States.
3. The individual, regardless of his Party position, is never to be trusted. The Communist is indoctrinated in an ideology—Marxism-Leninism. He is taught in Party indoctrination schools, he is forced to read the Party press, he is compelled to listen to Party policy. Never does a member finish going to school. Even if he’s a tested veteran, he must continue to secure Party training. The Communists live in perpetual fear that a member may “backslide,” or in Party language, become a “traitor”—that is, his enthusiasm for communism might wane. To become disinterested is to become a danger to the security of the Party. Hence, the member must be constantly watched. He must live under the closest of discipline. His every decision, even of his personal life, must be made under Party scrutiny. To trust him too much, to give him too much freedom from Party control, is to risk a Party defeat.
4. The individual, under communism, becomes an automatic responder, not an original thinker. In the Party apparatus, the Communist officials quickly learn what the superiors “downtown” (referring to district, state, or national headquarters) desire. Hence, many Party officials do everything they can, slanting their information and opinions, “to please.” If a difference of opinion develops—well, it takes a strong comrade to buck the known desires of headquarters. If he objects, he has vivid memories of how former objectors were expelled from the Party. Communist discipline, throughout the world today, is creating this mass mentality of obedience, the individual who is afraid to make an independent decision. Moreover, eventually, because he seldom uses the power of critical discernment, he loses this facility. We in the FBI have talked to many Party members—some who have been in the Party for many years. They will argue for hours, always in the same Communist groove. Many are incapable of making an independent judgment. This mentality represents a great danger to our way of life today.
5. The function of an individual in communism is to serve, produce, and work for any goal which might he defined by the state. Never, for a moment, is any thought given toward enriching the personality of the individual. In our society, we believe that each personality has merit itself, to be enriched and developed within the general structure of society as a whole. To Communists, this concept is utterly foreign. The office worker, the factory manager, the soldier exist to give their best for the state. In communism there is no personal gratitude for a job well done. There are only demands for further production or criticism for things allegedly gone wrong. The individual is strictly utilitarian: a piece of living matter, without the image of God, to be manipulated for the Party and/or the state. Hence, any alleged neglect of duty, a poor record of production, or faulty workmanship brings the most drastic penalties. Such acts are interpreted as treason against the state.
6. The individual is compelled to give idolatrous worship to the Party. With the true God “expelled,” so to speak, Communists have erected a new god—that of the Party. Communist men and women are compelled to worship it. Communism cannot be understood except as a false religion. Admittedly, and very unfortunately, communism can and often does secure the full allegiance of the human heart. The enthusiasm, devotion and dedication of many Communist devotees are a matter of record. The false Communist appeal to a better world, to a heaven on earth, to elimination of racial, economic, and political injustices is an alluring and powerful motive. The minds of thousands of men and women, including many in our own country, have succumbed and are today furnishing world communism the incentive, intelligence, and dynamic power to make it a master of millions of human souls.
Influence On Personality
This, then, is a brief picture of communism’s powerful influence on the human personality. We see the creation of “Communist man”—a man whose devotion is wholeheartedly to the Party, a man who is stripped of his powers of critical judgment, who works unceasingly for a Communist-defined goal, who is willing to be unfairly treated, who, when criticized, keeps on coming, a man whose daily life is saturated with fear and apprehension. Today he’s a “hero,” tomorrow he may be a traitor and outcast depending on what the Party says.
Can this be true, you ask? As ministers of the Gospel, you know that the attributes of Communist man are diametrically opposed to those of free man. We see the values of Christian society, very literally, being turned upside down. Good becomes evil. Love becomes hate. Help your neighbor becomes tear him down. Trust and confidence are transformed into fear and suspicion. The worship of the true God, the Maker of heaven and earth, becomes the idolatrous worship of a man-made Communist Party.
I think all of us should be aware of the dangers of communism. We must realize that we face a formidable foe. We see, all too tragically, that Communist man can create stupendous material wonders—the Sputniks and missiles. Never must we underrate him. To do so is to risk our freedom.
Yet, as for me, I have utmost confidence that this new creature of idolatry, this handmaiden of tyranny, will be defeated. The power of our Judaic-Christian tradition is too strong. We know from history what happens when men and civilizations stray from the path of God. Their immediate endeavors may be successful, but eventually they are doomed to decay. Communism contains within itself the seeds of its own destruction. Communist man will ultimately fail.
We, as members of a free society, must stop, take stock of our own values. We must be willing, as Christians, to stand up to the challenge. Communism is an evil which is testing the defenses of our own beliefs. We must be willing to devote the same amount of time and devotion to our beliefs, to reading the Bible, to working for Christian values, as the Communists do for their institutions. We have a great heritage—a heritage of freedom and justice and love.
Challenge To The Ministry
You, as ministers, have a challenge to make your pulpits sound the trumpet cry of free men. Each Sunday morning literally millions of Americans listen to church sermons. Sermons represent one of the most potent forces for good in the nation today. Ministers must proclaim the obligations of free men to meet this atheistic enemy. You must urge a rededication to Christian beliefs.
To my mind, the ministers of America hold a vital place in the fight against communism. As men of God, you know what this atheistic enemy can and will do to the souls of men. You know that communism is an evil—an evil which would destroy Christian values. In a Communist society, clergymen would be one of the first targets of the Communist secret police—to be silenced or liquidated. Communism and the Church of Christ can never mix. You as ministers stand on the front line in our battle of survival. By urging Americans to rededicate their lives to God, to live the values they profess, to uphold the ideals of Christian truth and justice, you can do valiant service for our nation. No group in our population can do more to defeat “Communist man” than the clergymen of America.
The challenge is here. By faith in God this nation was created. By faith in God this nation shall endure, strong and free. By faith in God atheistic world communism can eventually be overcome.
J. Edgar Hoover has been Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation since 1924. He holds the LL.B. and LL.M. degrees from George Washington University, and seventeen honorary degrees from colleges and universities across the land. He first entered the Department of Justice in 1917.
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