Chapter

Introduction

Paul Froese

in The Plot to Kill God

Published by University of California Press

Published in print August 2008 | ISBN: 9780520255289
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520942738 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520255289.003.0001
Introduction

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The Soviet experiment reflected, for the first time in history, the efforts of a modern state to expunge not only the existence of religious institutions but also daily expressions of spirituality and, most dauntingly, belief in a supernatural realm. Never before had political authorities attempted to justify their rule and motivate their citizens through an appeal to atheism. In trying to prostrate God as the common cultural element of a modern society, Marxist-Leninists were forced to consider deep philosophical questions concerning human nature, the necessity of religious faith to the human condition, and the social sources of religiosity. The Marxist-Leninist overemphasis on atheism actually attributed it with certain religion-like elements. This text seeks to map the whole project through various phases of determination, evasion, establishment, and reestablishment. A pertinent tenet of the project entailed undermining the spiritual significance of religious symbolism and ritual by directly denying the existence of God.

Keywords: Soviet experiment; religious institution; spirituality; atheism; Marxist-Leninist; religious faith

Chapter.  7841 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Religious Studies

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