Inscribed on the Liberty Bell are the words of Leviticus 25:10: “Proclaim liberty to all the inhabitants of the land.” This phrase was a reminder that what brought prosperity to our history and nation is God’s commandment to teach and build a society on freedom. Christianity and the teachings of the Bible have been the catalyst for every major movement of freedom throughout history. It has been the catalyst for the destruction of slavery, the rescuing of children from infanticide in China and India, and the power of free market capitalism which began in England as part of a Presbyterian revival. No where can Godonomics be seen more clearly than in the life of Aleksandr Solzenhenitsyn. His conversion to Christ began the process of crushing Marxism in Russia.
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was a Russian novelist, dramatist, and historian. He wrote about the Soviet Union’s forced labor camp system. He was thrown out from the Soviet Union in the 70’s, but he received the Nobel Prize in Literature for his great work for liberty.
During World War II Solzhenitsyn served in the Red Army as a commander who was decorated and well established. His faith journey resulted in growing doubts about the moral foundations of the Soviet regime. His personal reflections were put to paper in 1945.
“Solzhenitsyn was arrested for writing derogatory comments in letters to a friend, Nikolai Vitkevich, about the conduct of the war by Joseph Stalin, whom he called “Usatiy” (“one with mustachios,”) “Khozyain” (“the master”), and “Balabos”, (Yiddish rendering of Hebrew baal ha-bayis for “master of the house”). He was accused of anti-Soviet propaganda under Article 58 paragraph 10 of the Soviet criminal code, and of “founding a hostile organization” under paragraph 11. Solzhenitsyn was taken to the Lubyanka prison in Moscow, where he was beaten and interrogated. “
He was sentenced to eight years in the labor camps for his new found concern for liberty. In 1950, he was sent to a “Special Camp” for political prisoners. His torturous experience and front row seat to the harsh reality of Marxism, socialism, and Communism formed the basis for the book One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovic He would find out later that he had cancer that was undiagnosed until 1954. At that time he was permitted to be treated in a hospital in Tashkent, where his tumor went into remission. His experiences there became the basis of his novel Cancer Ward.
During this decade of imprisonment, Solzhenitsyn abandoned Marxism and began studying the Bible. It’s teachings and principles began to shape him as he realized his need for forgiveness for the horrible things he did in the Red Army. He asked Christ to be his forgiver and leader. He became a student of the Bible’s teachings on liberty, government, and God given rights.
” He repented for some of his actions as a Red Army captain, and in prison compared himself to the perpetrators of the Gulag: “I remember myself in my captain’s shoulder boards and the forward march of my battery through East Prussia, enshrouded in fire, and I say: ‘So were we any better?'” His transformation is described at some length in the fourth part of The Gulag Archipelago (“The Soul and Barbed Wire”). “
Throughout history, the prosperity of a nation (economically, spiritually, and politically) is directly proportionate to that nation’s freedom. Wherever God’s declaration of freedom has been applied, there has been profound liberty, prosperity, and generosity. Rodney Stark, a sociologist documents this in his book The Victory of Reason: How Christianity Led to Freedom, Capitalism, and Western Success lays out the historic evidence for these facts.
The teaching of Christ continued through another Christian economist named Dr. Zaichenko.
“Dr. Alexander Zaichenko is a leading economist and a former member of the council of ministers under Gorbatschov. His conclusions on his economic research, however, were so controversial, that they were not published until Perestrojka. Only then was he allowed to travel abroad. In November 1989 he was the first non-communist and Christian in the council of ministers. He has been on TV and regularly publishes in papers and leading business magazines in Russia.
Moscow is changing fast into a modern trade center. New powers arise, as many Russians start to put their hopes in money and acquiring possessions. Through this new paradigm, the thinking of the Russians in all areas of their life and society will be influenced, as it was in communism. Alexander Zaichenko, Muscovite, is trying to influence the main stream in societal thinking towards positive developments for the whole of the Russian economy and society.
Now, his Christian conviction is widely known in Russia. His first ‘coming-out’ came as a surprise to him. During a live TV-show he was asked: ‘Are you a Christian?’ After some hesitation I said that I was. Only a short while previously, the last martyr Marchenko had died in prison because of his faith. The next day, a big crowd was waiting for me at the council of ministers, and they asked me again. I assured them I was, and everybody disappeared. Only one of them approached me and asked for a bible.’
Alexander feels the bible has a message for today’s builders of society: ‘Our time is a time, where myths are destroyed, wherein terrible secrets are being exposed, and mysteries discovered and revealed. However, one of those mysteries, vital for the state, for the country, for everyone of us individually and collectively, is being slowly revealed; the social and economic roles of morals and religious consciousness. The success of an attempt to modernize our society, of our efforts to overcome the stagnation of our economy in the social sphere of state power transformation, primarily depends on the transformation of our ideology as a whole, on the transformation of individual and social consciousness, based on a humane society, oriented to common values.’
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