"The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. Corrupt are they, and have done abominable iniquity: there is none that doeth good." — Psalm 53:1
When Alexander Solzhenitsyn died earlier this month, I was reminded how this brilliant man of letters explained so simply and accurately how it was that 60 million perished following the Bolshevik Revolution in his country:
"I could not put it more accurately than to repeat: 'Men have forgotten God' — that's why all this happened."
He continued: "All attempts to find a way out of the plight of today's world are fruitless unless we redirect our consciousness, in repentance, to the Creator of all: Without this, no exit will be illumined, and we shall seek it in vain."
Those words are etched indelibly on my heart and soul.
I remember the impact they had the first time I heard them. I was convicted by their truth.
And I think it would be accurate to describe me at that time as a socialist — a humanist, a secularist.
Solzhenitsyn had the ability as a writer and speaker to pierce through all the noise, all the clutter, all the distractions of modern life to present to the world the naked truth.
And that truth, at its fundamental core, was his unshakable faith in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He, too, was a former socialist — a humanist, a secularist. But he witnessed the dark side of life and fled to the light.
His family's property was seized by the Russian Communists, but he fought in the Red army and was decorated twice. But in 1945, he was arrested for writing a letter critical of Josef Stalin. He was beaten and imprisoned in the gulag for eight years.
Later he was diagnosed with cancer, which spread through his body. In 1954, however, he was treated and apparently cured — miraculously. He rejected Marxism and embraced a newfound faith.
Not until 1962, when he was 42 years old, was his first book published, "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich."
His next work, "The Gulag Archipelago," won him the Nobel Prize in literature in 1970. But he could not accept it in Stockholm, Sweden, for fear the Soviet Union would not let him return. Later he was deported anyway and got the prize in 1974.
"The Gulag Archipelago" was a three-volume work on the Soviet prison camp system. It was based upon Solzhenitsyn's own experience, as well as the testimony of 227 former prisoners. It was this work that familiarized the West with the very term "gulag."
It was not until 1990 that his Soviet citizenship was restored. Four years later, he returned to his beloved Russia.
During his life in the West, Solzhenitsyn warned about another evil in the world: the spiritual weakness and national decadence of the unbridled consumerism he witnessed.
While the West embraced Solzhenitsyn's exposés of Communism, it did not heed his warnings about the moral decay he saw in his place of exile.
Will we recognize his prophetic words now in his death? Will the West see its path is no better, in many ways, than the direction of the old Soviet Union?
Will we accept his observation that we never can have peace or freedom if we forget about God?
To find out more about Joseph Farah and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.