Murderous regimes of the the 20th century such as Stalin’s Russia carry a bad reputation. And rightly so. Stalin killed millions of his citizens through forced collectivization, purges and starvation.
It is also claimed by some religious people that Stalin’s Atheism is to blame; that his mass murdering of farmers and intellectuals would somehow not have happened were it not for his rejection of God after leaving his Seminary studies.
But Stalinist Russia has profound parallels to how religion functions.
#1. Stalin and Jesus demanded total control.
Stalin was sole judge over what Russians could read or listen to. Stalin claimed the right to total and absolute control of each Russian from birth to death.
Jesus is the sole judge, “He who is not with me is against me…” – JESUS (Matthew 12:30)
Jesus claims absolute authority over every decision from birth to death – All must be baptized at birth and receive Christian burial – it adds up to total control which continues after death.
#2. Stalin and Jesus demanded absolute surrender.
Stalin was institutionally glorified as absolute ruler, “Czar Joseph” and also benignly as “Uncle Joe” under the Social Realist edicts. He literally took full ownership of the people of Russia. Many writers commited suicide rather than live under these edicts which insisted on endless praise of Stalin and his party.
Today icons of Stalin with Halos are worshipped in Orthodox Churches as he is considered a saint.
Jesus is institutionally glorified as absolute ruler, “Lord of All” and also benignly as “The Good Shepherd” – Christ claims rightful ownership of each person on earth. Many people have commited suicide rather than live under the ridiculous edicts of Jesus.
Icons of Jesus with halos are worshipped in churches.
#3. Stalin and Jesus demanded rituals and indoctrination of children.
Stalin demanded worship through ritualistic state celebrations and he forced all children to be indoctrinated in the perfection of his rule and absolute rightness of his authority: Octobrists were 8-10 years old, Pioneers 10-16 and Komsomol for 19-23.
Jesus demanded worship and Christians routinely insist children to be indoctrinated in the perfection of Christ’s rule and absolute rightness of his authority: Catechism begins at 4 years old in most cases and often continues into marriage. Bible study never ends even into Heaven according to the texts.
#4. Stalin and Jesus forbade competition from challengers or other claimants.
Stalin outlawed all other institutions which professed a different absolute authority from His Communist Party Line. Religious institutions were therefore destroyed as competing absolutist dogma: Part of the Komsomol motto: “All religions.. work against socialism.”
(The irony is lost on such practitioners).
Jesus outlawed all other institutions which professed a different absolute authority from Himself. As Jesus says in the parable of the Minas: “Bring to me those enemies of mine who would not have me for their king and execute them in front of me.”- JESUS (Luke 19:27)
As a result, Christianity has strongly advocated ridding the world of other religions.
(Crusades, Inquisition, Taiping Rebellion, etc)
#5. Stalin and Jesus convinced others they did miracles.
Stalin said he didn’t believe in miracles – however, through his ‘Socialist Realism’ he promised the faithful his agricultural plans would lead Russia to a greatness it had never known before. Furthermore, Stalin’s Agricultural Director Victor Lysenko claimed a supernatural ability to ‘go beyond science’ and enable Russia to could grow vegetables of miraculous sizes to feed the nation. It proved not to be true. It led to mass starvation.
Jesus insisted his programs were miraculous and promised the faithful an eternal life much better than the one on earth. With faith and worship to Jesus this would be returned as favors in prayer, “Whatever you ask you will receive it.” – JESUS (Matthew 21:22). It isn’t true. Instead, such prayer solves nothing in the face of mass starvations, illnesses and droughts.
Alas, nothing fails so much as prayer.
#6. Stalin and Jesus played the roles of Messiahs.
Stalin invented Socialist Realism as a propaganda arm to construct a cult of personality for himself – he subverted all of the arts toward the purpose of showing himself and his policies to be the remedy for all of life’s problems. Socialist Realism followed 4 rules devised by Stalin:
Proletarian: art relevant to the workers and understandable to them.
Typical: scenes of everyday life of the people.
Realistic: in the representational sense.
Partisan: supportive of the aims of the State and the Party.
Jesus’ messiahship was a routine blueprint in its day for several mystery faiths; a cult of personality around claims of prophetic miraculous solutions and supposed remedies to life’s most horrific problems. The one and only Savior: “I am the Light and the Way” – JESUS (John 14:6)
And there have been countless others claiming the same thing. In return for worship and obedience of a man/god all treasures will be yours. Though it never seems to work.
#7. Stalin and Jesus insisted on loyalty above all – or death.
Stalin created the purges and snitch laws to destroy his enemies. Disloyal comrades were not given a hearing but instead were executed quickly and en masse.
Jesus was similarly clear and absolute: “Believe or be condemned” – JESUS (Mark 16:16) and there is no appeal. Every person is obligated to fully believe and even die. “Better to lose your life for me” – JESUS (Matthew 16:25)
#8. Stalin and Jesus enforced Sadomasochism – enjoining fear and love to keep people in line.
Stalin’s demand of love from the people along with frightening threats of executions and vast prisons in Siberia were directed at the entirety of his population of millions. “A man’s power extends only as far as his army,” Stalin said. Saddam Hussein and other dictators would use the same techniques and attribute them to Stalin.
The fear was enough to convert whole villages to his cause. The ensuing snitch culture destroyed Russian progress for decades.
Jesus preached “Love him” but he could barely wait to incite fear should you fail: “Fear Him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell.” – JESUS (Luke 16:15).
If god exists and is truly good, Jesus can only be wrong.
To enjoin tremendous fear with love is called Stockholm syndrome – it is the definition of Sadomasochism.
Does a real god exist? Who knows?
But be a skeptic until such evidence emerges. Until then, beware claims of perfect, universal answers to life’s problems. Such wishful thinking is what builds religions (like Stalinism and others) and crushes human freedom.
Better to accept that life is uncertain and protect our freedom to say so.
“A totalitarian state is in effect a theocracy…”
– George Orwell