I wrote something awhile back, and I was wondering if y’all would be interested in reading it.
It is entitled: How Joseph Stalin Helped Me Understand Jesus.
I wrote something awhile back, and I was wondering if y’all would be interested in reading it.
From the header …
“Our forum is also a great place to chat, make new friends and even share ideas with the Atheist Republic team.”
We are here to have fun, learn, and socialize. Go for it.
How Joseph Stalin Helped Me Understand Jesus
What do a megalomaniac mass-executioner, a sad serial killer, and Jesus have in common?
The answer to that question forever changed my life. It is a balm on the crust of humanity’s self-inflicted wounds. The answer to this question breeds messiahs or monsters.
Andrei Romanvich Chikatilo was a serial killer known as, the Butcher of Rostov. He was born on October 16, 1936 in a small village in the U.S.S.R. When he was born, the Ukraine was gripped by a major famine caused by Joseph Stalin’s forced agriculture collectivization. His parents were both collection farm laborers who lived in a one room hut.
His parents were so poor, that they did not even receive money for their back-breaking labor. Their payment was the right to cultivate an additional plot of land behind their hut.
Everything else was prohibited. The family seldom had enough food to eat. Chikatilo said that he did not even taste real bread until he was twelve years old.
Before his execution, Andre recalled a story told to him often by his mother: His older brother, Stepan had been kidnapped by neighbors and cannibalized.
There were many such incidents of peasant farmers devouring their weaker children in order to feed the rest of their families during this time. He recounted that he and his family often ate grass to keep from starving.
In 1939, less than a year before the Second World War erupted in Europe, Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union surprised the world by signing the German-Soviet Non-aggression Pact.
This treaty meant that the two countries would not take military action against each other for ten years.
Shortly thereafter, the Soviet Union entered the Second World War.
Just before Joseph Stalin stopped lending aid to Adolph Hitler, Chikatilo’s father was drafted into the Red Army. The boy and his mother were left alone amidst a dangerous war zone.
Because of the poverty perpetuated by Stalin, Chikatilo and his mother were too poor to even afford separate beds.
Chikatilo was a traumatized child, and chronically wet the small cot he and his mother shared.
His mother, for her part was also traumatized beyond normal constraints. She was further overwhelmed with the responsibilities of being a single parent in a war-time era, under the weight of extreme poverty. Thus, she mercilessly beat and berated her son for his incontinence.
Because of his slight size and because he often fainted from hunger, Andre was often teased at school for being weak. He was a child well acquainted with suffering.
In 1943, when Chikatilo was just seven years old his father was taken as a prisoner of war. The villagers considered him a traitor.
The same year his father was imprisoned, Chikatilo’s mother gave birth to his baby sister, Tatyana. The villagers treated her as illegitimate. The small family was isolated and alone. And yet, somehow there was still another needy mouth to feed.
As he grew, Chikatilo experienced violence and saw daily atrocities in his external environment.
As a result of Stalin’s regime, bombings, fires, and shootings were a regular occurrence. He and his mother were even forced to watch their own home burn down.
Chikatilo’s experience should have taught him how to have compassion for the helpless, the injured, and small, frightened children.
But, without a compassionate guide to direct him, those experiences only twisted and warped him. They also made him hungry to obtain the same dominion of the helpless that had broken him in the first place.
Stalin died in 1953, but a corrupt seed sewn in the bed of personal misery had taken root in Andrei Chikatilo. Unchecked, it continued to grow for almost forty years after Stalin was gone.
In 1990, Chikatilo admitted to fifty-six murders of women and children between 1978 and his arrest. When he was put to death, he had killed almost one person for every year of his miserable life.
Not many would argue the role Stalin played in the suffering that molded an innocent boy into a psychopathic killer.
Stalin had destroyed millions of lives. If he had not starved the Ukraine and drafted Chikatilo’s father into a death sentence, a total madman would most assuredly have been a different, less damaged person.
So, who was Joseph Stalin? Who was this senseless destroyer of lives? And what does he have to do with Jesus?
Joseph Stalin was a Georgian revolutionary and a dictator who controlled the Soviet Union from 1927 until his death in 1953. He believed that ignorance stemming from a belief in God was the leading cause of human suffering.
He sought to completely reform Russia, and later the world; starting with the removal of any sort of religion or worship outside of patriotism. He started a campaign to shame and punish religious believers.
Priests and other religious authorities were killed, imprisoned, or deported by the thousands. Places of worship were fined and boarded up. For more than twenty years religion was enthusiastically treated as backwards and unscientific.
In order to enforce his ideologies, Stalin orchestrated mass repression. He ordered ethnic cleansings, wide-scale deportation, and hundreds of thousands of executions. The famines that resulted from his forced agriculture collections killed millions of Ukrainians. Some poor souls like Andrei Chikatilo survived to tell the tale.
Joseph Stalin ordered the systematic genocide of humans on a massive scale. From the late 1920s until his death in 1953, more than fifty million people had perished at his command.
And yet for all the misery he caused, Joseph Stalin was not always the revolutionary sociopath he is known as today.
He was born Ioseb Besarionis dze Jughasvili. He started his life wanting to be a priest.
Joseph had two older brothers who had died as babies. His mother wrote that she and his father prayed that their son would survive infancy. When he did, they thought it was a miracle. They even made a pilgrimage to have him consecrated when he survived the illness that had nearly taken his life as a very young child.
Joseph’s mother wrote in her journals that her son had taken his first steps in order to touch a daffodil.
Later, while in seminary school, he wrote lengthy poems about the beauty and simplicity of nature.
How did a man who recognized the beauty of life at such a young age, and grew up wanting to be a priest come to the conclusion that religion was the source of human suffering?
What would make a man who had started his life’s journey godward, turn so far in the opposite direction as to try to wipe out the remembrance of God from the planet? Whatever it was, his pain became the agony of generations.
Stalin’s father, Besarion was a shoemaker who started drinking heavily when his business began to fail. In 1883, when Stalin was only five years old Besarion beat his wife and young son so severely that they left him and set out on their own.
To survive they rented rooms. In 1884, the year after the pair had left Besarion—Stalin got smallpox. He survived, but it left him with terrible facial scars that were still very noticeable even as an adult. The trauma should have taught Ioseb compassion for disfigurement, but instead, the young man grew facial hair.
After three years of renting, Stalin and his mother moved into a room furnished by a priest named, Father Christopher Charkviani. Things got easier for them. Stalin’s mother, Ekaterine got a job as a maid and a launderer.
Because of Charkviani’s assistance, Ekaterine could afford to enroll Stalin in the Gori church school. The priest helped Stalin to get admitted. Ioseb excelled academically and showed achievement in both drama and painting.
In 1890, when Ioseb was twelve he was hit by a horse-drawn carriage that caused a lifelong disability in his left arm.
This injury should have taught him compassion for physical impairment, but he allowed the obstacle to make him discretely bitter instead.
In 1894, when Stalin was sixteen he received a scholarship to the Orthodox Spiritual Seminary, His scholarship allowed for him to study at a reduced rate. He received exemplary grades amongst the nearly 600 other students who boarded there. He could recite long passages of scripture from memory. Stalin even led the choir.
He wrote several very popular poems that were circulated throughout the whole school. People loved to hear his words.
Then one day, before Stalin graduated-- his grades began to drop. He no longer showed interest in his spiritual studies. No one took especial notice of the drastic change in so promising a student.
In time, Stalin declared himself an atheist. As a result, the priests punished Stalin and caged him in cells for his acts of rebellion.
The isolation only embedded the seeds of bitterness and insurrection that had taken root in his heart. The priests probably thought that they were pious in how they punished him. Instead they drove the nail deeper.
By the time he left seminary school, Stalin not only rejected religion, he hated it.
He left the seminary just before the final examinations in 1899, of his own will. In the revolutionary circles he frequented for years afterward, Stalin was known as ‘The Priest’.
He admitted later in life that it was the priests who had taught him that had afforded him his disillusionment. He had learned all of his cruelty and dictatorship from the same people that were supposed to introduce him to God.
After he left the school, Stalin fought openly against the acknowledgment of deity and the establishment of religion.
Stalin joined rebel groups and read forbidden literature. He turned completely away from concept of God. Religion was supposed to reflect perfection, but the people who represented it to him did not even demonstrate base compassion to him. Religion and God were one in his young mind. And the ones who were to teach him had failed him.
The priests taught Stalin that seeking God was a weakness and he grew that concept into a widespread nightmare.
As a grown man, Stalin participated in the largest-scale war in recorded human history. Tens of thousands of people died, not counting the reverberation. Andrei Chikatilo was just one fruit born of Stalin’s corrupt tree.
And the craziest thing about it all: NONE of it had it had to happen. NONE OF IT.
When Stalin was seeking God, he had vipers for counsel. He was a man driven to accomplish monumental things. And he did. The world was changed by his influence. ONE PERSON CHANGED THE WORLD. His evil vibration raised like-minded seedlings from their rocky and wounded depths.
Imagine if righteousness had driven him.
Imagine if his counselors had fortified him.
What would the world be like if someone had shown Stalin the kind of love that allows one to envision universal love for humanity?
Stalin was seeking it. What if he had found it before the ravens came and swallowed him up?
This revelation brought a wave of astonishment upon me: There has already been a literal Anti-Christ. It has already happened.
One person brought about worldwide misery because of his hatred for God.
And what’s greater than that is that it might never have been. All this hurt was instigated by those responsible for representing God to a child.
Compassion was the unused cure.
And it still is.
If one person can bring about worldwide suffering because of their hatred towards God, then the opposite must also without question be true:
One person can bring about worldwide joy because of his or her love.
All it takes is One to heal the planet.
Joseph Stalin showed me that one person can destroy the world with their perspective.
Jesus showed us the way in which we can walk to save it.
If one person can hurt or heal the world, we ALL matter.
Each and every one of us has the potential to change everything. It is up to US to determine what inspires us.
I have my examples before me.
Jesus existed before Stalin. Therefore, Stalin had access to Jesus’ teachings, which apparently did naught for preventing the suffering he inflicted on the world. Therefore, Jesus’ teachings are impotent.
Stalin was a very good writer. He clearly articulated his ideas and they tended to make a whole lot of sense, especially his critiques of capitalism. (I honestly believe capitalism is on the way out.) We have socialized our police departments, incorporated our cities, socialized the mail and the schools, why in the fuck Americans can’t get health care is a fucking shame.
I love what Elon Musk is attempting to do to the housing industry. $10,000 homes, collapsible and self-contained. Fucking amazing. His attempted purchase of Twitter has been interesting. 80% of their accounts are fraudulent? Don’t you just love the world you live in?
The new “socialist man,” Stalin argued, was an atheist one, free of the religious chains that had helped to bind him to class oppression
Stalin may have been right, but his methods were wrong. Reason, rationality, and logic are going to naturally, calmly, and humanely push religions out of the limelight and into obscurity. Education and intelligence are the banes of religion, not force and indoctrination into a political ideology under the name of atheism.
@Cognostic Want to know something strange? I had heard of Stalin, but knew almost nothing about him. A friend of mine mentioned him, and I looked him up.
I knew of Chikatilo, (I had strange obsession with serial killers as a morbid teen) but revisited him after reading about Stalin.
The result was: I felt awful for both of them.
As an adult, I understood more about motivating factors and damage.
What was also strange was that I didn’t realize there had already technically been an antichrist and we’re sort of living in the aftermath.
In a sense learning about Stalin clarified for me that one person really does have the power to change the world.
It is just really important how he or she wants to change it.
What a lovely mish mash of falsity and wishful thinking.
Your very first supposition that a jesus figure (as described in the gospels) actually existed is grounded on nothing. No evidence, contemporary to his alleged life exists. None.
Your comparison therefore fails at the first hurdle of honesty.
If you just want to compare the alleged fanciful maundering of your 1st century racist and misogynistic prophet with recorded utterances of Stalin or even dear old Adolf then you will find that both the latter appeared more humane and intelligent and just as racist.
Thanks Tia. Just a few thoughts in response
Indeed he participated in,but was not the primary architect of that war. In fact, had he not been willing to keep throwing bodies at Germany, things might have turned out rather differently. Upwards of twenty-five million Soviets died compared to just under one half million Americans.
I see this as sophistry plain and simple. Clearly, it did have to happen because it did. Given all of the circumstances you provided along with countless others not stated or revealed, the outcome was likely.
Arguing that it could have been different cannot in any way be demonstrated to be true, despite the desirability of such thinking.
Yes it happens all of the time. Sometimes for the good, sometimes for the bad.
Nonsense. No one possesses the power you suggest. Power which others have over people is granted to them by circumstances and individual weaknesses among “other things”. You are giving credit where it is not due. If what you suggest is true, then no one would be able to rise above extreme conditions and stimuli to become true humanitarians or altruists.
Sorry, more exaggeration. Stalin did not destroy the world. In fact, he demonstrated the difference between a faulty system and a faulty human being.
While I recognize the value in positive thinking, I also acknowledge realities with which every individual has to attempt to understand and cope. In that process is the inherent effect of the limitations of each person’s education, general understanding of reality, experience with others, etc.
If this “revelation” provided you with the motivation to seek a more positive path for yourself and/or others, then the perspective can be useful to you. Attaching a justification for an idea as farfetched as
is both unnecessary and irrelevant.
I agree with this to a certain degree, although “everything” is a bit much. For some, inspiration is not the result of contemplation or introspection and is not obviously a “conscious choice” .
LOL… Pick your Anti-Christ
Why go to Stalin? There are horrible people all throughout history. You want a real Satan? I give you Pope Boniface VIII:
He made the decree, “absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature is subject to the Roman pontiff.” (How is this different than Stalin?) He engaged in the conquests of lands and the collection of wealth which mattered as much as those of the spirit. He waged wars and looted cities until he was eventually stopped by an army of his enemies.
Look at Martin Luther King, a piece of shit dirtbag who lied to get a university degree and was corrupt from top to bottom. He just happened to be in the right place at the right time (Time Emphasize here).
“65 years ago today Martin Luther King Jr. cheated his way to his doctorate degree. The idea that he was a “Dr” is a myth, he was plagiarizing other people’s work and passing it off as his own, in academia that is probably the worse thing you can do.”
“He regularly cheated on his wife and FBI documents claim he once laughed as his friend raped a woman.”
He plagiarized the “I Have a Dream Speech. 1991 NY Times, "A committee of scholars appointed by Boston University, finds plagiarism by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Some of the best-known passages from the “I have a dream,” speech are taken from a 1952 address by a black preacher named Archibald Carey.
History is like a good punch line…
timing is everything.
First - there is no evidence that Jesus as described in the bible ever existed. At best, a conglomerate of “Christs” (religious and political rebels with followings under Roman rule) and mythological pagan roots solidified into the Jesus figure.
Second - Stalin was human. He made decisions based on information at the time, and his motivations were control/power.
Anti-humane is more accurate, but then so is buy-bull god.
In this particular case, I was thinking of Jesus more conceptually, than literally. In fact, the antichrist, as mentioned was more conceptual , than literal as well.
As you can probably imagine, comparing Jesus, a serial killer, and a mass-excutioner did not go over well in my theist circles either.
However, I am a mixed-race person and I am sort of accustomed to ill-fitting the world’s tidy, category boxes–thus not truly being accepted by most.
Writing this was more of a personal revelation, that I thought I would share with y’all. Thanks for your observation, though. I appreciate that you took the time to read it.
[quote=“Cognostic, post:9, topic:2910”]
65 years ago today Martin Luther King Jr. cheated his way to his doctorate degree. The idea that he was a “Dr” is a myth, he was plagiarizing other people’s work and passing it off as his own, in academia that is probably the worse thing you can do.”
“He regularly cheated on his wife and FBI documents claim he once laughed as his friend raped a woman.”
You sound like my mother.
Any teaching is impotent if it is delivered by fools.
I was thinking of antichrist more in the neronian sense of the word. Or perhaps in the sense that @Cognostic implied with Pope Boniface VIII.
I was thinking of Andre Chikatilo and his family when I wrote that. Perhaps I should have gone broader, but I wrote for myself, and decided afterwards to share it with others. I do appreciate your observations though. They are very thoughtful and I will consider such things should I write like this again.
@Cognostic Wasn’t Pope Boniface VIII punished in Dante’s Inferno for simoney?
According to the bible: God (and therefore Jesus if you’re a trinitarian) made everything, even the wicked for the day of evil. Making Jesus by far the most prolific serial killer.
And… Tia… Your mother sounds less delusional than you. Why choose Stalin as the antichrist? Just think about the options out there. Mao, Hitler, Pol Pot, The Catholic Church, Benito Mussolini, Idi Amin, and lets not forget the atrocities being doen by the great Kim Jong Un. While he is not yet dragging people out of their homes and shooting them in the streets, his actions are not very far from that.
‘Yes,’ to the Dante’s Inferno But it gets worse… " In Canto XIX, Dante puts one pope, Pope Nicholas III, in hell and announces the arrival of two others, Pope Boniface VIII and Pope Celestine V. These attacks are very bold statements for Dante to make, so Dante must have had some burning desire fueled by a some concrete reasons to condemn these popes. Dante does focus the most on Pope Nicholas III, but Dante mentions two other critical Popes to show the interconnectivity between the Popes. Dante’s attacks on the church are based on political and religious problems that the Popes have committed during the turbulent Florentine times. The characters and interactions in this Canto illustrate how ambition, especially political ambition by the church and ecclesiastical members, leads to sin." Digication ePortfolio :: Popes in Hell: Political Ambition is a Cardinal Sin in Inferno :: 8. Final Paper 3: Popes in Hell: Political Ambition is a Cardinal Sin in Inferno
@Nyarlathotep Want to know something strange? I had a similar conversation in reverse with a theist.
Their argument against evolution was the verse:
And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. (Genesis 1:31)
According to this person, killing is not good, therefore death did not come into the world until the “Fall” of Adam and Eve.
I tried to present scriptural examples of how the Hebrew term to’wb meant several things including “beautiful” “beneficial” and so forth, but to no avail. A tiger is carnivorous, yet it does not cease to be either beautiful or beneficial by it’s current nature. Who knows what it will someday be.
A panda has carnivorous incisors. It once ate meat like it’s cousins, but today it chooses to eat eucalyptus.
I’ve found that people are going to interpret things (especially things they read) however they want to.
For my part, I find quite a few scriptures, particularly in the New Testament, that encourage non-violence.
Cherry -picking beauty is equivalent to cherry-picking bloodshed. I choose beauty. I choose the things that make my life better and have the potential to make me a better person. You are free to choose whatever you want.
I will give you one example, but know that I don’t expect it to validate anything for you. This example is my personal validation. I am just sharing it in response.
When Jesus was asked by a Sadducee what the greatest commandment of the law was he said:
Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. And the second is like unto it. Thou shalt love thy neighbor as you do thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. (Matthew 22:36-40)
Some might get hung up on loving God with all thy heart, soul, and mind, but 1 John 5:3 states:
For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments.
What are the most important commandments? To love God and each other. How do we love God? We follow his commandments…we should love each other as much as we do ourselves.
I personally think this is beautiful. It’s profound. And I’ve found that many people have a difficult time doing it, even if they are waving a big, red flag of Jesus. Even if they wave no flag at all.
The scribes and the Pharisees did not like this remark, because it implied that they must love people from other nations and those who thought differently than they did as much as they did their own people with similar beliefs. I see the same pattern today.
These "greatest"commandments are repeated in Luke. Afterwards, the parable of the Good Samaritan was provided. You likely know it well, but I will write it here for clarification’s sake:
A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. 31And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side. 33But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, 34And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee. 36Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? 37And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.
Who is our neighbor? Him who showed mercy.
What brought me back to this forum was that I had been reading about the golden rule elsewhere, just as good ole Andy Stout was railing about it and I got a notification. Upon searching it out, I realized the concept transcends both religious and irreligious ideologies.
Here’s the image that floored me. I didn’t have to agree with Andy to learn something. I just looked at something from a different angle. I feel like we can all probably do that for each other.
I know, I know it probably sounds like a “mish mash of wishful thinking” as @Old_man_shouts_at_cl so eloquently pointed out, but it just so happens to be how it sits currently in my mind.
Thanks for your perspective.
@Cognostic I love my mother. She’s an amazing woman…full of passionate ideas, opinions, and interesting factoids.
And I mostly agree with you.
I should indeed search out these people and institutions as well. Thanks, for the list. I must have spent highschool with my head in the sand.
What I have shared here was a written response to myself after a conversation I had with a friend. I realized that I had no idea who Stalin was, even though I had heard of him many times.