When Soviets find the Gospel
A Soviet citizen read the Bible for the first time and wrote the following Letter to the Editor of the Soviet magazine Ogonyok:
‘At the age of 30 I have read the Gospel for the first time. This miniature book reached me quite by accident and I approached it purely out of literary curiosity. But the text gripped me: I was impressed by the severe power of the words, the elegance of the finely tuned aphorisms, the subtle poetic quality of the images.’
‘It became clear that the aesthetic importance of the volume was indisputable, and gradually I became very angry. What a treasure they have been hiding from me! Who decided, and on what basis, that this was bad for me—and why?…’
‘A State that is separated from the church should also be separated from atheism. Isn’t spiritual totalitarianism more terrible than the political kind? In returning social freedoms, a democratic State has no right to continue to lay claim to its citizens’ freedom of spiritual quests.
Sergei Zubatov, Novosibirsk.
Reprinted from San Francisco Chronicle, September 12, 1990.