by Bill Nugent
After the collapse of communism in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe in the early 1990s a vast array of formerly secret government archives became available to researchers. One result was the publication of a book in France in 1997 titled: The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression by Courtois, Werth, Panne, Paczkowski, Bartosek and Margolin, published by Editions Robert Laffont. The English version was published shortly thereafter by Harvard University Press.
Lead author Stephan Courtois is a former Maoist.
The book was a seminal work that elicited a firestorm of praise from major publications and commentators all around the world. In the United States it was lauded by everything from The New Republic to the New York Times Book Review to the National Review. It’s been translated into several languages. Sequels and similar works on the crimes of communism have been published. Criticism of the book has centered mainly on methodology and it’s comparison of the mass murders of communism with those of nazism.
Interestingly, no one of any stature has attempted to deny the central thrust of the book which tabulates the tens of millions of victims of communist regimes in the Soviet Union, China, the communist states of Eastern Europe, Vietnam, Cambodia, Ethiopia, North Korea, Afghanistan and Cuba. There are no “communist atrocity deniers” on the same level as the infamous holocaust deniers.
The Black Book gathered statistics on the number of murders of innocent people by communist governments. The murders were committed through extrajudicial executions, mass deportations of people to isolated barren regions, cutting off food supplies in creating artificial famines, class based genocides, working people to death in labor camps and other means of murder. The Black Book claims the number of victims of mass murder in communist regimes include 65 million victims in China, 20 million in the Soviet Union, 2 million each in North Korea and Cambodia, 5.2 million combined in Ethiopia, Afghanistan, Eastern European bloc, Vietnam and Latin America or roughly 94 million total. Three of the contributors to the Black Book: Werth, Bartosek and Margolin, using more conservative methodology, give the total number of victims of communism in the twentieth century to be between 65 and 93 million human beings.
The cruelty and inhumanity of the murders is described, including the mass deportations of millions of Poles and German speaking peoples, among others, to Siberia which caused millions of agonizing deaths in the frozen wastelands of the USSR. In China, mass murder was carried out during its failed five year plans, artificial famines and “The Great Leap Forward” under Mao Tse Tung. Multitudes were murdered during the Cultural Revolution, 1966- 1976, in China. This is all in addition to the everyday brutality of the communist police states. Law enforcement minions of communist regimes suppressed all freedom of speech and political discourse. Political prisoners were tortured and starved.
People in farming regions were starved when their harvests were confiscated to fill absurdly high quotas set by the central government. The food was diverted to the cities and their land was confiscated to form the notoriously inefficient collective farms.
All of the brutality flows directly out of communist ideology. Marx regarded people as “atoms in motion” and therefore an individual human life was not sacred or even valuable. The communist ideologues then made a curious leap of reasoning and said that society is valuable because the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. An individual is worthless and has no basic human rights but gather a multitude of individuals together to form a nation and that is valuable. To them, a communist government has the right to force its political will on defenseless unarmed individuals in order to create a utopian economically egalitarian society.
The brutality of communism can be traced to its religious foundations. The religion at the root of communism is atheistic materialism, also called secular humanism. The basic tenets are that there is no God, no spirit world, no life after death, no celestial law-giver, no supreme being above man, man is the supreme being, man is God, all laws must be made by man (legal positivism) and evolution is its origins myth.
Marx, Lenin and the other founders of communism regarded human beings as mere descendants of apes who have no souls and no conscious existence after death. Communism is ultimately based on the foundation of atheistic, Darwinian evolution of man. Evolution is the origins myth of communism and has been taught as fact in the schools of every communist regime.
Evolution is itself a flawed theory crumbling under attacks from scientists bold enough to point out the scientific evidence that refutes evolution. Harold Morowitz shows the mathematical hyper-improbability and impossibility of the first cell forming by chance. Michael Behe shows the irreducible complexity of biological structures and that they had to form all at once or not at all because no plausible step by step Darwinian process can build the intricate, interdependent structures of life. John Sanford shows that genetic mutations are destructive errors in the DNA and the DNA of all living things is breaking down over time. DNA is not being built up by mutational changes. Geneticists observe, in nature, that DNA is accumulating small defects from generation to generation. This is called genetic entropy.
To the communists, since man is just an evolved animal, there is no sin or rebellion against a law-giving creator. Human life is not sacred because man is not created in God’s image but merely evolved from animals. Since man is not a sinner, he must be basically good. The bad behavior of people is not morally wrong but simply “anti-social.” Such behavior is motivated by evolved animal survival instincts and such instincts can be unlearned by education in secular schools or, for the more stubborn, in communist re-education camps. Those that are supremely stubborn can be worked to death in the communist work camps.
The hard core communist leaders, “having their conscience seared with a hot iron” (I Tim. 4:2), could engage in unspeakable acts of perfidy without a twinge of remorse. To them, humans are animals. We can butcher animals. Why not butcher humans?
Communists believed that humans could be molded into perfectly kind, unselfish beings to take part in a utopian society with everyone “sharing around the world” – John Lennon. With communist indoctrination, humans could be taught to give themselves totally for the good of society. People could be taught to “take according to their need and give according to their ability.” This training could be done by education, propaganda, isolation from competing ideas, enacting communist laws, brute force in enforcing communist laws and murder of those who resist.
The lesson that the grand experiment and collapse of communism teaches us is that an ideal society can’t be coerced on people either by persuasive education or by brute force. It’s only by spiritual revival in which people turn to God and submit to God’s ways of justice that people can govern themselves and live in freedom within God’s laws of morality. The failure of communism shows the failure of unbelief in God.
Communism failed because the selfishness of man runs far deeper than some form of animal instinct. The Bible teaches that humankind is in rebellion against God. Many people, myself included, say that the Bible is God’s written revelation to mankind. The Bible tells of the love of God, the creation of man, the fall into sin and the means of redemption from sin. Someone might say “Why should I believe your Bible with its stories about Adam and Eve and sin, the curse and redemption? Why not believe in the sacred books of other faiths such as the Hindu Vedas?” One reason why we believe the Bible is the word of God is that God has given miraculous evidence to prove to us that the Bible is God’s inspired word to humanity.
God has put His signature on the Bible. That divine signature is the supernatural evidence of fulfilled Bible prophecies and miracles.
The Bible contains hundreds of prophecies that were fulfilled down through history and some are being fulfilled in our own day. Bible prophecies and their fulfillments are discussed in detail in the book A Ready Defense by Josh McDowell (pub. by Thomas Nelson, Inc., 1993). Jesus Christ, the promised Messiah of Israel, came in fulfillment of over three hundred prophecies that were written in the Old Testament hundreds of years before His birth. No other figure in all of world history can make this claim. The sacred books of other faiths contain few, if any, predictive prophecies.
In addition to the fulfilled prophecies, there are many miracles that occur in answer to Christian people’s prayers to God. Christ Himself worked many miracles during His time on earth. The followers of Christ also see miracles of healing happen in church meetings all over the world. The miracles also serve to prove that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who was sent by a merciful, loving God to redeem humanity from sin.
People are given the choice between Jesus Christ, who is the Jewish Messiah or Karl Marx, who was a Jewish political philosopher. You’re given the choice between life and death.
The ancient Jewish prophets foretold that the coming Messiah would come and suffer and die, taking the penalty of the sins of all people upon Himself, thus making atonement. More than eight hundred years before the birth of Christ, the prophet Isaiah wrote of Christ: “the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Christ fulfilled prophecy when He died for our sins. Christ rose from the dead to offer forgiveness of sins to all who turn to Him in repentance. I invite you to turn to Christ today to receive forgiveness of sins.
Steps to salvation:
Jesus said “Ye must be born again” (John 3:7).
Prayer to receive salvation:
“Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13).
To receive the salvation that Jesus purchased for us at the terrible cost of His suffering and death on our behalf I invite you to pray this simple prayer:
“Dear heavenly Father, I thank you for sending Jesus, the promised Messiah, to die for my sins. I admit that I am a sinner. I repent of my sins and I ask for your forgiveness on the basis of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I ask you to fill me with your Holy Spirit to empower me to serve you under the Lordship of Jesus Christ, Amen.”
If you prayed this prayer in the humble sincerity of your heart then you have received everlasting life, which includes power to live right in this life and entrance into heaven in the afterlife!