Donald J Morrison (Letters, 25 November) makes the usual mistake of assuming communism
has nothing to do with religion, and further conveniently ignores centuries of oppression
by Christianity, shored up with its inquisitions, crusades and repressive blasphemy
Communism merely replaces an omnipotent god with an omnipotent state, and has its
prophets, sacred texts, inquisitions, leader devotion, forced worship, and beatification
and indoctrination rituals in common with belief in gods.
The historian Simon Sebag Montefiore notes in his excellent 2007 work "Young Stalin"
that it was in his Tiflis seminary that Stalin (yes, a former trainee priest) learned
"exactly the repressive tactics - surveillance, spying, invasion of inner life and
violation of feelings, in Stalin's own words - that he would recreate in his Soviet
That doesn't excuse his crimes, of course, but it does give one pause to wonder how
differently things might have turned out if had Stalin had never wanted to be a priest.
Montefiore reports another former seminarist and contemporary of Stalin's stating
"no secular school produced as many atheists as the Tiflis seminary."