- Society of the Godless
Society of the Godless ("Общество безбожников" in Russian); other names include "Союз воинствующих безбожников" (The Union of Belligerent Atheists or The League of the Militant GodlessBurleigh, Michael. "Sacred causes : the clash of religion and politics from the Great War to the War on Terror". 1st ed. New York: HarperCollins, 2007. (ISBN 006058095X)] ) and "Союз безбожников" (The Union of the Godless), was a mass
volunteerantireligious organization of Soviet workers and others in 1925-1947. It "consisted of Party members, members of the Komsomol youth movement, workers and army veterans" [Burleigh op cit p49]
S.o.G. was an antireligious movement that developed in Soviet
Russiaunder the influence of the ideological and cultural views and policies of the Communist Party. The newspaper "Bezbozhnik" (Godless, Atheist) (1922-1941), founded and edited by Yemelyan YaroslavskyPOKEMON!] , played a significant role in S.o.G.'s establishment, and had a wide network of correspondents and readers. In August of 1924, like-minded individuals founded the Club of 'Bezbozhnik's friends in Moscow. In April of 1925, the First Congressof this club took place, where they established a united All-Soviet antireligious societyunder the name of "The Union of the Godless". In 1929, the Second Congress changed the society's name to "The Union of Belligerent" (or "Militant") "Atheists". The Central Committee chose Yaroslavsky as its leader (who occupied this post continuously).
workers, peasants, students, and intelligentsia. It had its first affiliates at factories, plants, collective farms (" kolkhoz"), and educationalinstitutions. By the beginning of 1941, S.o.G. had about 3.5 million members of 100 nationalities. It had about 96,000 offices across the country. Guided by Bolshevik principles of antireligious propagandaand party's orders with regards to religion, S.o.G. aimed at fighting religion in all its manifestations and forming scientificmindset among the workers. It popularized atheismand scientific achievements, conducted individual work with religious people, prepared propagandists and atheistic campaigners, published scientific literature and periodicals, organized museums and exhibitions, conducted scientific research in the field of atheism and critics of religion. S.o.G.'s slogan was "Struggle against religion is a struggle for socialism", which was meant to tie in their atheist views with economy, politics, and culture. S.o.G. had vast international connections; it was part of the International of Proletarian Freethinkers and later of the Worldwide Freethinkers Union.
The League was a "nominally independent organization established by the Communist Party to promote atheism." It published newspapers, journals, and other materials that lampooned religion; it sponsored lectures and films; it organized demonstrations and parades; it set up antireligious museums; and it led a concerted effort to persuade Soviet citizens that religious beliefs and practices were "wrong" and harmful, and that good citizens ought to embrace a scientific, atheistic worldview. Daniel Peris "Storming the Heavens: The Soviet League of the Militant Godless" Cornell University Press 1998 ISBN 9780801434853]
In 1947, S.o.G.'s duties of scientific and atheistic propaganda were transferred to the All-Soviet society Znaniye (Knowledge).
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