Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Communist East Germany: Youth Indoctrination

In East Germany, as well as most other communist countires, the philosophy of naturalistic materialism was implanted to try and replace Christianity and other Western thought. The youth, of course, were the target in the GDR (German Democratic Republic, or DDR in German). I want to point out some of the methods used to break the spirit of the youth and indoctrinate them into this atheistc philosophy.

The GDR implemented a concept called Jugendweihe (literally "youth consecration"), a rite of passage for 14 year olds. This source describes Jugendweihe :

Building on a socialist tradition, the GDR worked hard to establish the Jugendweihe, something of a rite of passage for 14-year-olds. It was intended, among other things, to replace the Christian ceremony of Confirmation, and inspire the youth with a love of socialism and the German Democratic Republic. By 1989, over 5,000 committees involving 150,000 volunteers organized the ceremonies. Leading up to the ceremony itself was a series of meetings to prepare participants for the event, and remind them of the glories of socialism. This is material for leaders of one such session in 1960. It is interesting that Stalin's works are still recommended reading...

[From primary material]

...The youth should recognize:

1. We need the scientific worldview of the working class if we are to really understand the social transformations and the great events of our day and are to contribute consciously to building socialism, the future of humanity.

2. The worldview of the working class is not just any "faith" in the progress of humanity, but rather a scientifically-based understanding of the world and its laws, whose truth and correctness are constantly proven by new scientific-technical achievements.

3. With the help of a scientific worldview we can not only explain everything in nature and society, but also become capable of changing the world in ways that put it in the service of human progress. It is therefore a weapon of the working class.

4. The socialist worldview gives people the strength to fight bravely for the best ideals of humanity...

...With the example of two contradictory characters from the book or the film, we can make clear that there are differing worldviews, progressive and reactionary, which despite differences in detail lead back to two fundamental worldviews: the materialist scientific, and the idealistic unscientific.

The boys and girls should understand why we speak of the materialist worldview of the working class as the scientific worldview. (We do not discuss religious views of the world, and do not want to discuss other idealistic worldviews.)

The working class depends on the discoveries of astronomy, physics and chemistry, and bases its worldview on the discoveries of natural sciences as well as on the knowledge of the laws that govern the life of society,...

One book used to "guide" the youth through this process is called Der Sozialismus- Deine Welt (Socialism- your world. Note that the form of "you" used is very personal and intimate, as opposed to the formal "Ihre").

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(Verlag Neues Leben, Berlin, 1975 )

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(To the memory of the Jugendweihe dedicated by the Central committee for Jugendweihe in the German Democratic Republic)

In this book, there are some clear elements of removing hope from the youth and teaching them that there only choice is to join the socialist cause. First the youth are taught that man is a descendant of apes.

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Next the youth are shown how man had to struggle for hundreds of thousands of years (after "evolving" for millions) to get to the technological point they now have established.

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Then the youth are told that the earth travels around the sun; and basically they are told that we are nothing but an averaged sized planet, travelling around an averaged sized sun, in an average sized galaxy,...

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Next God (and thus Christianity / Judaism) is mocked:

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How could a society which teaches their youth these things expect to survive?

Monday, November 20, 2006

John Paul II's Special Mission?

Many popes have a special mission they are most remebered for- fighting a crusade, condeming Galileo (Urban VIII), etc. John Paul II was remebered for being a very loving and well travelled pope. I wonder if many of us missed one of his most important missions. Much of his travel was to third world countries, where often he was received graciously. Of course he was also well received in "first world" countries, but not always listened to (i.e., altar "girls", women priests, contraception, etc.). In third world countries, the Church has grown, while in first world it is shrinking.

I keep hearing from many places that people are meeting their need for new priests by getting them from other countries- often third world ones. I wonder if while the West was ignoring the Church, JPII was not planting seeds in the third world, now bearing fruit. Is it possible that the third world will come back to the US (both in terms of priests and possible lay people) and Europe to re-evangilize us?

In the "first world" we have it good, and we used our influence to demand things from the Vatican. In the third world, perhaps a visit from the pope was seen as a sign of hope more than another opportunity to try and make changes. In any case, this seems plausible. If it occured, I do not know whether it was deliberate on JPII's part, or guidance of the Holy Spirit, but it does seem possible.