the attempt to abolish the Catholic religion during the Great French Revolution (mainly in 1793). Dechristianization was an expression of the revolutionary terror in the struggle against the counter-revolutionary clergy rather than actions of an atheist state policy, although it did have some antireligious elements. In the course of dechristianization churches were closed, their treasures were requisitioned for defense needs, and priests were forced to renounce their orders. The movement for dechristianization arose in the provinces. It originated with the Hébertists and other groups close to them and was supported by the Paris Commune. Christianity was replaced by a new revolutionary and rationalist faith, the cult of reason. The new cult was often imposed by force and caused extreme dissatisfaction among the peasantry. Realizing that dechristianization could cause a counterrevolutionary mood among the people, M. de Robespierre opposed the cult of reason. On Dec. 6-7, 1793, the Convention officially condemned measures of violence, declaring them to be “contrary to freedom of religion.” The leaders of the dechristianization policy, P. G. Chaumette, J. R. Hébert, and J. Fouché, renounced the policy of dechristianization.
Domnich, M. Veliakaia frantsuzskaia burzhuaznaia revoliutsiia i katolicheskaia tserkov’. Moscow, 1960. Mathiez, A. La Révolution et I’église. Paris, 1910.
M. IA. DOMNICH
Contemporary religion represents a very pitiful thing
Contemporary religion represents a very pitiful thing: properly speaking, religion as the dominating principle, as the center of spiritual attraction, does not exist today…
Some people like music and others do not.
… I say that those who at the present time refuse religion are right, because religion appears in reality not what it ought to be.
Religion, speaking generally and abstractly, is the connection of man and the world with the unconditional beginning, which is the focus of all that exists. … If we admit the existence of such an unconditional centre, then all points on the circle of life must be linked to that centre, then all points on the circle of life must be linked to that centre with equal radii. It is only then that unity, wholeness, and accord appear in the life and consciousness of man. It is only then that all his deeds and sufferings in life, great or small, are transmitted into intelligent, inwardly necessary events from a state of aimless and senseless phenomena. It is quite certain that such all-embracing, central importance must belong to religious principle, once it is admitted at all; and it is equally indubitable that in reality, for the contemporary civilized humanity, even for that part of it which recognizes the religious principle, religion does not posess this all-embracing and central importance. Instead of being all in all, it hides in a very small and remote corner of our inner world, and appears as one of a multitude of the different interesta which divide our attention.
Contemporary religion represents a very pitiful thing: properly speaking, religion as the dominating principle, as the center of spiritual attraction, does not exist today; instead, the is the so-called religiosity as a personal mood, a personal taste: some people have this taste, others do not, just as some people like music and others do not.
In the absence of the unconditional centring [of all interests in religion] we have as many relative, temporary centers of life and consciousness as we have different requirements and interests, tasts and inclinations, opinions and points of view.
It would be superfluous to dwell upon the mental and moral discord and the lack of principle, at prevailent in the realm of society as well as in the minds and hearts of the individuals, for that fact is too well known to anyone at all introspective or observant.