Article ID: CBB001201408

The Ticket to the Soviet Soul: Science, Religion, and the Spiritual Crisis of Late Soviet Atheism (2014)


This article examines the confrontation of Soviet scientific atheism with religion as it played out on the pages and in the editorial rooms of the country's primary atheist periodical, Nauka i religiia (Science and Religion). It follows a story that begins in the 1960s, when the journal tried to change its title to Mir cheloveka (The World of Man) to reorient itself from the battle against religion towards the battle for Soviet (and therefore atheist) spiritual life. I argue that while the Khrushchev era is the point of origin for much of late Soviet policy on religion and atheism, it is only with the Brezhnev era that we see understandings of religion move beyond ideological stereotypes. New conceptions of religion, however, forced atheists to consider Communist ideology in unexpected (and often troubling) ways, and led to revealing discussions the Soviet state's role in providing spiritual fullness. The story of Nauka i religiia is a microcosm of Soviet ideology in that it reveals the boundaries and contradictions of the material and the spiritual in the Soviet project.

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Authors & Contributors
Hollinger, David A.
Andrews, James T.
Oreskes, Naomi
Krige, John
Seneta, Eugene
Carson, Cathryn L.
Historia Mathematica
Journal of Contemporary History
Osiris: A Research Journal Devoted to the History of Science and Its Cultural Influences
Canadian Bulletin of Medical History/Bulletin Canadienne d'Histoire de la Medecine
Ziran Kexueshi Yanjiu (Studies in the History of Natural Sciences)
Technology and Culture
Office for History of Science and Technology, University of California
University of California Press
Brandes & Apsel
The MIT Press
Science and religion
Science and government
Science and politics
Atheism; agnosticism; irreligion
Public understanding of science
Lamaze, Fernand
Stalin, Joseph
Spencer, Baldwin
Victor Glushkov
Time Periods
20th century, late
20th century
20th century, early
19th century
Soviet Union
United States
Chinese Academy of Sciences

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