Militant anti-theists of the 21st century have little good to say about religion, often blaming it for most of the world’s ills.

Few, however, seem self-reflective enough to examine the results of militant atheism’s impact on society in the 20th century. A case in point is Russia.

With the conversion of St. Vladimir, prince of Kiev, in A.D. 988, Christianity became a central part of Russian national identity. (Vladimir is reported to have chosen to convert to Christianity rather than Islam because Islam forbids drinking wine.

“Drinking is the joy of all Russians,” exclaimed Vladimir in dismay. “We cannot exist without that pleasure.”)

Thereafter, Christianity spread throughout Russia. In fact, after the fall of Constantinople to the Turks in 1453, Russia emerged as the heartland of Eastern Orthodox Christianity, which became central to Russian culture, in art, architecture, music and literature.

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