The inevitable conflict that comes when dictatorships attempt to restrict people's turning to God doesn't have to end in violence or resignation to conditions that seem beyond an individual's control. Contributing Editor Michael Seek recently sat down and talked with Kurt Franke, a Christian Scientist who lived for many years under a repressive regime before the dramatic changes that came to Eastern Germany. Mr. Franke lives in Zwickau, an industrial city in the south of the former German Democratic Republic. Today he is active in a newly formed group of Christian Scientists who meet in that city.
Mr Franke, did you feel oppressed during the dictatorship of the German Democratic Republic? Well, to be honest, I must say I never felt oppressed in a way one might expect. I wasn't afraid, nor did I ever feel I was being led around by the nose. Consequently, I always made my own decisions; I never allowed myself to become oppressed.
But you're not a foolhardy person who simply ignores dangers—what was the foundation of such fearlessness? I was raised in a religious home. I have always believed in God, even in my youth, although at that time I didn't have a clear concept of Him. Yet, for me, His presence was actually a foundation I could act out from. I viewed God as always present, and this is what underlies my sense of fearlessness. My thought was, He is always at my side, helping me.