Berdiaev Nikolai, Christianity and Social Reality, transl. Vasilis T. Youltsis, P. Pournaras Publ., Thessaloniki, 1986, pp. 252.
After the translator and author’s preface, the first chapter of the book takes an in-depth look and a critical approach to Marxism. It examines its philosophical roots in the German idealism of Fichte and Hegel, the materialist view of history as a basic idea of Marxism, the critique of Feuerbach and Marx on religion as the opium of the masses and a means of exploitation and finally there is mention of the contradictions of Marxism.
In the second chapter titled “The Religion of Marxism” the concept of proletarian messianism is developed and then follows a critique of the view that religion and particularly Christianity is a private affair. In the third chapter, while the author accepts class struggle as a fact, however, he offers a multi-level critique on the one-sidedness, dogmatism and contradictions of Marxist theory. According to Berdyaev Christianity ought to condemn exploitation of people by people and of class by class, to undertake supporting the oppressed and, against capitalism and communism, to make the economy serve people, not the opposite. The Christian Church must reverse views that it does not deal with social problems, ought to bring forth the spiritual dimensions of social problems.
The fourth chapter counters the accusation against Christianity that it preaches passiveness to people directing them to God’s help for all their problems. On the contrary, Berdyaev claims that Christianity is a religion that leads to the interpretation of history as a dynamic course towards a higher purpose and which calls on humans to the active practice of justice. Humans ought to be creators in the image of the creator God.
The last chapter of the book looks at the failures of Christians themselves to realize the high purposes of the Christian Gospel, but also thinks that Christianity cannot be judged by external facts. Finally, the author expresses the wish that Christians may stop raising obstacles in Christianity’s path.