People, Church, and State in Modern Russia

People, Church, and State in Modern Russia

People, Church, and State in Modern Russia

People, Church, and State in Modern Russia

Excerpt

When I was asked by the Religious Book Club in London to write a book about religion in Russia, I hesitated for some time because so much has already been written on the subject. Finally I agreed to do so, because of the opportunity it gave to me personally to seek a clarification of the various factors that make the problem so complex and debatable, to set forth these factors in their proper relationship, and to attempt an interpretation that would lead to better understanding. I have long had the feeling that a satisfactory understanding between the peoples of the Soviet Union and the peoples of the West can be better facilitated by clearly discerning differences and difficulties, where they exist, than by glossing over them. As Lenin said at the Party Conference of 1903, "before uniting we need to separate." We need first to define the elements and the conflicting positions of the parties concerned. Out of this can come understanding and, so far as unity is possible, a sound unity.

The background elements of this study are the teachings of the Christian Church, on the one hand, and the Marxist philosophy of historical materialism, on the other. Whereas elsewhere these elements clash or coincide in theoretical fashion, in the Soviet Union their interplay is real, actual, in the persons of their respective adherents and in the institutions which express the genius of Christian or of Marxist teaching. In this study, therefore, we are dealing with ac-

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