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Nikolai Berdyaev's book, "The Fate of Man in the Modern World" was written after the incredible destruction of World War I, the memory of which was still near enough that many believed that everything must be done to avoid a repeat performance. Yet at the same time, the world, and Europe in particular, was drawing near to an even bigger conflict, the likes of which few could imagine at this point in time.

Politically, the world was in chaos. Many of the old monarchies had been overthrown, and each country was filling the power void in various ways. In Russia, the Bolsheviks had been in power for 17 years, in Germany, Hitler and the Nazi party had recently gained power, Spain was in the midst of civil war, and little seemed to be resolved by the Great War of recent memory.

In reading one of the reviews on Amazon.com for this book, the reviewer seems to postulate that although Berdyaev presents a good number of interesting ideas, he offers very little in the way of answers to the problem of "the fate of man in the modern world", as no political or philosophical can do this.

The only answer, as Berdyaev, is Christianity; the belief in Jesus Christ as God and the change in one's life that being a Christian must precipitate. It is only through Christianity that the uniqueness and creative energy of each individual can still be respected in the midst of the aggregate; that the conflict inherent to individual need and greater good become one in the same. When one doesn't believe this, or at least have some understanding of how different a truly Christian life should be, it is no wonder that it seems like Berdyaev is somehow "short" on answers here.

I Corinthians 1:18-19 For the word of the cross, to them indeed that perish, is foolishness: but to them that are saved, that is, to us, it is the power of God. For it is written: I will destroy the wisdom of the wise: and the prudence of the prudent I will reject.

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September 2013

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