Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Berdyaev On the Industrial-Capitalist System's Corruption of Christian Faith

Wednesday, March 07, 2007
Nicholai Berdyaev On the Industrial-Capitalist System's Corruption of Christian Faith
From Stephen Hand,

Robert Inchausti writes that for Beryaev, "The bourgeois didn't worship money per se, but they were addicted to personal success, security and happiness. For these things, they willingly compromised their honor, ignored injustice, and betrayed truth, replacing these high values with trite moralisms and facile bromides that blurred important distinctions and justified selfish actions...

"The bourgeois did not repudiate religion but reinterpreted its value in terms of utility. The love of the poor moved to the periphery of the faith and was embraced only so far as it didn't clash with one's own economic interests. [Berdyaev wrote:] "The perfected European and American civilizations gave rise to the industrial-capitalist system, which represents not only a mighty economic development but the spiritual phenomenon of the annihilation of spirituality. The industrial-Capitalism of civilization proved to be the destroyer of the eternal spirit and sacred traditions. Modern capitalist civilization is essentially atheistic and hostile to the idea of God. The crime of killing God must be laid at its door rather than at that of revolutionary socialism, which merely adapted itself to the civilized "bourgeois" spirit and accepted its negative heritage" (Subversive Orthodoxy, pp 43, 44)

Chesterton, it should be noted, says essentially the same thing. One cannot have the spirituality of Chesterton, Berdyaev, John Paul II, the Sermon on the Mount ... and the utilitarian economic spirituality of the Neo-conservative revisionism, no matter how well-intended that revisionism. At the end of the day they do not mix. One cannot convert the free falling market, guided as it is by the morally indifferent invisible hand of desire and greed. We must try, together, to move forward, toward making the future ---by catching up with our past (Chesterton, JPII, Leo XIII, et al)... We can start by seriously regulating the market and eliminating usury, each in the interests of human compassion and keeping a restraint on corporate greed. Then we can further consider the truths of Distributism

No comments: