booklady's Reviews > War, Progress, and the End of History

War, Progress, and the End of History by Vladimir S. Soloviev
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Nov 18, 08

really liked it
bookshelves: 2008, classic, fiction, literature, religion, scripture, theology, war, worth-reading-over-and-over, fantasy
Recommended to booklady by: Pope Benedict XVI
Recommended for: all believers
Read in November, 2008

In the September 2000 issue of "Touchstone" Fr Addison Hart wrote these words about Soloviev's "Tale of the Anti-Christ":

'In the face of the world we live in right now, it is blindness and sheer folly to be fighting with other Christians about ecclesiological matters that are daily becoming less defensible. "Catholic versus Orthodox" polemics would be wrong even in less troubled times, but in the context of the current cultural situation they are precisely what the devil ordered. An eschatological perspective ever keeps in mind how imperative it is "to keep Satan from gaining the advantage over us;" for we are not"--or, at least, should not be--"ignorant of his designs" '(2 Cor. 2:11).

I would go on to add that all true Christians are on the same side, or should be, and that is the side of Truth. In Vladimir Soloviev's A Short Story of the Anti-Christ the three major divisions in Christianity -- Catholicism, Orthodoxy and Protestantism -- are finally drawn together by the arrival of the Anti-Christ.

'The superman' as he is called, with satanic inspiration writes a well-received book entitled, The Open Way to Universal Peace and Prosperity which, 'embraced everything and solved every problem. It united a noble respect for ancient traditions and symbols with a broad and daring radicalism in socio-political questions. It joined a boundless freedom of thought with the most profound appreciation for everything mystical. Absolute individualism stood side by side with an ardent zeal for the common good, and the highest idealism in guiding principles combined smoothly with a perfect definiteness in practical solutions for the necessities of life. And all this was blended and cemented with such artistic genius that every thinker and every man of action, however one-sided he might have been, could easily view and accept the whole from his particular individual standpoint without sacrificing anything to the truth itself, without actually rising above his ego, without in reality renouncing his one-sidedness, without correcting the inadequacy of his views and wishes, and without making up their deficiencies.'

And nobody raised a voice against the book!

As the superman went about consolidating his power, he became the Emperor Superman and acquired a magician who 'learned, among other things, the semi-scientific, semi-mystic art of attracting and directing at will atmospheric electricity . . . i.e., (how to) bring down fire from heaven.' But the Emperor's goal was to obtain the total allegiance of the penultimate leaders of three major branches of Christianity: the Catholic Pope Peter II, formerly a preacher of the Carmelite Order; the unofficial but actual leader of the Orthodox members, Elder John, technically-speaking a bishop "in retirement"; and the very learned German theologian, Professor Ernst Pauli, who represented the Evangelical members of the congress, i.e., Peter, John and Paul.

The Emperor's questions only fool superficial Christians. True believers see through his not-so-subtle tricks. However, the importance of the story concerns the union of the separate churches under the pressure of persecution in this eschatological situation. Issues which currently divide the Christian world become nothing when it at last faces the true threat, the only real threat, Evil incarnate. In Soloviev's "Tale of the Anti-Christ", the spokesmen of Christianity are persecuted and killed, but they rise again; the last Christians journey to the wilderness, the Jews raise a revolt and the Christians join with them. They are slaughtered; but then Christ appears, robed in the imperial purple, his hands outspread with the marks of the nails upon them, to rule for a thousand years with those who are his own.

A must read for all believers!
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