Monday, February 28, 2011

Leo Tolstoy - Christian Anarchist

Like the young, I too can learn something about history from the cinema. Ran into a movie about Leo Tolstoy's last days in the film The Last Station. Not high drama, a good soap opera though of everyday life in the life of a very famous man in his day. I am also a Helen Mirren fan.

Well anyway, I never heard of Tolstoy and his Christian Anarchy and non-violence advocacy. Tolstoy's socialist views were more than exceeded and abused after the Russian Revolution. But that is another story.

The Christian anarchy thing sounds areligionist. Tolstoy was no doubt repulsed by the state religion of Russia in those days. In a way his message is the message of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount. Tolstoy's book The Kingdom of God is Within You (Luke 17:21) is the basis of a non-violent reaction to business as usual regarding wars, social injustice etc.

Another interesting tangent regarding this book I was wholfully ignorant about is that it inspired a young Mahatma Ghandi to form his own ideas about passive resistance against the British in India. Ghandhi wrote to Tolstoy for permission to translate and reprint Tolstoy's A Letter to a Hindu in which Tolstoy advocates love and non-violence to overthrow the British in India. Tolstoy's last letter was to Ghandhi.

I am a student of history and know that Martin Luther King Jr. based his passive resistance program and efforts on those of Ghandhi. I am not a very good student of history to not know that Ghandhi based much of his political strategy on ideas put forth by the Christan Anarchist Leo Tolstoy.

The ripple effects of the Sermon on the Mount have an energy that seem to go on forever no matter what any official or sanctioned vested religion does to cloud the message of Jesus.

The Kingdom of God can be truly said to be within each one of us!