Before I get round to posting the last of my main posts on Ellul’s chapter on Anarchism and Christianity, the following section seemed to have a certain topical relevance.
Ellul is discussing the teachings of the Russian religious and political philosopher Nikolai Berdyaev:
Berdyaev contends that the state’s well‑being and prosperity do not represent the well‑being and prosperity of the governed, and still less of all people. The equation of the state’s well‑being with that of its people is an abominable lie. The state’s prosperity always implies the death of innocents. Faith in the state means that to save the state, we must go so far as to sacrifice the innocent.
Ellul then quotes Berdyaev as follows:
“The death of one man, of even the most insignificant of men, is of greater importance and is more tragic than the death of states and empires. It is to be doubted whether God notices the death of the great kingdoms of the world; but He takes very great notice of the death of an individual man.“
(CS Lewis makes a similar point somewhere, but the reference escapes me at present.)
Update: The CS Lewis quote I was thinking of is from The Weight of Glory:
There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations – these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat.