Changing Traditions, originally titled 'Tradition or Free Will?' in Romanian, navigates the evolution of religion in Western Europe from the birth of Christianity to its adoption by the Roman state and its subversion by later generations of statesmen. The book discusses democracy and political philosophies such as Marxism. Having lived in a Soviet satellite state since the end of World War II, the authos brings first hand experience of the failings of communism.
Having read and enjoyed this book I was flummoxed when it came to writing the review. What the heck was it about? I turned to a word frequency tool; here are the key words: people, god, religion, Christianity, philosophy, democracy, politics, priests, history, bible, Jesus, communism, Marxism, Greeks, Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, and Utopia. Essentially the book gives a history lesson in the evolution of religion in Western Europe from the birth of Christianity as a religion of the poor, its hijacking by politicians from Constantine onwards, the search for an alternative starting with Sir Thomas More’s ‘Utopia’, which led the way to Marxism, and then to today’s post-religious epoch. The author is clearly very knowledgeable and writes in an accessible, amusing and self-deprecating manner. Having lived in a Soviet satellite state since the end of World War II, he brings first hand experience of the failings of communism. So what is his way? What is his recommendation? He self-effacingly denies he has any solutions, just questions. But in essence his conclusion for how to make the world a better place is twofold: (1) improve the quality of our education systems, and (2) do not succumb to fanaticism or idealism given the precedents (the Inquisition, soviet communism, etc.) of politicians using belief systems against the people they govern.