In his 1905 article "Socialism and Religion", Lenin explained the Social Democratic Labour Party's attitude towards religion in general and the Russian Orthodox Church in particular. Noting the proletarianization and resulting secularization of the urban workforce in pre-revolutionary Russia, he wrote:
The modern class-conscious worker, reared by large-scale factory industry and enlightened by urban life, contemptuously casts aside religious prejudices, leaves heaven to the priests and bourgeois bigots, and tries to win a better life for himself here on earth. The proletariat of today takes the side of socialism, which enlists science in the battle against the fog of religion, and frees the workers from their belief in life after death by welding them together to fight in the present for a better life on earth.
Lenin lays out a dichotomous proposition for the proletariat and the party: the choice to struggle either for heaven or earth; one must accept materialism and "scientific socialism" or religion. Many within the church's hierarchy and among the parish clergy similarly framed these two competing worldviews as incompatible. Naturally, these churchmen rejected materialism and socialism, favoring secular and religious traditionalism and the promotion of charity while typically stopping short of endorsing structural reforms to address urban exploitation or solve the problems of land reform that had plagued Russia for decades.