The vast, poor and uneducated majority, consisting of people who with few exceptions are true believers, finding themselves slaves under the influence of hypnosis, think they believe in what is suggested to them beneath the guise of faith. The first attempt at its publication took place in 1882 (Russkaya Mysl, No 5), but Tolstoy's work was removed virtually from the whole edition of the journal by Orthodox Church censorship. Nor have we mentioned the absurdity of the sacrament of which Voltaire said that there have been and are a great many absurd religious teachings, but never before was there one in which the main religious act consists in eating your own God. If religion is the establishing of a relationship between man and the universe, defining the meaning of life, then morality is the indication and explanation of those activities that automatically result when a person maintains one or other relationship to the universe. Indeed no other faith has ever preached things so incompatible with reason and contemporary knowledge, or ideas so immoral as those taught by Church Christianity. All the other twelve feast days, except for Christmas, were in memory of miracles- things which I endeavoured not to think about, in order not to deny them: the Ascension, Pentecost, the Epiphany, the Intercession of the Virgin, and so on. (Albert Einstein) Some do not believe in what their own advantage they have persuaded the masses to believe in beneath the guise of faith. This divergence and perversion of the essential question is most striking in what goes today by the name of philosophy. Thus, due to the absence of religion, the people of today’s world have built themselves a very cruel, bestial and immoral life. Indeed they are, but what are also fine, as Ruskin says, finer beyond comparison with all else, are human lives, of which millions are now destroyed for the acquisition of iron-clads, roads, tunnels, etc., all of which disfigure rather than beautify life. In 1873, Tolstoy set to work on the second of his best-known novels, Anna Karenina . The Spiritual Works of Leo Tolstoy: A Confession, The Kingdom of God is Within You, What I Believe, Christianity and Patriotism, Reason and Religion, The Gospel in Brief and more Leo Tolstoy … This situation and the mutual relations between the non-believing, pretentious minority, and the hypnotised majority, shapes the life of our world, which we call Christian. ..The principles are very simple, comprehensible and uncomplicated. Despite the fact that at no time and in no place have people ever lived without religion, the learned people of today say, we can and must live without religion. (Leo Tolstoy, Confessions), As a result of my interest in religion, I had come into contact with believers of various denominations: Catholics, Protestants, Old Believers, Molokans, and others. The Brahmin has understood his relationship to the infinite Brahma in this way: he is a manifestation of this Brahma and ought, by renouncing life, to strive after unity with the Higher Being. This simply confirms the He cannot be satisfied by the same things that guide an animal’s behaviour. I want to realise that all that is inexplicable is so, not because the demands of my intellect are at fault (they are correct and apart from them I can understand nothing), but because I can recognise the limits of my intellect. And, therefore, people do not do what is most natural, possible and necessary in our times: they do not destroy the deception that resembles religion, and do not adopt and propagate the truth. Rome conquered the world when it had freed itself from all religions. I felt strongly that they were deceiving themselves and that, like myself, they had no other concept of life than of living while they lived and of grabbing hold of everything they could. Neither is a belief in propositions which give man no definite guidance in his conduct. The particle can only appear as a limited region in space in which It was now clear to me that in order for man to live he must either be unaware of the infinite, or he must have some explanation of the meaning of life by which the finite can be equated with the infinite. (Leo Tolstoy, Confessions), As I turned my attention to what is done in the name of religion I was horrified and very nearly repudiated Orthodoxy. The reality of miracles was admitted because they bore witness to the infallibility of the Church, and the sanctity of the Bible was agreed because it was acknowledged by the Church. Geoff Haselhurst (Updated September, 2018), A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it. One student actually offered an intelligent critique of my Kirk Cameron blog, and noted that my thesis was predicted partly by Leo Tolstoy, the great 19th century Russian storyteller. (Leo Tolstoy, Confessions), Violence produces something only resembling justice, but it distances people from the possibility of living justly, without violence. All these principles are common to Brahmanism, Hebraism, Confucianism, Taoism, Buddhism, Christianity and Mohammedanism. (Leo Tolstoy, Confessions), Thus, in order to accept the Christian teaching in its true meaning, the people of the Christian world, who have, to a greater or lesser extent, understood the truth of Christianity, must free themselves not only from their belief in the false forms of a perverted Christian teaching, but also from belief in the necessity and inevitably of that system of government that was founded on this false Church religion. No one tells him how he can and should reconcile these contradictions. Perhaps it is a surprise for some to know that Tolstoy also wrote very well on Religion and Theology, seeking to know God through truth and reason not faith nor intuition. Leo Tolstoy is well known as a writer of fiction, with his classic works War and Peace and Anna Karenin (which he dismissed as meaningless in later life). Perhaps it is a surprise for some to know that Tolstoy also wrote very well on Religion and Theology, seeking to know God through truth and reason not faith nor intuition. (Leo Tolstoy, Confessions). Men Government Rest. Christianity was perverted in the same way as all the other religions with the single difference that precisely because Christianity voiced its fundamental doctrine of equality between all men with such clarity, it was necessary to use special force to distort the teaching and conceal its basic clause. All the efforts people make to improve their lives through violent external behaviour towards one another serve as the most potent form of propaganda and example of evil, and do not improve life, but, on the contrary, increase the evil which gathers size like a snowball and increasingly alienates people from the only possible way of genuinely improving their lives. Humanity can only be saved from disaster when it frees itself from the hypnotic influence the priests hold over it, and from that into which the learned are leading it. The culmination of Tolstoy's thoughts on religion can be found in 'A Confession and other Religious Writings' (1879 - 82). Tolstoy Calls Mormonism the "American Religion" An article published in the LDS Church magazine The Improvement Era gives another account of the conversation between Tolstoy and White. 4 0 obj In My Religion, Leo Tolstoy accuses the church of hiding the true meaning of Jesus, which is to be found in the Sermon on the Mount and the call to resist evil. Thus the essence of religion has been, and still is, understood by people with the highest human faculty, as the establishing by man of a relationship with the infinite Being, or beings, whose power he feels over him. He addresses serious issues with religion without being too specific about the details of his belief. The reason they occur is because no matter how unsophisticated it may be, every religion in its true meaning always establishes a relationship between man and the infinite, which is one and the same for all people. Among them I met many deeply moral men with sincere belief. In the opinion of these learned people there has been a period of ignorance: the religious period which humanity outlived long ago leaving occasional atavistic indications of its existence. And so, putting aside those things some people consider to be additions to the essential religious dogma, such as faith in certain relics or icons of the Virgin Mary, prayers of supplication, addresses to various saints according to their specialty, or the Protestant doctrine of predestination, even so the very premises of this religion, accepted by all and formulated in the Nicene Creed, are so ridiculous and immoral, and so contradictory to healthy human feeling and reason, that people cannot believe in things devoid of meaning. << /Length 5 0 R /Filter /FlateDecode >> But there is also no doubt that never before in history has there been such a display of immoral living, free of any force restraining man’s animal desires, as that which exists now in our Christian humanity, which is becoming even more bestialised. The selection includes 'A Confession,' 'Religion and Morality,' 'What Is Religion, and of What Does Its Essence Consist?,' and 'The Law of Love and the Law of Violence.' Every religion is an answer to the question of the meaning of life. This ‘truc’ consisted in attributing infallibility not only to certain words, but to a certain group of people called the ‘Church’, who had a right to pass this infallibility on to people selected by themselves. Union among men gives them the highest attainable well-being, on both the physical and the spiritual level. (Mohandas Gandhi). At the celebration of these festivals, feeling that an importance had been ascribed to things I considered to be of little importance, I either invented something that would suffice as an explanation, or closed my eyes so that I would not see the things that tempted me. And assuming that truth lies in union by love, I was struck by the fact that theology was destroying the thing it should be advancing. Tolstoy's passionate and iconoclastic writings--on issues of faith, immortality, freedom, violence, and morality--reflect his intellectual search for truth and a religion firmly grounded in reality. But, as always, religion remains the chief motivator and heart of human societies. They are taught about the awaited second coming and the punishment of eternal torments for not believing in these dogmas. Even if a religion establishes a relationship between Man and God, but does so through affirmations which are so contrary to the level of knowledge people have reached that they cannot believe in them, then neither is this a religion, but merely a semblance of one. Therefore, the people of our world who profess a distorted form of Christianity do not actually believe in it. Thus, these periods when there is a decline in the religious influence on the majority are an essential condition of the life and development of all religious teachings. Leo Tolstoy understood Religion is our True Connection to the Universe (What Exists, God). (Leo Tolstoy, Confessions). in conquering the forces of human nature, been achieved as in the nineteenth century. (Leo Tolstoy, Confessions), At the time it was so essential for me to believe in order to live that I subconsciously hid from myself the contradictions and obscurities in the religious dogma. It was impossible not to think about this. This God, one in three, the creation in six days, the devils and angels and all the rest that I could not accept without going mad. (Leo Tolstoy, Confessions), I was not so much alienated by the fact that in expounding their religious beliefs they confused Christian truths that had always been close to me with much that was unnecessary and irrational. In doing this you will help a new generation of scientists see that there is a simple sensible explanation of physical reality - the source of truth and wisdom, the only cure for the madness of man! that there is an element of this divine origin in every person, which he can diminish or increase through his way of living; And bit by bit a person grows accustomed (with strong support from theologians) to the fact that he cannot trust in his reason and therefore everything in the world is possible, for he has nothing with which to differentiate between good and evil, lies and the truth. Once we correctly understand the true conception of self as universe then we realise that this morality is necessarily true (a tautology) for the other is a part of the self. After a period of heightened development religion always enters into a period of decline and death, which is usually followed by a period of regeneration and the formation of religious doctrine that is more rational and lucid than before. %PDF-1.3 Union among men gives them the highest attainable well-being, on both the physical and the spiritual level. Again, if it does not bind man to the infinite being, it is not a religion. Leo Tolstoy's fundamental error can be explained as follows; Space and Motion are the Cause (metaphysical foundation) of our Science and Philosophy. His name doesnot appear in that heterogeneous record of celebritiesknown as The Men of the Time, nor is it to be foundin M. Vapereau's comprehensive Dictionnaire desContemporains. And therefore religion has always been, and cannot cease to be, an essential and indisposable condition of the life of rational humanity. Only for me, wretched fellow, it was obvious that the truth was interwoven with fine threads of falsehood, and that I could not accept it as such. So long as people do not consider all men as their brothers and do not consider human life as the most sacred thing, which rather than destroy they must consider it their first and foremost duty to support; that is so long as people do not behave towards one another in a religious manner, they will always ruin one another’s lives for the sake of personal gain.

leo tolstoy religion

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