leo tolstoy religion

By love, we understand love of self – universe. Rather than persuading those who doubt the truth of the professed religion that there is a more rational and lucid doctrine than the existing one, they persuade them that on the whole religion has outlived itself and become not just useless, but a harmful organ of social life, like the caecum in the human body. 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. I want to understand in such a way that everything inexplicable presents itself to me as being necessarily inexplicable and not as being something that I am under an obligation to believe. Complete unity with the highest and most perfect reason and, thereby, perfect well-being is an ideal towards which humanity strives. A Russian should rejoice if Poland, the Baltic Provinces, Finland, Armenia, should be separated, freed from Russia; so with an Englishman in regard to Ireland, India and other possessions; and each should help to do this, because the greater the state, the more wrong and cruel is its patriotism, and the greater is the sum of suffering upon which its power is founded. 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. (Leo Tolstoy, Confessions), Added to all this, the applied sciences, such as technology and medicine, inevitably diverge from their reasonable purpose and adopt a false direction as a result of the absence of any religious guiding principle. As soon as the profound religion of Brahmanism began to grow old and fossilise in rigid, coarse forms deviating from the original meaning, there appeared on the one hand a rebirth of Brahmanism, and on the other the elevated doctrine of Buddhism, which advanced humanity’s understanding of its relationship to the infinite. And what can be more ridiculous than saying that Our Lady was both mother and virgin, or that the heavens opened up and a voice rang forth, or that Christ flew up to heaven and is seated up there somewhere, at the right hand of His father, or that God is three persons in one, not three gods like Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva37, but three combined in one. They had 13 children, eight of whom survived childhood: As Leo Tolstoy writes; The essence of any religion lies solely in the answer to the question: why do I exist, and what is my relationship to the infinite universe that surrounds me? If he does not see and comprehend the illusion of the finite he will believe in the finite. .. War and Peace in It is man’s nature to create harmony between his rational (spiritual) and his bodily (physical) activity. At the time Russia was at war. We can now deduce the most simple science theory of reality - the wave structure of matter in space. %��������� 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. The main reason for the terrible cruelty between men today, apart from the absence of religion, is still the refined complexity of life which shields people from the consequences of their actions. Every religion is an answer to the question of the meaning of life. Despite being combined with an enormous amount of unnecessary confusion, answers to the question have at any rate been given within the philosophical tradition of the Christian nations. And that something is the same origin which the other religions recognise as God.). And, in the name of Christian love, Russians were killing their fellow men. It is indeed in these words that the whole problem lies. From the very earliest childhood years, the years most susceptible to suggestion, when educators cannot be careful enough about what they impart to children, they teach them the ridiculous, immoral dogmas of the so-called Christian religion, which are incompatible with reason and knowledge. But they fail to stand up to the critique of reason. (Leo Tolstoy, Confessions), It must be careful and attentively examined in order to be understood, even if it is not understood in the way I understand the propositions of science. Leo Tolstoy. There is not a single question which the men of our world can approach simply and straightforwardly. Count Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy, better known as Leo Tolstoy, is rightly regarded as one of the greatest writers in the history of … (Leo Tolstoy, 1882). 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. (Leo Tolstoy, Confessions), And so, those who, like the working populace, believe in the lawfulness of the existing structure of society, as too the so-called educated people who try, either gradually or by revolutionary processes, to change the existing order, believe equally in the necessity of violence as a chief weapon for structuring society. (Leo Tolstoy, Confessions), True religion is that relationship, in accordance with reason and knowledge, which man establishes with the infinite world around him, and which binds his life to that infinity and guides his actions. To counteract this distortion there appeared on the one side the Paulicians, and on the other, strict Mohammedaniam with its fundamental teaching of the one God, as opposed to the doctrines of the Trinity and the Virgin Mother. As soon as these propositions are accepted, under hypnotic influence, everything said by these intermediaries is recognised as the holy truth, and then the chief purpose of the religious perversion is accomplished. The letter was published in an Indian paper and Gandhi not only read it but also wrote to Tolstoy to … 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. All the concepts we use to compare the finite to the infinite, and to arrive at an understanding of life, of the concepts of God, freedom and goodness, are put to the test of logic. And in the thing most important to him – his actions- he must not be guided by his reason but by what others tell him. (Leo Tolstoy, 1879). (Leo Tolstoy, Writings on Civil Disobedience and Nonviolence, 1886). Then followed a metaphysical period, and this has been outlived. The second is for a person to perform actions under the influence of his emotions and then to invent intellectual explanations or justifications for them. (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. The purpose is not only to conceal the law of human equality, but to construe and affirm the highest inequality: the division of castes, the distinction between people and gays, Orthodox and heretic, holy and sinful. As a result, as soon as the idea of the Church was firmly established all the Gospel proposals for hindering the distortion of Christ’s teaching became inoperative, for the Church was superior to both reason and to the writings considered sacred. 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. 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. (Leo Tolstoy, 1879), Reason is the power man possesses to define his relationship to the universe. We should use love for social harmony.) Therefore when Mr Berthelot and those in agreement with him say that science will replace religion, their assertion is entirely arbitrary and based on a completely unjustified belief in the infallibility of science, a belief quite similar to faith in the infallibility of the Church. Moreover, those considered and referred to as learned are quite convinced that a science already exists which should and can replace religion and which has already obviated the need for it. I wished to be a brother to these people. )�;�BK��b�GV�0�-Gp`\L��-�4h�QU�?���$�ԕ�͖����g��[�� � "���S��؟U�e7���A%�p�1�%�[n. But this is not true. Faith is the force of life. A part of the infinite. (Leo Tolstoy, Confessions), Religion is a particular relationship that man establishes between his own separate personality and the infinite universe, or its origin. (Leo Tolstoy, Confessions), Even if we accept the impossible and believe that in a thousand years social progress alone will have united the whole of humanity in one entity which will form a single state, with a single government, even then one must not forget that the struggle between nations and States that will have been abolished will turn into a struggle between the human and the animal kingdom. This is how religion has always been understood by people who do not lack the faculty of higher (i.e. Leo Tolstoy - Leo Tolstoy - First publications: Concealing his identity, Tolstoy submitted Childhood for publication in Sovremennik (“The Contemporary”), a prominent journal edited by the poet Nikolay Nekrasov. Humanity is going to need a substantially new way of thinking if it is to survive!" (Leo Tolstoy, Confessions). religion, unites men. Neither is a belief in propositions which give man no definite guidance in his conduct. Therefore, until that relationship is established there is no material for philosophical investigation. There would seem to be only one question for philosophy to resolve: what must I do? 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. 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. If therefore a religion fails to establish this relationship, as for instances in idolatry, or sorcery, then it is not a religion, but merely a degeneration of one. stream Matter, existing as Spherical Wave Motions of Space, determines the size of our Finite Spherical Universe within an Infinite Space. During certain periods in the existence of all human societies, a time has come when religion has first strayed from its basic meaning, and then digressed further and further until it has lost track of this meaning and eventually ossified in the already established forms, at which point it has come to have less and less influence on people’s lives. 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. And this hostility increases in proportion to one’s knowledge of theology. This divergence and perversion of the essential question is most striking in what goes today by the name of philosophy. (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. I believe quite the opposite, that to suggest that science as a whole, including philosophy can establish a relationship between man and the universe is entirely mistaken and is the main reason for the confusion that is understanding religion, science and morality that exists among the cultured strata of our society. Leo Tolstoy. (Leo Tolstoy, Confessions). I knew that I could find nothing along the path of rational knowledge, other than negation of life. (Edmund Burke), "In a time of universal deceit - telling the truth is a revolutionary act. In the 1860s, Russian author Leo Tolstoy wrote his first great novel, War and Peace. At the beginning of the year 1901, the renowned French scholar Berthelot delivered a speech in which he informed his audience that the age of religion has passed and that it must now be replaced by science. This means only in faith can we find the meaning and possibility of life. It is similarly impossible to give the name religion to Comte’s positivism, since it only establishes a relationship between man and mankind, not with the infinite. of cultural life. 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. A slight addition to the Gospels was invented saying that when He departed for heaven, Christ handed certain people the exclusive right not just of instructing people in the sacred truth (according to the Gospel texts he handed over at the same time a right, seldom used, of being invulnerable to snakes, poisons and fire), but of saving and condemning people, and more importantly of conferring this power on others. 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. Firstly, that there are special people who alone can act as intermediaries between man and God, or the Gods; secondly, that miracles have been, and are being, performed which prove and confirm the truth of what the intermediaries say; and thirdly that there are certain words repeated orally or written in books which express the unwavering will of God, or the Gods, and which are sacred and infallible. 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. 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. And yet prayers were said in the churches for the success of our armies, and our religious teachers acknowledged this killing as an outcome of faith. (Leo Tolstoy, Confessions), I so often envied the peasants their illiteracy and lack of learning. ‘Religion is obsolete; to believe in anything other than science is ignorance. He cannot be satisfied by the same things that guide an animal’s behaviour. The Buddhist has understood, and understands, his relationship with the infinite thus; in passing from one form of life to another, he inevitably suffers. (Leo Tolstoy, Confessions), What am I? They found nothing false in those doctrinal statements which seemed apparent rubbish to me. The religious person, knowing what is good and what is wrong in his actions and in those of others, and why one is good and another bad, when he sees a contradiction between the demands of his reason and his actions (other than the pleasure they afford), and yielding to the impulse of his varied and frequently contradictory emotions, involuntarily falls into a contradiction. Tolstoy's description of the five "laws" of Jesus from the Sermon on the Mount is convincing. They are taught about the awaited second coming and the punishment of eternal torments for not believing in these dogmas. The same is happening, only to a greater extent, among the Christian nations. Physical objects are not in space, but these objects are spatially extended. Union among men gives them the highest attainable well-being, on both the physical and the spiritual level. (Mohandas Gandhi). The free, unhampered exchange of ideas and scientific conclusions is necessary for the sound development of science, as it is in all spheres But it is not faith, for rather than clarifying man’s position in the world, it only obscures it. Moreover, a situation then arises whereby it is almost impossible to return to a reasonable, decent life. And this was not only applied to murder in time of war, but, during the troubled times that followed the war, I witnessed members of the Church, her teachers, monks, and ascetics condoning the killing of helpless, lost youths. He may not know that he has a religion, just as a person may not know that he has a heart, but it is no more possible for a person to exist without a religion than without a heart. 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. 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. But you may well say that the establishing of a relationship between man and the universe is not the concern of religion but of philosophy, or of science in general, if philosophy is to be regarded as a part of science. Tolstoy had not always been possessed of the religious ideas set forth in My Religion. The changed form and substance of law is rather like what a jailer might do who shifted a prisoner's chains...or removed them and substituted bolts and bars. intuitions of the ancient philosophers and mystics. The same kind of decline occurred in the Greek and Roman religions, with Christianity appearing after the lowest ebb of the decline had been reached. The most educated Comtist finds himself in a religious relationship that is incomparably lower than that of a simple person who believes in God, whatever the god, as long as it is infinite, and whose behaviour is derived from this faith. They all share in common an absence of religion and consequently, despite internal dissension, are united in one federal band of criminals where theft, plunder, debauchery, individual and mass murder are performed without the slightest pang of conscience and even with utmost self-complacency, as for instance in China not so long ago. According to faith it follows that in order to comprehend the meaning of life I must renounce my reason, the very thing for which meaning was necessary. I experienced the same thing over the celebration of the major feasts. in conquering the forces of human nature, been achieved as in the nineteenth century. 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). Our world is in great trouble due to human behaviour founded on myths and customs that are causing the destruction of Nature and climate change. Or he may find himself obliged (because his reason drives him irresistibly to it) to regard himself as a part of an infinite universe, living in infinite time. (Leo Tolstoy, Confessions), 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. If nothing is said against miracles, and if in the Gospels themselves there are descriptions of miracles presented as if performed by Jesus, it is nevertheless evident from the whole spirit of the teaching that the validity of Christ’s doctrine is not based on miracles, but on the actual teaching (‘Whosoever wishes to know if my teaching is true, let him do as I say’). Philosophy always has been, and always will be, merely an investigation of things that stem from an established religious attitude between man and the universe. The culmination of Tolstoy's thoughts on religion can be found in 'A Confession and other Religious Writings' (1879 - 82). Whenever any religious teaching has started becoming distorted its guardians, having already brought people to a state of weakened rational activity, have then employed every means of persuading them of what they wanted. Government is an association of men who do violence to the rest of us. For Tolstoy, it is this command that has been most damaged by ecclesiastical interpretation. Tolstoy’s rejection of religious rituals—and his attacks on the role of the state and the concept of property rights—put him on a collisio… And this could not be otherwise, first of all because the assertion that you live in falsehood and I in truth is the most cruel thing that one man can say to another and secondly, because a man who loves his children and his brothers cannot help feeling hostile towards those who want to convert his children and his brothers to a false belief. Death of his best-known novels, Anna Karenina using an autobiographical account, Tolstoy set to on... Increase until it has always been applied, so people will appreciate contributions! The critique of reason, or copy a nice image or quote you like, without attention! The Chinese and are proud of it: live as you like, without paying attention to all, basic... 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