Saturday, February 02, 2013

Tolstoy quotes

I've not done a quotes listing in a while, and recent readings had some good ones.

The following quotes come from Leo Tolstoy's The Kingdom of God is Within You, which I just finished reading. I don't necessarily agree with all of Tolstoy's opinions, but I found these particular quotes interesting.

" ... the Church is holy; the Church was founded by Christ. God could not leave men to interpret his teaching at random -- therefore he founded the Church. ... those statements are so utterly untrue and unfounded that one is ashamed to refute them. Nowhere nor in anything, except in the assertion of the Church, can we find that God or Christ founded anything like what Churchmen understand by the Church. In the Gospels there is a warning against the Church, as it is an external authority, a warning most clear and obvious in the passage where it is said that Christ's followers should 'call no man master.' But nowhere is anything said of the foundation of what Churchmen call the Church."

"The follower of Christ, whose service means an evergrowing, understanding of his teaching, an ever-close fulfillment of it, in progress toward perfection, cannot, just because he is a follower of Christ, claim for himself or any other that he understands Christ's teaching fully and fulfills it."

" ... to assert of one's self or of anybody of men, that one is or they are in possession of perfect understanding and fulfillment of Christ's word, is to renounce the very spirit of Christ's teaching."

"The churches as churches are not, as many people suppose, institutions which have Christian principles for their basis ... The churches as churches, as bodies which assert their own infallibility, are institutions opposed to Christianity. There is not only nothing in common between the churches as such and Christianity, except the name, but they represent two principles fundamentally opposed and antagonistic to one another. One  represents pride, violence, self-assertion, stagnation, and death; the other, meekness, penitence, humility, progress, and life."

" ... the churches have never served as mediators between men and God. Such mediation is not wanted, and was directly forbidden by Christ, who has revealed his teaching directly and immediately to each man. But the churches set up dead forms in the place of God, and far from revealing God, they obscure him from men's sight."

"All that they preach is an external observance of the rites of idolatry."

"The man who has been instructed by the Church in the profane doctrine that a man cannot be saved by his own powers, but that there is another means of salvation, will infallibly rely upon this means and not on his own powers, which, they assure him, it is sinful to trust in."

"If a man can be saved by the redemption, by sacraments, and by prayer, then he does not need good works."

"If a man sincerely believes in the Sermon on the Mount, the Nicene Creed must inevitably lose all meaning and significance for him ..."

"This, then, is the work of the churches: to instill a false interpretation of Christ's teaching into men, and to prevent a true interpretation of it for the majority of so-called believers."

" ... however men may try to conceal it, one of the first conditions of Christian life is love, not in words but in deeds."

" ... we all know how our laws are made. We have all been behind the scenes, we know that they are the product of covetousness, trickery, and party struggles; that there is not and cannot be any real justice in them."

"People are astonished that every year there are sixty thousand cases of suicide in Europe ... but one ought rather to be surprised that there are so few. Every man of the present day, if we go deep enough into the contradiction between his conscience and his life, is in a state of despair. ... Not to speak of all the other contradictions between modern life and the conscience, the permanently armed condition of Europe together with its profession of Christianity is alone enough to drive any man to despair, to doubt of the sanity of mankind ... This contradiction ... is so terrible that to live and to take part in it is only possible if one does not think of it at -- if one is able to forget it."

" ... tomorrow some crazy ruler will say some stupidity, and another will answer in the same spirit, and then I must go expose myself to being murdered, and murder men -- who have done me no harm ..."

"The basis of authority is bodily violence."

"All the methods of appointing authorities that have been tried, divine right, and election, and heredity, and balloting, and assemblies and parliaments and senate -- have all proved ineffectual."

"Rulers always try to implicate as many citizens as possible in all the crimes committed in their support."

" ... while in former days a man who professed the religion of the Church could take part in all the crimes of the state, and profit by them, and still regard himself as free from any taint of sin ... nowadays all who do not believe in the Christianity of the Church, find similar well-founded irrefutable reasons in science for regarding themselves as blameless and even highly moral ..."

"A single fortune gained ... by any employment which trades on men's evil instincts ... corrupts men incomparably more than millions of thefts and robberies ..."

"... the hypocrisy of our society far surpasses the comparatively innocent hypocrisy of the Pharisees."

"Hypocrisy in our day is supported on two sides: by false religion and false science."

"A man cannot be placed against his will in a situation opposed to his conscience."

1 comment:

Charles Gramlich said...

false religion and false science, a pretty horrendous duo.