tolstoy kingdom of god is within you

There is not a single side of the question, either for his followers or for his adversaries, which is not investigated in these works. One is, that, like the preceding teachings, Christ’s teaching inculcates rules, which men are obliged to follow, and that these rules are impracticable; the other is, that the whole significance of Christianity consists in the teaching about the advantageous cohabitation of humanity, as one family, for which, without mentioning the love of God, it is necessary only to follow the rule of love toward humanity. There may also be worse men among those who submit to the power, but it cannot be that better men should rule over worse men. The majority, if not all, of the cultured people of our time unconsciously try to maintain the previous social concept of life which justifies their position, and to conceal from themselves and from men its inadequacy, and, above all, the necessity of the condition of the Christian life-conception, which destroys the whole structure of the existing life. It was all very well for a Jew, a Greek, a Roman not only to defend the independence of his nation by means of murder, but by the means of murder also to cause other nations to submit to him, for he believed firmly that his nation was the one true, good, kind nation, which was loved by God, and that all the other nations were Philistines, barbarians. “All admit that when it breaks loose in Europe, its consequences will be like a great incursion of the barbarians. Do they consider it to be true? A Christian cannot be anything else but free, because the attainment of the end which he has set before himself cannot be retarded or detained by any one or anything. The sobs and groans of the crowd became louder; but the representative of the governmental power continued the torture. “I brought the fire upon earth,” said Christ, “and how I long for it to burn up!”. (The children of peasants never play soldier.) The masses move on in the consciousness of the moral, vital side of Christianity. If the socialists and communists consider the individualistic, capitalistic structure of society to be an evil, and the anarchists consider the government itself to be an evil, there are also monarchists, conservatives, capitalists, who consider the socialistic, communistic, and anarchistic order to be evil; and all these parties have no other means than force for the purpose of uniting men. And so the churches cannot help but use every possible effort to obscure the meaning of the Sermon on the Mount and to attract people toward itself. Some of these men are sent to insane asylums, others are enlisted as scribes and are transferred to service in Siberia, others are made to serve in the forestry department, others are locked up in prisons, and others are fined. I shall quote the following as samples of these questions, which partly contain the answers. No; the participation in elections, in the court, or in the government, is a participation in governmental violence. With us, in Russia, they use (in addition to all other means) the simple, coarse violence of the civil power, which is obedient to the church. All these good men — like Francis d’Assisi and Francis de Sales, our Tíkhon Zadónski, Thomas à Kempis, and others — were good men, in spite of their having served a cause which is hostile to Christianity, and they would have been better and more deserving still, if they had not succumbed to the error which they served. The Congress respectfully recommends this resolution to the attention of the statesmen of Europe, and expresses the ardent desire that treaties in similar terms be speedily entered into between the other nations of the world. A naked recruit, a companion of Peter Sídorov, just accepted, comes in from the Office, with trembling jaws, and puts on his clothes. Why do mothers buy their children helmets, guns, swords as their favorite toys? If they were revolutionists, who preach violence and murder, and who practise all these things, it would be easy to oppose them: part of them would be bribed, part deceived, part frightened into subjection; and those who could not be bribed, or deceived, or frightened, would be declared malefactors and enemies of society, would be executed or locked up, and the crowd would applaud the action of the government. This transference has taken place easily and naturally in its first forms, in the transference of the meaning of life from the personality to the tribe, the family. The church preachers simply do not recognize it, and only because they do not dare to confess it, try to conceal their failure to recognize it. That the following resolutions be adopted: A resolution of thanks to the Presidents of the various sittings of the Congress; A resolution of thanks to the Chairman, the Secretaries, and the Members of the Bureau of the Congress; A resolution of thanks to the conveners and members of the Sectional Committees; a resolution of thanks to Rev. This means, having been used before, is even now used in an unchanged form wherever there are governments: in Russia — against the so-called nihilists; in America — against the anarchists; in France — against the imperialists, monarchists, communists, and anarchists. I guess the bishops know better than we,” I was told by a Russian soldier. Quite independently of anybody’s reflections as to whether the chicks are sufficiently matured for him to drive the hen away from the nest and let the chicks out of their eggs, or whether they are not yet sufficiently matured, the incontestable judges of the case will be the chicks themselves, when, unable to find enough room in their eggs, they will begin to pick them with their bills, and will themselves come out of them. But that is impossible: so long as the first, second, third, hundredth bee does not unfold its wings and fly, the swarm, too, will not fly away or find the new life. 88) The subject may refuse to carry out the commands of his superior only when he sees clearly that by carrying out his superior’s command he” — one involuntarily imagines that what will follow is “when he sees clearly that by carrying out his superior’s command he violates the law of God;” but that is not at all the case: “when he sees clearly that he is violating the oath of allegiance and fidelity, and his service to the emperor.”. The increase of armies arises simultaneously from two causes, which provoke one another: armies are needed against domestic enemies and for the purpose of defending one’s position against one’s neighbors. For the sake of his personality it is better for him to submit, and he submits. The whole life of our higher classes is one solid contradiction, which is the more agonizing, the more sensitive man’s conscience is. First printed in 1894 in Germany, since it was banned in his native Russia, it is the culmination of thirty years of Tolstoy's Christian anarchist beliefs. 24 — 27). From the press, we shall promulgate our sentiments as widely as practicable. Let all these external changes take place, and the condition of humanity will not improve. In the Gospel there is an indication against the church, as an external authority, and this indication is most obvious and clear in that place where it says that Christ’s disciples should not call any one teachers and fathers. One often marvels why free men, who are not urged to it by anything, the so-called flower of society, enter the army, in Russia, in England, Germany, Austria, even France, and why they seek an opportunity for becoming murderers. We need but look in any country at a superior chief, intoxicated by his grandeur, accompanied by his staff, all of them on magnificently caparisoned horses, in special uniforms and signs of distinction, as he, to the sound of the harmonious and festive music produced by wind-instruments, rides past a line of soldiers stiffened up from a sense of servility and presenting arms — we need but look at him, in order that we may understand that at these moments the highest chief and the soldier and all the intermediate persons, being in a state of intoxication, are equally capable of committing acts which they would not think of committing under other circumstances. Particularly evident is this necessity of the hypnotizing action upon men, in order to bring them to a state of stupefaction, in the activity of the Salvation Army, which uses new, unfamiliar methods of horns, drums, songs, banners, uniforms, processions, dances, tears, and dramatic attitudes. Tolstoy's book "The Kingdom of God is within you", written well over a hundred years ago, is more relevant than ever for us today. It even sounds ridiculous to speak of ruling Christians. One would think that it is evident that a man who lives in this manner is an egotistical being and in no way can call himself a Christian or a liberal. And the learned authors of congresses and of writings fully agree to this. The teaching of the love of humanity alone has for its basis the social conception of life. Their whole life and all their pleasures are poisoned by rebukes of conscience or by terror. Women, old men, innocent people, are killed, hanged, flogged to death, as lately happened in Russia in the Yuzovsky Plant, and as happens everywhere in Europe and in America, in the struggle with anarchists and all kinds of violators of the existing order; hundreds, thousands of men will be shot to death, killed, and hanged, or, as is done in wars, millions of men will be killed or ruined, or, as is constantly done, the souls of men are ruined in solitary confinement, in the debauched condition of militarism — and no one is to blame. We anticipate no small amount of misconception, misrepresentation, calumny. All make for saloons and restaurants, the revenue from which goes to the government, and they abandon themselves to intoxication, which drowns in them the perceived consciousness of the illegality of what is being done to them. 208 — 213). Out upon these new-fangled scruples! When people speak of granting liberty to Christians, or taking it from them, it is evident that they are not speaking of real Christians, but of men who call themselves Christians. This command was not understood at first. Such has been the condition of all the violated, but before this they did not know it, and in the majority of cases they believed naively that governments existed for their good; that without government they would perish; that the thought that men could live without governments was a blasphemy which ought not even be uttered; that this was for some reason a terrible doctrine of anarchism, with which is connected the conception of everything terrible. With this their martyrdom these best men have put the stamp of truthfulness upon the teaching and have transmitted it to the masses. They do so because they abide in an error, which is like the one of the churchmen, the belief that they are in possession of such methods of the study of the subject that, as soon as these methods, called scientific, are used, there can be no longer any doubt as to the correctness of the comprehension of the subject under advisement. If it were only one generation that is to be sacrificed! Thus it was with the Pharisees, and thus it is now with the church Christians. I know full well that this is not easy. Conflict with error has no weapons other than thought and feeling. Are ye not much better than they? And yet it is impossible more lucidly to express all that falseness of the argument of those who think that the governments cannot give up their power so long as men are capable of it, than by this very joke. With few and rare exceptions, the whole of Christendom, from the days of the apostles down to our own, has come to the firm conclusion that it was the object of Christ to lay down great eternal principles, but not disturb the bases and revolutionize the institutions of all human society, which themselves rest on divine sanction as well as on inevitable conditions. According to this doctrine, all the changes in human life take place under the same laws under which they take place in the life of the animals. The essence of the social conception of life consists in the transference of the meaning of our personal lives into the life of the aggregate of personalities — the tribe, the family, the race, the state. He knows all this, and he cannot help but suffer torments from this crying contradiction between what ought to be and what actually exists. But the positivists and all the preachers of a scientific brotherhood, who do not take into consideration the weakening of the sentiment in proportion as the subject is widened, continue the discussion theoretically along the same direction: “If,” they say, “it was more advantageous for the personality to transfer its consciousness to the tribe, the family, and then to the nation, the state, it will be still more advantageous to transfer the consciousness to the whole aggregate of humanity, and for all to live for humanity, just as individuals live for the family, the state.”. The same is true of the so-called criminals, who live within our societies. Very frequently it happens, as was the case lately, that the soldiers, who are called upon to pacify the inhabitants, refuse to shoot at them. In that it alone makes it possible to tear the evil out by the root, both out of one’s own heart and out of the neighbor’s heart. A point is finally reached when the supports indeed hold the house together, but it is impossible to live in the house because there are so many supports. “The rule of state necessity,” they say, “may compel those to become untrue to God’s law, who for the sake of worldly advantages try to harmonize what cannot be harmonized, but for a Christian, who sincerely believes in this, that the adherence to Christ’s teaching gives him salvation, this rule can have no meaning.”. The first solution has been tried since the beginning of historical times, and, as we all know, has so far led to no satisfactory results. If a nation, crushed by force, is subjugated or close to subjugation, it is so only through public opinion, and by no means through violence, which, on the contrary, provokes the nation more and more. To take an example from times nearer to us, let us recall the age of Louis XIV. It was only under this condition that the social structure received its justification. 8 of the Revue des Revues for 1891. We die of starvation, in order to be able to kill one another off.”, Farther on, speaking of how France looks upon this subject, he says: “We believe that one hundred years after the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen it is time to recognize the rights of nations and to renounce for ever all these enterprises of force and violence, which, under the name of conquests, are real crimes against humanity, and which, whatever the ambition of the sovereigns or the pride of the races... weaken even those who seem to profit from them.”, “I am always very much surprised at the way religion is carried on in this country,” says Sir Wilfrid Lawson, at the same Congress. Q. It is possible by means of violence to destroy such nations and such men, as is indeed done, but it is impossible to subjugate them. The kingdom of God is taken by force and only those who make an effort get hold of it — and it is this effort of the renunciation of the change of the external conditions for the recognition and profession of truth which is the effort by means of which the kingdom of God is taken and which must and can be made in our time. And yet this book has for more than four centuries remained unprinted, and continues to be unknown, except to learned specialists. 6). And it is precisely this that is beginning to happen. And similarly, in the transference of the power in one state from one set of persons to another, has the power always passed into the hands of those who were better? The interests, rights, and liberties of American citizens are no more dear to us than are those of the whole human race. To have it made clear how impossible it is with such a view to understand the Christian teaching, we must form an idea of the place which the religions in general and Christianity in particular have in reality occupied in the life of humanity, and of the significance which is ascribed to religion by science. All history teaches us that blood is needed to speed and confirm the union of the nations. It is impossible to give everything to the poor; but we should give a certain, definite part to them. “A Christian, according to the teaching of God Himself, can be guided in his relations to men by peace only, and so there cannot be such an authority as would compel a Christian to act contrary to God’s teaching and contrary to the chief property of a Christian in relation to those who are near to him. But nothing of the kind has happened. If the peasants, who are in need of the land for the support of their families, do not plow the land which adjoins their very farms, while this land, which is capable of supporting something like one thousand families, is in the hands of one man — a Russian, Englishman, Austrian, or some large landed proprietor — who does not work on this land, and if the merchant, buying up the corn from the needy agriculturists, can securely keep this corn in his granaries, amidst starving people, and sell it at three times its price to the same agriculturists from whom he bought it at one-third its present worth, it is evident that this takes place from the same causes. Men have employed violence against other men and have assured themselves and others that they have employed this violence against the evil which was acknowledged by all men. Read this book using Google Play Books app on your PC, android, iOS devices. But if a bird has wings and does not want to be caught, it does not allow any one to pour salt on its tail, because it is the property of a bird to fly. It is the culmination of thirty years of Tolstoy's Christian anarchist thinking, and lays out a new organisation for society based on a literal Christian interpretation. It is this advice of the fool that the men of the social order do not know how to follow, for they flog one another without cessation, and men teach this mutual flogging as the last word of human wisdom. The trial takes place, and the young man is sentenced to incarceration in a military prison for two years. But when men understand that this ought not to be done, there will be none of these things. In the Office there hangs in full sight and in a large gilt frame the portrait of the emperor in a uniform with a sash, and in the corner a small portrait of Christ in a shirt and a crown of thorns. We do not want all men to be poor, like the poor, but want them to be rich, like the rich. The others at least say that they hate the evil and love the good, but these simply recognize that there is no good and no evil. How can we love men in these troubled times, when the morrow is but a menace? Arrange for yourselves what you need for your lives: I cannot prove either the common necessity, or the common harm of the state; all I know is what I need and what not, what I may do and what not. If the crowd does not submit even then, the chief commands his men to load their guns and shoot above the heads of the crowd. This means consists in retarding the spiritual development of men and maintaining them with all kinds of suggestions in a concept of life which humanity has already outlived, and on which the power of the governments is based. The condition of our Christian humanity, if viewed from without, with its cruelty and its slavery, is really terrible. Banned in Russia, Tolstoy's The Kingdom of God Is Within You was deemed a threat to church and state. In these works, which are beautiful in their lucidity of thought and elegance of expression, the question is discussed from every possible side. And so there is no truth in the assertion of the defenders of the existing order, that, if violence barely keeps the evil non-Christian elements of humanity from attacking us, the abolition of violence and the substitution of public opinion for it will not protect humanity. In entering upon the great work before us, we are not unmindful that, in its prosecution, we may be called to test our sincerity, even as in a fiery ordeal. If the crowd does not disperse even then, he commands the soldiers to shoot straight into the crowd, at haphazard, and the soldiers shoot, and in the street fall wounded and killed men, and then the crowd generally runs away, and the troops at the command of the chiefs seize those who present themselves to them as the main rioters, and lead them away under guard. Thus, I know that in Servia men of the so-called sect of Nazarenes constantly refuse to do military service, and the Austrian government has for several years been vainly struggling with them, subjecting them to imprisonment. This miserable, ill man, who has lost his mind from the exercise of power, with these words offends everything which can be holy for a man of our time, and men — Christians, liberals, cultured men of our time — all of them, are not only not provoked by this insult, but even do not notice it. The spirit of jacobinism is the spirit of retaliation, violence, and murder. They do not believe that Christ wanted to say what he did; or it seems to them that what he said in the Sermon on the Mount and in other passages He said from infatuation, from lack of comprehension, from insufficient development. All those means are connected and sustain one another, as the links in the ring of a united chain. We need but think of warlike preparations, mitrailleuses, silver-plated bullets, torpedoes — and the Red Cross; of the construction of prisons with solitary cells, of the experiments at electrocution — and of the benevolent cares for the imprisoned; of the philanthropic activity of rich men — and of their lives, which are productive of those very poor whom they benefit. Cain did violence to Abel, cunning Jacob to trustful Esau, deceitful Laban to Jacob; Caiaphas and Pilate ruled over Christ, the Roman emperors ruled over a Seneca, an Epictetus, and good Romans who lived in their time. To preach the evil of war and the good of peace to men! The Kingdom of God is Within You Leo Tolstoy Tolstoy's 1893 book, subtitled "Christianity Not as a Mystical Teaching but as a New Concept of Life," introduced such vital concepts as non-violent resistance to 20th Century figures as Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King. A versatile artist in these matters, a gifted butcher of men, Mr. von Moltke, one day spoke the following words to some delegates of peace: War is sacred and divinely instituted; it is one of the sacred laws of the world; it nurtures in men all the great and noble sentiments — honor, disinterestedness, virtue, courage — and, to be short, keeps men from falling into the most hideous materialism. The men in power are convinced that it is only violence that moves and guides men, and so they boldly use violence for the maintenance of the present order of things. This is the question. 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