Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910) | Works

XI When I remembered how these very beliefs had repelled me and seemed meaningless in the mouths of people who led lives in contradiction to them, and when I recalled how the same beliefs attracted me and seemed sensible as I saw people who lived by them, I realized why I had once turned away from them and had found

XII Recognizing the errors of rational knowledge helped me to free myself from the temptations of idle refection: The conviction that knowledge of the truth can be found only in life led me to doubt that my own life was as it should be; and the one thing that saved me was that I was able to tear myself from

XIII I renounced the life of our class and recognized that this is not life but only the semblance of life, that the conditions of luxury under which we live make it impossible for us to understand life, and that in order to understand life I must understand not the life of those of us who are parasites but the

XIV At the time I found it so necessary to believe in order to live that I unconsciously hid from myself the contradictions and the obscurities in the religious teachings. There was, however, a limit to this interpretation of the rituals. Although the most important words in the liturgy became more and more clear to me; although I somehow explained

xv Many times I have envied the peasants for their illiteracy and their lack of education: They could see nothing false in those tenets of faith which to me seemed to have arisen from patent nonsense; they could accept them and believe in the truth, the same truth I believed in. But unhappily for me, it was clear that the

XVI I no longer had any doubts and was firmly convinced that the teachings of the faith with which I had associated myself were not all true. At one time I would have said that all of it was a lie; but now it was impossible to say this: There could be no doubt that all of the people had

In his book What I believe Leo Tolstoy introduces the doctrine of non-violence as based on the Christ’s teachings and commandments in Gospel and Bible, as they have revealed themselves to Leo Tolstoy and how these teachings and the new-found understanding and light can give a real meaning of life and happiness to people – and influence the world -

Chapter 2 When I at last clearly comprehended that the words ‘do not resist evil’ do really mean that we are never to resist evil, my former ideas concerning the teaching of Christ underwent a complete change. I wondered, not so much at my eyes being opened to the truth at last, but at the strange darkness that had, until

Chapter 3 To affirm that the Christian doctrine refers only to personal salvation and has no bearing upon state affairs is a great error. To say so is but to assert an audacious, groundless, most evident untruth, which a moment’s serious reflection suffices to destroy: ‘Well,’ I say to myself, ‘I will not resist evil; as a private man, I

Chapter 4 Now I understood what Christ meant when He said: ‘You have heard that it has been said, “An eye for and eye, and a tooth for a tooth.” And I say to you, do not resist evil.’ Christ means: ‘You have been taught to consider it right and rational to protect yourselves against evil by violence, to pluck

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