One of these books in which you don’t have a lot of hope before you read it. Tolstoy is very famous by his “Anna Karenina”, “War and Peace” and “The Cossack’s” but I never heard about this masterpiece before. What I Believe (also called My Religion) is published in 1884. like a classic work from a great teacher in Christ. It has been commonly said that Martin Luther King Jr was influenced by Tolstoy and this book will give you true meaning of these sayings.

The work is very interesting and historically valuable. The author cuts to the bone in social critique and critique of institutions that had lost sight of their aims and purpose. Using different translation of bible he is revealing true meaning of some words which are lost in translation probably by coincidence. This was significant and in my view highly appropriate and very courageous. He for instance shows us that if the law is to love then killing must be equally invalid without or when wearing a uniform.

Tolstoy about Christs commandments

Tolstoy drew five commandments out of Christ’s Sermon on the Mount, namely; 1. Do not be angry 2. Do not commit Adultery 3. Do not swear oath 4. Resist not evil 5. Do not partake in war. Based on these five integral aspects of Christ’s teachings, Tolstoy took a swipe at the church. His criticism against the Church is based on the fact the Christians don’t practice the true doctrine of Christ as stated in the Sermon on the Mount. For 1800 years, according to him, Christians have drawn up a distinction between their private life and social life. The church has encouraged Christians to join the army in protection of country’s sovereignty. He went on to cite provocative ways the Church has deviated from the core doctrine of Christ.

According to Tolstoy, there is so much evil in the world because mankind has turned his back from God. Mankind has embraced the doctrine of the world in pursuit of worldly happiness. The doctrine of the world brings suffering. The only means of restoring true happiness is by following after the doctrine of Christ, you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free’. The doctrine of Christ, in Tolstoy’s view, brings the Kingdom of God on earth.

It seem odd for me to like this book. But Tolstoy is doing few things that other people/priests don’t. He’s more interesting than your average church-going Christian for one simple reason – he’s willing to go against the church, being something of a protestant orthodox. Because of that he can give you better understanding of religious concepts and he will make you question things which you found some natural before this book.


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