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LeoTolstoy’s confession is concerned with understanding the deepermeaning of human actions while practicing a religion which leads tothe casting of doubts to the universal beliefs held by mostChristians. It focuses on understanding the human reasoning in faithmatters and the scrutiny of Christian lifestyles to understand thetruth (Alston 34). According to Tolstoy, he did not seek tounderstand everything in religion as he believes it is concealed ininfinity but rather to understand in a way that is obviouslycomprehensible to eliminate any doubt (Tolstoy). This led todivisions rather than finding a commonality in all the denominationsto celebrate. In addition, such teaching was against his belief thattruth lay in the union of love.
Startingwith chapter XIII, the author gives insight into his confessionstory. The chapter offers a conclusion like as well as meaning oflife when it came to man was to be found in the idea that, God has apurpose for us, and it’s a matter of being ready for the next life“I argued as follows, telling myself that the knowledge of faithflows, like all humanity with its reason, from a mysterious source(Rancour-Laferriere 448). That source is God, the origin both of thehuman body and the human reason (Tolstoy).” Leo was often known forexposing the hardships that peoples go through, and instead exposingthe aspect of the cruelty of man vs man. His position with regard tothe congestion narration makes him an inspiration to people. Tolstoyis against certain Christian cultures that force their followers tobelieve illogically. He believes that the sole existence of areligion was so as to provide the truth to its followers about theirreason for existence and what would become of them in the end(Tolstoy). However, he admits that there will always be a falsehoodas the two go hand in hand. His goal is, therefore, to separate theindubitable truth from the falsehood (Tolstoy). For instance, everyChristian denomination believed that it was right and the others werelost which was against the truth preached by his doctrine of unitingall people to be one in love.
Nextis chapter 14, which the author uses to compares his prior innocentcharacter that believed in everything that Christianity claimed.Tolstoy states, “When fulfilling the rites of the Church I humbledmy reason and submitted to the tradition possessed by all humanity.”He went along with his forefathers practices without questioning asthe actions had no perceived bad motives (Rancour-Laferriere 465).Besides, the fact that his forefathers had believed and lived thatway brought him to follow the common people out of respect. Thisimplies that he followed the doctrine for the sake of uniting withancestors rather than finding the truth. “Icontinued to fulfil the rites of the Church and still believed thatthe doctrine I was following contained the truth, when somethinghappened to me which I now understand but which then seemed strange”(Tolstoy).
Chapter15 is a continuation from chapter 14, where the author continues insearch for the truth. As time progresses, Tolstoy acquires somecuriosity to discern the truth from falsehood. Unlike before when theclear and full sense of life surrounding made him believe in theologyand most of the teachings in his religion, he starts to scrutinizesuch actions. He questions the basis of the Christian actions insearch for the truth giving an insight to the cases of Russia, wherethe Russians were killing fellow men in the name of Christian love(Rancour-Laferriere 469). For example, he questions whether he isreally taking the body and blood of Christ during the Eucharist whileasked by the father to confess that he believes so. His doubt isevidenced in his thoughts “with a wish to believe” (Tolstoy).
Tolstoy’sconfession applies to many Christians in this postmodern world. ManyChristians follow the established culture of their doctrine withouthaving the courage to question some elements which they haveconsiderable doubts in. Emerging issues such as same-sex marriages,drug and substance abuse, abortion, and medical care programsaffecting Christians are buried in congregations and not adequatelydiscussed to arrive at the truth. Those who raise such issues arecondemned and made to feel less religious just as Tolstoy was (Alston35). As a result, they feel as if they do not belong in suchcongregation which in turn destroys their possibility of believingthus destroying their relationship with God.
Withreference to the all four chapters, every human being is in search ofthe truth. Religion is believed to be the source of such truth,making it an escape route for many people. However, most religionspossess some falsehood which in conjunction with the truth asexpressed in Tolstoy’s confession. People should, therefore, avoidconforming to the falsehoods passed down from one generation toanother and search for the truth without fear and bias thus makingthem better believers with proof. As the story unfolds, it is theauthors struggle with mid-life crises as he seeks for explanationsfor questions such as what would come of his life and the meaning oflife. In the end, the author came to the idea that, it was only faiththat could manage to offer him a meaning to his human life. It wasonly faith that was capable of giving him the satisfactory answers tohis questions which consumed him, and in turn the reason he embracedit at the end.
Tolstoy,Leo. `Confession`. Tolstoy,Leo- Confession.N.p., 2015. Web. 10 Nov. 2015.
Alston,Charlotte. "Tolstoy`s Guiding Light." HistoryToday 60.10(2010): 30-36. AcademicSearch Premier. Web. 20 Nov. 2015.
Rancour-Laferriere,Daniel. "Does God Exist? A Clinical Study Of The ReligiousAttitudes Expressed In Tolstoy`s Confession." Slavic& East European Journal 49.3(2005): 445-473. AcademicSearch Premier. Web. 20 Nov. 2015.