Wednesday, January 18, 2006

A Beautiful Kiss

I finish books neurotically. Only one book has surmounted my obsessive nature – The Brothers Karamazov. It left a bad taste in my mouth. Ponderous Russian novels – blech! Well, the hound of Dostoyevsky has been at my heels lately, and I’ve been inspired to give it another try. So far, it’s been rewarding.

Today I was reading a particular passage in which two brothers, Alyosha and Ivan, are just concluding a lengthy discussion about the problem of evil (for which the book is famous). Ivan has “come out of the closet” as an atheist and moral relativist to his monk-in-training little brother, anticipating disapproval and rebuke. Here’s how it pans out:

[Ivan] “I thought, brother, that when I left here I’d have you, at least, in all the world,” Ivan suddenly spoke with unexpected feeling, “but now I see that in your heart, too, there is no room for me, my dear hermit. The formula, ‘everything is permitted,’ I will not renounce, and what then? Will you renounce me for that? Will you?”

Alyosha stood up, went over to him in silence, and gently kissed him on the lips.

A powerful scene, even if you don’t know the context. I think this is the sort of response Christians should have towards non-believers. They have come to expect condemnation – how puzzled and blessed they would be by love instead!

2 Comments:

Blogger Josh said...

Great post on a great book.
"If God does not exist then everything is permissible" ~ Ivan Karamasov

5:19 PM  
Blogger wiploc said...

"If God does not exist then everything is permissible" ~ Ivan Karamasov

I've been hanging out at IIDB.ORG for years, offering Christians a chance to defend this idea. They never do. I don't believe there is a valid argument that Christians have a leg up on morality. If there was a reason to believe that, I'm sure I'd have heard it by now.

crc

10:10 AM  

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