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bluegreen17 ([personal profile] bluegreen17) wrote2017-04-08 07:19 pm

on suffering,faith and love/quote from The Brothers Karamazov, Fyodor Dostoevsky

"I am suffering, forgive me, I am suffering..."

"What is it in particular?"

"I am suffering... because of lack of faith..."

"Lack of faith in God?"

"oh no, no, I wouldn't eve dare to contemplate anything like that--it's simply the matter of the life to come, it's such a mystery! And nobody, you see, nobody knows the answer to it! Look, you are a healer, you have knowledge of men's souls; of course, I daren't presume that you should believe everything I say, but I assure you most emphatically that I'm not being trivial; the thought of life after death drives me to distraction, it terrifies me... and I don't know who to turn to, I've lacked the courage all my life... And now I've plucked up the courage to turn to you... Oh God! What will you think of me now?"

"Do not worry about my opinion. I truly can believe your anguish is genuine."

"Oh, how grateful I am to you! You see, I often shut my eyes and think: if anybody has faith, where do they all get it from? And yet at the same time we are told that, originally, it all came from fear in the face of the threatening forces of nature, and that really there's nothing at all after death! Well, the thought that occurs to me is this: here I am, a lifelong believer, but I'll die, and suddenly there'll be nothing, just 'burdock on my grave', as one author put it. How terrible! How an one buttress one's faith--how? Anyway, I only really believed when I was a small child, automatically, without thinking about it... What proof is there, how can I dispell my doubts? Oh, I'm so unhappy! And when I look around, I see that no one's concerned about it at all, or practically no one, no one cares about it now, and that it's only me who's worrying herself to death about it at all. It's unbearable--simply unbearable!"

"Quite so, quite so. But it's not so much a matter of obtaining proof, as of dispelling doubt."

"But how?"

"By the practice of active love. Try to love your neighbors actively and steadfastly. The more you practice love, the more you will be convinced of the existence of God and the immortality of your soul. Should you attain total renunciation of self in your love for your neighbor, then your faith will be absolute, and no doubt will ever assail your soul. This has been tried, and this has been tested."

from The Brothers Karamazov, Fyodor Dostoevsky