The Kingdom of God Is within You: Christianity Not as a Mystic Religion but as a New Theory of Life

By Leo Tolstoy; Constance Garnett | Go to book overview

CHAPTER III.
CHRISTIANITY MISUNDERSTOOD BY BELIEVERS.

Meaning of Christian Doctrine, Understood by a Minority, has Become Completely Incomprehensible for the Majority of Men--Reason of this to be Found in Misinterpretation of Christianity and Mistaken Conviction of Believers and Unbelievers Alike that they Understand it-- The Meaning of Christianity Obscured for Believers by the Church-- The First Appearance of Christ's Teaching--Its Essence and Difference from Heathen Religions--Christianity not Fully Comprehended at the Beginning, Became More and More Clear to those who Accepted it from its Correspondence with Truth--Simultaneously with this Arose the Claim to Possession of the Authentic Meaning of the Doctrine Based on the Miraculous Nature of its Transmission--Assembly of Disciples as Described in the Acts--he Authoritative Claim to the Sole Possession of the True Meaning of Christ's Teaching Supported by Miraculous Evidence has Led by Logical Development to the Creeds of the Churches--A Church Could Not be Founded by Christ--Definitions of a Church According to the Catechisms-- The Churches have Always been Several in Number and Hostile to One Another--What is Heresy--The Work of G. Arnold on Heresies-- Heresies the Manifestations of Progress in the Churches--Churches Cause Dissension among Men, and are Always Hostile to Christianity --Account of the Work Done by the Russian Church--Matt. xxiii. 23 The Sermon on the Mount or the Creed--the Orthodox Church Conceals from the People the True Meaning of Christianity--The Same Thing is Done by the Other Churches--All the External Conditions of Modern Life are such as to Destroy the Doctrine of the Church, and therefore the Churches use Every Effort to Support their Doctrines.

THUS the information I received, after my book came out, went to show that the Christian doctrine, in its direct and simple sense, was understood, and had always been understood, by a minority of men, while the critics, ecclesiastical and freethinking alike, denied the possibility of taking Christ's teaching in its direct sense. All this convinced me that while on one hand the true understanding

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