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 IV.
CHRISTIANITY MISUNDERSTOOD BY MEN OF SCIENCE.

Attitude of Men of Science to Religions in General--What Religion is, and What is its Significance for the Life of Humanity--Three Conceptions of Life--Christian Religion the Expression of the Divine Con. ception of Life--Misinterpretation of Christianity by Men of Science, who Study it in its External Manifestations Due to their Criticising it from Standpoint of Social Conception of Life--Opinion, Resulting from this Misinterpretation, that Christ's Moral Teaching is Exaggerated and Cannot be put into Practice--Expression of Divine Conception of Life in the Gospel--False Ideas of Men of Science on Christianity Proceed from their Conviction that they have an Infallible Method of Criticism--From which come Two Misconceptions in Regard to Christian Doctrine--First Misconception, that the Teaching Cannot be put into Practice, Due to the Christian Religion Directing Life in a Way Different from that of the Social Theory of Life--Christianity holds up Ideal, does not lay down Rules--To the Animal Force of Man Christ Adds the Consciousness of a Divine Force--Christianity Seems to Destroy Possibility of Life only when the Ideal held up is Mistaken for Rule--Ideal Must Not be Lowered--Life, According to Christ's Teaching, is Movement--The Ideal and the Precepts--Second Misconception Shown in Replacing Love and Service of God by Love and Service of Humanity--Men of Science Imagine their Doctrine of Service of Humanity and Christianity are Identical-Doctrine of Service of Humanity Based on Social Conception of Life--Love for Humanity, Logically Deduced from Love of Self, has No Meaning because Humanity is a Fiction--Christian Love Deduced from Love of God, Finds its Object in the whole World, not in Humanity Alone --Christianity Teaches Man to Live in Accordance with his Divine Nature--It Shows that the Essence of the Soul of Man is Love, and that his Happiness Ensues from Love of God, whom he Recognizes as Love within himself.

Now I will speak of the other view of Christianity which hinders the true understanding of it--the scientific view.

Churchmen substitute for Christianity the version they have framed of it for themselves, and this view of Christianity they regard as the one infallibly true one.

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