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
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CHAPTER VIII.
DOCTRINE OF NON-RESISTANCE TO EVIL BY FORCE MUST INEVITABLY BE ACCEPTED BY MEN OF THE PRESENT DAY.

Christianity is Not a System of Rules, but a New Conception of Life, and therefore it was Not Obligatory and was Not Accepted in its True Significance by All, but only by a Few--Christianity is, Moreover, Prophetic of the Destruction of the Pagan Life, and therefore of Necessity of the Acceptance of the Christian Doctrines--Non-resistance of Evil by Force is One Aspect of the Christian Doctrine, which must Inevitably in Our Times be Accepted by Men--Two Methods of Deciding Every Quarrel--First Method is to Find a Universal Definition of Evil, which All Must Accept, and to Resist this Evil by Force --Second Method is the Christian One of Complete Non-resistance by Force--Though the Failure of the First Method was Recognized since the Early Days of Christianity, it was Still Proposed, and only as Mankind has Progressed it has Become More and More Evident that there Cannot be any Universal Definition of Evil--This is Recognized by All at the Present Day, and if Force is Still Used to Resist Evil, it is Not Because it is Now Regarded as Right, but Because People Don't Know How to Avoid It--The Difficulty of Avoiding It is the Result of the Subtle and Complex Character of the Government Use of Force--Force is Used in Four Ways: Intimidation, Bribery, Hypnotism, and Coercion by Force of Arms--State Violence Can Never be Suppressed by the Forcible Overthrow of the Government-- Men are Led by the Sufferings of the Pagan Mode of Life to the Necessity of Accepting Christ's Teaching with its Doctrine of Non-resistance by Force--The Consciousness of its Truth which is Diffused Throughout Our Society, Will also Bring About its Acceptance--This Consciousness is in Complete Contradiction with Our Life -- This is Specially Obvious in Compulsory Military Service, but Through Habit and the Application of the Four Methods of Violence by the State, Men do not See this Inconsistency of Christianity with Life of a Soldier--They do Not even See It, though the Authorities Themselves Show all the Immorality of a Soldier's Duties with Perfect Clearness-- The Call to Military Service is the Supreme Test for Every Man, when the Choice is Offered Him, between Adopting the Christian Doctrine of Non-resistance, or Slavishly Submitting to the Existing

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