Notes on Tolstoy’s “What I Believe”
During Lent 2015 I started reading some of Leo Tolstoy’s theological works. My intention was to write some notes about his ideas and my reactions each day during the Lenten season. However I reached a point in What I Believe, around Chapter 8, where I needed more than a day to process the astounding material and I had to break my daily writing streak. Having read A Confession and his final novel Resurrection in the past, I knew something of Tolstoy’s interpretation of Christ’s teaching on non-violence, but I was not sure what my own views were. So I started the series by attempting to sort out my preliminary thoughts on that subject. This series is now a continuing project, one I plan to turn into a study guide. Look for new sections soon followed by commentary on The Kingdom of God is Within You.
Short Essays related to Tolstoy’s What I Believe, also translated as My Faith:
- Why C.S. Lewis Was Not a Pacifist
- Let’s Talk Some War and Peace
- Tolstoy and the Idea of Nihilism
- The key that makes Christianity make sense
- The astounding truth
- On the conflict between the teachings of Christ and the world’s institutions
- On courts and laws
- Avoiding the obvious
- Is violence natural? Is it necessary?
- How bureaucracy warps human nature
- Jots and tittles
- How the Church got it wrong on a crucial point
- Tolstoy takes on a church father
- The five new commandments of Christ
- What Jesus meant by loving our enemies
- Peace on earth: what would that really look like?
- If Christ gave us the recipe for happiness, why are we still miserable?
- Where western civilization took a wrong turn
- A little about the resurrection of the dead