The Karamazov Brothers, Fyodor Dostoevsky

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Filthy Tugboat
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The Karamazov Brothers, Fyodor Dostoevsky

Post #1

Post by Filthy Tugboat »

Aiming for a free flow style of debate, a few starter topics to get it up and running but ideally everything is game in this debate, as I'm still reading the novel, I'm gonna aim a lot of my posts at the earlier parts so to begin we can start at chapter 5, the debate over Ivan's article regarding religion and politics.

During this Chapter Ivan explains that the Church (meaning Christianity, not any specific church or denomination) should and will inevitably encompass the state, all states and that this should be the goal of Christianity. Not for the Church to occupy a portion of the state or to stand separate to the state all together but for the state to become a part of the church, or the church itself. It is enumerated by Father Paissy that this is "a divine promise" that the Church should rule and instruct the whole world.

Does this view fit into modern Christian thought? As the debate continues what are your thoughts on the matter?
Religion feels to me a little like a Nigerian Prince scam. The "offer" is illegitimate, the "request" is unreasonable and the source is dubious, in fact, Nigeria doesn't even have a royal family.

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Re: The Karamazov Brothers, Fyodor Dostoevsky

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[Replying to post 1 by Filthy Tugboat]

You mean chapter 5 of book 2 right? It is important to include the book number since the chapter count starts over at each book. Ivan does not specify any denomination when talking about his article but Father Paisely says that such a society could only come from the Orthodox Church. To understand why Ivan, who is not a believer, would make such an argument I think you need to read book five.

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Re: The Karamazov Brothers, Fyodor Dostoevsky

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[Replying to post 1 by Filthy Tugboat]

In any case I am against the Church encompassing the state. I do sympathize with the monks wanting a society centered on community and love rather than living in a state where living under the same government is all the residents have in common. I also sympathize with their view that people not wanting to hurt that which they hold to be most precious being a better deterrent to crime than the Hobbesian force of state punishment. On the other hand I think division is better than unity around a falsehood and better than forced unity around even something that is true.

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Post #4

Post by micatala »

Sorry for getting in late!

That was an interesting chapter. That last couple of days I have been in the chapters on Dmitri's questioning in Mokroe, so I may have to go back to this section for more detail.

I would agree that, from the viewpoint of my own personal views, having the church subsume the state is not something I would be in favor of.

I think it might be interesting to get into more of Dostoyevsky's own views on this.
What was going on in Russia at this time (around 1880, right?) that Dostoyevsky might be getting at? As I read it, I was thinking about this being still in living memory of revolutions in France and elsewhere, and modernism taking root, and how Russia was still apart from the main part of Europe. I also thought about events that were to come in Russia.

One thought that comes to mind is how different this version of takeover of the state by Christianity is from the stereotypical religious right political movement in America. Ivan seemed to me to be suggesting a sort of organic cultural take over. I don't recall Ivan or Paissy suggesting any real political tactics or strategies to create that reality.
" . . . the line separating good and evil passes, not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either, but right through every human heart . . . ." Alexander Solzhenitsyn

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Re: The Karamazov Brothers, Fyodor Dostoevsky

Post #5

Post by Filthy Tugboat »

help3434 wrote: [Replying to post 1 by Filthy Tugboat]

You mean chapter 5 of book 2 right? It is important to include the book number since the chapter count starts over at each book.
My mistake, I was under the impression it was the first book, I need to pay more attention to that.
help3434 wrote:Ivan does not specify any denomination when talking about his article but Father Paisely says that such a society could only come from the Orthodox Church. To understand why Ivan, who is not a believer, would make such an argument I think you need to read book five.
I'm getting there :) haha
help3434 wrote: In any case I am against the Church encompassing the state. I do sympathize with the monks wanting a society centered on community and love rather than living in a state where living under the same government is all the residents have in common. I also sympathize with their view that people not wanting to hurt that which they hold to be most precious being a better deterrent to crime than the Hobbesian force of state punishment. On the other hand I think division is better than unity around a falsehood and better than forced unity around even something that is true.
I hold a similar position, I think there are even lines that can be drawn between this and retail, having one body that encompasses everything, all services, leaves so much room for a monopoly. When those services include the management and protection of human rights, this monopoly can be very dangerous. Even our current governments do not hold this power, there are representatives groups that hold a myriad of different views and push for or against motions that benefit or harm those views. Without representation or with a body that holds complete and exclusive power while representing one view anyone that doesn't fit within that paradigm is vulnerable to abuse, exclusion and in many cases where this has happened, death.

But I am curious, this is described as a "divine promise", I'm not entirely sure whether that is accurate but i feel it does have some grounds. Where the church (or perhaps the faceless religious body of Christianity and Christian doctrine) should rise up, command and instruct the entire human population. Considering Christian belief, I can see why Christians could see this as beneficial, authority to teach and enforce the Christian beliefs would "save" millions of people, or more. So ignoring the danger of the situation that it most certainly presents, how does it fit with your experience of Christian views, even if unspoken views of most, do you think ultimately this is what Christianity is reaching for?
Religion feels to me a little like a Nigerian Prince scam. The "offer" is illegitimate, the "request" is unreasonable and the source is dubious, in fact, Nigeria doesn't even have a royal family.

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Post #6

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micatala wrote: Sorry for getting in late
No problem at all, any topics or posts I make in other topics no longer automatically mean I am watching that topic. I didn't even know I had recieved a reply from help3434.
micatala wrote:I would agree that, from the viewpoint of my own personal views, having the church subsume the state is not something I would be in favor of.
We are in agreement.
micatala wrote:I think it might be interesting to get into more of Dostoyevsky's own views on this.
What was going on in Russia at this time (around 1880, right?) that Dostoyevsky might be getting at? As I read it, I was thinking about this being still in living memory of revolutions in France and elsewhere, and modernism taking root, and how Russia was still apart from the main part of Europe. I also thought about events that were to come in Russia.

One thought that comes to mind is how different this version of takeover of the state by Christianity is from the stereotypical religious right political movement in America. Ivan seemed to me to be suggesting a sort of organic cultural take over. I don't recall Ivan or Paissy suggesting any real political tactics or strategies to create that reality.
I did find an interesting article here that examines Dostoevsky's views on the Catholic church and it's similarity to a state. the author states that Dostoevsky believes the Catholic church has already become a state, that it stopped being a church and perhaps this explains some of his views in this chapter. They discuss the Church encompassing the state, the state becoming a part of the Church or the Church itself and they speak of this quite fondly. If Dostoevsky truly did believe that the Catholic Church has given up on being a church and instead invested itself as a state and Dostoevsky truly did despise this then he has expressed his own views on what should happen between church and state. The Church should not become a state, the state should become part of the Church. However, I need to read a lot more Dostoevsky before I could really confirm these views.
Religion feels to me a little like a Nigerian Prince scam. The "offer" is illegitimate, the "request" is unreasonable and the source is dubious, in fact, Nigeria doesn't even have a royal family.

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Post #7

Post by micatala »

I found this site on background for this specific novel.

http://www.dartmouth.edu/~karamazov/res ... age_id=529

There is a lot of info there and I haven't done more than skim a bit at this point, but it looks like it will be useful.
" . . . the line separating good and evil passes, not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either, but right through every human heart . . . ." Alexander Solzhenitsyn

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Post #8

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micatala wrote: I found this site on background for this specific novel.

http://www.dartmouth.edu/~karamazov/res ... age_id=529

There is a lot of info there and I haven't done more than skim a bit at this point, but it looks like it will be useful.
Looks like it's going to be very helpful, it's got a synopsis of his personal life as well as the state of the country and of the world (mostly Europe) at the time of his novels. Curiously, his three year old son Alexie died a few years before the Brothers Karamazov was published, Any relation to Alyosha? Maybe? He does seem to have a profound love of that character and expresses that everyone else in the novel does as well.
Religion feels to me a little like a Nigerian Prince scam. The "offer" is illegitimate, the "request" is unreasonable and the source is dubious, in fact, Nigeria doesn't even have a royal family.

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Post #9

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Have you read book five yet? What did you think of Ivan's on the problem of evil in "Rebellion?" If God existed would God have the right to forgive people for what they do to other people? In another thread somewhere on the forum cnorman18 said that in Judaism God's forgiveness is for trespasses against Him, not for offenses against other people. It would have been interesting to hear them have a conversation. Another major issue in the chapter children suffering. What constructive purpose could there to a child suffering cruelly? Could God plan really be so great that it justifies letting this suffering happen?

What did you make of Ivan's parable "The Grand Inquisitor"? I don't think I fully understand what Ivan was getting at with that one.

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Post #10

Post by Filthy Tugboat »

help3434 wrote: Have you read book five yet? What did you think of Ivan's on the problem of evil in "Rebellion?" If God existed would God have the right to forgive people for what they do to other people? In another thread somewhere on the forum cnorman18 said that in Judaism God's forgiveness is for trespasses against Him, not for offenses against other people. It would have been interesting to hear them have a conversation. Another major issue in the chapter children suffering. What constructive purpose could there to a child suffering cruelly? Could God plan really be so great that it justifies letting this suffering happen?
It was curious and definitely enlightened me about Ivan. I have really enjoyed reading this book because it has taught me something of philosophy that I was surprised I haven't encountered on this website over the last three years.
help3434 wrote:What did you make of Ivan's parable "The Grand Inquisitor"? I don't think I fully understand what Ivan was getting at with that one.
I believe a few different things about the point of the story. I believe he thinks the Catholic Church to be the embodiment of all that Christ rejected when he was tempted by Satan. He also believes that they are doing this for the good of the flock, they are living in sin in order to prevent the masses of followers from doing the same by denying them freedom.
Religion feels to me a little like a Nigerian Prince scam. The "offer" is illegitimate, the "request" is unreasonable and the source is dubious, in fact, Nigeria doesn't even have a royal family.

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