As a distraction from the fact that I am currently looking for work I decided to read Brothers Kharamazov instead of my usual fare of chick lit and newspapers. Various people have recommended Dostoevsky to me and I finally got round to reading him. First of all, I have to say that I found the book hard work, probably due to the nature of my normal literary diet. However, it discusses some interesting theological points through the lives of fictional characters, which does make it more real and I thought I would share my thoughts with you all.
A whole chapter is dedicate to an aetheists ideas on whether Jesus would be welcomed by the church if he came back today or if we would think he was ‘intefering’. The basic premise is that as Jesus doesn’t guarentee a life free of hunger and pain down here on earth the church has had to not only terrify everyone into submitting to a constructed version of morality but replace faith with miracles, mystery and authority. This was completed 128 years ago and we still seem to be debating similar issues.
I suppose my answer to the chapter is that the decision to have faith and the journey to maintain it in the face of difficulties are what stops us being robots and encourages us to strive towards a ‘fairer’ society. The whole tone of the chapter undermines human nature, suggesting humans are no more than a slave or rebel when I think each person is there making their choices in good ‘faith’.
Dostoevsky spends the rest of the book answering the questions in that chapter. All three of the Brothers Kharamazov have a religious experience. The main hero, Alyosha Kharamazov, realises that what is important is to do the equivalent of the action of an elderly lady in a russian folk story, give a beggar an onion. You may make many mistakes, but if you once give a beggar an onion you have gone far. This leads to Alyosha being over awed by the beauty of God’s stars and the sleeping town before him and literally hugging the earth. I find that God’s sea/creation often moves me, and found the passage very moving. It certainly makes the point that miracles and mystery should be within faith, not separate from it.
On a different note, a friend told me that God tells his people not to be afraid 365 times in the bible, hummm, I’m working on that one!
On the other hand the weather is amasing and I am getting some work experience with www.socialinvestments.com which is an uber cooooool venture (if I say so myself) trying to raise the profile of social businesses and get more investment for them.