Category: Dostoevsky: Sober Hope
As Christians, we recognize the most fantastic story of all in the Incarnation, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The genius writer was also a potent social critic motivated by deeply held Christian faith.
“We make still by the law by which we’re made.” With these words, and with others so aimed, J.R.R. Tolkien once assaulted C.S. Lewis’s uneasy atheism.
For a writer universally considered one of the greatest Christian novelists of our age, Fyodor Dostoevsky actually spent as much time in his post-Siberia novels writing about unbelief as he did about faith.
Had Dostoevsky not existed, we may very well have needed to invent him.
Dostoevsky is a master of irony. His stories are characterized by a bite of satire, a sting of social conscience, and a stirring of the Spirit. This early “Christmas” story is no exception.
Out of all the works of Dostoevsky, few novels have received as much criticism as The Idiot.
As Philip Yancey described various inspirational though “unlikely mentors” who helped his “faith survive the church,” Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910) and Fyodor Dostoevsky (1821-81), a pair of Russian nineteenth century novelists, appeared on his list.
There is a striking image in Fyodor Dostoevsky’s novel The Idiot: a painting titled The Body of the Dead Christ in the Tomb. The famed Russian author was so disturbed by the image that he remarked, “One can lose his faith from a painting like that.”
The narrative of Dostoevsky’s own life unfurled pages revealing the impacts of the hearts of darkness that shaped the society around him.
As an accomplished and world-renowned novelist, Dostoevsky peopled his stories with characters who could either ascend the heights of heaven or plumb the depths of hell.
Once there was a cobbler named Tom. He lived in a small cottage in a little garden on the end of a large city known for the beautiful fruits and vegetables sold in its marketplace.
Long ago, I read a story in the Washington Post on the topic of literacy. It presented John, a student working on his Masters in Education, who hoped to be a teacher someday. He stated that he didn’t like to read.
You told me tales back then.
Magi-like, we had come all this way for a birth, not a death.
Fyodor Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov is sometimes called a work of “philosophical fiction.”
Despite the current state of Russian society (or arguably because of it), a review of Dostoevsky’s philosophical thought, fundamentally based on love as found in his Christian faith, is highly relevant today.
‘Twas a triviality that drove her mother, /
A woman of superb breeding and culture, /
To grasp feces and anoint her little face, /
Consecrating her own child in a foul place.
My mind is a necropolis.
The novels of Dostoevsky are haunted by the bleakest of “What ifs.” What if there is no God?