Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Lecture Notes 8: Irina Kirillov on Dostoevsky as Prophet Contra Mundum
Dostoevsky’s “If there is no God, then all is permitted.”
Actually what was written of course was “if there is no immortality...”. This is D’s response to secularism.
Dostoevsky as Prophet
He was a polemicist - and his approach would likely be unpopular now as then.
Dos did not believe in a simplistic approach that suggested a religious society was always ‘good’, but he did know that the loss or repression of religion would create a tyrannical culture. Man is fallen and cruel; without God he does create ‘the end’ of history - a rational, liberal heaven.
There is no love in the Man-God. Love is found in the God-Man
Philip Blond - ‘Broken Britain’ (Red Tory), on the malaise of Britain
D. Bleak Utopia
A society that’s lost it soul is about to lose its future.
Umberto Eco - ‘down to the positive hero of myth...’
these are the replacement idols for our godlessness
Dostoevsky on Rationalism
The conflict between faith and rationality - “If someone were to prove to me that Christ is outside the truth, then I would rather be with Christ than with the truth. My faith is not a childish faith; it has been sorely tried by faith.”
Great Tyrannies Opposing the Church and the Faith
The Revolutionary view of Jesus: itinerant philosopher who suffers ‘an unfortunate death’
Dostoevsky’s ‘The Idiot’ - showing the corpse of Jesus; Holbein’s Jesus.
The Norwegian “Utopia”
The Negation of Utopia
Dostoevsky wanted to embrace the utopian ideal, but in the end abandons the notion because it is destructive.
It is in prison that he discovers afresh that man is made in the image of God and that man is called to likeness.
“Man in rejecting God does not gain freedom...” - “The Grand Inquisitor”
Notes from the Under Ground
“Twice two is four is nice. How much nicer when twice two is five.”
kill the pawnbroker in the name of social good (Roskolnikov)
PD James - ‘The Children of Men’ ( man of faith exposing the horror of the so-called social good promoted violence). Roskolnikov is an atheist but demands that the raising of Lazarus is read to him. He doesn’t repent, but does recognize that only a miracle can save him.
* Dostoevsky’s work opens up the jaws of hell. “After preparing this paper, I wanted to go to Church and have communion, and cleanse myself of contact with this evil.”
Man is a sinner, fallen, and cannot save himself.
“By 1966 there will not be a single member of the clergy left alive in the Soviet Union”
Under Lenin, priests were crucified, and sometimes they were nailed to the floor, and then had their eyes ripped out. Lenin would shake with rage and shout, “All must be destroyed!”
“All slaves must be equal - inequality is the great evil: cicero has his tongue cut out, copernicus has his eyes gauged out; shakespeare is stoned to death.” - The Devils
He nowhere suggests Theocracy, but remains silent on such macro-notions, pointing us back to our own interior telling us to trust in and confess Christ.