People live peacefully with each other and act in agreement only when they are united by the same worldview: they equally understand the goal and purpose of their activities. So it is for families, so it is for various circles of people, so it is for political parties, so it is for whole estates, and so it is especially for peoples united in states.
People of one nation live more or less peacefully among themselves and defend their common interests amicably only as long as they live the same worldview, assimilated and recognized by all people of the people. The worldview common to the people of the people is usually expressed by the religion established in the people.
So it was always in pagan antiquity, so it is now in pagan and Mohammedan peoples, and with particular clarity in the most ancient and still continuing to live the same peaceful and harmonious life of the people of China. This was the case among the so-called Christian nations. These peoples were internally united by the religion that was called Christian. This religion was a very unreasonable and internally contradictory combination of the most basic and eternal truths about human life with the crudest requirements of pagan life. But no matter how rude this combination was, it, putting on solemn forms, for a long time met the moral and mental requirements of European peoples.
But the further life moved, the more the peoples were enlightened, the more obvious and obvious became the internal contradiction contained in this religion, its groundlessness, inconsistency and uselessness. So this went on for centuries and in our time it has come to the point that this religion is held only by inertia, no one is recognized by anyone and does not fulfill the main external influence on the people inherent in religion: uniting people in one worldview, one common understanding of the purpose and purpose of life.
Previously, this religious teaching disintegrated into various sects, and each sect ardently defended its understanding, now this is no longer there. If there are different sects between different hunters of words, no one is seriously interested in these sects. The entire mass of the people, both the most learned and the most uneducated workers, no longer believe not only in this Christian religion that once moved people, but do not believe in any religion, believe that the very concept of religion is something backward and unnecessary. Scientists believe in science, socialism, anarchism, progress. Unlearned people believe in rituals, in church services, in Sunday not doing, but they believe both in tradition, decency; but there is no faith at all, as a faith that unites people, moves them, or disappearing remnants remain.
The weakening of faith, its replacement or rather obscuring it with superstitious customs for the masses and a rationalistic interpretation of the foundations of faith by the highest scientific classes occurs everywhere: in Brahmanism, and in Confucianism, and in Buddhism, and in Mohammedanism, but nowhere is there that complete liberation of peoples from religion, which has happened and is happening with extraordinary speed in Christianity. The obscuring of the foundations of faith by superstitious interpretations and customs is a phenomenon common to all religions. General reasons for obscuring the foundations of faith are, first and foremost, in the fact that it is always those who do not understand who want to interpret the teaching and, by their interpretations, distort and weaken it; secondly, in the fact that the majority is looking for visible forms of manifestation of the teaching and translates it into a material spiritual meaning of the teaching; thirdly, in the priestly distortions of the religious foundations of the teachings common to all religions for the benefit of the priests and the ruling classes.
All three reasons for these perversions of religion are common to all religious teachings and have distorted in part the teachings of Brahmanism, Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Jewry, Mohammedanism; but these reasons did not destroy faith in these teachings. And the peoples of Asia, despite the perversions to which these teachings were subjected, continue to believe in them and are united among themselves and defend their independence. Only one so-called Christian religion has lost any obligation for the peoples professing it, and has ceased to be a religion. Why is this? What are the specific reasons for this strange phenomenon?
The reason for this is that the so-called Church-Christian teaching is not an integral teaching that arose on the basis of the preaching of one great teacher, such as Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, but there is only a fake for the true teaching of a great teacher, which has almost nothing in common with the true teaching. , except for the name of the founder and some unrelated provisions borrowed from the main teaching. I know that what I have to say now is precisely that the church faith, which for centuries has been professed and is now professed by millions of people under the name of Christianity, is nothing more than a very crude Jewish sect that has nothing in common with true Christianity, – will seem to people who profess in words the teachings of this sect, not only incredible, but the height of the most terrible blasphemy.
But I can’t help but say this. I cannot but say this because in order for people to be able to use the great blessing that true Christian teaching gives us, we must first of all get rid of that incoherent, false and, most importantly, deeply immoral teaching that has hidden from us the true Christian teaching. This teaching, which concealed from us the teaching of Christ, is that teaching of Paul, set forth in his epistles and which became the basis of church teaching. This teaching is not only not the teaching of Christ, but is the teaching directly opposite to it.
One has only to carefully read the Gospels, not paying special attention to everything that bears the stamp of superstitious insertions made by the compilers, like the miracle of Cana of Galilee, resurrections, healings, the casting out of demons and the resurrection of Christ himself, and dwelling on what is simple, clear , understandably and internally connected by one and the same thought – and then read at least the epistles of Paul that are recognized as the best, so that it becomes clear that complete disagreement that cannot but exist between the universal, eternal teaching of the simple, holy man Jesus with the practical, obscure, confusing, bombastic and counterfeiting the existing evil by the teaching of the Pharisee Paul.
Just as the essence of Christ’s teaching (like everything truly great) is simple, clear, accessible to everyone and can be expressed in one word: man is the son of God – so the essence of Paul’s teaching is artificial, dark and completely incomprehensible to any person who is free from hypnosis.
The essence of Christ’s teaching is that the true good of man is in doing the will of the Father. The will of the Father is in the unity of people. Therefore, the reward for fulfilling the will of the Father is fulfillment itself, merging with the Father. The reward is now in the consciousness of oneness with the will of the Father. This consciousness gives the highest joy and freedom. This can be achieved only by raising the spirit in oneself, by transferring life into spiritual life.
The essence of Paul’s teaching is that the death of Christ and his resurrection saves people from their sins and cruel punishments, which God intended for today’s people for their ancestral sins.
As the basis of Christ’s teaching that the main and only duty of man is the fulfillment of the will of God, that is, love for people, the only basis of Paul’s teaching is that the only duty of man is the belief that Christ by his death atoned for and atone for the sins of people …
Just as, according to the teaching of Christ, the reward for transferring one’s life into the spiritual essence of each person is the joyful freedom of this consciousness of union with God, so according to the teaching of Paul, the reward of a good life is not here, but in the future, posthumous state. According to Paul’s teaching, one must live a good life, most importantly, in order to receive a reward for it there. With his usual inconsistency, he says, as if to prove that there should be bliss in the future life: If we do not debauchery and deprive ourselves of the pleasure of doing nasty things here, and there is no reward in the future life, then we will remain in the fools.
Yes, the basis of Christ’s teaching is truth, meaning is the purpose of life. Paul’s teaching is based on calculation and fantasy.
Even more different conclusions naturally follow from such different foundations.
Where Christ says that people should not wait for rewards and punishments in the future and should, like workers of the owner, understand their purpose, fulfill it, – all Paul’s teaching is based on the fear of punishment and on promises of rewards, ascension to heaven or on the very the immoral position that if you believe, you will get rid of sins, you are sinless. Where the Gospel recognizes the equality of all people and says that what is great before people is an abomination to God, Paul teaches obedience to authorities, recognizing their institution from God, so that those who resist the authority resist God’s institution. Where Christ teaches that a person must always forgive, Paul invokes anathema against those who do not do what he tells him to, and advises to drink and feed the hungry enemy in order to collect hot coals on the enemy’s head by this act, and asks Punish God for some personal calculations with him Alexander Mednik.
The Gospel says that people are all equal; Paul knows slaves and tells them to obey their masters. Christ says: do not swear at all and give to Caesar only that which is Caesar’s, but that God’s – your soul – do not give to anyone. Paul says: “Let every soul be submissive to the higher authorities: for there is no power except from God; the existing authorities from God are established. ” (Rom. XIII, 1,2)
Christ says: “Those who take the sword will perish by the sword.” Paul says: “The ruler is God’s servant, for your good. But if you do evil, fear, for he does not carry a sword in vain; he is God’s servant …, an avenger as punishment for the one who does evil. ” (Rom. XIII, 4.)
Christ says: “The sons of God are not obliged to pay taxes to anyone. Paul says, “For this reason, you also pay the tax: for they are God’s servants, who are constantly busy with the same. And therefore, give everyone their due; to whom to submit – to submit; to whom dues – dues, to whom fear – fear, to whom honor – honor. ” (Rom. XIII, 6,7.)
But not only these opposite teachings of Christ and Paul show the incompatibility of the great, universal teaching, which clarifies what was expressed by all the greatest sages of Greece, Rome and the East, with the petty, sectarian, casual, perky preaching of the unenlightened, self-confident and petty-conceited, boastful and a clever Jew. This incompatibility cannot but be obvious to every person who has perceived the essence of the great Christian teaching.
Meanwhile, a number of accidental reasons made this insignificant and false teaching take the place of the great eternal and true teaching of Christ and even for many centuries hid it from the consciousness of most people. True, at all times there were people among Christian nations who understood Christian teaching in its true meaning, but these were only exceptions. Most of the so-called, especially after the authority of the church, all the writings of Paul, even his advice to friends about drinking wine to improve the stomach, were recognized as an indisputable work of the holy spirit, the majority believed that it was this immoral and confusing teaching that lend itself to , as a result of this, the most arbitrary interpretation is the real teaching of God-Christ himself.
There were many different reasons for this delusion.
The first is that Paul, like all self-loving, popular preachers of lies, fussed, ran from place to place, recruited disciples, not disdaining any means to acquire them; people who understood the true teaching lived by it and were in no hurry to preach.
The second reason was that the epistles preaching, under the name of Jesus Christ, the teaching of Paul, became, as a result of Paul’s haste activity, known before the gospels (this was in the 50s after the birth of Christ. The gospels appeared later).
The third reason was that Paul’s grossly superstitious teaching was more accessible to the gross crowd, who willingly accepted the new superstition to replace the old.
The fourth reason was that this doctrine (no matter how false it was in relation to the foundations that it perverted), being nevertheless more reasonable than the coarse paganism professed by the peoples, meanwhile, did not violate pagan forms of life, like paganism, allowing and justifying violence , executions, slavery, wealth, – at the root destroyed the entire warehouse of pagan life.
The essence of the matter was as follows.
In Galilee in Judea, a great sage, teacher of life, Jesus, called Christ, appeared. His teaching was composed of those eternal truths about human life, vaguely anticipated by all people and more or less clearly expressed by all the great teachers of mankind: the Brahmin sages, Confucius, Lao Tze, Buddha. These truths were perceived by the common people around Christ and more or less confined to the Jewish beliefs of that time, of which the main thing was the expectation of the coming of the Messiah.
The appearance of Christ with his teaching, which changed the whole structure of existing life, was taken by some as the fulfillment of the prophecies about the Messiah. It may very well be that Christ himself more or less timed his eternal, universal teaching to the casual, temporary religious forms of the people among whom he preached. But, be that as it may, the teaching of Christ attracted the disciples, stirred up the people and, spreading more and more, it became so unpleasant for the Jewish authorities that they executed Christ and after his death they persecuted, tortured and executed his followers (Stephen and others). The executions, as always, only strengthened the faith of the followers.
The stubbornness and conviction of these followers probably attracted attention and greatly struck one of the persecuting Pharisees, named Saul. And this Saul, later getting the name Paul, is a very popular, frivolous, ardent and dexterous man, suddenly for some internal reasons, which we can only guess, instead of his previous activity directed against the disciples of Christ, he decided, using that power of conviction , which he met in the followers of Christ, to become the founder of a new religious sect, on the basis of which he put those very vague and vague concepts that he had about the teachings of Christ, all the Jewish Pharisaic traditions that have grown together with him, and most importantly, his speculations about the effectiveness of faith, which should save and justify people.
From that time, from the 50s, after the death of Christ, the intensified preaching of this false Christianity began, and in these 5-6 years the first (later recognized as sacred) pseudo-Christian letters were written, namely the epistles. The Epistles were the first to define for the masses the completely perverse meaning of Christianity.
When this false understanding of Christianity was established among the majority of believers, the Gospels began to appear, which, especially Matthew, were not whole works of one person, but a combination of many descriptions of the life and teaching of Christ. First, the gospel of Mark appeared, then Matthew, Luke, then John.
All these gospels do not represent whole works, but all the essence of a combination from various scriptures. So, for example, the gospel of Matthew is based on a short gospel of the Jews, which contains one Sermon on the Mount. Yet the gospel is composed of supplements added to it. It’s the same with the other gospels. All these Gospels (except for the main part of the Gospel of John), appearing later than Paul, were more or less adapted to the already existing Pauline teaching.
So the true teaching of the great teacher, that which made Christ himself and his followers die for him, also made Paul choose this teaching for his glorious purposes; true doctrine, from the first steps perverted by Pavlov’s perversion, was more and more covered with a thick layer of superstition, distortion, false understanding, and ended with the fact that the true doctrine of Christ became unknown to the majority and was completely replaced by that strange church doctrine with popes, metropolitans, sacraments, icons , justifications by faith, etc., which has almost nothing in common with true Christian teaching, except for the name.
Such is the attitude of the true Christian teaching to the Pauline church teaching, which is called Christian. The teaching was false in relation to what they supposedly imagined, but no matter how false it was, this teaching was still a step forward in comparison with the religious concepts of the barbarians of the time of Constantine. And therefore, Constantine and the people around him willingly accepted this teaching, completely confident that this teaching is the teaching of Christ. Having fallen into the hands of the rulers, this doctrine became more and more coarse and approached the world outlook of the masses. Icons, statues, deified beings appeared, and the people sincerely believed in this teaching.
So it was in Byzantium and Rome. So it was all the Middle Ages, and some of the new ones – until the end of the 18th century, when people, the so-called Christian peoples, united in the name of this church Pavlovian faith, which gave them, albeit very base and having nothing to do with true Christianity , explanation of the meaning and purpose of human life.
People had a religion, they believed in it and therefore could live a life of harmony, defending common interests.
So it went on for a long time, it would continue now, if this church faith were an independent religious teaching, like the teaching of Brahmanism, Buddhism, like the teaching of Shinto, especially as the Chinese teaching of Confucius, and was not a fake under the teaching of Christianity, which does not have in itself no root.
The further Christian mankind lived, the more education spread, and the bolder and bolder both secular and spiritual rulers became on the basis of a perverted and recognized infallible faith, the more and more the falsity of the perverted faith, all the groundlessness and internal contradiction of the doctrine, which recognized the basis love of life and at the same time justifying war and all kinds of violence.
People believed less and less in the teaching, and it ended in the fact that the vast majority of Christian peoples stopped believing not only in this perverted teaching, but also in any religious teaching common to most people. All were divided into an innumerable number of not faiths, but worldviews; everyone, as the proverb says, has crawled out like blind puppies from a mother, and all now people of our Christian world with different worldviews and even faiths: monarchists, socialists; republicans, anarchists, spiritualists, evangelists, etc., all fear each other, hate each other.
I will not describe the poverty, division, and anger of the people of Christianity. Everyone knows this. One has only to read the first one that comes across, whatever, the most conservative or the most revolutionary newspaper. Everyone living in the midst of Christendom cannot fail to see that no matter how bad the present state of the Christian world is, what awaits it is even worse.
Mutual anger is growing, and all the patches suggested by both governments and revolutionaries, socialists, anarchists cannot bring people who do not have any other ideal before them other than personal well-being, and therefore cannot but envy each other and hate each other , to nothing else, except for all kinds of internal and external carnage and the greatest disasters. Salvation is not in peace conferences and pension funds, not in spiritualism, evangelism, free Protestantism, socialism; salvation lies in one thing: in the recognition of one such faith, which could unite the people of our time. And this faith exists, and there are many people already now who know it.
This faith is that teaching of Christ, which was hidden from people by the false teaching of Paul and the church. One has only to remove these veils, which hide the truth from us, and the teaching of Christ will be revealed to us, which explains to people the meaning of their life and indicates the manifestation of this teaching in life and gives people the opportunity for a peaceful and intelligent life.
This teaching is simple, clear, practicable, one for all people of the world and not only does not disagree with the teachings of Krishna, Buddha, Lao-Tze, Confucius in their non-perverted form, Socrates, Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius and all the sages who understood one thing in common for all people the appointment of a person and common to all, in all teachings the same law arising from the consciousness of this appointment, but confirms and clarifies them.
It would seem that it is so simple and easy for suffering people to free themselves from that crude superstition, perverted Christianity in which they lived and live, and to assimilate that religious teaching that was perverted and the implementation of which inevitably gives complete satisfaction to both the bodily and spiritual nature of man. But on the way of this realization there are many and many various obstacles: and the fact that this false teaching is recognized as divine; and the fact that it is so intertwined with the true teaching that it is especially difficult to separate the false from the true; and the fact that this deception was sanctified by the tradition of antiquity, and on the basis of it there are absolutely many deeds considered good, which, having recognized the true doctrine, should have been recognized as shameful; and the fact that the life of masters and slaves was formed on the basis of false teaching, as a result of which it was possible to produce all those imaginary benefits of material progress, of which our humanity is so proud; and with the establishment of true Christianity, all the greater part of these adaptations will have to perish, since without slaves there will be no one to make them.
The obstacle is especially important and the fact that the true teaching is disadvantageous for people in power. People in power have the opportunity, through false education and bribery, violence and hypnosis of adults, to spread a false teaching that completely hides from people that true teaching that alone gives an undoubted and inalienable benefit to all people.
The main obstacle is that precisely because the falsehood of the perversion of Christian teaching is too obvious, in recent years, more and more gross superstition has spread and spreads, many times more harmful than all the superstitions of antiquity, the superstition that religion in general is something unnecessary, obsolete, that without religion, humanity can live a rational life.
Superstition is especially characteristic of limited people. And as such most people in our time, this gross superstition is more and more spread. These people, having in mind the very perversions of religion, imagine that religion in general is something backward, experienced by humanity, and that now people have learned that they can live without religion, that is, without answering the question: why do people live, and how do they, as intelligent beings, one must be guided.
This gross superstition is spread mainly by people, the so-called scientists, that is, people who are especially limited and have lost the ability to original, rational thinking, as a result of the constant study of other people’s thoughts and engaging in the most idle and unnecessary questions. Especially easily and willingly this superstition is perceived by the city factory workers, dull from machine work, the number of which is becoming more and more, among the most considered enlightened, that is, in essence the most backward and perverted people of our time.
This more and more pervasive superstition is the reason for the rejection of the true teaching of Christ. But in him, in this spreading superstition, is the reason that people will inevitably be led to the understanding that the religion they reject, imagining that this religion of Christ is only a perversion of this religion, and that the true religion alone can to save people from the calamities into which they fall more and more, living without religion.
People by the very experience of life will be led to the need to understand that without religion people have never lived and cannot live, that if they are alive now, it is only because the remnants of religion are still alive among them; they will understand that wolves, hares can live without religion, but a person who has a mind is such a tool that gives him tremendous power – if he lives without religion, obeying his animal instincts, he becomes the most terrible beast, harmful especially to his own kind.
This is what people will inevitably understand, and are already beginning to understand now, after the terrible calamities that they cause and are preparing to inflict upon themselves. People will understand that they cannot live in society without one common understanding of life that unites them. And this common understanding of life that unites all people is vaguely worn with the consciousness of all people in the Christian world, partly because this consciousness is inherent in man in general, partly because this understanding of life is expressed in the very teaching that was perverted, but whose essence penetrated through perversion.
You just need to understand that everything that still holds our world, everything that is good in it, all the unity of people, what it is, all those ideals that are worn before people: socialism, anarchism, all this is nothing else, as a private manifestation of that true religion, which was hidden from us by the paulovost and the church (it was hidden, probably, because the consciousness of peoples had not yet matured to the true one) and to which Christian humanity has now grown.
The people of our time and the world do not need, as limited and frivolous people, the so-called scientists think, to come up with some new foundations of life that can unite all people, but they only need to discard all those perversions that hide the true faith from us, and this faith, one with all the rational foundations of the faith of all mankind, will reveal itself to us in all its grandeur, but all its obligation for every person with reason.
Just as a liquid, ready to crystallize, expects a push in order to turn into crystals, so Christian mankind was only waiting for an impulse so that all its vague Christian aspirations, drowned out by false teachings and especially by superstition about the possibility of humanity to live without religion, turned into reality, and This impetus was almost simultaneously given to us by the awakening of the Eastern peoples and the revolution among the Russian people, who most of all retained the spirit of true Christianity, and not Pavlovian Christianity.
The reason why the Christian peoples in general and the Russian people in particular are now in a distressful situation is that the peoples have not only lost the only condition necessary for a peaceful, harmonious and happy cohabitation of people: belief in the same foundations of life and common to all to people the laws of deeds are not only deprived of this main condition of a good life, but also become stiff in the gross superstition that people can live a good life without faith.
There is only one salvation from this situation: in the recognition that if the perversion of the Christian faith was a perversion of the faith and should have been rejected, then the faith that was perverted is a single, most necessary truth in our time, recognized by all people, not only Christian, but and the eastern world, and the adherence to which gives people, each separately and all together, not a disastrous, but a concordant and kind life.
Salvation is not in arranging a life that we have invented for other people, as people who do not have faith now understand it in their own way: some parliamentarism, others a republic, others socialism, some anarchism, but that all people are in one and to understand the same for each one of himself the purpose of life and its law and live on the basis of this law in love with others, but without defining ahead of any known arrangement of people.
The order of life for all people will be good only when people will not care about this arrangement, but will only care for everyone to fulfill the requirement of their faith before their conscience. Only then will the structure of life be the best, not the one we invent, but the one that should be in accordance with the faith that people profess and the laws of which they fulfill.
This faith exists in pure Christianity, which coincides with all the teachings of the sages of antiquity and the East.
And I think that it is now the time of this faith has come, and that the best that a person can do in our time is to follow the teachings of this faith in his life and help spread it among people.
The idea of the article “Why Christian Nations …” was first noted by Tolstoy in his notebook on January 21, 1907. The last manuscript was dated May 17; meanwhile, Tolstoy looked through this manuscript and made a large insert to it about the Apostle Paul.
The article was first published in 1917. In the journal “Voice of Tolstoy and Edinenie”, No. 5. “Jubilee edition” publishes an article based on manuscript No. 8. At the end of the manuscript, Tolstoy’s date: “1907, May 17”. “Tolstovsky Listok” publishes an article based on the text of “The Jubilee Complete Works of Leo Tolstoy” (v. 37)