ENGL 2210 World Literature II
Tosltoy "What I believe": Study Guide
Part 11: The Dead Church
Part 12: What is Faith
- Tolstoy seems to distinguish the "teachings of the Church" from the "teachings of Christ." If both teachings come from the same source, the Bible" then how is it possible to distinguish the two?
- Make a list of what the word "Church" may refer to historically and in our time. Do the same for the word "Christian".
- List some of the inconsistencies he finds between the teachings of the church (what the church professes) that are opposite to the teachings of Christ. Do you think he has a point? Why do you think such inconsistencies exist?
- Constantine was a Roman emperor who converted to Christianity and established a close relationship between the Church and the State, which Tolstoy claims has not changed since. What's wrong with such a relationship between the Church and State, according to Tolstoy? What kind of a relationship do you think there should be between the Church and the State? What benefits can you see in a close relationship?
- Can you provide any examples of how leaders of the State may be using the Curch for their own benefit?
- What are the two sides of any religious teaching, according to Tolstoy?
- When Tolstoy says that the Church has no teachings about life, only teaching about Heaven and Hell, he implies that the Church is more concerned with what happens to man after death, than about life here on earth. Take away Heaven and Hell and you have no Curch. Yoou may disagree, but do you think he has some point?
- Why, according to Tolstoy, has the Church not been very active in movements to stop the killing of people?
- Where do all real changes in the world come from, according to Tolstoy?
- If the Church can't teach man how to lead a good and proper life, than how should man go about figuring this out?
- Tolstoy says that people tell him that they can't live according to the teachings of Christ because there are bad people in the world, implying that sometimes they are forced to do bad things in return. What does Tolstoy say is the real reason? What's Tolstoy's solution to this?
- What kind of similiarity does Tolstoy find between the Faith of the scientist and the faith of the Chruch?
- Man needs laws and rules to live by and to tell him right from wrong. Sadly, says Tolstoy, these laws now come from the teachings of the State. Whay, do you think, that is so? Would you agree?
- Why can't we hear the voice of God that tells us right from wrong, according to Tolstoy?
- Tolstoy says that the western Church doesn't seem to see much of a difference between the will of God from the will of the police. Both are based on punishment and the exercise of power. Do you think he is right?
- Who are "the only true believers in our country," according to Tolstoy?
- According to Tolstoy, God used the church to hold the teachings of Christ for some time, but now it's job is done, people have no more use for it. Do you think there is any truth in this view?
- The most important thing about Christ's teachings, according to Tolsoty, is what he said about life here and now, about how to lead a good life. What's Tolstoy's view of people who believe in heaven and hell, in the Church, in the holy bread, fasting, etc.?
- In the last four parapgraphs of the reading Tolstoy lists the esentials of Christ's teachings. What are they?
- Why does one need to follow the teachings of Christ, according to Tolstoy?
- What, specifically, should one do and not do if one were to follow Christ's teachings, according to Tolstoy? What are Christ's rules?
- If you can, compare these rules and how they are applied with the teachings of your, or any other contemporary Church.
- What's wrong with having pride in one's country, according to Tolstoy?
- Many Evangelicals believe that it is one's duty to spread the teachings of Christ through the Bible. What's Tolstoy's way of spreading Christ's teaching?
- Truth in action, according to Tolstoy, is the one thing that can free people from the lie. So, which do you think is more important to being a Christian, knowing the word, or living the word? What is the opinion of contemporary churches?