The Christian Teaching — Part 2 : Sins

By Leo Tolstoy (1895)

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Revolt Library Anarchism The Christian Teaching Part 2

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(1828 - 1910)

Father of Christian Anarchism

: In 1861, during the second of his European tours, Tolstoy met with Proudhon, with whom he exchanged ideas. Inspired by the encounter, Tolstoy returned to Yasnaya Polyana to found thirteen schools that were the first attempt to implement a practical model of libertarian education. (From: Anarchy Archives.)
• "It is necessary that men should understand things as they are, should call them by their right names, and should know that an army is an instrument for killing, and that the enrollment and management of an army -- the very things which Kings, Emperors, and Presidents occupy themselves with so self-confidently -- is a preparation for murder." (From: "'Thou Shalt Not Kill'," by Leo Tolstoy, August 8,....)
• "You are surprised that soldiers are taught that it is right to kill people in certain cases and in war, while in the books admitted to be holy by those who so teach, there is nothing like such a permission..." (From: "Letter to a Non-Commissioned Officer," by Leo Tol....)
• "It usually happens that when an idea which has been useful and even necessary in the past becomes superfluous, that idea, after a more or less prolonged struggle, yields its place to a new idea which was till then an ideal, but which thus becomes a present idea." (From: "Patriotism and Government," by Leo Tolstoy, May 1....)


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Part 2

1. In order to fulfill his destiny, human must increase love within himself and manifest it in the world; and this increase and manifestation of love in the world is what is necessary to accomplish the work of God. But what a human can do to manifest love?

2. The foundation of a person’s true life is the desire for the well-being of all existing. Love in a person is enclosed within the limits of a separate being, and therefore it is naturally tends to expand those limits; so a person does not need to do anything to manifest love, it strives for its own manifestation; a person only needs to remove obstacles to its progression. What are these obstacles?

3. The obstacles that make it difficult for a person to manifest love are in the human body, in his separateness from other beings: in the fact that a person, beginning his life from infancy during which he lives only animal life of a separate being, even later on, when reason is already awakening in him, cannot completely get away from striving to benefit his separate being, and so he commits acts opposite to love.

13. Implication of obstacles to the manifestation of love

1. The desire for the well-being of all existing, love, in its strive toward its manifestation, encounters obstacles to this manifestation in the human body, and particularly because the human reason, which sets the love free, awakens in the person not at the time of his appearance in this world, but after certain time, when he has already grown the habits of animal life. Why is this?

2. A person cannot but ask himself this question: Why a spiritual being – love - is enclosed within a separate being of a human? And different teachings answer this question differently. Some, the pessimistic, respond that the enclosure of spiritual being within human body is a mistake which must be corrected by the destruction of the body, destruction of animal life. Other teachings say that the assumption of the existence of spiritual being is a mistake that must be corrected by the acknowledgment only of the existence of the body and its laws. Neither of these views resolves the contradiction, they just deny the legitimacy: the first one - of the body, the second - of the spirit. Only the Christian teaching resolves it.

3. To the suggestion of the tempter that Christ should destroy his life if he must not, at his will, satisfy all the demands of the animal nature, Christ answers that one must not resist the will of God, who has sent us into life as separate beings, but that in this life of separate being we must serve God alone.

4. According to Christian teaching, to resolve the contradiction of life, one should neither to destroy the life of the separate being, which would be contrary to the will of God who has sent it, nor to submit to the demands of the animal life of the separate being, which would be contrary to the spiritual source that constitutes the true self of a human, but to serve God alone in that body which contains the true self of a human.

5. The true self of a human is infinite love, living in him and constantly striving to increase, which constitutes the essence of his life. This love is enclosed within the limits of animal life of a separate being, and tends to constantly liberate itself from this being.

6. This liberation of the spiritual being from animal individuality, this birth of spiritual being, is the true life of each individual and of all humanity.

7. Love in every one and in all mankind is like steam confined in a boiler: the steam expands, pushes the pistons and produces work. As for the steam to produce its work it needs the resistance of walls, similarly for love to produce its work it needs the resistance of the limits of separate being in which it is enclosed.

14. What a human must not do, to live true life?

1. A person, during his infancy, childhood, and sometimes even later, lives like an animal, fulfilling the will of God which he perceives as the desire to benefit his own separate being; and he knows no other life.

2. Having awakened to conscious awareness, the person, although knows that his true life is in his spiritual being, continues to feel himself in a separate body, and, out of the learned habits of animal life, commits acts contrary to love and intended to benefit his separate being.

3. By doing so, the person deprives himself of the benefits of true life and does not attain the goal of benefiting his separate being to which he aspires, and therefore, by doing so he commits sins. These sins constitute the inborn obstacles to the manifestation of love in people.

4. The obstacles are even bigger because former generations, having committed sins, pass the habits and practices of their sins onto the next generations.

5. So every person – because of both factors: having acquired since childhood the habit of living for his separate being, and also because the same habits of living for oneself passed down to him by his ancestors, - is always affected by sins, which inhibit his manifestation of love.

15. Three origins of sins

1. There are three origins of sins that get in the way of love.

a) Sins that result from the ineradicable tendency of a human, while he lives in the body, toward benefiting himself — innate, natural sins.

(b) Sins that result from the traditions of human institutions and practices aimed at increasing the benefits of individuals - inherited, societal sins.

(c) Sins that result from the aspirations of an individual toward the greater and greater benefiting of his separate being – personal, or devised, sins.

2. The essence of innate sins is that people believe that their well-being is in preserving and increasing of the animal well-being of separate entity. Any activity aimed at increasing the animal benefits of one’s personality is an innate sin.

3. Inherited sins are those that people commit using existing, established by people who lived before them, approaches of increasing the well-being of an individual. Any use of institutions and practices established for benefiting of one’s personality is an inherited sin.

4. Personal, or devised, sins are those sins which people commit when, in addition to the inherited practices, they invent new means of increasing the well-being of each separate self. Any human invention of the new means of increasing the benefits of a separate being is a personal sin.

16. The classification of sins

1. There are six sins that stand on the way of manifesting love in people:

i. The sin of sensual lust, which consists in arranging for oneself sensual pleasures derived from the satisfaction of one's needs.

ii. The sin of idleness, which consists in freeing oneself from the labor necessary to meet one’s needs.

iii. The sin of greed, which consists in acquiring for oneself opportunities for the satisfaction of one’s needs in the future.

iv. The sin of lust for power, which consists in subjugating the ones alike oneself.

v. The sin of sexual lust, which consists in arranging pleasures for oneself to satisfy sexual lust.

vi. The sin of intoxication, which consists in producing unnatural arousal of one's physical and mental faculties.

17. Sin of sensual lust

1. A human has to meet his bodily needs, and in the unconscious state he, like any other animal, satisfies them, neither refraining and nor adding to them, and in this satisfaction of needs he finds his well-being.

2. But, upon awakening to conscious awareness, it seems to the person that the well-being of his separate individual comes down to the satisfaction of his needs, and he devises the means of increasing pleasures from the satisfaction of his needs. He tries to keep the means of pleasurable satisfaction of needs devised by his predecessors, and by himself invents new, even more pleasurable, means of gratification. This constitutes the sin of sensual lust.

3. When a person eats or drinks before getting hungry, when he dresses not to protect his body from cold, when he builds a house not to shelter himself from weather but to increase the pleasures of satisfying his needs, he commits the innate sin of lust.

4. When a person was born and raised in the habits of excesses in drink, food, clothing, housing, and continues to exploit this superfluity in his life while maintaining these habits, then such a person commits the inherited sin of lust.

5. When a person, already living in luxury, comes up with additional, not used by the people around him, more pleasant means of satisfying needs: instead of old simple food and drink introduces new, more refined; instead of former clothes, covering his body, obtains new, more fine; instead of a smaller, simple home, builds a new one, with new decorations etc. - such a person commits a personal sin of lust.

6. The sin of lust - inborn, inherited, or personal - consists in the fact that while striving after the well-being of his own separate entity via gratification of his own needs, the person, by reinforcing these needs, impedes his birth to new spiritual life.

7. Furthermore, the person acting this way does not reach the goal he strives for because any increase of needs reduces the chances of satisfying the lust, and weakens the pleasure itself of satisfying. The more frequently a person satisfies his hunger and the more refined food he consumes is, the less pleasure he will derive from food. The same goes in regards to the gratification of all other animal needs.

18. The sin of idleness

1. A human, just like an animal, needs to practice his strengths. These strengths are naturally directed toward the provisioning of the items necessary to satisfy his needs. After work purposed on this, a human, like any animal, needs rest.

2. In an unconscious state a human, just like an animal, while provisioning the items necessary for his life, alternates work with rest, and in this natural rest finds satisfaction.

3. But, upon first awakening of his reason, the human dissociates work from rest, and after finding rest more enjoyable than work, tries to reduce labor and prolong rest, coercing other people by force or trickery to serve his needs. This is the sin of idleness.

4. When a person, using the works of others, rests when he could still work, he commits the innate sin of idleness.

5. When a person was born and still lives in an environment where he exploits the work of others, being in a position where he himself has no need to work, and he supports such order of things: not working and using the works of others, then such a person commits the inherited sin of idleness.

6. When a person, having been born and continues to live among those who is used to exploit the labor of others, and invents the means to further free himself from the work he previously performed, and lays this work onto others, when a person who used to clean his own clothes now makes others to do this for him, or who used to write his own letters, or kept his own accounts, or ran his own business, compels others to do that, and uses free time for rest or recreation, then such a person commits the personal sin of idleness.

7. The fact that every human cannot do all for himself by himself, and that the division of labor often improves and facilitates work, cannot justify liberating oneself from work in general or from heavy work in favor of light work. Every product of labor that a human enjoys requires from him certain work and neither easing of his labor nor complete liberation from it.

8. The sin of idleness, innate, inherited, or personal, consists in the fact that a person, by quitting to work himself and exploiting the labor of others, does the opposite of what he was intended for, since the true well-being is only achieved via the act of serving.

9. Besides, the person who acts so fails to obtain even the pleasures he seeks, as the pleasures of rest are attained only after labor. And the less one works, the less enjoyment he gets from rest.

19. The sin of greed

1. The position of a human in the universe is that his bodily existence is secured by general laws to which he is subjected like all animals. A person who yields to his instinct must work; and the sole purpose of his work is the satisfaction of his needs, and such work is always more than enough to secure his existence. A human is a social animal, and the fruits of his labor accumulate in society; so that, if only there were no sins of greed, every person unable to work would always have all the essential to meet his needs. And therefore the Gospel expression about not worrying about tomorrow and living like the birds of heaven is not a metaphor but a statement of the existing law of any animal social life. The same is said in the Quran that there is no animal in the world to which God would not give sustenance.

2. But to a human, even after his conscious awakening, it still continues to seem for long time that his life comes down to the happiness of his separate being, and as this being lives in time so he takes special care to insure the satisfaction of the future needs of himself and his family.

3. This special provisioning of his and his family needs for the future is only possible by withholding the items of consumption from other people, which is called a property. And for this acquisition, retention, and increase of the possessions a human directs his efforts. This constitutes the sin of greed.

4. When a human regards food which he has prepared or received from somebody and stored for tomorrow, or clothing, or winter shelter for himself or his family as exclusively his own, then he commits the innate sin of greed.

5. When a person of awakening consciousness finds himself in the circumstances where he regards certain objects as exclusively his own, despite the fact that they are not necessary for sustaining his life and withholds them from others, he commits the inherited sin of greed.

6. When the person, already owing the items necessary to ensure the future satisfaction of his and his family needs, and, possessing the items superfluous to the sustainment of his life, makes new and new possessions and keeps away them from others, then this person commits the personal sin of greed.

7. The sin of greed, whether an innate, inherited, or personal, is that, in an attempt to secure future well-being of his separate self, and by obtaining for this purposes possessions and withholding them from other people, the person is doing the opposite of what he intended for: instead of serving people, he takes away from them what they need.

8. Moreover, the person acting this way never reaches the goal he seeks, because future is not in the power of a human, and a human may die at any moment. By spending certain present on unknown future that might never come, he makes an obvious mistake.

20. The sin of lust for power

1. A human, like an animal, is put in the conditions that any satisfaction of his needs makes him get into fight with others.

2. The animal life of a human is sustained only to the detriment of other beings. Fighting is natural property and the law of animal life. And the human living animal life, prior to his conscious awakening, finds his well-being in this fight.

3. But once the person wakes up to conscious awareness, at the first time of this awakening it seems to him that his well-being will increase if he will subjugate and conquer as many other beings as possible, and the human puts his efforts to subjugate other people and beings to himself. This constitutes the sin of lust for power.

4. When a person, to defend his individual well-being, considers fighting necessary and fights against those people and beings who want to subjugate him, then such a person commits an inborn sin of lust for power.

5. When a person was born and grew up in certain conditions of power, whether he was born the son of a king, a nobleman, a merchant, or a wealthy peasant, and, keeping this status, does not stop the fight, sometimes hidden but always necessary to maintain his position, then he commits an inherited sin of lust for power.

6. When a person, already in known constant state of fight, wants to increase his well-being and power and gets into new conflicts with humans and other beings, when he attacks a neighbor to steal his possessions, his lands, or tries through the acquisition of permits, a diploma, or a rank take higher position than it currently has, or, wishing to increase his property, gets into a fight with competitors and workers, or gets into a fight with other nations, then such a person commits a personal sin of lust for power.

7. The sin of the lust for power, whether an inborn, inherited, or personal, is that a human, by putting his efforts toward achievement of the welfare of his separate being through fighting, does directly the opposite to what constitutes true life. Instead of increasing love within himself, i.e. eliminating obstacles that separate him from other beings, he multiplies them.

8. In addition, by getting into a fight with people and other beings, a human achieves the contrary to what he seeks. Coming into a fight, he increases the likelihood that other beings will attack him, and that instead of subjugating others, he will be subjugated by them. The more a human advances in fighting, the more tension he causes.

21. The sin of sexual lust

1. A human has a primal instinct for reproduction: sexual drive; and a human in the animal state, by yielding to it, by copulating, fulfills his purpose in that, and in this fulfillment of his purpose he finds his well-being.

2. But upon the awakening of consciousness, it seems to the human that the satisfaction of this desire may increase the welfare of his separate being, and he enters into sexual relationship not with the purpose of procreation but for personal satisfaction. This constitutes the sin of sexual lust.

3. The sin of sexual lust is different from all other sins: while the complete abstinence from other innate sins is impossible and only their reduction is attainable, the complete abstinence from sexual sin is doable. This is because the total abstinence from satisfying personal needs (food, clothing, shelter) destroys that same individual, the same as with the lack of any rest, any property, and any drive; but the abstinence from satisfying sexual desire, the chastity - of one, several, or many people - does not end the human race, which sexual drive is supposed to maintain, because the abstinence of one, several, or many people from sexual relationship does not cause the downfall of the human race. So the satisfaction of sexual needs is not necessary for every human: each individual is given a choice of abstaining from it.

4. It is like each person is given a choice of two ways of serving God: either, by staying free of married life and its consequences, to fulfill by his own life in this world everything that God has assigned a human to fulfill, or, by realizing his powerlessness, to transfer a portion of this task or at least the possibility of accomplishing the unfulfilled task to his born, nourished, brought up offspring.

5. Because of the distinction of sexual drive from other needs, there are two different degrees of sexual sin, depending on which of the two directions a person chooses.

6. In the first direction, when a human wants, by remaining chaste, to devote all his efforts to serving God, then any sexual intercourse will be considered the sin of sexual lust, even aimed at the birth and upbringing children, the most pure and faithful marriage will be an innate sin for a person who has chosen the way of chastity.

7. For such a person, any continuation of the sexual intercourse with the purpose of giving birth and upbringing children, even within marriage, will be an inherited sexual sin; and the liberation from this inherited sin for such a person will be the cessation of sexual relationship.

8. A personal, or devised, sin for such a person will become getting into a sexual relationship with a person other than to whom he is already married.

9. For a person who has chosen the way of serving God by means of procreation, an inborn sin will be considered any sexual intercourse without the aim of procreating, as is happens in cases of prostitution, random affairs, and with the marriages of convenience, of profit, of amatory exploits.

10. An inherited sin for the person taking the direction of procreation will be such sexual intercourse from which children cannot be born or when the parents are unable or unwilling to bring up the children born of their marriage.

11. When the person who has chosen the second way of serving God, via procreation, whether male or female, being already in sexual relationship with one person, enters into similar relationships with others, not for the sake of forming a family but to increase the pleasure arising from sexual intercourse, or tries to prevent childbearing, or indulges in unnatural vices, then such a person commits a personal sin of sexual lust.

12. The sin, i.e. mistake, of sexual lust for a person who has chosen the way of chastity, is that he, being able to choose the highest purpose and to use all his efforts to serve God, i.e. for the expansion of love and the attainment of the highest well-being, descends to the lowest level of life, and deprives himself of this blessing.

13. For a person who has chosen the direction of procreation, a sexual sin, or a mistake, consists in that, when he deprives himself of having children, or, at least, of family relationship, he deprives himself of the highest benefits of sexual life.

14. In addition to this, people, in trying to maximize the pleasure of sexual intercourse, as with all the gratifications of needs, the more they give in to the lust, the more they diminish the natural pleasure.

22. The sin of intoxication

1. In the natural state, it is common to a human, just like to any animal, to come, under the influence of external causes, into a state of arousal, and this temporary excitement gives pleasure to the person in the animal state.

2. But when a human wakes up to his consciousness, he notices the causes which have led him into this state of excitement, and tries to reproduce and intensify these causes in order to recreate this state in him, and for that purpose he prepares for himself, and takes in his stomach or inhales, a substance which produces such arousal, or arranges such surroundings, or performs the particular movements which bring him to this condition. This constitutes the sin of intoxication.

3. The distinction of this sin in that, whereas all other sins only distract the human born to the new life from the activity pertaining to his nature by reinforcing his desire to continue his animal life, and do not weaken and do not disrupt the functioning of his mind, the sin of intoxication not only weakens the activity of the mind, but temporarily, and sometimes permanently, damages it; so that the person propelling himself into the state of excitement with the use of tobacco, wine, certain grand setting or vigorous movements, as the Dervishes and other religious fanatics do, often in these conditions commits not only acts attributed to animals, but acts which in their insanity and brutality are not characteristic of animals.

4. The only inborn sin of intoxication takes place when a person, having received pleasure from a certain state of arousal, whether produced by food, drink, or surroundings affecting his sense of sight or hearing, or certain movements, does not refrain from what produces this state of intoxication. When a person, unconsciously, without intention of exciting himself, eats refined food, drinks tea, beer, or cider, adorns himself or housing, dances or plays, he commits an inborn, natural sin of intoxication.

5. When a person was born and raised in certain habits of intoxication: habits of consuming tobacco, wine, opium, habits of grand shows - public, family, or church - or habits of certain kinds of movements: gymnastics, dance, bows, jumping, etc., and maintains these habits, then such a person commits an inherited sin of intoxication.

6. When the a person, having been brought up in certain habits of regular intoxication and is accustomed to them, introduces, imitating others or coming up with new ways of intoxication himself: after tobacco starts to smoke opium, after the wine drinks vodka, introduces new grand celebrations with new increased influence of pictures, dances, light, music, or introduces new techniques for bodily excitatory movements: gymnastics, cycling, etc., then this person commits a personal sin of intoxication.

7. The essence of the sin of intoxication - innate, inherited, or personal - is that the person, instead of using all his efforts to eliminate everything that might dim his consciousness that reveals to him the meaning of his true life, strives, on the contrary, to weaken and obscure this consciousness by external means of confusion.

8. In addition, the person who acts this way, achieves the opposite effect from what he strives for. The arousal produced by external means is getting weaker with each new application of the excitement, and, despite the increase of the applications of the excitement, destroying health, the ability to excite himself weakens more and more.

23. The consequences of sins

1. Sins are the obstacles to manifestation of love.

2. Sins do not only hamper the manifestation of love, but also cause great calamities to people. These calamities are twofold: the first ones affect those who fall victims to sin; the second cause other people to suffer. The calamities that afflict those who commit sins, are: effeminacy, satiety, boredom, depression, apathy, anxiety, fear, suspicion, anger, hatred, bitterness, jealousy, powerlessness and all sorts of painful diseases. The calamities that afflict others are: theft, robbery, torture, beatings, murders.

3. If there were no sins, there would be no poverty, no satiety, no debauchery, no stealing, no robbery, no murder, no executions, no wars.

4. If it was not for the sin of lust, there would be neither poverty among the disadvantaged, no boredom or fear among the affluent, there would be no wasting of efforts to guard the pleasures of the affluent, no diminishing of the spiritual powers of the needy, no constant inherent struggle between the two classes that promotes envy and hatred in the first one, and contempt and fear in the latter; neither would this enmity break out periodically in the acts of violence, assassinations, revolutions.

5. If it wasn’t for the sin of idleness, there would be, on one hand, no people exhausted by work, and on the other hand, no people spoiled by laziness and incessant entertainment; there would be no division of people into the two hostile camps: surfeited and hungry, idle and exhausted by work.

6. If it wasn’t for the sin of greed, there would be not at all that violence that is committed by some people over others in order to purchase and retain goods; there would be no theft, robbery, confinement in prisons, exile, forced labor, execution.

7. If it wasn’t for the sin of lust for power, there would not be those enormous useless wastes of human energies in order to overcome each other and to maintain power; would be no pride or dullness of the winners, nor flattery, deception, or hatred of the defeated; there would be no divisions - family, social, or national - with resulting from them quarrels, fights, murders, wars.

8. If it was not for the sin of sexual lust, there would be no slavery of woman, torturing of her, and at the same time, pampering and perversion of her; there would be no quarrels, fights, or killings based on jealousy, would be no reducing of woman to the tool of satisfaction of the body lust, the prostitution; would be no unnatural vices; no weakening of bodily and spiritual powers, no those terrible diseases that afflict humans now; there would be no neglected children or infanticide.

9. If it wasn’t for the sin of intoxication with wine, tobacco, opium, stimulating intensified movements, and partying, - people would not be reckless in their sins. There would be less than one percent of those quarrels, fights, robberies, adulteries, murders that happen now, especially under the influence of the weakening of people’s spiritual powers; there would be no wastes of energies not only on unnecessary, but on directly harmful matters; people would not get into stupor, would not get mutilated as it often happens to the best people, spending their lives with no use to others and as a burden to themselves.

(Source: Translated with God's spirit by EarthlyFireFlies.org, 2020)

From : Wikisource.org

(1828 - 1910)

Father of Christian Anarchism

: In 1861, during the second of his European tours, Tolstoy met with Proudhon, with whom he exchanged ideas. Inspired by the encounter, Tolstoy returned to Yasnaya Polyana to found thirteen schools that were the first attempt to implement a practical model of libertarian education. (From: Anarchy Archives.)
• "It usually happens that when an idea which has been useful and even necessary in the past becomes superfluous, that idea, after a more or less prolonged struggle, yields its place to a new idea which was till then an ideal, but which thus becomes a present idea." (From: "Patriotism and Government," by Leo Tolstoy, May 1....)
• "It is necessary that men should understand things as they are, should call them by their right names, and should know that an army is an instrument for killing, and that the enrollment and management of an army -- the very things which Kings, Emperors, and Presidents occupy themselves with so self-confidently -- is a preparation for murder." (From: "'Thou Shalt Not Kill'," by Leo Tolstoy, August 8,....)
• "You are surprised that soldiers are taught that it is right to kill people in certain cases and in war, while in the books admitted to be holy by those who so teach, there is nothing like such a permission..." (From: "Letter to a Non-Commissioned Officer," by Leo Tol....)

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1895
Part 2 — Publication.

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