The Christian Teaching — Part 4 : Religious Deception and the Means of Deliverance from it

By Leo Tolstoy (1895)

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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.)
• "People who take part in Government, or work under its direction, may deceive themselves or their sympathizers by making a show of struggling; but those against whom they struggle (the Government) know quite well, by the strength of the resistance experienced, that these people are not really pulling, but are only pretending to." (From: "A Letter to Russian Liberals," by Leo Tolstoy, Au....)
• "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,....)
• "If, in former times, Governments were necessary to defend their people from other people's attacks, now, on the contrary, Governments artificially disturb the peace that exists between the nations, and provoke enmity among them." (From: "Patriotism and Government," by Leo Tolstoy, May 1....)


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Part 4

1. If it were not for temptations, people would not continue to live in sins, since every sin punishes itself: people of previous generations would point to their descendants on the destructiveness of sins, and subsequent generations would be raised without falling into habit of sin.

2. But a human has used given to him reason not to learn from sin in order to get rid of it but to justify it; and temptation has appeared, and sin is legalized and rooted.

3. But how could a person with awakened reason take lies for truth? In order for a person not to see a lie and take it for truth, his mind must be perverted, because not perverted mind accurately distinguishes lies from truth, and this is its purpose.

4. Indeed, the mind of people raised in human society is never free from perversion. Every person raised in human society inevitably undergoes the perversion of religious deception.

5. Religious deception is committed when people of former generations, by various artificial means, inspire their descendants with understanding of the meaning of life based not on reason but on blind trust.

6. The essence of religious deception is that the concepts of faith and trust are deliberately intermixed and substituted one for another: it is asserted that a human cannot live and think without faith, which is fair enough; and the definition of faith, - i.e. recognition that there is something that is perceived by his reason but cannot be defined by mind, such as God, the soul, goodness, - is substituted with the concept of trust that there is God in a certain form, in three persons, who at stated time has created the world and opened to people certain things at certain places and through certain prophets.

34. The origin of religious deception

1. The humanity is slowly but nonstop moving forward, i.e. toward greater and greater understanding of truth about the meaning and significance of its life and toward the establishment of life in conformity with this clarified consciousness. And therefore the understanding by humans of their life and the human life itself are constantly changing. People more sensitive to truth understand life in accordance with the supreme light which is appeared in them, and according to this light arrange their lives; people less sensitive hold on to their old understanding of life and to the old order of life, and try to defend it.

2. So in the world, next to people pointing out to the most recent progressive expression of truth and trying to live according to this expression of truth, there are always people who cherish the old anachronistic and already needless understanding of it and the former orders of life.

35. How religious deceptions are committed

1. Truth does not need outward confirmation and is freely accepted by all to whom it is passed; but deception requires special techniques through which it could be conveyed to humans and be absorbed by them; and therefore, for carrying out of religious deception, those who commit it, in all nations, use always the same techniques.

2. These are five techniques: 1) misinterpretation of truth, 2) belief in miracles, 3) establishment of intermediaries between a human and God, 4) impact on outer senses of a human, and 5) indoctrination of children with false belief.

3. The essence of the first technique of religious deception is to verbally accept not only the validity of truth opened to people by the latest preachers, but to recognize the preacher himself as Holy supernatural entity, to deify the preacher, to attribute to him the performance of various miracles, and to hide the essence of the opened truth, so that it would not only not disrupt the prior understanding of life, but, on the contrary, would endorse it. Such misinterpretation of truth and deification of its preachers have been practiced in all nations, with any appearance of new religious doctrine. This way the teaching of Moses and Jewish prophets was misinterpreted. With the same misinterpretation Christ reproached Pharisees, by telling to them that they sat on the Moses seat and neither enter the Kingdom of God themselves nor allow others to enter. The same way the teachings of Buddha, Lao Tse, Zarathustra were misinterpreted. The same misinterpretation is done to the Christian teaching in early times of its adoption by Constantine when pagan temples and deities were converted to Christian and Mohammedanism appeared as counteract against the pseudo-Christian polytheism. Mohammedanism underwent and undergoes the same misinterpretation.

4. The second technique of religious deception is to influence people that following our God-given reason in our search for truth is a sin of pride, that there's another, more reliable, way of cognition: the revelation of truth transferred by God directly to chosen people, accompanied with certain signs, miracles, i.e. supernatural events that confirm the trustworthiness of the transfer. It is inspired what one needs to believe not his reason but miracles, i.e. what is contrary to reason.

5. The third technique of religious deception is to assure people that they cannot have direct relationship with God, which every human feels and which became especially clear to Christ who recognized a human as a son of God, that for the communication with God an intermediary or intermediaries are required. To play the role of such intermediaries, prophets, saints, Church, scripture, elders, dervishes, Llamas, Buddhas, hermits, any clergy are placed. No matter how different all of these intermediaries, the essence of mediation is that direct connection between human and God is not recognized, but, on the contrary, it is assumed that truth is not available to a human but only may be accepted through the belief in intermediaries between him and God.

6. The fourth technique of religious deception is that, under the pretext of committing allegedly required by God deeds: prayers, sacraments, sacrifices, they collect together a lot of people, and via subjecting them to various stupefying effects, inspire lie on them, while dressing it as truth. They impress people with the beauty and grandeur of temples, the splendor of ornaments, utensils, clothes, glitter lighting, the sounds of singing and organs, incense, exclamations, and while people are under this charm, make efforts to impress upon their souls lies presented as truth.

7. The fifth technique is the most brutal, because it consists in giving a child, - who asks seniors lived before him and having opportunity to learn wisdom prior to currently living people, - an answer about what is this world and his life, and what is the relationship between the first and the latter, the answer containing not what these elders think and know, but what people who lived thousands of years ago thought, and in which no adult believes any longer and cannot believe. Instead of the spiritual, essential for him, food which the child asks for, he is given a poison ruining his spiritual health, from which he can recover only with the greatest efforts and sufferings.

8. A child, waking up to his conscious life with clear, uncluttered mind, ready to accept, and at heart albeit vaguely but is aware of the truth of life, i.e. his position and the purpose in it (human soul is Christian by nature, in the words of Tertullian, the father of Church); the child asks his grown-up parent: what is his life? How does he correspond to the world and its beginning? And his father or his teacher is not telling him that little and unquestionable truth that he knows about the meaning of life, but confidently tells that what deep inside he recognizes as not true, - if he is a Jew, he says that God has created the world in six days and opened the whole truth to Moses by writing with his finger on the rock that you've got to keep the oaths, remember the Sabbath day, circumcise, etc.; if his father is an Orthodox, Catholic, Lutheran Christian, - that Christ, the second person, has created the world and come down to Earth to atone for the sin of Adam with his blood, etc.; if he's a Buddhist, - that the Buddha flew to heaven and taught people to destroy life in them; if he is a Mohammedan, than Mohammed flew to the seventh heaven and learned there a law under which belief in fivefold prayer and visiting Mecca will bring paradise for a man in the future life.

9. And, knowing that different people inspire their children with different beliefs, parents and teachers convey each their own peculiar superstitions, while knowing deep inside that this is only a superstition, - still pass their superstitions to innocent, trusting children at the age when impressions are so strong that they will already never fade.

36. Evil resulting from religious deception

1. Sins, by making a person at times commit deeds contrary to his spiritual nature, contrary to love, delay his birth to new true life.

2. Temptations lead a human to sinful life by justifying sins, so that he already commits not isolated sinful deeds but lives animal life without seeing the contradictions between it and true life.

3. Such a position of the human is only possible when truth is perverted by the ongoing religious deception. Only the person with mind perverted by religious deception is not able to see the lies of temptations.

4. And therefore religious deception is the foundation for all the human sins and disasters.

5. The essence of religious deception is what in the Gospel is called blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, and it is said that this action cannot be forgiven, i.e. never, in any life, can be not destructive.

37. What must a person do to live according to the teaching of Christ?

1. In order to live according to the teaching of Christ, a person must remove the obstacles to true life, that is, the manifestation of love.

2. These obstacles are sins. But sins cannot be destroyed until the person frees himself from temptations. And only the person who is free from religious deception can break free from temptations.

3. And therefore, in order to live according to the teaching of Christ, a person needs, first of all, to free himself from religious deceptions.

4. Only having freed himself from religious deceptions, can a person break free from the deceptions of temptations; and only having understood the deceptions of temptations can a person free himself from sins.

38. Liberation from religious deception

1. In order to break free from religious deception in general, a person needs to understand and remember that the only means of cognition a human has is his reason, and therefore any sermon asserting anything contrary to reason is a deception, an attempt to remove the only given by God to a human tool for acquiring knowledge.

2. In order to be free from religious deception, a person must understand and remember that there isn’t and cannot be any, except reason, instrument of knowledge – so that whether he wants it or not, every person believes only his reason, and that therefore people who tell that they believe not their reason but Moses, Buddha, Christ, Muhammad, the Church, the Koran, the Bible, deceive themselves because whatever they believe, they believe not the one who transfers them the truth they believe in, - Moses, Buddha, Christ, Bible, - but believe the reason that tells them that they should believe Moses, Christ, the Bible and should not believe Buddha and Mohammed, Bible, or vice versa.

3. Truth cannot enter the person by any other way rather than by reason, and therefore a person who thinks he knows truth by faith and not by reason only deceives himself and wrongfully uses his reason on something it is not intended to, - to solve questions about whom to believe among those who transfer the doctrine presented as truth, and who should not be trusted. But reason is given not to decide who to believe and who not to believe, and it cannot decide on that, but to verify the validity of what is being offered to him. Reason can always do this and it is designed for that.

4. Misinterpreters of truth typically tell that reason cannot be trusted because reason of different people asserts different things, and that therefore for unification of people it is better to believe in revelation, confirmed by miracles. But this claim is directly opposite of truth. Reason never makes different claims. It always, in all people, claims and denies the same.

5. It is only beliefs that claim each different from another: one - that God has revealed himself on Sinai and that he is the God of the Jews; and the other - that God is Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva; and third - that God is Trinity: father, son and holy spirit; and fourth - that God is the heavens and the Earth; and fifth - that truth is opened by Buddha; and the sixth - that all of it was opened by Muhammad, - only these faiths divide people, but reason always in everybody says the same.

6. When they say that reason can lie and to prove that bring discordant claims by different people about what God is and how to serve him, then those who say this - make intentional or unintentional mistake by mixing reason with speculations and fantasies. Speculations and fantasies can really be infinitely diverse and different, but mind conclusions are always the same for all people at all times. Speculations and fantasies about how the world or sin has occurred, and what will happen after death can be infinitely different, but the conclusions of reason on whether it is true that three God together constitute one, whether is it true that a person has died and then rose again, whether is it true that a person walked on the water or in his body flew to the sky, or that by consuming bread and wine I consume body and blood, - the conclusions of reason in regards to these questions are always the same for all people and throughout the world and are undoubtedly always correct. Whether they tell that God walked in a flame of fire, or that the Buddha flew on the rays of the Sun, or Mohammed flew to the Heaven, or Christ walked on water etc., reason of all people everywhere and always gives the same answer: that is not true. But to questions whether: Is it fair to treat others the way you want them to treat you? Is it good to love people and forgive them their offenses and be compassionate? - reason of all people at all times says: Yes, this is right, this is good.

7. And therefore, in order not to fall for religious deceptions, a person must understand and remember that truth is open to him only in his reason, given by God to humans to understand God's will, and that implanting distrust toward reason carries in itself the desire to deceive and the greatest blasphemy.

8. This is general way of liberating oneself from religious deceptions. But in order to be free from religious deceptions, it is necessary to know all kinds of these deceptions and beware of them, confront them.

39. Liberating from religious deception indoctrinated from childhood

1. In order for a human to live according to the teachings of Christ, he must first break free from religious deception in which he was brought up, - whether it was religious deception of Hebrew, Buddhist, Japanese, Confucian, or Christian.

2. And to break free from religious deception in which a person is often raised from childhood, a person should understand and remember that reason is given to him directly from God and only it can unite all people, while human religions do not connect but divide people, and therefore he should not only not to fear of any doubts and questions raised by reason when it questions indoctrinated from childhood beliefs, but rather carefully expose to the examination, and comparison with other creeds, all those beliefs that were transferred to him since childhood, and recognize as fair only that which does not contradict reason, no matter how impressive it is presented and how old is the conveyed religion.

3. Having subjected beliefs, indoctrinated into him since childhood, to the court of reason, the person, wanting to free himself from religious deception which was inspired in him in childhood, must boldly and unconditionally reject everything that is contrary to reason, not for a moment doubting that what is contrary to reason cannot be true.

4. Having freed himself from religious deception, indoctrinated in him since childhood, a person, who wishes to live according to the teachings of Christ, must not only by word, by example, or by silence not to contribute to the deception of children, but by all means expose this deception, according to Christ, who pitied children for the deceptions to which they are being exposed.

40. Getting rid of religious deception produced by impacting on outer senses

1. Having freed himself from religious deception indoctrinated in him since childhood, a person should beware of deception produced by deceivers of all peoples by means of impacting on the external senses.

2. In order not to fall for this deception, a person must understand and remember that truth, to be disseminated and assimilated by people, does not require any gears or decorations, and that only lies and deceptions, in order to be perceived by people, need special conditions of transferring them; so all sorts of festive services, processions, decorations, incense, singing etc. not only do not indicate that it is truth that is passed that under these conditions, but, on the contrary, serve as a sure sign that where these techniques are used it is not truth but a lie is conveyed.

3. To avoid falling under the deception of the impact on outer senses, people should remember the words of Christ that one needs to serve God not in some known location, but in the spirit and truth, and who wants to pray must go not into a temple, but lock himself in the privacy of his room, knowing that any splendor in worshiping God has deception for its purpose, and the more fascinating the service the more brutal deception is, and therefore he must not only not to participate in the stupefying religious ceremonies, but wherever possible expose their deception.

41. Letting go of the deception of mediation

1. Having freed himself from the second deception, of the impact on outer senses, a human must still beware of the deception of mediation between him and God, which, if he only allows it, will certainly conceal prayer from him.

2. To not to fall for the deception of mediation, a person should understand and remember that God opens himself only directly to human heart and that every broker standing between people and God, be it one person, a congregation of persons, a book or a legend, icon, relics, Church, Christ, not only hides God from the person but does the worst evil that can befall a human, namely that the human regards as God that what is not God.

3. As soon as a person lets himself believe in any mediation, he has deprived himself of the only opportunity of authenticating knowledge and opened the possibility of perceiving any lie to be truth.

4. Only due to instituting mediation between people and God those terrible deceptions become possible to perpetrate and are being perpetrated, as a result of which reasonable and kind people pray to Christ, God, Buddha, Muhammad, Saints, relics, icons.

5. In order not to fall for this deception, a person must understand and remember that truth is open to him primarily and most reliably not in a book, not in a legend, not in any assembly of people, but in his own heart and mind, just as Moses told when he declared to the people that they should look for the law of God not over sea, nor in the sky, but in their own hearts, and how Christ told this to Jews, saying “you do not know truth because you believe the legends of a man, but not the one He has sent.” And what God sent to us is reason – the only and infallible tool of cognition that is given to us.

6. To not to fall for the deception of mediation, the person should understand and remember that truth can never be opened all at once, that it gradually opens to people, and opens only to those who look for it, and not to those who, by believing what the allegedly infallible brokers convey to them, think that possess it; and therefore, in order not to expose himself to the danger of falling for the most terrible delusions, a person should not accept anyone as infallible teacher but seek truth everywhere, in all traditions of mankind, and validate them by his own reason. Having freed himself from this deception, the person must, in word and deed, reprove the deception of mediation committed over others.

42. Letting go of belief in miracles

1. But even having freed himself from the deception indoctrinated from childhood, and not falling for the deception of influence by impressive ceremonies, and not recognizing the mediation between him and God, a human will still not be free from religious deception and will not be able to understand the teachings of Christ, if he does not get rid of belief in the supernatural, the miraculous.

2. Some say that miracles, i.e. the supernatural, are committed in order to unite people; meanwhile, nothing separates people like miracles because each religion asserts its own miracles and rejects the miracles of other religions. And it cannot be otherwise: miracles, i.e. the supernatural, are infinitely varied, and only the natural is always and everywhere the same.

3. And therefore, to be free from the deceptions of belief in magic, a person must recognize as true only that what is natural, i.e., in accordance with his reason, and recognize as lie all that is unnatural, that contradicts reason, knowing that everything that is presented as such is human hoax, such as deceptions of any modern miracles, healings, raisings of the dead, miracle-working icons, relics, transubstantiation of bread and wine, etc., as well as the wonders that can be found in the Bible, in the Gospels, in Buddhist, Mohammedan, Lao-Tzean, and other books.

43. Letting go of the deception of misinterpretation of truth

1. After letting go of the deception of mediation, a person needs to break free from the deception of misinterpretation of truth.

2. In whatever belief a person was raised: in Islamic, Christian, Buddhist, Jewish, or Confucian, - in any teaching of faith, a human runs into an assertion of indisputable truth recognized by his reason, and next to it - statements contrary to reason, presented as equally valid.

3. In order to rid himself of this religious deception, a person should not get confused when the truths, some of which are accepted by reason and others not accepted by it, are presented as being equally authentic, of the same origin, and seemingly inextricably connected with each other; but he must understand and remember that any revelation of truth to people (i.e. any new understanding of truth by one of the most advanced people) always so impressed people that it got wrapped into a supernatural form, and so inevitably to each manifestation of truth superstitions were added; and therefore for the understanding of truth it is not only unnecessarily to take everything that is conveyed about the revelation of truth, but, on the contrary, it is necessary to separate the conveyed lies and fiction from truth and reality.

4. Having separated truth from superstitions attached to it, let the person understand and remember that superstitions intermixed with truth are not only not as sacred as truth itself, as it is preached by people who find their gains in these superstitions, but, on the contrary, they constitute the most devastating and harmful phenomenon that hides truth and to the destruction of which a human must put all his strengths.

(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.)
• "If, in former times, Governments were necessary to defend their people from other people's attacks, now, on the contrary, Governments artificially disturb the peace that exists between the nations, and provoke enmity among them." (From: "Patriotism and Government," by Leo Tolstoy, May 1....)
• "People who take part in Government, or work under its direction, may deceive themselves or their sympathizers by making a show of struggling; but those against whom they struggle (the Government) know quite well, by the strength of the resistance experienced, that these people are not really pulling, but are only pretending to." (From: "A Letter to Russian Liberals," by Leo Tolstoy, Au....)
• "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,....)

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1895
Part 4 — Publication.

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July 13, 2021; 6:07:03 PM (America/Los_Angeles)
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March 14, 2022; 7:35:50 AM (America/Los_Angeles)
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