“The Grand Inquisitor” on Religion essay

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The Grand Inquisitor feels that religion is used to control people but this is not necessarily true. The real issue lies in the inability of man to have self-control or do things that bring about his own true happiness.   

For The Grand Inquisitor, the purpose of religion is to provide man with laws that will not only govern his life but also allow him to enjoy it without destroying it. In the book, he declares to Christ that he cannot permit Him to perform His works on Earth: they are at odds with the operations of the Church (Dostoevsky, 2009). The Inquisitor writes about how the Devil, unsuccessfully, tempted Him three times. The Grand Inquisitor explains that by declining to the evil one’s requests, he gave human beings the capacity to exercise free will. Free will, according to the Grand Inquisitor, has always been an impossible and devastating load for humanity. Christ gave humanity the liberty to decide whether to listen to and obey him but hardly all people can do this, and those who cannot are doomed to hell (Dostoevsky, 2009).

The Grand Inquisitor asserts that Christ should have refused the gift of free will, and forced humanity to follow Him. This would have given humanity the security of an eternal life at the cost of freewill on earth. The impossible yoke of moral freedom would be taken off the shoulders of a man (Dostoevsky, 2009). The Grand Inquisitor explains to Christ that the church is now determined to correct its Messiah’s mistakes by offering people security and taking away their right to freewill. If Christ was allowed by the Church to go about doing as He pleases and allowing people to exercise freewill, he would not only undermine the work of the Church but would consign many people to hell in eternity. He is well aware that humanity cannot be trusted to choose the right thing for eternal life. Therefore, the Church is merely accomplishing goals that Christ always wished to accomplish on Earth while also ensuring that heaven will be more populated than hell.

The Grand Inquisitor argues that belief in angels, God and Christ unites human beings under the authority of a religion that supplies peoples’ physical requirements, gives them regulations to direct their consciences, and will chastise and/or exclude any person that diverges from this holy institution. This approach gives humankind security, comfort and happiness.

People born in cultures that have no concept of love and exalt physical power over spiritual principles are not likely to embrace the views of the Christianity of the Grand Inquisitor. Culture has great influence on people unless either they are somehow, by life’s struggles, or by the influence of people they admire, are inspired to start searching within themselves real truth. Knowledge acquired in an educational setting has no experiential factor. It is merely like a subject that a student commits to his or her mind for the purposes of passing an exam. It has no real depth in the life of the person acquiring it. Knowledge acquired from a religious experience is different in that it has very deep roots in areas of the human spirit that are unfathomable to the mind. It comes about because of a deep yearning in the soul of a person: a yearning that has been there for maybe even years. This type of knowledge comes equipped with the power to transform a person’s life from inside out. Moreover, knowledge in educational setups is for purposes of pursuing a career or a profession that only last for some time say until retirement. Religious experience can last a lifetime: beyond family and working life.

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