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A free floating commentary on culture, politics, economics, and religion based on a passionate commitment to the truth and a desire graciously to refute that which is contrary to it….
"He must hold firm to the sure word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to confute those who contradict it."
--Titus 1:9, Revised Standard Version
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The boldest meditation on the meaning of Jesus comes in the tale of the Grand Inquisitor in Fyodor Dostoevsky's "The Brothers Karamazov," in which Jesus is interrogated by the Grand Inquisitor. The crime of Jesus consists precisely in the affection that so many otherwise ignoble humans have for him.
How dare Jesus inspire such widespread trust?
A relatively small number "of the great and the strong," the Inquisitor argues, can carry the burden of freedom, "while the millions, numerous as the sands of the sea, who are weak but love Thee" cannot bear freedom's weight.
Only an elite minority is worthy to manage the world. The rest, taken up with narrow concerns for bread and money, and consoled by miracles and mysteries, must live for subservience. The masses are to blindly meet their meager needs, while bowing before the authority of those few who are capable of higher aspirations.
The crime of Jesus was to say no to this. Dostoevsky sees in him an invitation addressed to every person, to regard himself or herself as capable of overcoming the limits of birth, circumstance, class, culture, and even time. That the Grand Inquisitor, an official in the movement that claims Jesus as founder, regards this invitation as an offense is Dostoevsky's way of pointing to the transcendent significance of Jesus, beyond Christian belief.
Read it all.
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