I started reading The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky and it has been an interestingly deep read. There are many conversations and themes worthy of further inspection but no time for such an endeavor.
I’ve selected piece of dialogue between Katerina Ivanovna & Alyosha where Katerina confesses to have doubt in faith. I found Alyosha’s response to be very, very intriguing. The snippet below is started by Katerina,
‘I suffer, forgive me, I suffer. . .’ And in a hot rush of feeling she clasped her hands before him.
‘From what in particular?’
‘I suffer. . . from a lack of faith. . .’
‘A lack of faith in God?’
‘Oh no, no, of that I do not even dare to think, no, it’s the life to come - that is such a riddle! And I mean there is no one, no one who can answer it! Look, you are healer, a connoisseur of the human soul: I, of course, cannot demand that you believe me entirely, but I assure you by the most solemn precept that not out of light-mindedness do I say to you now that this notion of a future life beyond the grave agitates me to the point of torture, of horror and of panic… And I do not know who to turn to, all my life I have not dared… and so now I am making so bold as to turn to you. Oh God, what sort of woman will you think me now?’ She wrung her hands.
‘Do not be troubled on account of my opinion,’ the Elder replied. ‘I fully believe in the sincerity of your anguish.’
‘Oh, I am so grateful to you! You see, I close my eyes and think: if everyone else believes then why do I feel all this? And now people say that it all stems in the first place from a fear of nature’s frightening manifestations and that none of it is based in reality. But wait, I think: all my life I’ve believed I shall die, and that suddenly there will be nothing there, only “burdock growing on a grave”, as I read in the work of a certain writer. That is dreadful! How, how am I to restore my faith? Though actually, I only had it when I was a little girl, it was something automatic, something I didn’t even need to think about. . . How can it be proven? I come now to abase myself before you and ask you for this. I mean, if I let this opportunity pass me by, then no one worries about this anymore, and I’m the only person who cannot endure it. It is murderous, murderous!’.
‘Without doubt, it is murderous. But here it is not possible to prove anything; it is, however, possible to be convinced.’
‘How? By what means?’
‘By the experience of active love. Try to love your fellow human beings actively and untiringly. In the degree to which you succeed in that love, you will also be convinced of God’s existence, and of your soul’s immortality. And if you attain complete self-renunciation in your love for your fellow creatures, then you will unfailingly come to believe, and no form of doubt will ever be able to visit your soul. That has been tested, that is precisely true.’
‘Active love? But that is another question, and it is such a question, such a one!’