The Brothers Karamazov
by Fyodor Dostoevsky
The Brothers Karamazov Religion Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Book.Chapter.Paragraph). We used Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky's translation.
In the realist, faith is not born from miracles, but miracles from faith. Once the realist comes to believe, then, precisely because of his faith, he must also allow for miracles. (1.5.1)
The narrator here comes out with one of his few explicit comments on the novel. Here he confidently explains why Alyosha can be realistic about the world and still be religious. In fact, religion gives Alyosha an insight into human truths that others do not have. This, by the way, is a response to the Grand Inquisitor's notion that miracle is a way to deceive men into religion.
"No matter, he is holy, in his heart there is the secret of renewal for all, the power that finally establish the truth on earth." (1.5.4)
Alyosha believes fervently in his elder's teachings, but there is also an irony here in that, in his excessive admiration for his elder, Alyosha is setting him up as a substitute for Christ. The falsity of this admiration is demonstrated when Alyosha experiences doubt at his elder's dead body's decomposition – not the miracle he was hoping for.
"For people are created for happiness, and he who is completely happy can at once be deemed worthy of saying to himself: 'I have fulfilled God's commandment on this earth.' [...]" (2.4.22)
The elder Zosima explains that Christianity helps us understand that we are essentially happy beings; we just have to realize this in order for our sufferings to be eliminated.