Wherever there is life, there is faith; since the origin of mankind faith has made it possible to live …

Leo Tolstoy, in Confession

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Depending on reason alone and absorbed uncritically by the culture that surrounded him, Tolstoy asserts that his life stopped, that he could not breathe, nor eat, nor drink, nor sleep.  He was at wit’s end, despite his success and his possessions.  He was, as he said, without life.

He knew in his best moments of clarity that life as he lived it was “all a delusion.” Relying on reason alone and adopting the ways of his godless culture, he knew “ruin” awaited him.

He recognized that in the way he was living he was struggling to get away from life, that he was afraid of life, that his habits and choices were a manifestation of that.  He knew that relying on reason alone life was denied, truncated – diminished.

And he says this:

Thus in addition to rational knowledge, which before had seemed to be the only knowledge, I was inevitably led to recognize a different type of knowledge, an irrational type, which all humanity had: faith, which provides us with the possibility of life.

Leo Tolstoy’s journey is no different from our journey – and particularly so in present day American exclusionary secular culture – indeed in Western Civilization.

Do you wonder about radical Islam?  Addictions?  Violence and division within? The hideous stories that capture the attention of those in the news business and the public?  The loss of community and family?  Children having children?  The erosion of civil order?  Our national inertia and the inability to protect ourselves? The decline of the judiciary and the deliberative bodies of government?  The corruption and incompetence of federal government agencies and some political people?

Need an explanation?  Try faithlessness.

Stripped of faith, even reason fails because man stripped of faith fails.  Does not our Eden narrative show us this?  Does not Tolstoy testify to this?  Have we not listened and learned?

It is best we alter our ways.


Tomorrow – the final post on Tolstoy and faith.  Its focus – finite and infinite and the relationship they maintain in human existence. Share this if it please you.  God bless.