Two Versions of Christianity in The Grand Inquisite by Dostoevsky
In Dostoevsky's book "The Grand Inquisitor" he develops two versions of
Chrisitianity. One is the Roman catholic version which is represented by the G.I. or Grand
Inquisitor and the other is the Protestant version represented by the Christ-like figure. The
whole dialogue begins when the GI has thrown the Christ-like figure or CLF in prison
after watching him do a few miracles (pg. 24). He then begins to barraage him with
questions that he answers himself. And From this comes the argument of freedom. The GI
then claims that because the CLF refused the 3 temptations (mainly the turning of the stone
into bread) (pg27) he placed the burden of freedom on man. According to the GI if the
CLF had only turned the stone into bread he would have "satisfied the universal and
everlasting craving of humanity--to fing someone to worship"(pg.27). Instead the CLF
rejected it for the sake of freedom. The GI goes on to say that instead of taking mans
freedom from them ("by giving them bread") when you had the chance you instead choose
to make it stronger than ever (pg28). The Gi sees freedom as being the main problem in
man, its almost like a disease. He says that man wants happiness in life not freedom. By
creating this "free" society the CLF has placed the burden of responsibility on man. Now
if you think about it what he says here makes a lot of sense. Because we have the power to
choose, the freedom to choose. We also have to take the responsibility of our choices. We
are forced to deal with the consequences of our actions. Now you might say that's fine just
make good choices and you'll be fine. Well according to the GI men are weak and are
incapable of accepting such a responsibility as the on the CLF has placed on them.
The GI then goes on to tell the CLF that he is no longer needed that he (GI) has
finisehd his (CLF) work. He said that the men have given up their freedom to the church.
And thus the responsibility is not laid on man himself but on the community or church as a
whole. He says that you (CLF) would not give them 'heavenly' bread but I (GI) have
given them 'earthly' bread, which is what they truly want. The Gi believes that man's goal
in life is to pursue happiness and well being. And that if they would give there freedom up
to the church, then they can go on and pursue that.
The main topic here is the struggle for freedom. Christ gave man free-will. To
choose between right and wrong. So man has the right to choose. The GI says that man
can never be free because he is weak corrupt worthless and restless. The GI says that by
giving them freedom ..... you showed that you...