The Brothers Karamazov

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Table Four: Freedom

An older man chuckles admiringly in Ivan’s direction.  “It’s clever that Ivan’s Inquisitor forbids Christ to speak.  The Inquisitor argues that the dearest of all things to Christ is man’s freedom of faith; if He speaks now, He will take away that freedom because His new words will be received as a miracle.  People will believe because they have been given the proof of the miracle, and not because they have fought back doubt and embraced faith by choice” (251).  “Yes,”replies another, “man doesn’t want to be free. He wants to obey, believe, worship, follow.  Freedom is too big a burden for man.”  A third man nods his agreement.  “And Christ, if he loved us, would have understood this burden.  He would have removed the burden of freedom from our shoulders.  He would have provided us the miracles and the certainty and the leadership that we need in order to be secure and happy in our faith.”

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