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The Grand Inquisitor – Wikipedia

Source: The Grand Inquisitor - Wikipedia

Dostoevsky's parable is set in sixteenth-century Seville -- at the
height of the Inquisition. On the day after a magnificent bonfire, in
which nearly one hundred heretics were burned alive, Jesus descends and
is immediately recognized. The cardinal -- the Grand Inquisitor -- has
Him promptly arrested and thrown in prison. That evening, the door of
Jesus' cell opens and the old, ascetic Inquisitor enters to confront
Him. For a few minutes there is silence, then the Inquisitor delivers
the most profound and terrible attack against Christianity.

The Inquisitor charges Jesus with betrayal of mankind, for deliberately
rejecting the only ways in which men might have been happy. This
singular moment occurred when "the wise and dread spirit, the spirit of
self-destruction and non-existence," tempted Jesus in the wilderness by
asking Him three questions.

First, the spirit asked Jesus to turn stones into bread. Jesus refused
because He wanted mankind free, and what would obedience be worth if it
were bought with bread? Thus, He denied men their deepest craving -- to
find someone who would take away the awesome burden of freedom.

Then, the spirit asked Jesus to throw Himself from the pinnacle of the
temple, "for it is written the angels shall hold Him up lest he fall".
Again Jesus refused, rejecting miracles because He wanted faith given
freely. But the Inquisitor explains that man cannot live without
miracles, for if he is deprived of them, he immediately creates new
ones. Man is weaker and baser by nature than Jesus thought. "By showing
him so much respect, Thou didst ... cease to feel for him..."

Jesus' last temptation was to rule the world, to unite all mankind "in
one unanimous and harmonious ant-heap, for the craving for universal
unity is the third and last anguish of men..." He refused once again,
and thereby rejected the only ways in which men might have been made happy.

The Inquisitor explains "We are not working with Thee but with him [the
spirit]... We have taken the sword of Caesar, and in taking it, of
course, have rejected Thee and followed him. Oh, ages are yet to come of
the confusion of free thought, of their science and cannibalism... [But]
we have corrected Thy work and have founded it upon miracle, mystery and
authority. And men rejoiced that they were again led like sheep, and
that the terrible gift that had brought them such suffering, was, at
last, lifted from their hearts... And all will be happy, all the
millions of creatures except the hundred thousand who rule over them.
For only we, who guard the mystery, shall be unhappy... Peacefully they
will die, peacefully they will expire in Thy name, and beyond the grave
they will find nothing but death."

"And we alone shall feed them..." the Inquisitor continues, "Oh, never,
never can they feed themselves without us! No science will give them
bread so long as they remain free. In the end they will lay their
freedom at our feet, and say to us, ‘Make us your slaves, but feed us.'"

Happy Y2K-1,

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