This is the first page of many on this great Russian. His impact on the anti-colonial struggles of the twentieth century (think Gandhi) and on the american Negro civil rights movement (think Martin Luther King) is immeasurable. For me he also symbolises the end of ‘Christendom’ (an alliance of church and state), started by Constantine in the fourth century, because he finds a way of releasing Christian faith and ethics from the established church. All those of us who have ever participated in any non-violent action owe a debt to this man.

First, his version of the spanish slogan on the image on  Zingcreed’s very first page:-
“My teaching, like fire, will ignite the whole world” (Lk 12:49)
(‘The gospel in brief. The life of Jesus’ 1881/1905)

(On God and Love)
“To love God means to love the truth; to love one’s neighbour as oneself means to acknowledge the union of the essence of one’s own life and soul with that of every other human life and with the eternal truth which is God.”

(On the essence of Christianity)

  • “Do not be angry
  • Do not commit fornication
  • Do not swear oaths
  • Do not go to law
  • Do not go to war.”

(On conscience)
“All human life consists in just these two activities:  (1) bringing one’s behaviour into harmony with conscience or (2) hiding from oneself the promptings of conscience so as to be able to go on living as before.”

(On the first step – vegetarianism)
“…if a man is serious in his aspiration towards a good life, then… the first virtue (he) must strive to cultivate is self mastery, and the first object with regard to which he will learn to practise self-control is food. The first thing he will abstain from in his fasting is animal food. Its consumption is quite simply immoral since it requires something contrary to all sense of morality- the act of killing- and is necessitated only by our greed and our desire for delicacies.”

(On desires)
“Lust, once satisfied, requires new and stronger pleasures. The degree of pleasure increases arithmetically while the means for producing it increase geometrically. This is how it always goes:
First berries, gingerbread, and simple toys
Second  sweets, flavoured drinks, bicycles and horses
Third cold meats, cheese, alcohol and women
Fourth alcohol, tobacco and sensuous music.”

(On belief)
‘Live in search of  God and there will be no more life without God’  Then everything around me and within me lit up, more brightly than ever before, and this light has never again left me. And so I was saved from suicide….I returned in all ways to the things of my childhood and youth…the aspiration towards moral perfection.”

(On sex)
“Falling in love or sexual intercourse invariably make it more difficult for a man to achieve any worthwhile goal.”

(On our animal nature)
“Human life is a compound of animal and divine life. Life is a movement towards divine perfection. The movement of the publican, etc (in the New Testament) constitutes a higher degree of perfection than the unchanging righteousness of the Pharisee. Man’s animal nature is beyond man’s power. Strengthen the other force of consciousness of being a son of God. Strive to fuse your will with God’s. Christ teaches that liberation and intensification of the divine force constitutes man’s true life.”

(On love of humanity)
“Love and service of our neighbour are merely a consequence of the Christian teaching that we must love and serve God. Scientific people, e.g. communists entirely reject the love and service of God. They teach that the service of humanity is the whole import of Christian teaching. They are entirely mistaken. Christian teaching has a solid foundation in the human soul and theirs is based on a theoretical deduction by analogy, based on the practical benefits of a universal brotherhood of man. The two have nothing whatsoever in common. Humanity is a fiction and it is impossible to love it.”


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