In the novel The Brothers Karamazov by Fydor Dostoyevsky, chapter four is entitled rebellion; Ivan is questioning the existence and/or character of God. In this chapter, Ivan and his brother Alyosha, discuss if God is just and give examples to support their questions. Ivan suggests that believing in God, or spirituality for that matter, can bring unhappiness and suffering. Ivan explains this rationale by telling stories of mistreated and abused children whom he calls "innocent" because they have never committed the sins of adults. Ivan proclaims that if there is such a God he must be heartless and a tyrant to allow sins to affect the innocent.
Ivan uses the old biblical tale of Adam and Eve to distinguish the difference between adults and children. Ivan explains that adults (Adam and Eve) ate the apple, sinned and therefore should continue to be punished. On the other hand, Adam and Eve were not children; which explains why Ivan feels they are not innocent.
Ivan states that since adults were the original sinners then children have not had the opportunity the sin yet. Ivan is wrong in many ways because everyone, regardless of age, commit sins. In fact, more crimes are committed by children than adults because most of those children were from broken or abusive homes. Although children have always been categorized as "innocent" children have and do commit horrific and unthinkable crimes. Ivan could argue that children develop this mind set to commit crimes from unsuitable parents or guardians. Many times children who commit crimes are profiled as abused, either sexually, physically or mentally, by a parent or family member. Ivan could also say that children sin and commit crimes because their parents tortured them as in the case with Richard.
Ivan tells the story of Richard, a six...