Crime and Punishment

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Christianity in Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment: An Overview Fyodor

Dostoyevsky wrote, " If someone succeded in proving to me that Christ was

outside the truth, and if, indeed, the truth was outside Christ, then I

would sooner remain with Christ than with the truth" (Frank 68). It was by

no means easy for Dostoyevsky to reach this conclusion. In Dostoyevsky's

life, one sees that of an intellectual Prodigal Son, returning to the

Father In Heaven only after all other available systems of belief have

been exhausted. Reared in a devout Russian Orthodox home, Dostoyevsky as a

young man rebelled against his upbringing and embraced the anarchist (and

atheistic) philosophies of the intelligentsia, radical students and middle

class intellectuals violently opposed to the status quo in

Nineteenth-Century Russia (Morsm 50). Dostoyevsky revolutionary stirrings

were not unnoticed by the Tsar's secret police, and, in 1849, Dostoyevsky

was sentenced to a mock execution followed by ten years' hard labor in a

Siberian prison (Morsm 50).

One critic said "It has been customary to

say that Dostoyevsky re-learnt Christianity in prison." (A Boyce Gibson

19.) There, out of his element and surrounded by hardened criminals, he

had plenty of time to contemplate life and read The New Testament (the

only book he was allowed). However, it was not until his compulsory army

service that Dostoyevsky's faith began to blossom. In the army,

Dostoyevsky met a fellow officer and devout Christian named Baron von

Vrangel, who befriended the still young Dostoevesky and helped him

re-discover the Christian faith (Frank 4). Although a professing

Christian for the rest of his life, Dostoyevsky was not a "plaster saint."

(Until he died, he was plagued by doubts and a passion for gambling.)

Instead, Dostoyevsky understood, perhaps better than any other great

Christian author, that his faith was...