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The Grand Inquisitor is a short moral story that often includes animal characters and it was narrated by Ivan to Alyosha. The novel is all about the stories concerning human suffering with humor and psychological insight. It seeks to define the relationship in nature between the church and the teachings of Christ. The inquisitor establishes that Christ would only speak through miracles and through this miracle, he would affect men’s freedom of faith that he died several years ago After struggling with the freedom that Christ had given to people long time ago, to church as finally ended it for the sake of the happiness of mankind. But according to the cardinal, man in nature is a rebel and he can not be happy even when they are shown admonitions and warnings, they won’t listen. The cardinal relates the admonitions and warnings to the three temptations that Jesus faced in the wilderness. While the Grand Inquisitor praises God, during that time “fires were lightened every day to the glory of God”, on the other hand, he uses the same fire to burn people persecuted in inquisition (Fyodor, n.d.). Even though the grand inquisitor promotes religion, he his referred to as brutal dictator. He takes the power of the people and sets himself as the ruler thus representing himself as god.
When Jesus resisted the ‘three temptations’, he showed human beings that there is freedom to choose whatever they want to do and become in all aspects of life. Cardinal continues to reveal that by rejecting the offers that were given to him by “the wise and dread spirit, the spirit of self destruction and non-existence” Christ is said to have adored men with freedom while cursing them to lives of misery and unhappiness, and this is the reason Christ must be burned as a heretic (Stone, 2000). Christ performed several miracles and thus people knew and adored him but unfortunately he is arrested and sentenced to death by inquisition leaders.
The second sex by Simone de Beauvoir is a subject that encompasses the biological and social science conceptual about women. It is written to show treatment of women throughout history by the female literature writers. The author seeing a need to define what a woman was, argues that women throughout history have been defined as “other” sex and have been relegated to a sphere of “immanence” in the passive roles assigned to them by society deferring from the “normal” male sex and after a long century there is no much work done to solve this problem (Beauvoir, 1949).
Cardinals position on Grand Inquisitor
The cardinal accuses Christ of having come back to hinder him, but insists that he will not succeed because the people will obey his will. According to stone (2000), he quotes what was written by Fyodor that “The very people who have today kissed Thy feet, tomorrow at the faintest sign from me will rush to heap up the embers of Thy fire”, to him this concludes that the church sees Christ not as a supporter but as an opponent. When the cardinal said that he has no ‘right’ to add to what had been said, it shows that rights are not granted to man from heaven but by the church. Therefore, nobody even Christ himself has the right to speak in Christ’s name apart from the church alone.
With the first temptation that Christ was to turn stones into bread so that all men shall follow him like sheep and submit so that they can be fed, Christ rejected it saying that men does not live by bread alone. But with the inquisitor, bread is more important to man than freedom as men shall be virtues if asked, but not before they are fed. With the cardinal, he is sure that men will gladly sacrifice their freedom for the sake of bread. He concludes that Christ was not fair to ask men to live without bread for the sake of higher ideal since the strong people can only afford to do that. The Christian morality of serving the weak and the starving is therefore not adhered to. The cardinal’s position is in accusing the fact that those who lack are glorified and those suffering more will continue suffering. By telling hungry man to look for heavenly bread first, reveals that Christ sees that satisfying the hungry is sinful. Christ asks the starving to continue to starve for the sake of Gods love, but with human nature that is very difficult and costly love to earn.
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Christ wants people to embrace God without needing a miracle but the cardinal knows that people needs miracle in order to embrace God. The inquisitor stated that its nature of men to reject miracles but only at moments of deepest spiritual difficulties that they seek for miraculous God. If Christ had come down to earth and showed himself to be immortal all mankind would adore him as God. Christ didn’t desire men’s hearts to be of slave but be free to of love, but with the cardinal he observes this as a high thought Christ had for men. The cardinal challenges Christ to answer for his actions by refusing to enslave mankind he embraces his rebelliousness. Knowing that mans soul is weak and will not know how to manage his freedom; Christ could not have blamed these weak souls for their failure. Christ champions freedom, treating man as an end in himself with the ability and power to choose his own destiny, though this may came at the expense of his happiness.
The statement made by cardinal that “ I know not who thou art and care not know whether it is thou or only a semblance of him, but tomorrow I shall condemn thee and burn thee at the stake as the worst of heretics” (Fyodor, n.d.) reveals very clearly the cardinal’s lack of reverence to Christ who has returned to earth . But according to the cardinal, Christ is blamed and accused for granting freedom to humans saying that the earth will rise up against him and strive to overcome Christ. The cardinal feels that the given freedom is freedom to humans not to follow the church and he opts that people should follow the church by force and not by faith. . With cardinals as inquisitor, who tries to play the part of God in helping humanity to be happy is seen to be a self-fulfilling prophecy and not one of selflessness.
Simone de Beauvoir position of Cardinals
Women have long been held in relationships that stand on oppression to man through her being referred to as man’s “Other”. As Beauvoir explains, woman “is the incidental, the inessential, as opposed to the essential. He is the subject; he is the absolute-she is the “Other” (Beauvoir, 1949). She urges that each individual regardless of sex, class or age should be encouraged to define him or herself and to take on the individual responsibility that comes with freedom. The framework of an individual freedom engaged in an objective world is close to a conception of the conflict between being-for-itself and being-in-itself. Beauvoir’s analysis of freedom implies that there should be an ethical consideration of other free subjects in the world.
The external world can reveal itself as a crushing, objective reality whereas the other can reveal to humans as a source of fundamental freedom. If God is not there to give morality, it is up to the individual existent to create a bond with others through ethical actions. This bond will therefore require a fundamental orientation around the world through actions that express our freedom and also those that encourage freedom of other human beings. Beauvoir perceives the ‘other’ as the necessary way for her freedom without which, there could have been no freedom. She stands on her belief of absolute freedom of choice and the out coming responsibility that such freedom entails that one’s actions should come within an individual and not from external institution, authority or person. She criticizes the Christian ideas about God in relation to humanity, country and science which are in demand of human decision of freedom into a static cause. Since Beauvoir is concerned with freedom and the importance of making choices, she relates it with slavery, mastery, tyranny and devotion which remain choices despite the inequalities that often results from these connections with others. There is an insistence that human beings can never do anything for or against others even if inequality exists between us. These gave an impression that no one can act in place of another person since every one is responsible for their actions.
She also develops an idea that in abstaining from encouraging the freedom of others, one will be acting against the ethical call of the other. Without others ones actions are destined to all back upon themselves as useless and absurd. Human actions call to other freedoms that may choose to respond to or ignore them. She recognizes and understands the causes and forms of women’s oppression and conceptualizes sexual differences.
Men have suffered a lot because of these freedoms which the cardinal sees as an obstacle to people who want to live happy lives. With a miracle it is thought that Christ would have removed the burden of freedom from mankind. Men are naturally slaves and rebellious. The church fights against mans freedom, struggling to make him submissive to the authority and would even destroy his dignity for the sake of his temporary happiness. God created humanity with the free will that they may realize that the extreme limits of his love and light are possible with all who have faith in him being the creator of all things. The roman laws limit the rights of women referring as ‘the imbecility, the instability of the sex’ during the time when the women seem to outlaw men when there are family strains. These marital issues that oppress the women should be solved by revised law. The truth of lack of freedom is obviously revealed as under the legalistic system of the Roman Catholic Church, the people are told what to do and think through the laws and statues of the pope. The main thing that is revealed in the Grand Inquisitor is that the church had taken over the position of Jesus as the judge and jury. All these have contributed to secular Humanism thus socialism that ‘all men shall live by bread alone’ and the church should be in charge of all the bread.
Even when there is democracy that suggests that women are like men, philosophizes still displays the unusual ambiguity. Drawing from religion and philosophy, the anti-feminists are willing to grant ‘equality in difference’ to the women. Eve having been created after Adam, as people may say, classifies her to be inferior. But all in all God created all of them in his likeliness.
The Inquisitor makes a frequent point that He (Jesus) has given humanity a certain amount of freedom, and that any additional messages from him would slowly affect human rights upon that freedom. The inquisitor also adds that freedom that was given to humanity by Jesus’ original message was actually a penalty, and that the church has needed to remove those freedoms from the people. Beauvoir admits that God loves both men and women and the moral difference between the two is as a result of cultural development. The cardinal believes that the church should not be given freewill because humans are weak, vicious, rebellious and worthless creatures. If they are given this freedom without responsibilities of moral freedom, it will be easier for men to follow God.
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