The Kingdom of God is Within You
by Leo Tolstoy
'The Kingdom of God is Within You' Summary
The title of the book originates from Luke 17:21. In the book, Tolstoy speaks of the principle of nonviolent resistance when confronted by violence, as taught by Jesus Christ. When Christ says to turn the other cheek, Tolstoy asserts that Christ means to abolish violence, even the defensive kind, and to give up revenge. Tolstoy rejects the interpretation of Roman and medieval scholars who attempted to limit its scope.
"How can you kill people, when it is written in God's commandment: 'Thou shalt not murder'?"
Tolstoy was largely inspired by the writings of American Christian anarchists Adin Ballou and William Lloyd Garrison, who also shared his viewpoint that all governments who waged war is an affront to the New Testament and Christian ethics. Tolstoy discusses Ballou and Garrison's texts and biographies at length in the book, including a whole excerpt of Ballou's Non-Resistance Catechism (originally published in 1844). As the Russian Orthodox Church was at the time an organization merged with the Russian state which fully supported the state's policies, Tolstoy sought to separate its teachings from what he believed to be the true gospel of Christ, specifically the Sermon on the Mount.
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