love and heretics

It's better to light a candle than curse the darkness

A Question for discussion from the Brothers Karamazov

“Tell me straight out, I call on you – answer me: imagine that you yourself are building the edifice of human destiny with the object of making people happy in the finale, of giving them peace and rest at last, but for that you must inevitable and unavoidable torture just one tiny creature, that same child who was beating her chest with her little fist, and raise your edifice on the foundation of her unrequited tears – would you agree to be the architect on such conditions? Tell me the truth.” – Fyodor Dostoyevsky, the Brothers Karamazov.



  1. Hey Holly,

    Dostoevsky is asking us a difficult question. Is the suffering of one person justified if a majority benefit from it? And should I allow this person to suffer. I don’t know and I can’t answer you straight. There will be always questions on what child should we allow to suffer, is it a healthy child, is it a deformed child, and the list is without end of why we shouldn’t let it be and in the end I think I would say that is a price I don’t want on my conscience.

    • Agreed. A very hard question. Some hypotheticals should absolutely stay that way.
      An interesting movie on this, (if you have not seen it), is Unthinkable , with Samuel Jackson. It leads you right into all the hypothetical and causes you to wonder…how far could you go? what could you do? and allows you to see how those who are successful in torture, do not have limits…
      in the end does the end ever justify the means?

      • I watched unthinkable and I like how it starts.
        You ask another difficult question. I think the means should justify the ends.
        Hope life is treating you fairly

  2. Noel asked an interesting question the other day which seems very much in-line with this: why (in a theists mind) did god even create a biological species? For what purpose did this serve knowing the physical realm is a living torture for almost all living creatures.

    • Yes this one gives me pause too. I shall have to catch up and look for it on Noel’s site. I am so far behind. how does one do blog catch up? oy….:D There are so many good ones that i don’t want to miss, and yet if you miss a couple of weeks…you have hundreds of emails…and the stack looks overwhelming. lesson: do not step out of blog world for a bit if you want to keep up…. πŸ˜‰

      • Just delete all the emails. You’ll find the posts you were supposed to. πŸ™‚

  3. Hi Holly!
    When I read this I think of the many times I’ve read about people making such a decision. And then after the first child, they felt they had to sacrifice another, and another, and another! So my answer would be: if you think you can build on suffering…Think again.

    • That is a brilliant point lively. Once a line is crossed, even if one believes…just this one time…it seems to be easier and easier to cross that line again, and even move it farther…

  4. Charles kcdad

    The biggest thing that transformed by beliefs is that I realized I had no reason to believe in god… it had all been based on feelings. Feelings of wanting to belong, feelings of not knowing, feelings of fear of death, feelings of insignificance. There is not one piece of evidence outside of my imagination to believe in anything supernatural.
    The resurrection? Fiction.

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