Christianity in Crime and Punishment, by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

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Fyodor Dostoyevsky wrote, It must have been a difficult task for Dostoevsky to come to this conclusion. He could be compared to that of the Prodigal son, who returned to God only after all other forms of belief were ventured. Being raised in a Russian Orthodox household, as a youth Dostoyevsky rebelled against religion and later began to believe in the anarchist and atheistic philosophy that was common among radical students and middle-class people that were against the status quo in 19th century Russia. Dostoyevsky’s revolutionary outbreak did not go unnoticed by the Tsar’s police and justice system though; in 1849 he was sentenced to ten years of hard labor in a Siberian prison which was preceded by a mock execution. It is believed that Dostoyevsky re-learnt Christianity throughout his time in prison. There he would have been out of his comfort zone and element, and surrounded by hardened criminals, giving him plenty time to contemplate about his life and to read The New Testament, the only book that he was allowed in prison. However, it was not until his compulsory army service that Dostoyevsky’s faith began to grow and flourish. During his time serving in the army, he met a fellow officer and devoted Christian in Baron Von Vrangel, who soon befriended the then-young Dostoevsky, helping him to rediscover his Christian faith that he had once expelled. For the rest of his life he professed Christianity, even though he wasn’t considered a true member of the Christian society due to his doubts and passion for gambling. Instead, Dostoyevsky unlike other Christian authors of his generation understood that his faith was created and sustained solely by the grace of God.

It is the same grace of God that Dostoyevsky uses to write Cri...

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...ionally, and spiritually, and fittingly this redemption came in the spring. As Raskalnikov wept and embraced Sonya, there was no doubt that he had loved her. He finally began to look at the bigger picture and see the wrong in his ways and that it is deeper than guilt. Throughout the novel Dostoyevsky presents the reader with various forms of Christian symbolism, biblical references and allegories. Crime and Punishment is an interesting read that is about contrasts such as love and hate, and right and wrong, but most importantly it contrasts the oppression of sin with the freedom that comes through God. Through the protagonist Raskalnikov, Dostoyevsky illustrates that despite ones actions, through God repentance is possible. Crime and Punishment shows the reader that, no matter how large the rift between man and God might be, the greatest power is the grace of God.
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