The Puzzle of Religion
The novel Crime and Punishment, by Fyodor Dostoevsky tells the story of Raskolnikov, an amoral man who commits a heinous crime out of his own believability that he is above morals and the rules that everyone else follows. He prefers a rational utilitarian way of thinking over the blind faith of religion yet, there is a great enigma in the novel. The paradox is that all around this nonreligious and overly rational man is the presence of piousness and faith. It is because of this constant proximity to that which he doesn’t understand and rejects, namely religion, that Raskolnikov is able to overcome this paradox and accept religion and therefore redeem himself.
In the beginning of the novel Raskolnikov is a victim of his own hubris. He is living in the city of St. Petersburg and is surrounded by poverty, prostitution, and drunkenness, which are activities that cause Raskolnikov to look down on everyone around him. His superior attitude puts him on the outskirts of society. He is isolated with very few human interactions because of his regard for others, and due to his superior attitude he is able to rationalize his actions, even though they are just as questionable. He uses the debase activities of those around him as his excuse for his own controversial ethics ,since he views himself as better then them he is above their rules of morals. It is this way of thinking that allows him to contemplate and then commit the murder of Alyona Ivanovna .
He is so rational in his way of thinking that it is like he does not have a conscience of what is right or wrong but rather a purely systamatic way of thinking. This thought process is why Raskolnikov is lacking a strong belief in religion before his redemption. Belief in religion and god requires a thinking that is not purely rational and relies heavily on faith rather than evidence, which when the novel begins Raskolnikov is incapable of doing. This is shown in his hatred of the...