Leo Tolstoy
· The Circle of Reading
Translated by Dmitry Fadeyev

January 2

One of the crudest superstitions is the superstition of the majority of the so-called scientists of our time that a human being can live without faith.


At all times and in every age people thirsted to know or to have at least some kind of understanding of their origins and of the end goal of their earthly existence, and religion arose to satisfy this need and to illuminate the link that unites as brothers the whole of humankind, who all share a single origin, have a single common task in life and a single common end goal.

— Giuseppe Mazzini


True religion is a relationship established by a human being to the infinite life around him, which connects his life to this infinity and guides his actions.


The essence of any religion consists solely in the answer to the question: what am I living for and what is my relationship to the infinite world around me? There is not a single religion, from the highest down to the most primitive, which does not have at its foundation this establishment of a human being’s relationship to the world around him.


Religion is the highest and most noble agent in the education of a human being, the greatest force of enlightenment, whereas external manifestations of faith and self-serving political activities are the chief obstacles to the progress of humankind. The activities of both the clergy and the state are contrary to religion. The essence of religion is eternal and divine, it fills the heart of a human being equally wherever it feels and beats. All our studies indicate that all great religions share the same foundation, the same teaching, which has been developing from the very beginning of human existence up to the present day.

Deep within every faith flows the stream of eternal truth.

Let the Parsee bear his Taavids, the Jew his philacteries, the Christian his cross, and the Muslim his crescent, but let them all remember that these are merely external forms, while the practical essence of all religions—the love for one’s neighbor—is equally emphasized by Manu, Zoroaster, Buddha, Abraham, Moses, Socrates, Hillel, Jesus, Paul and Muhammad.

— Maurice Fluegel


The essence of a religion consists not in certain teachings as divine revelations (for this is known as theology), but in the content of all our duties in general, as God’s commandments.

— After Kant

The life of human being without faith is the life of an animal.