Faith and Meaning of Life With Regard to Lev Tolstoy’s Beliefs

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Why does philosophy exist? The answer is simple, yet complex at the same time for those whose minds aren’t open to various interpretations of literature, ideals, but most importantly, questions. This is why philosophers dedicate virtually their entire lives to such questions and ideals that spark their interests. Philosophy can be defined as love of wisdom, and with such wisdom comes experience, knowledge, and good judgment.

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Such elements of wisdom invoke curiosity; thus, bringing us to the inevitable question pondered for countless centuries by some of the greatest minds in the history of philosophy: what is the meaning of life? or simply, why do we exist? This question has plagued the minds of intellectuals, mainly philosophers, and particular individuals have tried to answer this question, failing to do so throughout the span of their lifetime. However, I want to focus on one individual; someone who dedicated their entire life to answering this question. This person is thought to be one of the most influential Russian philosophers and writers of all time. He is, none other than, Leo Tolstoy. His search for the meaning of life brought him to numerous places, both mentally and spiritually.

Leo Tolstoy had been baptized and brought up in the Orthodox Church. As he progressed through his childhood and formative years, and eventually adulthood, he had already given up and abandoned his faith. Tolstoy also gave up on college when he was 18 years of age. He believed he was too educated to believe in such doctrines, and that there had to be an answer to the meaning of life, purely based on rationalism, science, and nothing to do with religion. Thus, his life was a complete and utter struggle, in which he dedicated to finding an answer to this seemingly unanswerable question. Through such hardship, Tolstoy, having searched all if not most aspects of science, realized that the answer and the ultimate truth to the meaning of life was indeed faith and religion, a preconception that he had once deemed false and irrelevant with regard to the meaning of life. I completely agree with Tolstoy’s answer to the meaning of life. Faith, which I see as having a particular set of morals, allows us to follow certain principles that, in turn, dictates who we are as human beings, and what the purpose of our lives is. However, free will and moral responsibility, as we’ve talked emphatically about throughout the entirety of this semester, is a critical determinant to what faith you decide to live by. Believing in something gives you a sense of direction in life. Our actions, which resonates from our beliefs and faithful orientations, are what give us character, purpose, but most importantly, shows us who we are.

Why do people have faith?

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