The Grand Inquisitor

March 9, 2005

Excerpt from “The Grand Inquisitor,” a story taken from The Brothers Karamazov, by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. The Inquisitor of Seville explains to Jesus, who has come again to earth, why his mission is futile:

They will regard us as gods, and feel grateful to those who have consented to lead the masses and bear their burden of freedom by ruling over them–so terrible will that freedom at last appear to men! Then we will tell them that it is in obedience to Thy will and in Thy name that we rule over them. We will deceive them once more and lie to them once again–for never, never more will we allow Thee to come among us. In this deception we will find our suffering, for we must needs lie eternally, and never cease to lie!

Jesus with his torturers, by Heironymous Bosch. Is that Alberto Gonzalez there in the crowd?