“. . . but it seemed to me that Alyosha was even more of a realist than the rest of us. Oh, of course, in the monastery he believed absolutely in miracles, but in my opinion miracles will never confound a realist. It is not miracles that bring a realist to faith. A true realist, if he is not a believer, will always find in himself the strength and ability not to believe in miracles as well, and if a miracle stands before him as irrefutable fact, he will sooner doubt his own senses than admit the fact. And even if he does admit it, he will admit it as a fact of nature that was previously unknown to him. In the realist, faith is not born from miracles, but miracles from faith. Once the realist comes to believe, then, precisely because of his realism, he must also allow for miracles.
As soon as [Alyosha] reflected seriously and was struck by the conviction that immortality and God exist, he naturally said at once to himself: ‘I want to live for immortality and I reject any halfway compromise.’ In just the same way, if he had decided that immortality and God do not exist, he would immediately have joined the atheists and socialists (for socialism is not only the labor question or the question of the so-called fourth estate, but first of all the question of atheism, the question of the modern embodiment of atheism, the question of the Tower of Babel built precisely without God, not to go from earth to heaven, but to bring heaven down to earth.)”
I’m reading a wonderful, joyful (yes, joyful) translation of The Brothers Karamazov. I love it very much, and cannot put it down. Highly recommend it, folks. Highly.