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Upon reading this chapter in the Brothers Karamazov I find myself confused as to why The Grand Inquisitor is considered to be such a powerful argument for atheism and against theodicy. What is a good Christian response (apologetic) to this argument?

Please also address the following areas which confuse me:

  • The chapter itself seems to state that Jesus set the bar much too high for man with respect to salvation, but isn't it true that humans were never intended to reach the level of holiness that Jesus attained and that salvation is a gift to those who repent?
  • Why is Ivan's description of the suffering of children such powerful ammunition for rejecting God?

I appreciate any insight.

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I think this question is off-topic. This is the Christianity Stacks Exchange. You may find better luck on the Atheism Stacks Exchange. I would also suggest narrowing down your question to the person or group that suggests the claim that so-and-so is such a powerful argument for atheism. –  Anonymous Aug 9 '13 at 0:09
@Anonymous there isn't one, it was closed in private beta. –  wax eagle Aug 9 '13 at 0:33
This question appears to be off-topic because it is about Atheism rather than Christianity. –  wax eagle Aug 9 '13 at 0:33
I would probably revise the question to fit within the framework of Christianity. Perhaps, Simon P may ask a question concerning a denomination's defense of the faith against atheistic arguments. –  Anonymous Aug 9 '13 at 2:12
I voted to reopen because The Brothers Karamazov is often considered a theological work. Indeed, I've actually heard the opposite - that the Grand Inquisitor is a Christian apologetic. I think its actually on topic for that reason, although it would be better if the question were rephrased in terms of "What theological arguments are being made in the story of the Grand Inquisitor (Brother's Karamzov)?" Additionally, linking to the passage in question would be useful. –  Affable Geek Aug 9 '13 at 13:07
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