Count Leo Tolstoy was baptized Orthodox into a life of privilege and wealth in Czarist Russia in 1828. His young adulthood is best summed up with his own words from his book Confession:
I cannot recall those years without horror, loathing, and heart-rending pain. I killed people in war, challenged men to duels with the purpose of killing them, and lost at cards; I squandered the fruits of the peasants' toil and then had them executed; I was a fornicator and a cheat. Lying, stealing, promiscuity of every kind, drunkenness, violence, murder - there was not a crime I did not commit...Thus I lived for ten years."
Later in life, Tolstoy formulated a unique Christian philosophy which espoused non-resistance to evil as the proper response to aggression, and which put great emphasis on fair treatment of the poor and working class. Tolstoy also gave a strong plea for Christians to reject the State when seeking answers to questions of morality and instead to look within themselves and to God for their answers.
Tolstoy's books Confession (1884), What Then Must We Do? (1886), and most notably The Kingdom of God is Within You (1894) clearly outline his radical and well-reasoned revision of traditional Christian thinking. The Kingdom of God is Within You is the book which won over Gandhi to the idea of non-resistance to evil.
A Confession. Tolstoy's blunt and introspective
look at his life.
Repent Ye, For the Kingdom of Heaven is at Hand. From The Kingdom of God is Within You, one of Tolstoy's best.
Tolstoy Image Archive