Ep 327 – The New Atheist’s Guide to Not Being a Total Asshole: Episode 7 (The Grand Inquisitor)

Listener Essay

Posted December 4th, 2016

Infant buddy Sage Turk is back to talk with Heather about one of her favorite things.

From wikipedia:

The Grand Inquisitor” is a poem in Fyodor Dostoyevsky‘s novel The Brothers Karamazov (1879–1880). It is recited by Ivan, who questions the possibility of a personal and benevolent God, to his brother Alyosha, a novice monk. “The Grand Inquisitor” is an important part of the novel and one of the best-known passages in modern literature because of its ideas about human nature and freedom, and its fundamental ambiguity.


  • Swaggy

    I’ve actually never read Dostoyevsky but I’ll take a look at this podcast. I’m actually surprised Randy’s not participating as he wanted to do an episode on Dostoyevsky. God, it’s so painful to have to spell Russian names.

  • Swaggy

    I thoroughly enjoy any episode Heather is on. Sage Turk is awesome as well.

  • Thomas Moore

    Hmmm? I’ve never read “The Grand Inquisitor” ; but the argument, conversation with Jesus sounded familiar…Then I recalled Stephen Fry’s interview on what he would do and say to God if it was all true: https://youtu.be/-suvkwNYSQo

  • Ben Smith

    Wow, this was really good. I love the series and I’ve been excited to see what episode Heather would be on and she absolutely killed it!

    Excellent topic, great discussion and the reading of “The Grand Inquisitor” was seriously so good. I’m glad this series is continuing because it really is good.

  • Ryan Gregson

    I really enjoyed this, well done! I have some reading to do.

  • Jason Jordan Smith

    Ah, how nostalgic. The Grand Inquisitor was one of the biggest mind screws for me in my Russian literature class. My question for Heather: did you read any of these in Russian? I read Prestuplenia i Nakazania ON my mission, and reading in the original was quite the different experience.

    Ya ochen rad znat’ chto yest’ lyudi katoroye hotyat chitat’ velikalepnuyu letaraturu!

  • Cliff

    Great episode! I was feeling myself starting to act more and more like an asshole again and needed my NAG fix!

    Sage – what are your plans when this is over? Do you have another series in mind that IoT may adopt? Are you going to start your own podcast? What’s the scoop?

  • Shaun

    Hi, forgive my ignorance, but how do you play the episode? I don’t see a play button or link.

  • Orrin Dayne

    I enjoyed the performance of, and discussion about, The Grand Inquisitor. I’ve read the book a couple times, but it has been a while. I need to read it again.

  • Rude Dog

    Hey guys. I ordered the Book Brother’s Karamazov and now its here, in all its thick glory. It’s not just a paper weight, hell this thing could hold down a bouncy house in a Utah Dust Devil. Does one really open it up and read cover to cover? How do I eat this elephant?

  • A L

    I’ve been meaning to comment on this for a few months…I liked this episode so much, I listened to it three times. SO fascinating. And Heather–fantastic dramatic reading. You’re a gem.