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On unbelief

"I once mentioned to Batushka," wrote one of his spiritual daughters, "about one family, which I felt very pity for them because they did not believe in anything, neither in God nor afterlife. I pitied because it may not be their fault, due to them being either brought up in such unbelief, or perhaps for another reason. Batushka shook his head and said very angrily: "There is no justification for unbelievers. The Scripture is written for everyone, decidedly everyone, even heathens; after all, the knowledge of God is implanted into us at birth, so they themselves are to blame. You ask can we pray for them. Of course, you can pray for anyone."

Starets also stated that some renounce their faith in God by imitating others and through false shame. Here is an example: there was a person who did not believe in God for this reason. However, during the war in the Caucus, when he had to fight and during the heat of battle, when bullets were flying past him, he bent over and hugged his horse all the while uttering: "Blessed Mother of God, save me." Later, when he recalled the incident and his comrades laughed at him, he repudiated his words. At which point he added: "Yes, hypocrisy is worse than not believing."

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