On the contrary, Dostoevsky blames the sudden over reliance on the intellect in the nineteenth century - the over reliance on reason - for nearly all of the social and moral decay he witnessed and depicts in his novels. If anything, Dostoevsky cites the intellect as the chief vehicle through which people abandon faith in God and religion. Put simply, as far as Dostoevsky was concerned, proving the existence of God was more a matter of the heart than it was of the mind ( a point I hope to elaborate upon in a future post).
At the end of the short novella, The Dream of a Ridiculous Man, the unnamed narrator drives this idea home by declaring, "You see, I've seen the Truth. I've seen it, and I know that men can be happy and beautiful without losing the ability to live on earth. I cannot - I refuse to believe that wickedness is the normal state of men. And when they laugh at me, it is essentially at that belief of mine. But how can I not have faith, since I have seen the Truth. I didn't arrive at it with my intellect; I saw it in its entirety, and it is inconceivable that it could not exist."
Though Dostoevsky recognized the primacy of the heart over the mind when it came to matters of faith, he did often resort to using reason to argue in favor of the existence of God and the eternal Truth of Christianity, as demonstrated in the passage below (an excerpt taken from an essay titled The Philosophy and Theology of Fyodor Dostoevsky:
For Dostoevsky, human beings are a unity of spiritual souls and material bodies, with the spirit being primary but somewhat limited by bodily incarnation. Of itself, the human soul is immortal, oriented to immortality and the divine, but like Dostoevsky himself (who called himself “a child of the age, a child of disbelief and doubt . . .”), a human person struggles with doubts and arguments about the meaning of life and the existence of God.
Dostoevsky himself even used reason to bolster his Christian faith and to argue with his religious opponents. He was most interested in using reason to argue for immortality, which he considered the “highest” idea of human nature. He offered proofs based on both reason and faith for personal immortality, such as
(a) the experience of lifelong human growth and development;
(b) the experience of the lifelong desire for moral perfection in pursuing the human good;
(c) the experience of lifelong human love of God;
(d) the need for life to have meaning beyond death;
(e) the need for a virtuous life to have rewards or punishment beyond death.
All of these led him to declare that “I cannot conceive that I shall not be” or that a divine being would create people with these innate traits who could not achieve their fulfillment.