Sunday, December 2, 2007

Readings: Chesterton's ORTHODOXY

I've been greatly enjoying my reading of G. K. Chesterton's Orthodoxy. His aphoristic style is a joy in itself, regardless of whether or not you agree with everything he says. I've had occasion, as I've slowly read this beautiful book, to quote from it in the comment boxes of other blogs. An excerpt from Orthodoxy used in my previous post (which provides the requisite links), elicited an appreciation from a new reader, who is also a fan of Chesterton. For all of these reasons, I thought that I would just post a few more excerpts from this great book, and sit back to see if anybody who happens to come across them is inspired to make any pertinent comments:


The essence of all pantheism, evolutionism, and modern cosmic religion is really in this proposition: that Nature is our mother. Unfortunately, if you regard Nature as a mother, you discover that she is a step-mother. The main point of Christianity was this: that Nature is not our mother: Nature is our sister. We can be proud of her beauty, since we have the same Father; but she has no authority over us; we have to admire, but not to imitate.
(On a personal note, as an only child, I was particularly moved by this.)


We have remarked that one reason offered for being a progressive is that things naturally tend to grow better. But the only real reason for being a progressive is that things naturally tend to grow worse. The corruption in things is not only the best argument for being progressive; it is also the only argument against being conservative. The conservative theory would really be quite sweeping and unanswerable if it were not for this one fact. But all conservatism is based upon the idea that if you leave things alone you leave them as they are. But you do not. If you leave a thing alone you leave it to a torrent of change. If you leave a white post alone it will soon be a black post. If you particularly want it to be white you must be always painting it again; that is, you must be always having a revolution.

The Rich:

Christianity even when watered down is hot enough to boil all modern society to rags. The mere minimum of the Church would be a deadly ultimatum to the world. For the whole modern world is absolutely based on the assumption, not that the rich are necessary (which is tenable), but that the rich are trustworthy, which (for a Christian) is not tenable. ...The whole case for Christianity is that a man who is dependent upon the luxuries of this life is a corrupt man, spritually corrupt, politically corrupt, financially corrupt. There is one thing that Christ and all the Christian saints have said with a sort of savage monotony. They have said simply that to be rich is to be in peculiar danger of moral wreck. It is not demonstrably un-Christian to kill the rich as violators of definable justice. It is not demonstrably un-Christian to crown the rich as convenient rulers of society. It is not certainly un-Christian to rebel against the rich or to submit to the rich. But it is quite certainly un-Christian to trust the rich, to regard the rich as more morally safe than the poor. ...For it is a part of Christian dogma that any man in any rank may take bribes.

Tell it like it is, G.K.