You hold that your heretics and sceptics have helped the world forward and handed on a lamp of progress. I deny it. Nothing is plainer from real history than that each of your heretics invented a complete cosmos of his own which the next heretic smashed entirely to pieces. Who knows now exactly what Nestorius taught? Who cares? There are only two things that we know for certain about it. The first is that Nestorius, as a heretic, taught something quite opposite to the teaching of Arius, the heretic who came before him, and something quite useless to James Turnbull, the heretic who comes after. I defy you to go back to the Freethinkers of the past and find any habitation for yourself at all. I defy you to read Godwin or Shelley, or the deists of the eighteenth century, or the nature-worshipping humanists of the Renaissance, without discovering that you differ from them twice as much as you differ from the Pope. You are a nineteenth-century sceptic, and you are always telling me that I ignore the cruelty of Nature. If you had been an eighteenth-century sceptic you would have told me that I ignore the kindness and benevolence of Nature. You are an Atheist, and you praise the deists of the eighteenth century. Read them instead of praising them, and you will find that their whole universe stands or falls with the deity. You are a Materialist, and you think Bruno a scientific hero. See what he said, and you will think him an insane mystic. No; the great Freethinker, with his genuine ability and honesty, does not in practice destroy Christianity. What he does destroy is the Freethinker who went before.
Those thinkers who cannot believe in any gods often assert that the love of humanity would be in itself sufficient for them; and so, perhaps, it would, if they had it.
I read the astounding statement that the Catholic Church regards sex as having the nature of sin. How marriage can be a sacrament if sex is a sin, or why it is the Catholics who are in favor of birth and their foes who are in favor of birth control, I will leave the critic to worry out for himself.
There is a law that is not in nature, at least not in raw nature, namely, we who are strong should bear the infirmities of the weak and not please ourselves. It is here that Christianity makes it most unique and distinctive pronouncement, and gives the supreme example of Divinity dying for the weakness and sinfulness of humanity. The Christian law is not the survival of the fittest, but the survival of the unfit.
Nobody understands the nature of the Church, or the ringing note of the creed descending from antiquity, who does not realize that the whole world once very nearly died of broadmindedness and the brotherhood of all religions.
If there is one fact we really can prove, from the history that we really do know, it is that despotism can be a development, often a late development and very often indeed the end of societies that have been highly democratic. A despotism may almost be defined as a tired democracy. As fatigue falls on a community, the citizens are less inclined for that eternal vigilance which has truly been called the price of liberty; and they prefer to arm only one single sentinel to watch the city while they sleep.
Men who begin to fight the Church for the sake of freedom and humanity end by flinging away freedom and humanity if only they may fight the Church.
The poor you have always with you” (Jn 12:8). And yet it is rather easy to look at the derelict poor and consider self-inflicted the scars from alcohol and drugs that mar their faces—easy to harbor disdain for their indecency. But then surely we sometimes miss a lonely man’s eyes looking up in a wish that his face will not provoke this time a glance of revulsion. And perhaps the same look of these eyes was also in the eyes of Jesus as he carried the cross to Calvary.
Thanks to Niko for this link.
The proclamation of the Gospel will always be marked by the sign of the Cross—this is what each generation of Jesus’ disciples must learn anew. The Cross is and remains the sign of ‘the Son of Man’: ultimately, in the battle against lies and violence, truth and love have no other weapon than the witness of suffering.
If a man will really try talking to the ten beggars who come to his door he will soon find out whether it is really so much easier than the labour of writing a cheque for a hospital.
G.K. Chesterton, What’s Wrong with the World
Man is an exception, whatever else he is. If he is not the image of God, then he is a disease of the dust. If it is not true that a divine being fell, then we can only say that one of the animals went entirely off its head.