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  • Writer's pictureDon Owens

Learning from a Good Old Catholic

“Orthodoxy” is great reading for those that have dipped their toes into the system of Christianity and left with questions. It is perfect for the Christian with doubts. It is great for those looking for common language apologetics. It is a must read for Christians.

I was brought up in Protestant circles that despised Catholics. I found it amusing later in life that Protestants would be so hateful to the denomination that gave birth to them. Every form of Protestantism is a form of Catholicism. A historical review of the faith makes this clear. Spurgeon would not have his Bible if not for the monks of the Dark Ages. Nor would Piper have his deep theology without Aquinas. Nor would we have the great freedom for growth of Christianity without Constantine. We would have run head long into gnosticism if not for the Apostle's Creed.

I have included my favorite quotes from the book in hopes they will entice you to read, “Orthodoxy”. You can learn something from a jolly old Catholic. I hope no matter your worldview, you’ll allow Chesterton to walk you through his.

(Orthodoxy, G.K. Chesterton, Harold Shaw Publishers, 1994, 2001)

“Even a bad shot is dignified when he accepts a duel.” Pg. 1

“I tried to be some ten minutes in advance of the truth. And I found that I was eighteen hundred years behind it.” Pg. 6

“Thoroughly worldly people never understand even the world; they rely altogether on a few cynical maxims which are not true.” Pg. 9

“Poets do not go mad, but chess players do.” Pg. 14

“How much larger your life would be if your self could become smaller in it; if you could really look at men with common curiosity and pleasure; if you could see them walking as they are in their sunny selfishness and their virile indifference! You would begin to be interested in them, because they were not interested in you. You would break out of this tiny and tawdry theatre in which your own little plot is always being played, and you would find yourself under a free sky, in a street full of splendid strangers.” Pg. 20

“The earth is so very large, and the cosmos so very small. The cosmos is about the smallest whole that a man can hide his head in.” Pg. 24

“The sane man knows that he has a touch of the beast, a touch of the devil, a touch of the saint, a touch of the citizen. Nay the really sane man knows that he has a touch of the madman…the materialist is sure that history has been simply and solely a chain of causation. Materialist and madmen never have doubts.” Pg. 26

“The man who cannot believe his sense, and the man who cannot believe anything else, are both insane, but their insanity is proved not by an error in their argument, but in the manifest mistake of their whole lives.” Pg. 30

“The cross opens its arms to the four winds; it is a signpost for free travelers.” Pg. 31

“A man was meant to be doubting about himself, but undoubting about the truth; this has been exactly reversed. Nowadays, the part of a man that a man does assert is exactly the part he ought not assert – himself. The part he ought not to doubt is exactly the part he ought not to doubt – the Divine Reason.” Pg. 38

“The old humility made a man doubtful about his efforts, which might make him work harder. But the new humility makes a man doubtful about his aims, which will make hi stop working altogether.” Pg. 38

“Reason is itself a matter of faith. It is an act of faith to assert that our thoughts have any relation to reality at all.” Pg. 40

“If evolution destroy anything, It does not destroy religion but rationalism.” Pg. 42

“We have looked for questions in the darkest corners and on the wildest peaks. We have found all the questions that can be found. It is time we gave up looking for questions and began looking for answers.” Pg. 47

“The new rebel is a skeptic, and will not entirely trust anything. He has no loyalty; therefore he can never be really a revolutionist. And the fact that he doubts everything really gets in the way when he wants to denounce anything.” Pg. 53

“(Joan of Arc beat Tolstoy and Nietzsche) at their own antagonistic ideals; she was more gentle than the one, more violent than the other. Yet she was a perfectly practical person who did something, while they are wild spectators who do nothing.” Pg. 58

“Every man has forgotten who he is. One may understand the cosmos, but never the ego; the self is more distant than any star.” Pg. 74

“The evil of the pessimist is, then, not that he chastised gods and men, but that he does not love what he chastise –he has no the primary and supernatural loyalty to things.” Pg. 99

“Love is not blind; that is the last thing it is. Love is bound; and the more it is bound the less it is blind.” Pg. 101

“Some dogma, we are told, was credible in the twelfth century, but is not credible in the twentieth. You might as well say that certain philosophy can be believed on Mondays, but cannot be believed on Tuesday.” Pg. 107

“Physical nature must not be made the direct object of obedience, it must be enjoyed, not worshiped.” Pg. 111

“It is always easy to be a modernist; as it is easy to be a snob.” Pg. 149

“Progress is a metaphor from merely walking along a road – very likely the wrong road. But reform is a metaphor for reasonable and determined men; it means that we see a certain thing out of shape and we mean to put it into shape.” Pg. 156

“You may alter the place to which you are going; but you cannot alter the place from which you have come. To the orthodox their must always be a case for revolution; for in the hearts of men God has been put under the feet of Satan. In the upper world hell once rebelled against heaven. But in this world heaven is rebelling against hell. For the orthodox there can always be a revolution; for a revolution is restoration.” Pg. 163

“(Christianity’s) main advantage is that it is the most adventurous and manly of all theologies.” Pg. 210

“The secularist have not wrecked the divine things; but the secularist have wrecked secular things, if that is any comfort to them. The Titans did not scale heaven, but they laid waste the world.” Pg. 212

“Christianity is a superhuman paradox whereby two opposite passions may blaze beside each other.” Pg. 222

“The skeptic always takes one of two positions; either the ordinary man need not be believed, or an extraordinary event must not be believed.” Pg. 232

“But a man can expect any number of adventures if he goes traveling in the land of authority. One can find no meaning in the jungle of skepticism; but the man will find more and more meaning ho walks through the forest of doctrine and design.” Pg. 240

Again, I hope no matter your worldview, you’ll allow Chesterton to walk you through his.

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