Christian Platonism

Rediscovering Ancient Wisdom

G. K. Chesterton – On those who criticize Christianity too harshly

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“Methinks you do protest too much”, said Hamlet.

The harhsness with which some people criticize Christianity is revealing. G. K. Chesterton puts it very well in introduction to The Everlasting Man.

The point of this book, in other words, is that the next best thing to being really inside Christendom is to be really outside it. And a particular point is that the popular critics of Christianity are not really outside it. … the best relation to our spiritual home is to be near enough to love it. But the next best is to be far enough away not to hate it. It is the contention of these pages that while the best judge of Christianity is a Christian, the next best judge would be something more like a Confucian. The worst judge of all is the man now most ready with his judgments; the ill-educated Christian turning gradually into the ill-tempered agnostic, entangled in the end of a feud of which he never understood the beginning, blighted with a sort of hereditary boredom with he knows not what, and already weary of hearing what he has never heard. … For those in whom a mere reaction has thus become an obsession, I do seriously recommend the imaginative effort of conceiving the Twelve Apostles as Chinamen. In other words, I recommend these critics to try to do as much justice to Christian saints as if they were pagan sages. But … when we do make this imaginative effort to see the whole thing from the outside, we find that it really looks like what is traditionally said about it inside.

Get spoken chapters of The Everlasting Man as mp3 audio files  here.

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Written by John Uebersax

February 8, 2009 at 3:22 pm

Posted in Catholicism, Quotes

Tagged with ,

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