As I laid down the last of Colonel Ingersoll’s
atheistic lectures the dreadful thought broke
across my mind, “Almost thou persuadest me
to be a Christian.”
I was in a desperate way…
As I read and re-read all the non-Christian or anti-Christian accounts of the faith, from Huxley to Bradlaugh, [now there are new names: Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris, and Dennett] a slow and awful impression grew gradually but graphically upon my mind—the impression that Christianity must be a most extraordinary thing. For not only (as I understood) had Christianity the most flaming vices, but it had apparently a mystical talent for combining vices which seemed inconsistent with each other. It was attacked on all sides and for all contradictory reasons. No sooner had one rationalist demonstrated that it was too far to the east than another demonstrated with equal clearness that it was much too far to the west. No sooner had my indignation died down at its angular and aggressive squareness than I was called up again to notice and condemn its enervating and sensual roundness…
The very people who reproached Christianity with the meekness and non-resistance of the monasteries were the very people who reproached it also with the violence and valor of the Crusades.
…What again could this astonishing thing be like which people were so anxious to contradict, that in doing so they did not mind contradicting themselves?
–G. K. Chesterton,