Almost Persuaded

GK Chesterton C copy
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,

The Absolute Irrationality of Expecting Absolute Proof for God

proofAn important piece I came to understand prior to my conversion was that my standard of proof was completely unrealistic. I wanted airtight proof before I could believe in God, and I came to realize almost none of the things I knew in life enjoyed this kind of support: my name, my date of birth, the reality of the outside world, the existence of other people, and a multitude of other things I was yet fully rational in believing. So my expectations about God suffered from a double standard.

–Guillaume Bignon,

Logic, Mysticism, and Madness

questions doubtsMen talk of the extravagances and frenzies that have been produced by mysticism; they are a mere drop in the bucket. In the main, and from the beginning of time, mysticism has kept men sane. The thing that has driven them mad was logic… The only thing that has kept the race of men from the mad extremes of the convent and the pirate-galley, the night-club and the lethal chamber, has been mysticism— the belief that logic is misleading, and that things are not what they seem.

— G. K. Chesterton

The prison of mere rationality

canstock16766365To limit oneself to what reason and science can prove is merely to skim the surface of reality, and fail to discover the hidden depths beneath. Both reason and science are severely limited in what they can prove…

For Christian writers, religious faith is not a rebellion against reason, but a legitimate and necessary revolt against the imprisonment of humanity within the cold walls of a rationalist dogmatism. The Christian faith declares that there is more to reality than reason discloses – not contradicting reason, but simply transcending it, and escaping from its limitations.

–Alister McGrath,
Faith and the prison of mere rationality,