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,
You still shall tramp and tread on endless round
of thought, to justify your action to yourselves,
weaving a fiction which unravels as you weave,
pacing forever in the hell of make-believe
which never is belief.
–T. S. Eliot,
Murder in the Cathedral
Man has always lost his way. He has been a tramp ever since Eden; but he always knew, or thought he knew, what he was looking for. Every man has a house somewhere in the elaborate cosmos; his house waits for him . . . Man has always been looking for that home . . . But in the bleak and blinding hail of skepticism to which he has been now so long subjected, he has begun for the first time to be chilled, not merely in his hopes, but in his desires. For the first time in history he begins really to doubt the object of his wanderings on the earth. He has always lost his way; but now he has lost his address.
–G. K. Chesterton,
What’s Wrong With the World
And the longer and more beautifully the Lion sang the harder Uncle Andrew tried to make himself believe that he could hear nothing but roaring. Now the trouble about trying to make yourself stupider than you really are is that you very often succeed. Uncle Andrew did. He soon did hear nothing but roaring in Aslan’s song. Soon he could have heard anything else even if he wanted to.
-C. S. Lewis,
The Magician’s Nephew