An Imbecile Habit


An imbecile habit has arisen in modern controversy of saying that such and such a creed can be held in one age but cannot be held in another. Some dogma, we are told, was credible in the twelfth century, but is not credible in the twentieth. You might as well say that a certain philosophy can be believed on Mondays, but cannot be believed on Tuesdays. You might as well say of a view of the cosmos that it was suitable to half-past three, but not suitable to half-past four. What a man can believe depends upon his philosophy, not upon the clock or the century.

–G. K. Chesterton

No facts to bother about

Christianity copyIf Christianity was something we were making up, of course we could make it easier. But it is not. We cannot compete, in simplicity, with people who are inventing religions. How could we? We are dealing with Fact. Of course anyone can be simple if he has no facts to bother about.
–C. S. Lewis

Facts cannot supply their own meaning

George ButtrickPeople are born to believe. They cannot live on questionings. For a man to say in honesty, “I do not believe that dogma” may be a virtue, provided he can add with radiant mind, “Yet I do believe this . . .” But without some positive avowal his negations become only darkness, for belief is as native as breathing. People cannot live on “facts.” Facts are not faith. Of late we have had a windfall of facts, in such multitude that man’s mind can hardly count them, let alone comprehend their meaning.

This inability is a portent that university education refuses to confront. It raises the whole problem of essential curriculum, and makes clear that a windfall of facts can be a famine of faith. Facts are like bricks. Modern man now spends his time analyzing the bricks to make sure they are sound. Thus the house is never built, and the spirit of man is left naked to the storm. Facts cannot supply their own meaning; only faith can give them meaning. A poor faith will give them a low meaning, atomic power will become H-bombs.

–George Arthur Buttrick