Monday, October 01, 2007

Chesterton Chestnuts

Some champion truth but have no mercy. Others dispense mercy at the expense of truth. But perhaps the greatest damage done by disconnected virtues is the skewing of our sense of humility. Modesty is no longer related to ambition, but to conviction. We were intended to doubt ourselves but not the truth, but humility now seems to imply that one cannot believe he possesses the truth.

Our day is marked by misplaced goodness, righteous sentiments which are all out of proportion. The danger we now face is the self-destruction of intellect. If there is no validity in human thought, then there is nothing to be gained by thinking. Reason requires us to believe that our thinking is truly related to reality, a conviction which the modern skeptic has lost. And this loss of faith reduces all thinking to a pointless exercise.

The role of religious authority was to defend reason, to keep mankind from spiraling into this nothingness of skepticism. The reason for the creeds and the crusades was to protect reason, not to obliterate it. Religion and reason are intimately connected because both are founded on a faith which cannot be proven. When the former was rejected, a dynamic was set in motion which would destroy the latter as well.

Current philosophy, then, is more than insane; it is suicidally insane. Even as it heralds the coming of free thought, it writes its epitaph. We cannot move on to a greater skepticism than that which questions our own existence and the reality of reality. This is not a beginning. It is an end, a dead end...

...Christianity offers us a rigid exterior which protects an inner core of joy and abandonment, whereas modern philosophy offers us all of the beauty of emancipation on the outside, but the inner void is deep and dark. Materialism finds no meaning or romance in the universe, for without limits there can be no danger. Adventure exists only in the land of authority, but never in the land of intellectual anarchy.

This brings us to a final but important thought. The great paradox of our faith is that we are not ourselves. Due to the Fall, our normal condition is not normal at all. We can appreciate this truth, however, only when we begin to recover our true selves. Orthodoxy leads us to that recovery, and that recovery leads us to joy.

Most men find happiness in little things but despair in the big ones. This situation, however, is all upsidedown. Joy should be the norm and melancholy the exception. When we embrace orthodoxy and find meaning in the universe, we also find joy. And once that joy is ours, we know that we are finally right-side-up.


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