The Religion of Science

I never said a word against eminent men of science. What I complain of is a vague popular philosophy which supposes itself to be scientific when it is really nothing but a sort of new religion and an uncommonly nasty one. When people talked about the Fall of Man, they knew they were talking about a mystery, a thing they didn’t understand. Now they talk about the survival of the fittest: they think they do understand it, whereas they have not merely no notion, they have an elaborately false notion of what the words mean.

G.K. Chesterton in The Club of Queer Trades

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It’s a Small World, for a Lunatic

The lunatic is the man who lives in a small world but thinks it is a large one; he is a man who lives in a tenth of the truth, and thinks it is the whole. The madman cannot conceive any cosmos outside a certain tale or conspiracy or vision. Hence the more clearly we see the world divided into Saxons and non-Saxons, into our splendid selves and the rest, the more certain we may be that we are slowly and quietly going mad. The more plain and satisfying our state appears, the more we may know that we are living in an unreal world. For the real world is not satisfying. The more clear become the colours and facts of Anglo-Saxon superiority, the more surely we may know we are in a dream. For the real world is not clear or plain. The real world is full of bracing bewilderments and brutal surprises. Comfort is the blessing and the curse of the English, and of Americans of the Pogram type also. With them it is a loud comfort, a wild comfort, a screaming and capering comfort; but comfort at bottom still. For there is but an inch of difference between the cushioned chamber and the padded cell.

G.K. Chesterton in Charles Dickens

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Thieves Respect Property

Thieves respect property. They merely wish the property to become their property that they may more perfectly respect it. But philosophers dislike property as property; they wish to destroy the very idea of personal possession. Bigamists respect marriage, or they would not go through the highly ceremonial and even ritualistic formality of bigamy. But philosophers despise marriage as marriage. Murderers respect human life; they merely wish to attain a greater fullness of human life in themselves by the sacrifice of what seems to them to be lesser lives. But philosophers hate life itself, their own as much as other people’s.

G.K. Chesterton in The Man Who Was Thursday

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Faith in Education

It is typical of our time that that the more doubtful we are about the value of philosophy the more certain we are about the value of education. That is to say, the more doubtful we  are about whether we have any truth, the more certain we are (apparently) that we can teach it to children. The smaller our faith in doctrine, the larger is our faith in doctors.

G.K. Chesterton in the Illustrated London News, January 26, 1907

From 1905 until his death in 1936, G.K. Chesterton contributed a weekly column to the Illustrated London News. His columns have been collected in 11 volumes by Ignatius Press
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Education is not a Subject

The chief thing abut the subject of education is that it is not a subject. There is no such thing as education. The thing is merely a loose phrase for the passing on to others of whatever truth or virtue we happen to have ourselves.

G.K. Chesterton in the Illustrated London News, January 26, 1907

From 1905 until his death in 1936, G.K. Chesterton contributed a weekly column to the Illustrated London News. His columns have been collected in 11 volumes by Ignatius Press
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About 718 G.K. Chesterton Quotes, New Quote Added Daily