Monday, December 15, 2014

A reflection by Chesterton on the real and actual simplicity of the Catholic Faith (Fixed)

The following excerpt comes from the latest issue of Gilbert Magazine, more specifically it is part of an essay by Chesterton Called "The Definition of the Dragon", originally published in the New Witness (October 8, 1920)

“In person Chesterton was a large man who was something of a strain on his clothes."
"...Here we might take the body as an illustration of the soul. Health is a simple and single thing – so long as you have got it. A young man walking in wild and sun for pleasure does not say. “How harmoniously my left lung is working,” or “I take particular pleasure in the nervous system of my right leg.” So long as those things are all right they are all one thing. And so, for all I know, there may be a spiritual state in which all truths are one truth, and that a simple and self-evident truth. For all I know, there may have been some Garden of Eden in which a man really did not need a theology, and could really be content with a religion. Nor need I deny that others; that children or a particular sort of poets may have some such short cut to paradise. But all such speculations are irrelevant in the face of admitted maladies or mishaps. If a man’s lung is threatened with pneumonia, it is no good to ask him why he is not content with the simple breath of life breathed into his nostrils by God in the Garden of Eden. It is no good to call medical details morbid or medical distinctions pedantic. If a man has had a fall and broken his leg, it is not helpful to urge him to continue the march of progress, or exult the ecstasy of perpetual motion. Still less is it helpful to complain of the ugliness of the anatomical diagrams from which the doctors learn how to mend his leg. But according to any sane philosophy that any sane person can possibly hold, it is obvious that man is at least very liable to fall somehow and break something. This being so, we cannot do without ugly diagrams and morbid details and pedantic distinctions. We cannot do without them in the case of the soul any more than in the case of the body. Or, to speak more strictly, we can do without them in the case of the body. Or, to speak more strictly, we can do without them for considerable periods of security and unconsciousness; but we always discover the need of them in hours of danger and disintegration. And when I said that the Catholic philosophy formulated in mediaeval times is still the foundation even of modern morality, I might say that it is in this sense the unconscious foundation. It is so, at least, where that morality is moral..."

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