But the new rebel is a Sceptic,
and will not entirely trust anything. He has no loyalty;
therefore he can never be really a revolutionist. And the fact that he
doubts everything really gets in his way when he wants to denounce anything.
For all denunciation implies a moral doctrine of some kind;
and the modern revolutionist doubts not only the institution he denounces,
but the doctrine by which he denounces it. Thus he writes one book
complaining that imperial oppression insults the purity of women,
and then he writes another book (about the sex problem) in which
he insults it himself. He curses the Sultan because Christian girls
lose their virginity, and then curses Mrs. Grundy because they keep it.
As a politician, he will cry out that war is a waste of life,
and then, as a philosopher, that all life is waste of time.
A Russian pessimist will denounce a policeman for killing a peasant,
and then prove by the highest philosophical principles that the peasant
ought to have killed himself. A man denounces marriage as a lie,
and then denounces aristocratic profligates for treating it as a lie.
He calls a flag a bauble, and then blames the oppressors of Poland
or Ireland because they take away that bauble. The man of this school
goes first to a political meeting, where he complains that savages
are treated as if they were beasts; then he takes his hat and umbrella
and goes on to a scientific meeting, where he proves that they
practically are beasts. In short, the modern revolutionist,
being an infinite sceptic, is always engaged in undermining his own mines.
In his book on politics he attacks men for trampling on morality;
in his book on ethics he attacks morality for trampling on men.
Therefore the modern man in revolt has become practically useless
for all purposes of revolt. By rebelling against everything he has
lost his right to rebel against anything.
G.K. Chesterton Heretics/Orthodox p. 201
'I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: 'I'm ready to accept
Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don't accept His claim to be God.' That is one thing we must not say. A man who was
merely a man and said the sort of thing Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic, on a
level with the man who says he is a poached egg, or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either
this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at
Him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing
nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.'
Imagine God appeared to you and said, "I'll make a deal with you if you wish. I'll give you anything and everything
you ask: pleasure, power, honor, wealth, freedom, even peace of mind and a good conscience. Nothing will be a sin; nothing
will be forbidden; and nothing will be impossible for you. You will never be bored and you will never die. Only . . . you
shall never see my face."
Every once in awhile in my discussions someone asks me how I can believe in the Trinity. My answer is always the same.
I would still be an agnostic if there was no Trinity, because there would be no answers. Without the high order of personal
unity and diversity as given in the Trinity, there are no answers.
The Pursuit of Pleasure is not optional. It is essential.
For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the
mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by
a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.