Thursday, February 03, 2011

Chesterton on Shaw


[Shawʼs] latest play, The Showing Up of Blanco Posnet, has been forbidden by the Censor. As far as I can discover, it has been forbidden because one of the characters professes a belief in God and states his conviction that God has got him. This is wholesome; this is like one crack of thunder in a clear sky. Not so easily does the prince of this world forgive. Shawʼs religious training and instinct is not mine, but in all honest religion there is something that is hateful to the prosperous compromise of our time. You are free in our time to say that God does not exist; you are free to say that He exists and is evil; you are free to say (like poor old Renan) that He would like to exist if He could. You may talk of God as a metaphor or a mystification; you may water Him down with gallons of long words, or boil Him to the rags of metaphysics; and it is not merely that nobody punishes, but nobody protests. But if you speak of God as a fact, as a thing like a tiger, as a reason for changing oneʼs conduct, then the modern world will stop you somehow if it can. We are long past talking about whether an unbeliever should be punished for being irreverent. It is now thought irreverent to be a believer.

HT: Tim McGrew

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Surprising, and in a way encouraging, to hear this took place even in Chesterton's time. Encouraging because it indicates it's a long-standing problem, and one with solutions.

Tom Gilson said...

Chesterton had an uncanny ability to speak to our time today. He did it over and over again. It astonishes me how relevant he remains.

Chris W said...

Meh. I love most everything Chesterton wrote but he sometimes poors on the 'romance' of orthodoxy a little thick. "Look at me, a rebel in intellectual society, defending an unpopular opinion!" Yes, you're very brave. Bordering on a persecution complex, which is even more common today. In that respect he certainly speaks to our time.

Anonymous said...

Chesterton always imporesses me. Whenever I think "woe is me, it's getting difficult to be a Christian in America", I read something by Chesterton that makes me realize he's been through something similar almost 100 years ago. He also said something to the effect that we live in an age where Christians are expected to praise every creed except their own. I guess England has had to suffer PC nonsense longer than America.