Monday, December 12, 2016

Chesterton on pseudo-objectivity

"An open mind is really a mark of foolishness, like an open mouth. Mouths and minds were made to shut; they were made to open only in order to shut. In direct connection with this question of mythology and human belief the point may roughly be put thus: An extraordinary idea has arisen that the best critic of religious institutions is the man who talks coldly about religion. Nobody supposes that the best critic of music is the man who talks coldly about music. Within reasonable bounds, the more excited the musician is about music, the more he is likely to be right about it. Nobody thinks a man a correct judge of poetry because he looks down on poems. But there is an idea that a man is a correct judge of religion because he looks down on religions. Now, folklore and primitive faiths, and all such things are of the nature of music and poetry in this respect — that the actual language and symbols they employ require not only an understanding, they require what the Bible very finely calls an understanding heart. You must be a little moved in your emotions even to understand them at all; you must have a heart in order to make head or tail of them. Consequently, whenever I hear on these occasions that beliefs are being discussed scientifically and calmly, I know that they are being discussed wrong. Even a false religion is too genuine a thing to be discussed calmly." ~G.K. Chesterton'IlllustratedLondon News,' 10 October 1908.

16 comments:

John Moore said...

It sounds like religion is just a story, or a work of art. You can't enjoy Harry Potter if you take it too seriously and keep asking how he could do all those magic tricks. You just have to suspend disbelief. And it's the same way with Jesus, apparently.

B. Prokop said...

Not at all, John. Seriously, do you really expect a person, once he realizes that Jesus actually did rise from the dead, would remain (as Chesterton described it) "cold"? Would he not respond to such a realization with passionate fervor? In fact, would not such a response be the most objective reaction possible?

I know for my own part that when I could no longer doubt the veracity and historicity of the Gospels, everything changed. Quite literally everything. There was no fact, no narrative, no idea, no act, no experience, no decision that wasn't suddenly and irrevocably oriented to that overwhelming Truth. As I posted back on August 7th on my blog, "it ought to be nevertheless beyond dispute, even to an atheist, that were one to be satisfied by reason and evidence that Jesus the Christ actually did rise from the dead on the 27th of March, A.D. 33 – literally, physically, historically, in all truth… then one would by necessity have to come to terms with this event. Either we measure all that has occurred before and after, (not only in history but also (and far more urgently) in our own lives) by it, or we must reject it utterly. If true, then nothing else matters, except in its relation to that One Great Fact. If false, then we are wasting our time by even thinking about it."

Joe Hinman said...

John Moore said...
It sounds like religion is just a story, or a work of art. You can't enjoy Harry Potter if you take it too seriously and keep asking how he could do all those magic tricks. You just have to suspend disbelief. And it's the same way with Jesus, apparently.

sounds like you have philistine's view of art. So typical of new atheism,Science is all there is, art is just decoration literature is pretense,

jdhuey said...

Yeah, Thirty Year wars are so much better than calm discussion.

oozzielionel said...

And we should not merely be calm in our efforts to avoid such wars.

John Moore said...

Once I realized Harry Potter really could do magic and that it wasn't just a story, I became passionately fervent about those books by JK Rowling. I don't see how people can really love Harry Potter until they understand that he's a real live wizard.

B. Prokop said...

John, if you can't see the difference between J.K. Rowling and Saints Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, then there's no talking to you. (But I'd wager that you can - you're merely choosing to pretend you can't.)

Joe Hinman said...

you can be passionate about something without jumping around and crying and all.

Joe Hinman said...

John Moore said...
Once I realized Harry Potter really could do magic and that it wasn't just a story, I became passionately fervent about those books by JK Rowling. I don't see how people can really love Harry Potter until they understand that he's a real live wizard.


yes I don;t believe the Bible and I don't believe in Harry Potter so therefore the Bible must be false and thus just like Harry Potter

Joe Hinman said...

I confuse Biblical miracles with magic.I don't believe in Magic so that disproves the Bibe.

this is whatwe call "Loooooooo-gic"

Jo F said...

Dr. Reppert, (or really anyone, I guess)
would you be interested in writing a post on your argument from reason? I'm writing the curriculum on a scholastic philosophy club (like Lewis's Socratic club), though I'm not sure how best to present these epistemic arguments so that they'll "fit" together categorically. Between Plantinga's EAAN and your formulation do you think there is enough similarity to present each as a kind of the other?
My hope is to survey the defeaters for naturalism, and far I've outlined a moral argument directed against naturalism (objecting that naturalism is contrary to our moral experience), the incapability for naturalism to account for the applicability of mathematics to the physical world, and an argument from intentionality. No worries if you can't conveniently respond, thanks regardless!

Joe Hinman said...

pat 2 of Albert Schweitzer and The Death of Civilization is upon Metcrock's blog.The argument is that civilization is not just freeways and in-door plumbing but the ethical concepts that make for civilized thinking. Those concepts are dead. I first published this article in the academic journal I ran in Graduate school. I was was inspired to re publish by Keith Parsons on secular outpost talking about how the political process is killing truth,

Albert Schweitzer and The Death of Civilization 2

Eric Sotnak said...

"An open mind is really a mark of foolishness..."

Well, I would be open-minded enough to take this remark seriously, but I'm no fool.

Ilíon said...

^^ Since I don't see/read absolutely everything posted here, it's entirely possible that I have missed earlier instances of John Moore channelling The Villiage Atheist as he does above in this thread. But, to my knowledge, this is the first time he has explicitly shown his true colors. Still, only the self-deluded (among others, I'm looking at you, VR) will be surprised to encounter how his (ahem) reasoning really runs -- he is, after all, a God-denier, and *all* of them (*) "reason" in just that way; *all* of them (*) are intellectually dishonest.


(*) including Jeffery Jay Lowder

B. Prokop said...

Here is another gem from G.K. Chesterton on "open mindedness":

"Don't be so open-minded that your brains fall out."

Joe Hinman said...

Ilíon said...
^^ Since I don't see/read absolutely everything posted here, it's entirely possible that I have missed earlier instances of John Moore channelling The Villiage Atheist as he does above in this thread. But, to my knowledge, this is the first time he has explicitly shown his true colors. Still, only the self-deluded (among others, I'm looking at you, VR) will be surprised to encounter how his (ahem) reasoning really runs -- he is, after all, a God-denier, and *all* of them (*) "reason" in just that way; *all* of them (*) are intellectually dishonest.


(*) including Jeffery Jay Lowder

the all knowing one speaks. do not look at the man behind the curtain,