January 15, 2012

The Only pagan thing...

...If any one wants to hold the end of a chain which really goes back to the heathen mysteries, he had better take hold of a festoon of flowers at Easter or a string of sausages at Christmas. Everything else in the modern world is of Christian origin, even everything that seems most anti-Christian. The French Revolution is of Christian origin. The newspaper is of Christian origin. The anarchists are of Christian origin. Physical science is of Christian origin. The attack on Christianity is of Christian origin. There is one thing, and one thing only, in existence at the present day which can in any sense accurately be said to be of pagan origin, and that is Christianity.
      -- GK Chesterton, Heretics (1905).

(Thanks to The Hebdomadal Chesterton)

This is a problem for the old-fashioned atheist, but not a huge problem. Think of the late Christopher Hitchens. He scorned Christianity, but had no problem (or said he didn't) with appreciating things like the King James Bible. But Hitchins was in fact a very religious man, in the sense that he cared passionately about truth, about right and wrong. Hitchins inherited habits of thought from Cristian culture...

But, as I have argued before, [Link, link, link...] we now have a significant portion of the developed world's population who believe in nothing greater than themselves. And they are the ones who are in a hard spot, though they will never admit it. They are, beneath the conscious level, feeling "phantom pain" all the time. I use the term "nihilists" for these people; it's the best one I can find. But that word doesn't quite capture the essence of what I suspect is happening.

Posted by John Weidner at January 15, 2012 1:46 PM

If Hitchins cared so passionately for truth then why he did not reach it?.

Posted by: Gian at January 19, 2012 2:56 AM

Because if you hunt the tiger, you have to sooner or later confront the possibility that the tiger is hunting you. That tends to hold people back

Posted by: John Weidner at January 19, 2012 12:32 PM
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