I was always aware, reading Chesterton, that there was someone writing this who rejoiced in words, who deployed them on the page as an artist deploys his paints upon his palette... and it seemed to me that at the end of any particularly good sentence or any perfectly-put paradox, you could hear the author, somewhere behind the scenes, giggling with delight.
My brother, Cecil Edward Chesterton, was born when I was about five years old; and, after a brief pause, began to argue. He continued to argue to the end. I am glad to think that through all those years we never stopped arguing; and we never once quarreled. Perhaps the principal objection to a quarrel is that it interrupts an argument.
Gilbert K. Chesterton
In reading Chesterton, as in reading MacDonald, I did not know what I was letting myself in for. A young man who wishes to remain a sound Atheist cannot be too careful of his reading. There are traps everywhere "" "Bibles laid open, millions of surprises," as Herbert says, "fine nets and stratagems." God is, if I may say it, very unscrupulous.
C. S. Lewis
G.K. Chesterton once wrote that the trouble with people who do not believe in God is not that they then believe in nothing. It is that they will believe in anything. And the biggest anything around for people to believe in, in our day, is the State. We might put it this way. We should substitute for the wonder of the imagination the irritable flush of political partisanship. We should accept the maxim that all human endeavor is ultimately about power. Therefore education is about power. So is art.
The Roman Catholic Church has the unique power of keeping remote control over human souls which have once been part of her. G.K. Chesterton has compared this to the fisherman's line, which allows the fish the illusion of free play in the water and yet has him by the hook; in his own time the fisherman by a 'twitch upon the thread' draws the fish to land.
One of my heroes, G.K. Chesterton, said, "The old fairy tales endure forever. The old fairy tale makes the hero a normal human boy; it is his adventures that are startling; they startle him because he is normal." Discovering that the modern world can still contain the wonder and strangeness of a fairy tale is part of what my novels are about.
J. Budziszewski is perhaps the clearest and most eloquent natural lawyer writing today. When reading his works I often find myself amazed by his insights and wondering, 'Why didn't I think of that?' And then it dawns on me, 'That's what C. S. Lewis and G. K. Chesterton do to me as well.' The Line Through the Heart is another destination in J. Budziszewski's philosophical quest to lead his readers to the promised land of the good, the true, and the beautiful, to guide us to that place where we have always been but can't seem to find.
Francis J. Beckwith
Justification by grace through faith' is the theologian's learned phrase for what Chesterton once called 'the furious love of G-d.' He is not moody or capricious; He knows no seasons of change. He has a single relentless stance toward us: He loves us. He is the only G-d man has ever heard of who loves sinners. False gods- the gods of human manufacturing- despise sinners, but the Father of (Yeshua) loves all, no matter what they do.
I always tried to be open-minded, but not so open-minded that my brains would fall out. As G. K. Chesterton says, "The purpose of opening the mind, as of opening the mouth, is to close it again on something solid." I opened my mind, and I finally closed it on the most solid reality I had ever experienced. On December 19, 1959, at 8:30PM, during my second year at the university, I became a Christian.
I want to be able to do anything with words: handle slashing, flaming descriptions like Wells, and use the paradox with the clarity of Samuel Butler, the breadth of Bernard Shaw and the wit of Oscar Wilde, I want to do the wide sultry heavens of Conrad, the rolled-gold sundowns and crazy-quilt skies of Hitchens and Kipling as well as the pastel dawns and twilights of Chesterton. All that is by way of example. As a matter of fact I am a professed literary thief, hot after the best methods of every writer in my generation.
F. Scott Fitzgerald
Fantasy is escapism, but wait... Why is this wrong? What are you escaping from, and where are you escaping to? Is the story opening windows or slamming doors? The British author G.K. Chesterton summarized the role of fantasy very well. He said its purpose was to take the everyday, commonplace world and lift it up and turn it around and show it to us from a different perspective, so that once again we see it for the first time and realize how marvelous it is. Fantasy - the ability to envisage the world in many different ways - is one of the skills that make us human.
It is a special kind of enlightenment to have this feeling that the usual, the way things normally are, is odduncanny and highly improbable. G.K.Chesterton once said that it is one thing to be amazed at gorgon or a griffin, creatures which do not exist; but it is quite another and much higher thing to be amazed at a rhinoceros or a giraffe, creatures which do exist and look as if they don't. This feeling of universal oddity includes a basic and intense wondering about the sense of things.
I read recently in an article by G.K. Chesterton, that sex without gestation and parturition is like blowing the trumpets and waving the flags without doing any of the fighting. From a woman such words, though displaying inexperience, might come with dignity; from a man they are an unforgivable, intolerable insult. What is man's part in sex but a perpetual waving of flags and blowing of trumpets and avoidance of the fighting?
[I]t's difficult to make people see that what you have been taught counts for nothing, and that the only things worth having are the things you find out for yourself. Also, that when so many brands of what Chesterton calls 'fancy souls' and theories of life are offered you, there is no sense in not looking pretty carefully to see what you are going in for. [... ] It isn't a case of 'Here is the Christian religion, the one authoritative and respectable rule of life. Take it or leave it'. It's 'Here's a muddling kind of affair called Life, and here are nineteen or twenty different explanations of it, all supported by people whose opinions are not to be sneezed at. Among them is the Christian religion in which you happpen to have been brought up. Your friend so-and-so has been brought up in quite a different way of thinking; is a perfectly splendid person and thoroughly happy. What are you going to do about it?' - I'm worrying it out quietly, and whatever I get hold of will be valuable, because I've got it for myself; but really, you know, the whole question is not as simple as it looks.
Dorothy L. Sayers
All the books were beginning to turn against me. Indeed, I must have been blind as a bat not to have seen it long before, the ludicrous contradiction between my theory of life and my actual experiences as a reader. George MacDonald had done more to me than any other writer; of course it was a pity that he had that bee in his bonnet about Christianity. He was good in spite of it. Chesterton has more sense than all the other moderns put together; bating, of course, his Christianity. Johnson was one of the few authors whom I felt I could trust utterly; curiously enough, he had the same kink. Spenser and Milton by a strange coincidence had it too. Even among ancient authors the same paradox was to be found. The most religious (Plato, Aeschylus, Virgil) were clearly those on whom I could really feed. On the other hand, those writers who did not suffer from religion and with whom in theory my sympathy ought to have been complete - Shaw and Wells and Mill and Gibbon and Voltaire - all seemed a little thin; what as boys we called "tinny". It wasn't that I didn't like them. They were all (especially Gibbon) entertaining; but hardly more. There seemed to be no depth in them. They were too simple. The roughness and density of life did not appear in their books.
Despite our earnest efforts, we couldn't climb all the way up to God. So what did God do? In an amazing act of condescension, on Good Friday, God climbed down to us, became one with us. The story of divine condescension begins on Christmas and ends on Good Friday. We thought, if there is to be business between us and God, we must somehow get up to God. Then God came down, down to the level of the cross, all the way down to the depths of hell. He who knew not sin took on our sin so that we might be free of it. God still stoops, in your life and mine, condescends. 'Are you able to drink the cup that I am to drink?' he asked his disciples, before his way up Golgotha. Our answer is an obvious, 'No!' His cup is not only the cup of crucifixion and death, it is the bloody, bloody cup that one must drink if one is going to get mixed up in us. Any God who would wander into the human condition, any God who has this thirst to pursue us, had better not be too put off by pain, for that's the way we tend to treat our saviors. Any God who tries to love us had better be ready to die for it. As Chesterton writes, 'Any man who preaches real love is bound to beget hate ... Real love has always ended in bloodshed.
William H. Willimon
I do not think there is a demonstrative proof (like Euclid) of Christianity, nor of the existence of matter, nor of the good will and honesty of my best and oldest friends. I think all three are (except perhaps the second) far more probable than the alternatives. The case for Christianity in general is well given by Chesterton... As to why God doesn't make it demonstratively clear; are we sure that He is even interested in the kind of Theism which would be a compelled logical assent to a conclusive argument? Are we interested in it in personal matters? I demand from my friend trust in my good faith which is certain without demonstrative proof. It wouldn't be confidence at all if he waited for rigorous proof. Hang it all, the very fairy-tales embody the truth. Othello believed in Desdemona's innocence when it was proved: but that was too late. Lear believed in Cordelia's love when it was proved: but that was too late. 'His praise is lost who stays till all commend.' The magnanimity, the generosity which will trust on a reasonable probability, is required of us. But supposing one believed and was wrong after all? Why, then you would have paid the universe a compliment it doesn't deserve. Your error would even so be more interesting and important than the reality. And yet how could that be? How could an idiotic universe have produced creatures whose mere dreams are so much stronger, better, subtler than itself?