Home > Daily Logos > The Daily Logos XXI

The Daily Logos XXI

“It is very hard for a man to defend anything of which he is entirely convinced.  It is comparatively easy when he is only partially convinced.  He is partially convinced because he has found this or that proof of the thing, and he can expound it.  But a man is not really convinced of a philosophic theory when he finds that something proves it.  He is only really convinced when he finds that everything proves it.  And the more converging reasons he finds pointing to this conviction, the more bewildered he is if asked suddenly to sum them up.  Thus, if one asked an ordinary intelligent man, on the spurt of the moment, ‘Why do you prefer civilization to savagery?’ he would look wildly around at object after object, and would only be able to answer vaguely, ‘Why, there is that bookcase… and the coals in the coal-scuttle… and pianos… and policemen.’  The whole case for civilization is that the case for it is complex.  It has done so many things.  But that very multiplicity of proof which ought to make reply overwhelming makes reply impossible.

“There is, therefore, about all complete conviction a kind of huge helplessness.  The belief is so big that it takes a long time to get it in into action.  And this hesitation chiefly arises, oddly enough, from an indifference about where one should begin.  All roads lead to Rome; which is one reason why many people never get there.  In the case of this defence of the Christian conviction I confess that I would as soon begin the argument with one thing as another; I would begin it with a turnip or a taximeter cab.”
-G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

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