Chesterton Today

Common hesitation in our day touching the use of extreme convictions is a sort of notion that extreme convictions, specially upon cosmic matters, have been responsible in the past for the thing which is called bigotry. But a very small amount of direct experience will dissipate this view. In real life the people who are most bigoted are the people who have no convictions at all.

Heretics, 1905

Modern man is staggering and losing his balance because he is being pelted with little pieces of alleged fact which are native to the newspapers; and, if they turn out not to be facts, that is still more native to newspapers.

Illustrated London News, April 7, 1923

Civilization has run on ahead of the soul of man, and is producing faster than he can think and give thanks.

Daily News, February 21, 1902

Tradition Means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead. Tradition refuses to submit to the small and arrogant oligarchy of those who merely happen to be walking about. All democrats object to men being disqualified by the accident of birth; tradition objects to their being disqualified by the accident of death.

Orthodoxy, 1908

To have a right to do a thing is not at all the same as to be right in doing it.

A Short History of England, 1917

Modern masters of science are much impressed with the need of beginning all inquiry with a fact. The ancient masters of religion were quite equally impressed with that necessity. They began with the fact of sin—a fact as practical as potatoes.

Orthodoxy, 1908

On every bookstall, in every magazine, you may find works telling people how to succeed. They are books showing men how to succeed in everything; they are written by men who cannot even succeed in writing books.

"The Fallacy of Success,” All Things Considered, 1909

It is not always wrong even to go, like Dante, to the brink of the lowest promontory and look down at hell. It is when you look up at hell that a serious miscalculation has probably been made.

Alarms and Discursions,1910

The position we have now reached is this: starting from the State, we try to remedy the failures of all the families, all the nurseries, all the schools, all the workshops, all the secondary institutions that once had some authority of their own. Everything is ultimately brought into the Law Courts. We are trying to stop the leak at the other end.

Illustrated London News, March 24, 1923

The next revolution is always perfect.

G.K.’s Weekly, 1928

Most modern freedom is at root fear. It is not so much that we are too bold to endure rules; it is rather that we are too timid to endure responsibilities.

What’s Wrong With the World, 1910

There are two kinds of peacemakers in the modern world; and they are both, though in various ways, a nuisance. The first peacemaker is the man who goes about saying that he agrees with everybody. He confuses everybody. The second peacemaker is the man who goes about saying that everybody agrees with him. He enrages everybody. Between the two of them they produce a hundred times more disputes and distractions than we poor pugnacious people would ever have thought of in our lives.

Illustrated London News, March 3, 1906

Comforts that were rare among our forefathers are now multiplied in factories and handed out wholesale; and indeed, nobody nowadays, so long as he is content to go without air, space, quiet, decency and good manners, need be without anything whatever that he wants; or at least a reasonably cheap imitation of it.

Commonwealth, 1933

You cannot evade the issue of God. Whether you talk about pigs or the binomial theory, you are still talking about Him.

Daily News, 1903

By G. K. Chesterton

[Christian History originally published this article in Christian History Issue #75 in 2002]

Next articles

If there were a true demonstration

Galileo desperately wanted to find a proof.

Owen Gingerich

Upon Further Review . . .

Major newspapers interpreted the pope’s speech as an exoneration of Galileo.

Steven Gertz

Newton vs. Newton

Mark Galli is senior editor of Christian History and managing editor of Christianity Today.

Mark Galli

Quotable Boyle

Robert Boyle quotes.

Robert Boyle
Show more

Subscribe to magazine

Subscription to Christian History magazine is on a donation basis


Support us

Christian History Institute (CHI) is a non-profit Pennsylvania corporation founded in 1982. Your donations support the continuation of this ministry


Subscribe to daily emails

Containing today’s events, devotional, quote and stories