I’m a bit of a perpetual latecomer, it seems. Though I’ve been hearing bits of G.K. Chesterton’s thoughts for years now, I’ve only recently come into possession of his widely-touted Orthodoxy.
Imagine my thrill to learn that Chesterton was a journalist by profession. Suddenly, the timing of the read is feeling perfect, newly restarted as I am in my own work as a newspaper reporter.
I’m only a few chapters in and my copy is all dog-eared and underlined. Yes, I am enjoying his insights quite a lot.
|This morning’s sunrise — “getting one’s head into the heavens”|
Orthodoxy emerged as a response to a challenge by Chesterton’s non-religious friends who contended that though he’d said plenty to affirm his cosmic theory, he’d not sufficiently supported it with example.
To which he responded, in part: “Everywhere we see that men do not go mad by dreaming. Critics are much madder than poets.”
Continuing, he adds, “The general fact is simple. Poetry is sane because it floats easily in an infinite sea; reason seeks to cross the infinite sea, and so make it finite. The result is mental exhaustion….To accept everything is an exercise, to understand everything, a strain.”
I’m thinking now of the conversations I used to have with an atheist friend, and how tiring things became as we tried to sort things out solely by brain power.
Read the way Chesterston lays it out visually:
“The poet only asks to get his head into the heavens. It is the logician who seeks to get the heavens into his head. And it is his head that splits.”
Indeed! We can think it all to death and find we’ve gotten nowhere for the trouble.
That’s sort of the conclusion I came to during my eight-month conversation with a staunch non-believer. Our attempts to have a healthy discussion started out earnest, I think, and there were moments of true enjoyment. But in the end, the ways it seems to me now anyway, my poetic spirit was being stifled by constant scrutinization of the sacred.
Another skeptic once shared with me that music doesn’t move her and never has. How could this be, thought I. Then again, isn’t the musician and poet so much the same? In that regard, it all makes perfect sense. One immersed in the world of logic would, by default, sever him/herself from such pleasures.
Or: if we’re to truly delight in the heavenly, we must admit heaven exists.
Therein lies the great sadness of the atheist, it seems to me — this inability to expand.
I’ll leave you with one more thought — one I also plastered to my Facebook wall earlier this week, as found in the introduction by Philip Yancey:
“Evil’s greatest triumph may be its success in portraying religion as an enemy of pleasure when, in fact, all the things we enjoy are the inventions of a Creator who lavished them on the world.”
And this, too, bears repeating:
God’s Thursday morning palette, Fargo, North Dakota
Q4U: When has logic been limiting to you?