A blog dedicated to providing quotes by and posts relating to one of the most influential (and quotable!) authors of the twentieth century, G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936). If you do not know much about GKC, I suggest visiting the webpage of the American Chesterton Society as well as this wonderful Chesterton Facebook Page by a fellow Chestertonian

I also have created a list detailing examples of the influence of Chesterton if you are interested, that I work on from time to time.

(Moreover, for a list of short GKC quotes, I have created one here, citing the sources)

"...Stevenson had found that the secret of life lies in laughter and humility."

-Heretics (1905)

Monday, February 18, 2019

"...a restatement of religious truth."

He said that we need a new statement of religion; and I remembered the hundreds and thousands of times I have heard the murmur of the emancipated, repeating again and again that we need "a restatement of religious truth." Now "restatement," not in itself, but as they use it, is a catchword. I do not so much complain of what they say; but I do complain that they do not mean what they say- that they do, in fact, mean the very opposite of what they say. To restate a thing is to state it over again; possibly to state the thing in other words, but to state the same thing. It is nonsense to say that the statement, "The dog is mad," is restated in the amended form, "The cow is dead"; and it is equally absurd that the news that the devil is dead should be called a restatement of the tradition that the devil is dangerous. In truth, as I have said, these people really mean the reverse of what they say. They do not mean that we are to take the same idea and restate it in new words. On the contrary, they mean that we are to use the old words and attach to them a new idea.

It would be easy to take a perfectly simple and indisputable example of such a phrase, which is by this time an antiquated phrase. It might make things a little clearer, for children or foreigners, if we did not speak of the Holy Ghost, but only of the Holy Spirit, The word "ghost" is antiquated in that meaning; and, what is worse, it is still alive and kicking in another and more grotesque meaning. There may possibly have been babies for whom the old phrase had some association with spectres in white sheets; and the highly enlightened modern inquirer often has to be treated as tenderly as if he were a baby. Anyhow, to say Spirit instead of Ghost would not be a modification or a modernisation or a compromise or a surrender. It would be strictly and exactly a restatement. That is, it would be stating the same thing over again, only in a living language instead of a dead one. But those who clamour for the restatement of traditional truths commonly mean quite the contrary. They do not mean that we should cease to speak of the Holy Ghost because it only means the Holy Spirit; they mean that we should continue to speak of the Holy Ghost, only that we should make it mean the League of Nations, or the theory of Evolution, or the cause of vegetarianism, or whatever we please. Restatement means putting an old notion in new terms. But they mean that they want to put a new notion in old terms; they cling convulsively to every letter and syllable of the old terms. Even when they talk about restating something they call Religion they are clinging to a very old term.
-June 9, 1928, Illustrated London News

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