Wednesday, November 17, 2010

"The Parson Is Not Dull Because..."

"...he is always expounding theology, but because he has no theology to expound. This is quite as true of bad theology as of good; of things I utterly disbelieve as of things I believe. The old Scotch Calvnistic sermons kept a very high intellectual average, and intensely interested the Scottish peasants who were trained under them. And this is not so much because theology is necessary to religion, as simply because logic is necessary to theology. Logic is at least a game, and the old Calvinistic preachers played the game. It was a fine, fantastic exercise in Lewis Carroll's game of logic, to take any text from the chronicles of Christianity and reconcile it with the creed of Calvin. It took some doing; and it was amusing to see it done. The Scotch peasants went eagerly every Sabbath to see a Presbyterian minister performing like an acrobat. But there was some real fun, because there was some real thinking. And there was some real thinking because there was some real theology."

Written in the year before Chesterton became a Roman Catholic. From "Why People Don't Go to Church", the Illustrated London News, August 27, 1921

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