The best is enemy of the good.
The profoundest truths are paradoxical.
Thursday, October 24, 2013
G.K. Chesterton: On Charity, Hope And Universal Salvation
"Charity is the power of defending that which we know to be indefensible. Hope is the power of being cheerful in circumstances which we know to be desperate. It is true that there is a state of hope which belongs to bright prospects and the morning; but that is not the virtue of hope. The virtue of hope exists only in earthquake and eclipse. It is true that there is a thing crudely called charity, which means charity to the deserving poor; but charity to the deserving is not charity at all, but justice. It is the undeserving who require it, and the ideal either does not exist at all, or exists wholly for them." Heretics, ch. 12 (1905) Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
Almost "to a man," contemporary "conservatives" have apotheosized themselves and now -- sitting on God's usurped throne -- are rabid to pass final judgment.
Alternatively, G.K. Chesterton embodies such abundance of generosity that he would not wish eternal damnation on anyone. In his greatest work, Orthodoxy, the Jolly Giant even expresses Universalism: "To hope for all souls is imperative; and it is quite tenable that their salvation is inevitable."
Self-proclaimed Christians, eager to thrust "the undeserving" through The Gates of Hell, are the very people most likely to cross its threshold.
Remarkably, none of them are tempted to believe this.
("Orthodoxy" is the most exhilarating intellectual ride I've ever taken. Even so, I recommend that the chapter, "The Ethics of Elfland," be read as an afterthought, or not at all. The science of genetics had simply not progressed sufficiently for Chesterton to see "around the corner" of his necessary blindness.)