Arguing vs. Sneering

Many thanks to the American Chesterton Society blog for pointing this out.  The Catholic Herald recently posited the idea of GK Chesterton writing in today’s world, and surmised that he would have relished the idea of blogs and blogging.  Here’s an excerpt from the article, found in full here:

In his introduction, Oddie quotes GKC on St Thomas Aquinas: Aquinas’s huge productivity, Chesterton comments, could not have been achieved, “if he had not been thinking even when he was not writing; but above all thinking combatively. This, in his case, certainly did not mean bitterly or spitefully or uncharitably, but it did mean combatively. As a matter of fact it is generally the man who is not ready to argue, who is ready to sneer. That is why in recent literature there has been so little argument and so much sneering.”

Sneering was not in Chesterton’s make-up. He would have scorned such a tone of voice, as well as its bedfellows, bitterness and spite. He was also holy – because he loved the truth and loved people; because he hated humbug and cant; because he was large-hearted and humble. “Holiness” is a category foreign to atheism; it smacks of Christian skulduggery and hypocrisy. If atheists could only think of holiness as a very large man, jesting and generous, candid and humorous, full of faith and radiating happiness, they would have some idea of what it is about.

The image of an argumentative joust with Chesterton resonates so much more than than the tepid, sneering back forth as portrayed in today’s culture.

By the way, favorite word of the day: skulduggery.  Who couldn’t love a word associated with jiggery-pokery?


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