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 G. K. Chesterton Quotes
57 Famous Quotes by G. K. Chesterton
5/29/1874 - 6/14/1936
Also Known As:  
Gilbert Keith Chesterton     G.K. Chesterton
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About G. K. Chesterton

The paradox of courage is that a man must be a little careless of his life in order to keep it.

Courage Quotes, by G. K. Chesterton

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I regard golf as an expensive way of playing marbles.

Golf Quotes, by G. K. Chesterton

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There is a great man who makes every man feel small. But the real great man is the man who makes every man feel great.

Greatness Quotes, by G. K. Chesterton

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The function of the imagination is not to make strange things settled, so much as to make settled things strange.

Imagination Quotes, by G. K. Chesterton

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Tradition may be defined as an extension of the franchise. Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead.

Tradition Quotes, by G. K. Chesterton

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Bigotry may be roughly defined as the anger of men who have no opinions.

Bigotry Quotes, by G. K. Chesterton

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Diplomacy is the art of saying "Nice doggie" until you can find a rock.

Politics / government Quotes, by G. K. Chesterton

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Better to have loved a short man than never to have loved a tall.

All about love Quotes, by G. K. Chesterton

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If Christianity should happen to be true -- that is to say, if its God is the real God of the universe -- then defending it may mean talking about anything and everything. Things can be irrelevant to the proposition that Christianity is false, but nothing can be irrelevant to the proposition that Christianity is true. [All] things not only may have something to do with the Christian God, but must have something to do with Him if He lives and reigns.

Christianity Quotes, by G. K. Chesterton

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We say, not lightly but very literally, that the truth has made us free. They say that it makes us so free that it cannot be the truth. To them it is like believing in fairyland to believe in such freedom as we enjoy. It is like believing in men with wings to entertain the fancy of men with wills. It is like accepting a fable about a squirrel in conversation with a mountain to believe in a man who is free to ask or a God who is free to answer. This is a manly and a rational negation, for which I for one shall always show respect. But I decline to show any respect for those who first of all clip the bird and cage the squirrel, rivet the chains and refuse the freedom, close all the doors of the cosmic prison on us with a clang of eternal iron, tell us that our emancipation is a dream and our dungeon a necessity; and then calmly turn round and tell us they have a freer thought and a more liberal theology.

Christianity Quotes, by G. K. Chesterton

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Commemoration of Martyrs of Japan, 1597 Those who charged the Christians with burning down Rome with fire brands were slanderers -- but they were, at least, far nearer to the nature of Christianity than those among the moderns who tell us that the Christians were a sort of ethical society, being martyred in a languid fashion for telling men they had a duty to their neighbours, and only mildly disliked because they were meek and mild!

Christianity Quotes, by G. K. Chesterton

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A child kicks its legs rhythmically through excess, not absence, of life. Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, "Do it again"; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough... It is possible that God says every morning, "Do it again," to the sun; and every evening, "Do it again," to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike: it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.

Christianity Quotes, by G. K. Chesterton

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Continuing a series on God and the human condition: That Jones shall worship the "god within him" turns out ultimately to mean that Jones shall worship Jones. Let Jones worship the sun or moon -- anything rather than the Inner Light; let Jones worship cats or crocodiles, if he can find any in his street, but not the god within. Christianity came into the world firstly in order to assert with violence that a man had not only to look inwards, but to look outwards, to behold with astonishment and enthusiasm a divine company and a divine captain. The only fun of being a Christian was that a man was not left alone with the Inner Light, but definitely recognized an outer light, fair as the sun, clear as the moon, terrible as an army with banners.

Christianity Quotes, by G. K. Chesterton

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Commemoration of Gilbert of Sempringham, Founder of the Gilbertine Order, 1189 I am quite prepared to promise the secularists secular education if they on their side will promise not to have moral instruction. Secular education seems to me intellectually clean and comprehensible. Moral instruction seems to me unclean, intolerable; I would destroy it with fire. Teaching the Old Testament by itself means teaching ancient Hebrew ethics, which are simple, barbaric rudimentary, and, to a Christian, unsatisfying. Teaching moral instruction means teaching modern London, Birmingham and Boston ethics, which are not barbaric and rudimentary, but are corrupt, hysterical and crawling with worms, and which are to a Christian, not unsatisfying but detestable. The old Jew who says that you must fight only for your tribe is inadequate; but the modern prig who says you must never fight for anything is substantially and specifically immoral. I know quite well, of course, that the unreligious ethics suggested for modern schools do not verbally assert these things; they only talk about peaceful reform, true Christianity, and the importance of Count Tolstoy. It is all a matter of tone and implication--but then, so is all teaching. Education is implication. It is not the things you say which children respect; when you say things, they very commonly laugh and do the opposite. It is the things you assume that really sink into them. It is the things you forget even to teach that they learn.

Christianity Quotes, by G. K. Chesterton

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The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left untried.

Christianity Quotes, by G. K. Chesterton

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Feast of Bartholomew the Apostle It is often said with a sneer that the God of Israel was only a God of Battles, "a mere barbaric Lord of Hosts" pitted in rivalry against other gods only as their envious foe. Well it is for the world that He was indeed a God of Battles. Well it is for us that He was to all the rest only a rival and a foe. In the ordinary way, it would have been only too easy for them to have achieved the desolate disaster of conceiving Him as a friend. It would have been only too easy for them to have seen Him stretching out His hands in love and reconciliation, embracing Baal and kissing the painted face of Astarte... It would have been easy enough for His worshipers to follow the enlightened course of Syncretism and the pooling of all the pagan traditions. It is obvious indeed that His followers were always sliding down this easy slope; and it required the almost demoniac energy of certain inspired demagogues, who testified to the divine unity in words that are still like winds of inspiration and ruin, [to stop them]. The more we really understand of the ancient conditions that contributed to the final culture of the Faith, the more we shall have a real and even a realistic reverence for the greatness of the Prophets of Israel. As it was, while the whole world melted into this mass of confused mythology, this Deity who is called tribal and narrow, precisely because He was what is called tribal and narrow, preserved the primary religion of all mankind. He was tribal enough to be universal. He was as narrow as the universe.

Christianity Quotes, by G. K. Chesterton

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Commemoration of Mary Slessor, Missionary in West Africa, 1915 It is vain for bishops and pious bigwigs to discuss what dreadful things will happen if wild skepticism runs its course. It has run its course. It is vain for eloquent atheists to talk of the great truths that will be revealed if once we see free thought begin. We have seen it end. It has no more questions to ask; it has questioned itself. You cannot call up any wilder vision than a city in which men ask themselves if they have any selves. You cannot fancy a more skeptical world than that in which men doubt whether there is a world. It might certainly have reached its bankruptcy more quickly and cleanly if it had not been feebly hampered by the application of indefensible laws of blasphemy or by the absurd pretense that modern England is Christian. But it would have reached the bankruptcy anyhow.

Christianity Quotes, by G. K. Chesterton

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Every man knows his follies and often they are the most interesting thing he has got.

Appearance Quotes, by G. K. Chesterton

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When Michelangelo finished the painting of the Sistine Chapel's ceiling, he spent the rest of his life trying to remove the paint that had poured into his sleeve.

Art and artists Quotes, by G. K. Chesterton

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The IRS spends God knows how much of your tax money on these toll-free information hot lines staffed by IRS employees, whose idea of a dynamite tax tip is that you should print neatly. If you ask them a real tax question, such as how you can cheat, they're useless. So, for guidance, you want to look to big business. Big business never pays a nickel in taxes, according to Ralph Nader, who represents a big consumer organization that never pays a nickel in taxes...

Finance and economics Quotes, by G. K. Chesterton

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Literature is a luxury; fiction is a necessity.

Literature Quotes, by G. K. Chesterton

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Beneath the rule of men entirely great, / The pen is mightier than the sword.

Literature Quotes, by G. K. Chesterton

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A good novel tells us the truth about its hero; but a bad novel tells us the truth about its author.

Literature Quotes, by G. K. Chesterton

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If you are afraid of loneliness, don't marry.

Men and women Quotes, by G. K. Chesterton

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Life is like music; it must be composed by ear, feeling, and instinct, not by rule.

Music Quotes, by G. K. Chesterton

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