Heretics exposes the heresy of modern intellectual trends and discredits their proponents. Chesterton confronts relativism, individualism, neo-paganism, and the other ailments contributing to the decline of Western thought in the modern era. He pays special attention to artists and the literati, and writes in detail about current events which are shaped by the social consciousness of his time. Heretics begins and ends with chapters on orthodoxy, anticipating the themes Chesterton later develops on his famous volume by the same name.
You can also purchase the print edition of Heretics and Orthodoxy: Two Volumes in One.
“The human race, according to religion, fell once, and in falling gained the knowledge of good and of evil. Now we have fallen a second time, and only the knowledge of evil remains to us.” (Page 32)
“THERE is no such thing on earth as an uninteresting subject; the only thing that can exist is an uninterested person.” (Page 38)
“Progress, properly understood, has, indeed, a most dignified and legitimate meaning. But as used in opposition to precise moral ideals, it is ludicrous.” (Page 35)
“Milton does not merely beat them at his piety, he beats them at their own irreverence. In all their little books of verse you will not find a finer defiance of God than Satan’s. Nor will you find the grandeur of paganism felt as that fiery Christian felt it who described Faranata lifting his head as in disdain of hell. And the reason is very obvious. Blasphemy is an artistic effect, because blasphemy depends upon a philosophical conviction. Blasphemy depends upon belief, and is fading with it. If any one doubts this, let him sit down seriously and try to think blasphemous thoughts about Thor. I think his family will find him at the end of the day in a state of some exhaustion.” (Page 20)
“Nothing in this universe is so unwise as that kind of worship of worldly wisdom. A man who is perpetually thinking of whether this race or that race is strong, of whether this cause or that cause is promising, is the man who will never believe in anything long enough to make it succeed. The opportunist politician is like a man who should abandon billiards because he was beaten at billiards, and abandon golf because he was beaten at golf. There is nothing which is so weak for working purposes as this enormous importance attached to immediate victory. There is nothing that fails like success.” (Page 21)
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