It’s hard to go a couple of months in conservative circles without coming across a G.K. Chesterton quote. After reading this book, I’m afraid to say that his quotes are better than his prose because Orthodoxy felt like the ramblings of a grumpy old man. There wasn’t much orthodoxy in it at all, and at times I was completely lost in his train of thought. Nonetheless, I’d like to share the few passages that I enjoyed.

Trying to be healthy

The mere pursuit of health always leads to something unhealthy. Physical nature must not be made the direct object of obedience; it must be enjoyed, not worshiped.

One side effect of the fear of death is an obsession over health and living longer. Every few months there is a new trend which purports to extend your life, but what will you do with longer life? Obsess more over your health? People would use an extension of time given to them to merely try to extend it further. The fear of death remains, and if anything, intensifies as the moment gets near.

The bustle of modernity is a mirage

It is customary to complain of the bustle and strenuousness of our epoch. But in truth the chief mark of our epoch is a profound laziness and fatigue; and the fact is that the real laziness is the cause of the apparent bustle. Take one quite external case; the streets are noisy with taxicabs and motorcars; but this is not due to human activity but to human repose. There would be less bustle if there were more activity, if people were simply walking about. Our world would be more silent if it were more strenuous. And this which is true of the apparent physical bustle is true also for the apparent bustle of the intellect. Most of the machinery of modern language is labour-saving machinery; and it saves mental labour very much more than it ought.

It seems like the more “busy” someone is, the less important work they do. Business, like the aforementioned health crusades, is just a way to distract from your mission in life. If you keep moving, and keep thinking of the future, maybe your mind will never settle for a moment to ask what is the point of your existence.

Confidence is weakness

Complete self-confidence is not merely a sin; complete self-confidence is a weakness. Believing utterly in one’s self is a hysterical and superstitious belief…

[…]

A man was meant to be doubtful about himself, but undoubting about the truth; this has been exactly reversed. Nowadays the part of a man that a man does assert is exactly the part he ought not to assert—himself. The part he doubts is exactly the part he ought not to doubt—the Divine Reason.

It’s not an accident that I was most prideful during the times I had the least to be prideful for. People are so desperate to feel confident or superior that they make up a game with rules that declare themselves a winner (e.g. number of sex partners in foreign countries), and then use that to feel good about themselves, but no one cares about your game or rules—certainly not God—and the things that you feel prideful from today will be what you’ll be ashamed of tomorrow.

A mind on its own cannot save

A man cannot think himself out of mental evil; for it is actually the organ of thought that has become diseased, ungovernable, and, as it were, independent. He can only be saved by will or faith. The moment his mere reason moves, it moves in the old circular rut; he will go round and round his logical circle…

The problem with the mind is that it’s most capable of coming up with schemes. A new scheme pops into your head that you believe will save you, and then you give it your all to accomplish the scheme, but its fulfillment does not save, and so you’re forced to construct another scheme. Many people’s lives are nothing more than a series of schemes or material projects. Only God can save you with His grace. Your mental effort or plans cannot save; it only creates spiritual death.

Virtue gone mad

When a religious scheme is shattered (as Christianity was shattered at the Reformation), it is not merely the vices that are let loose. The vices are, indeed, let loose, and they wander and do damage. But the virtues are let loose also; and the virtues wander more wildly, and the virtues do more terrible damage. The modern world is full of the old Christian virtues gone mad. The virtues have gone mad because they have been isolated from each other and are wandering alone. Thus some scientists care for truth; and their truth is pitiless. Thus some humanitarians only care for pity; and their pity (I am sorry to say) is often untruthful. For example, Mr. Blatchford attacks Christianity because he is mad on one Christian virtue: the merely mystical and almost irrational virtue of charity. He has a strange idea that he will make it easier to forgive sins by saying that there are no sins to forgive.

Virtue disconnected from its source, God, is pride. You don’t have to spend a long time on Twitter to see it in full display among the do-gooders who are supposedly fighting against evil. Proper virtue is a way to ascend into the Kingdom of Heaven, a way to show love for our Creator, but virtue for virtue’s sake often turns wrathful and demonic. In some cases, your display of virtue, such as in the case of promoting an open-door policy for third-world refugees, is a direct attack on your neighbor who has to bear the brunt of your “virtue.”

God’s plan as lived by humans

God had written, not so much a poem, but rather a play; a play he had planned as perfect, but which had necessarily been left to human actors and stage-managers, who had since made a great mess of it.

Nothing is unexpected by God. He knew we’d make a mess, just like how you know that a puppy you bring home will soil the rug. He accounted for our inevitable failures in His plan, which will still be achieved in due time.

The sin of suicide

Not only is suicide a sin, it is the sin. It is the ultimate and absolute evil, the refusal to take an interest in existence; the refusal to take the oath of loyalty to life. The man who kills a man, kills a man. The man who kills himself, kills all men; as far as he is concerned he wipes out the world. His act is worse (symbolically considered) than any rape or dynamite outrage.

Suicide is a problem of faith. How could you do it if you felt Christ was guiding your life, methodically opening some doors and closing others while helping you endure temptations and sufferings? The man of faith can see suffering as a compliment, that God believes he can handle this trial and through that ascend even closer to Him. Blessed is the suffering man who still glorifies God.

Orthodoxy is sanity

This is the thrilling romance of Orthodoxy. People have fallen into a foolish habit of speaking of orthodoxy as something heavy, humdrum, and safe. There never was anything so perilous or so exciting as orthodoxy. It was sanity: and to be sane is more dramatic than to be mad. It was the equilibrium of a man behind madly rushing horses, seeming to stoop this way and to sway that, yet in every attitude having the grace of statuary and the accuracy of arithmetic.

The collection of quotes above are certainly appealing, but I don’t have much in the way of praise for the rest of Orthodoxy, which spent an inordinate amount of time arguing against determinists (those who don’t believe in free will). This book is safe to pass on.

Learn More: Orthodoxy by G.K. Chesterton On Amazon

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DelMar
DelMar
2 months ago

Brilliant.

Çatal Höyük
Çatal Höyük
2 months ago
Reply to  DelMar

GK Chesterton is

Lithuanian Bear
Lithuanian Bear
2 months ago

If a person looks at being healthy as a means to delay ones own death because of the fear of death then yes i would agree with you. But if a person is pursuing health in order to be there for his children and grandchildren as a person who is not a burden and to enjoy his old life and not suffer needlessly in his old age. I dont see whats wrong with it. i think its all about intent.Are you running from death or are you trying to meet it with grace.
Those who are running from death start doing some sinful things for example using unborn babies for rejuvinational purposes(stem cells etc) or using adrenochrome that is produced from child abuse and torture. Using circumcisition skin for face masks etc. But if you are just taking care of your health by eating well and working out i dont see whats the problem.

0hhtec
2 months ago

Yes. Be healthy but do it in order to follow Christ better. Eat good food (w/ DHA (anmial fat)) so that your brain is functioning better. If it functions better, it will make wiser decisions (e.g. follow Christ) and think faster (which I believe helps one become more consistent)

Edward
Edward
2 months ago

Chesterton is overrated because he’s quotable and we don’t really have many world-class prosodists on the faith in English to choose from. I find him annoying mainly because I hold him responsible for all these young guys you find who think smoking pipes, wearing suits, and drinking the best scotch are essential skills for Catholic men to have.

Lithuanian bear
Lithuanian bear
2 months ago
Reply to  Edward

I think you are confusing catholics with hipsters.

Buster
Buster
2 months ago
Reply to  Edward

I’m not a fan of smoking.

I didn’t know that suits are the rage among young Catholic men. If you look good in a suit I guess go for it, if nothing else at least you don’t look like a slob.

As for drinking the best Scotch…..well, Scotch is an affordable luxury for a lot of people, myself included. I can’t afford the best Scotch, but when I buy Scotch I don’t buy the cheap crap.

Lucretius Carus
Lucretius Carus
2 months ago
Reply to  Edward

As far as really good catholic writers of the pre-WW2 era are concerned you should look up Hilaire Belloc. (Thank me later btw.! 😉

jim
jim
1 month ago
Reply to  Edward

Yep, it’s become very annoying to see these types dominating TLM churches. Luckily, some TLMs with normal people and families who don’tknow what LARP means do exist. Just keep looking.

David Schultz
David Schultz
2 months ago

Having read a lot of Chesterton (not Catholic), I would agree that Orthodoxy is good for piecemeal quotations. However, The Everlasting Man was a book that changed my life when I was 18 years old. That is one I can recommend highly. Thanks for the above Roosh.

Jonathan Schultz
Jonathan Schultz
2 months ago
Reply to  David Schultz

I would agree with my brother. When I found out that C.S. Lewis (who was an atheist at the time) picked up and read The Everlasting Man by G.K. Chesterton he couldn’t refute a word of it and turned back to the faith. I love them both, C.S. Lewis and G.K. Chesterton, because they both expanded my ability to critically think and ask THE BIG questions in life. My brother and I went to a liberal arts college knowing that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. I knew I was being sold a bag of goods by these “doctors” of academia and fell into a drunken stupor from my disenchantment. Discovering these men helped these so called “college” students UNLEARN what we’ve been told our whole lives.

With that said you have to enjoy Chesterton’s writing style, the way his chapters are constructed, the amount of “large” words he uses lol it’s a good exercise.

Personally I feel he struggled with the acceptance of Christianity for the simplicity in what it was, he is overly defensive of the “Orthodoxy” of the Catholic Church, and mainly the traditions of men. As you grow and mature in your Christian walk you’ll quickly find that there are few authors that have it all. Eat the meat and throw out the bones as they say. But don’t stop with Orthodoxy. There is much more of Chesterton to uncover, he was a brilliant mind. Some consider Chapter 14 “On the Institution of the Family” in “Heretics” his single best piece of writing.

The Bible is the clear and honest Truth. C.S. Lewis and G.K. Chesterton were both guides we followed to help guide us back to it.

We love you buddy and pray for you in your walk! Your testimony matches ours in many ways and encourage you on your pilgrimage:)

And I’ll leave you with one more Chesterton quote from the first chapter in his Book, “What’s wrong with the world”:

“What is wrong is that we do not ask what is right”

P.S. Speaking of Pilgrimage, our would love to read a blog post on Pilgrims Progress by John Bunyan, the second most printed book the English Language behind the Bible. It should definitely be next up in your book queue, right before Everlasting Man 😉 haha

JeffG
JeffG
2 months ago

You didn’t appreciate Orthodoxy? Sad to say it, but your esteem in my eyes has declined immensely as a result. Perhaps in a few years a second reading will prove more intelligible for you.

Christ Pill
Christ Pill
2 months ago

The Old testament has strong views on suicide. Does anyone have a viewpoint of what changed from old to new testament in regards to suicide?

And the new testament has changed our views on animal sacrifices, but should we still follow the diet guidelines God provided via Leviticus and other old testament books? (ex: the Daniel diet)

I enjoyed these three quotes from your article:

“A man cannot think himself out of mental evil; for it is actually the organ of thought that has become diseased, ungovernable, and, as it were, independent. He can only be saved by will or faith.”
“The virtues have gone mad because they have been isolated from each other and are wandering alone. Thus some scientists care for truth; and their truth is pitiless. Thus some humanitarians only care for pity; and their pity (I am sorry to say) is often untruthful.”
“Nowadays the part of a man that a man does assert is exactly the part he ought not to assert—himself. The part he doubts is exactly the part he ought not to doubt—the Divine Reason.”

I am constantly looking to improve this: I know how to receive validation by flirting or posting a selfie of my physical growth, or posting society-approving messages, but I know self-idolatry is sin. It’s almost like I have to think about what I used to do, and do the exact opposite. This sometimes leads to mental gymnastics which is very tiring if I’m the only Christian in a group.
I notice my “influence” is dropping as people realize my faith is not a short term change, but will continue for the rest of my life. My prior influence can be leveraged to spread the Gospel, but ironically this influence wanes as more non-believers tune out my message because it isn’t funny, or they assume I hate them since society has convinced many people that God incites fear, instead of the true word God is love.

Buster
Buster
2 months ago
Reply to  Christ Pill

“should we still follow the diet guidelines God provided via Leviticus and other old testament books?”

No. God ended the old Hebrew dietary laws, Acts 10:9-16 and Matthew 15:10-20.

Christ Pill
Christ Pill
2 months ago
Reply to  Buster

I’m not sold w the Acts quote. And Matthew outlines ‘defiling’ which doesn’t seem like it is all-encompassing.

“But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ. Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.” 1 Corinthians (12:13) KJV
“For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs.” Romans 14:2 KJV

Buster
Buster
2 months ago

“But in truth the chief mark of our epoch is a profound laziness and fatigue; and the fact is that the real laziness is the cause of the apparent bustle.”

When you think about it this is a pretty good description of fast food. Some people are too lazy to make something simple at home for dinner so they have to drive to McDonald’s (or whatever slophouse is fashionable at the moment), sit in line at the drive through, take it home and eat it, then take out the garbage because the huge amount of packaging fills up the garbage can. You end up spending more time on fast food than you save by not taking 10 minutes to fry some eggs.

“He accounted for our inevitable failures in His plan, which will still be achieved in due time.”

I see failures more as an aid for humans in understanding that plan, both on a personal and societal level. On the personal level a lot of us here have an understanding of how that plan is good based on the negative consequences we’ve experienced as a result of our own failures, whether those failures be drugs, gluttony, porn, lust, greed, what-have-you.

On a societal level I think that the truthfulness of some parts of His plan don’t really become understandable until society scales up to such a level that certain sins become more widespread and the consequences more apparent. We now have technology such that any man can go online and pull up huge quantities of information about our society, and see on a culture-wide scale the consequences of certain behaviors.

You can take monetary sins–worship of money, usury, consumerism—and see this in the replacement of savings with debt or the replacement of identity with brand loyalty. People have been cross-referencing this with the birthrate and general measures of happiness for years and you know the results have been disastrous. God forbids these things for a reason which we can now, using our intellect, prove with charts and statistics. You can apply the same mode of reasoning to just about any other major social evil and the outcome will always be the same—rejecting the moral law will give you terrible results.

This gives us a more complete understanding of the plan. We are humans and unlike God are imperfect, and so we need those aids—i.e. failures—to understand as much as we can of the truth behind His plan.

Ricardo Maschietto Ayrosa
Ricardo Maschietto Ayrosa
2 months ago

Troll

Matt Edgley
Matt Edgley
2 months ago

Great commentary. I believe you. You saved me a lot of effort. Thanks for picking out the good parts.

Sean Lydon
Sean Lydon
2 months ago
Reply to  Matt Edgley

You should read it. I don’t know what possessed Roosh to select theses quotes in particular which are fine but don’t do Chesterton or his book justice. It’s free to read via Gutenberg.

Jimmy
Jimmy
2 months ago

I hope you’ll continue with the Roosh Lives while on the road.

0hhtec
2 months ago

Reading this article reminds me of how the Lord guided me to you, Roosh. Your analyses are the ultimate whitepill. I really needed this article because of the amount of temptation I have had today to sin. Lord bless you, Roosh

Çatalhüyük
Çatalhüyük
1 month ago

The mere pursuit of health always leads to something unhealthy. Physical nature must not be made the direct object of obedience; it must be enjoyed, not worshiped.

That is an excellent quote! I think he is right about that.

Adam
Adam
1 month ago

but what will you do with longer life?”

Spend as much time as I can with my child.