Thursday, December 1, 2011

G. K. Chesterton: "Man can be defined as an animal that makes dogmas"

"Man can be defined as an animal that makes dogmas. As he piles doctrine on doctrine and conclusion on conclusion in the formation of some tremendous scheme of philosophy and religion, he is, in the only legitimate sense of which the expression is capable, becoming more and more human. When he drops one doctrine after another in a refined scepticism, when he declines to tie himself to a system, when he says that he has outgrown definitions, when he says that he disbelieves in finality, when, in his own imagination, he sits as God, holding no form of creed but contemplating all, then he is by that very process sinking slowly backwards into the vagueness of the vagrant animals and the unconsciousness of the grass. Trees have no dogmas. Turnips are singularly broad-minded."


Matt Gunter said...

I've also seen a quote attributed to Chesterton along the lines of, "There are two kinds of people in the world: those who have a dogma and are aware of it and those who have a dogma and aren't."

Bryan Owen said...

Hi Matt. Whether or not Chesterton wrote the quote you've shared (and it sounds like Chesterton), I like it!