Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Chesterton and Predestination

I sat down the other night and opened G.K. Chesterton's classic Orthodoxy for the first time (actually "opened" is a misnomer since I was reading it on my shiny new iPad, Yay!!!).  Don't ask me why it has taken me so long to finally read some Chesterton, but it has.

Anyway, in his first chapter he makes a claim that seems counter intuitive.  He claims that people do not go insane from too much imagination, but rather from too much reason and logic.  This seems counter-intuitive because of the popular image of the crazy artist or poet.  Yet, reading Chesterton's argument, I must say I was convinced.  He talks about how most poets and storytellers, contrary to their popular image, are indeed quite sane.  Instead, he claims, it is the mathematicians and the philosophers who go insane.

He cited one person, William Cowper, whom Chesterton claims is the greatest modern English poet, and also was very mentally unstable.  But, his mental instability came not from his poetry (which actually allowed him to hold on to sanity), but rather from his logical struggle with the doctrine of predestination. 

This logical struggle with the reformed doctrine has also gripped me at times in my life, and I must say, if I follow the logic far enough, I do teeter on the brink of losing my mind.  Therefore, I am going to begin a series of posts on the doctrine of predestination and free will which I hope will clarify things for me, and hopefully will be helpful to any who chose to read it.  Pray that I do not go insane.

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