DA Carson – How Do You Explain the Gospel in Five Minutes


Sabbatum Excerpt: G.K. Chesterton on Taking Down a Fence


In the matter of reforming things, as distinct from deforming them, there is one plain and simple principle; a principle which will probably be called a paradox. There exists in such a case a certain institution or law; let us say, for the sake of simplicity, a fence or gate erected across a road. The more modern type of reformer goes gaily up to it and says, “I don’t see the use of this; let us clear it away.” To which the more intelligent type of reformer will do well to answer: “If you don’t see the use of it, I certainly won’t let you clear it away. Go away and think. Then, when you can come back and tell me that you do see the use of it, I may allow you to destroy it.”

This paradox rests on the most elementary common sense. The gate or fence did not grow there. It was not set up by somnambulists who built it in their sleep. It is highly improbable that it was put there by escaped lunatics who were for some reason loose in the street. Some person had some reason for thinking it would be a good thing for somebody. And until we know what the reason was, we really cannot judge whether the reason was reasonable. It is extremely probable that we have overlooked some whole aspect of the question, if something set up by human beings like ourselves seems to be entirely meaningless and mysterious. There are reformers who get over this difficulty by assuming that all their fathers were fools; but if that be so, we can only say that folly appears to be a hereditary disease. But the truth is that nobody has any business to destroy a social institution until he has really seen it as an historical institution. If he knows how it arose, and what purposes it was supposed to serve, he may really be able to say that they were bad purposes, or that they have since become bad purposes, or that they are purposes which are no longer served. But if he simply stares at the thing as a senseless monstrosity that has somehow sprung up in his path, it is he and not the traditionalist who is suffering from an illusion.


G. K. Chesterton, “The Drift from Domesticity.” In: The Thing (London: Sheed & Ward, 1929), p. 35.

Friday Phraseology: Wager Argument


Wager argument: An argument developed by Blaise *Pascal that urges an unbeliever to attempt to develop *faith in God even if the evidence for God’s existence is not decisive. Pascal compared belief and unbelief in God to a wager and pointed out the potential gains and losses each bet holds. If some bet on God and are wrong, they will lose only the paltry pleasure from some sins in this life that they might have enjoyed. If others bet on God and are right, however, they stand to gain eternal bliss. The potential gains and losses are thus staggeringly disproportionate, and Pascal urged the unbeliever to pray, attend Mass and do whatever else may be necessary to develop faith.[1]


 

[1] Evans, C. Stephen (2010-03-17). Pocket Dictionary of Apologetics & Philosophy of Religion: 300 Terms & Thinkers Clearly & Concisely Defined (The IVP Pocket Reference Series) (p. 122). InterVarsity Press. Kindle Edition.

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