Friday, November 28, 2014

All Punishment is Religious Persecution

For some mad reason in this mad world of ours the things about which men differ most are exactly the things about which they must be got to agree. Men can agree on the fact that the earth goes round the sun. But then it simply does not matter a dump whether the earth goes around the sun or the Pleiades. But men cannot agree about morals; sex, property, individual rights, fixity of contracts, patriotism, suicide, public habits of health – these are exactly the things that men tend to fight about.  And these are exactly the things that must be settled somehow, and settled on strict principles. Study each of them, and you will find each of them works back certainly to a philosophy, probably to a religion. Every Society has to act upon dogmas, and dogmas are exactly those things that are most disputable. It puts a man in prison for the dogma of the sanctity of human life. All punishment is religious persecution.
Remotely:  G.K. Chesterton in the Illustrated London News, March 16, 1907

More  immediately:  shamelessly pilfered from the Wit and Wisdom: G.K. Chesterton Quotes website on which you can find today's post here.