Inspiration and wisdom from divine felines

533 Inspiring Quotes by Gilbert K. Chesterton

  • Last updated Jul 26 2021

Welcome to our collection of quotes by Gilbert K. Chesterton.

Wikipedia Summary for G. K. Chesterton

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (29 May 1874 – 14 June 1936) was an English writer, philosopher, lay theologian, and literary and art critic. He has been referred to as the "prince of paradox". Time magazine observed of his writing style: "Whenever possible Chesterton made his points with popular sayings, proverbs, allegories—first carefully turning them inside out."Chesterton created the fictional priest-detective Father Brown, and wrote on apologetics. Even some of those who disagree with him have recognised the wide appeal of such works as Orthodoxy and The Everlasting Man. Chesterton routinely referred to himself as an "orthodox" Christian, and came to identify this position more and more with Catholicism, eventually converting to Catholicism from High Church Anglicanism. Biographers have identified him as a successor to such Victorian authors as Matthew Arnold, Thomas Carlyle, John Henry Newman, and John Ruskin. On his contributions, T. S. Eliot wrote:

He was importantly and consistently on the side of the angels. Behind the Johnsonian fancy-dress, so reassuring to the British public, he concealed the most serious and revolutionary designs—concealing them by exposure ... Chesterton's social and economic ideas...were fundamentally Christian and Catholic. He did more, I think, than any man of his time—and was able to do more than anyone else, because of his particular background, development and abilities as a public performer—to maintain the existence of the important minority in the modern world. He leaves behind a permanent claim upon our loyalty, to see that the work that he did in his time is continued in ours.

brown grass on brown sand under blue sky during daytime

There are no boring subjects, only disinterested minds.

--G. K. Chesterton

silhouette of trees during nighttime

We can't turn life into a pleasure. But we can choose such pleasures as are worthy of us and our immortal souls.

--G. K. Chesterton

forest and body of water

Realism is simply Romanticism that has lost its reason...that is its reason for existing.

--G. K. Chesterton


close-up photo of two men shaking hands near beach at sunset

A woman uses her intelligence to find reasons to support her intuition.

--G. K. Chesterton


woman looking up to the sky while standing on white sand

The mere brute pleasure of reading the sort of pleasure a cow must have in grazing.

--G. K. Chesterton

purple flower in tilt shift lens

Materialists and madmen never have doubts.

--G. K. Chesterton

None

But the truth is that it is only by believing in God that we can ever criticise the Government. Once abolish the God, and the Government becomes the God.

--G. K. Chesterton

yellow painted wall

It is the decisive people who have become civilised; it is the indecisive, otherwise called the higher sceptics, or the idealistic doubters, who have remained barbarians.

--G. K. Chesterton


grayscale photography of mountain surrounded by trees

There are a good many fools who call me a friend, and also a good many friends who call me a fool.

--G. K. Chesterton

full-moon above snow-capped mountain painting

A cosmic philosophy is not constructed to fit a man; a cosmic philosophy is constructed to fit a cosmos. A man can no more possess a private religion than he can possess a private sun and moon.

--G. K. Chesterton

autumn leaves on body of water

Faith means believing the unbelievable.

--G. K. Chesterton

white and blue ice in water

When you break the big laws, you do not get liberty; you do not even get anarchy. You get the small laws.

--G. K. Chesterton

girl and boy figurines

Why should anything go right; even observation and deduction? Why should not good logic be as misleading as bad logic? They are both movements in the brain of a bewildered ape?

--G. K. Chesterton

person on road at sunset

Truth must necessarily be stranger than fiction, for fiction is the creation of the human mind and therefore congenial to it.

--G. K. Chesterton

blooming yellow sunflower field

There are no words to express the abyss between isolation and having one ally.

--G. K. Chesterton


None

The human race is always trying this dodge of making everything entirely easy; but the difficulty which it shifts off one thing it shifts to another.

--G. K. Chesterton

golden retriever inside car

The Mass is not only about God becoming man, it is about Man becoming more himself.

--G. K. Chesterton

silhouette of pine trees photo

To be wrong, and to be carefully wrong, that is the definition of decadence.

--G. K. Chesterton

sunset

There are no rules of architecture for a castle in the clouds.

--G. K. Chesterton


None

One pleasure attached to growing older is that many things seem to be growing younger; growing fresher and more lively than we once supposed them to be.

--G. K. Chesterton

closeup photo of bird beside purple petal flowers

A strange fanaticism fills our time: the fanatical hatred of morality, especially of Christian morality.

--G. K. Chesterton

person holding brown leaf

Some men never feel small, but these are the few men who are.

--G. K. Chesterton

green water in close up photography

My attitude toward progress has passed from antagonism to boredom. I have long ceased to argue with people who prefer Thursday to Wednesday because it is Thursday.

--G. K. Chesterton

leafless tree

Thoughts on the Merits of Work The worst of work nowadays is what happens to people when they cease to work.

--G. K. Chesterton



two person standing while watching sky

A really great person is the person who makes every person feel great.

--G. K. Chesterton

black and blue starry night

There are two kinds of charlatan: the man who is called a charlatan, and the man who really is one. The first is the quack who cures you; the second is the highly qualified person who doesn't.

--G. K. Chesterton


empty concrete road covered surrounded by tall tress with sun rays

To say that a man is an idealist is merely to say that he is a man.

--G. K. Chesterton

couple sitting near trees during golden hour

Most Americans ... have a sort of permanent intoxication from within, a sort of invisible champagne.

--G. K. Chesterton

yellow flower field under clear sky

Nine times out of ten it is the coarse word that condemns an evil, and the refined word that excuses it.

--G. K. Chesterton

black and gray floral textile

I should favour anything that would increase the present enormous authority of women and their creative action in their own homes. The average woman...is a despot; the average man is a serf.

--G. K. Chesterton

yellow green leaf

Nothing is poetical if plain daylight is not poetical; and no monster should amaze us if the normal man does not amaze.

--G. K. Chesterton

white wall paint beside white wall

Marxism: The theory that all the important things in history are rooted in an economic motive, that history is a science, a science of the search for food.

--G. K. Chesterton

sunset and agave stalk

Hope means expectancy when things are otherwise hopeless.

--G. K. Chesterton

landscape photo of waters, mountains, and black clouds

Before the gods that made the gods Had seen their sunrise pass, The White Horse of the White Horse Vale Was cut out of the grass.

--G. K. Chesterton

None

If, therefore, nonsense is really to be the literature of the future, it must have its own version of the Cosmos to offer; the world must not only be tragic, romantic, and religious, it must be nonsensical also.

--G. K. Chesterton

pair of white lace-up shoes

It's not that we don't have enough scoundrels to curse; it's that we don't have enough good men to curse them.

--G. K. Chesterton

white textile in close up photography

He had found the thing which the modern people call Impressionism, which is another name for that final scepticism which can find no floor to the universe.

--G. K. Chesterton

man in black tank top standing near tree under starry night

We are Christians and Catholics not because we worship a key, but because we have passed a door and felt the wind that is the trumpet of liberty blow over the land of the living.

--G. K. Chesterton

yellow and blue painted wall

Progress is a comparative of which we have not settled the superlative.

--G. K. Chesterton




shade under a green-leafed tree

Tradition is the democracy of the dead.

--G. K. Chesterton

three person looking stars and milky way

All true friendliness begins with fire and food and drink and the recognition of rain or frost.

--G. K. Chesterton

person on road at sunset

Science in the modern world has many uses; its chief use, however, is to provide long words to cover the errors of the rich.

--G. K. Chesterton

houses and trees during nighttime

One elephant having a trunk was odd; but all elephants having trunks looked like a plot.

--G. K. Chesterton

stars across the sky view at the desert

Every true artist feels that he is touching transcendental truths; that his images are shadows of things seen through the veil.

--G. K. Chesterton

green grass field

The poor have sometimes objected to being governed badly; the rich have always objected to being governed at all.

--G. K. Chesterton

silhouette of mountains during starry night

By experts in poverty I do not mean sociologists, but poor men.

--G. K. Chesterton

aerial photography of forest

Classic literature is still something that hangs in the air like a song.

--G. K. Chesterton


yellow sunflower under blue sky during daytime

The academic mind reflects infinity, and is full of light by the simple process of being shallow and standing still.

--G. K. Chesterton

sunset

It is the test of a good religion whether you can joke about it.

--G. K. Chesterton


blue sky with stars during night time

The real great man is the man who makes every man feel great.

--G. K. Chesterton

None

I need not pause to explain that crime is not a disease. It is criminology that is a disease.

--G. K. Chesterton

body of water under blue sky with stars

The true savage is a slave, and is always talking about what he must do; the true civilised man is a free man, and is always talking about what he may do.

--G. K. Chesterton

None

Excuse me if I enjoy myself rather obviously! I don't often have the luck to have a dream like this. It is new to me for a nightmare to lead me to a lobster. It is commonly the other way.

--G. K. Chesterton



purple flowered hedge plants

If the barricades went up in our streets and the poor became masters, I think the priests would escape, I fear the gentlemen would; but I believe the gutters would simply be running with the blood of philanthropists.

--G. K. Chesterton

couple sitting near trees during golden hour

Atheism is indeed the most daring of all dogmas ... for it is the assertion of a universal negative.

--G. K. Chesterton

None

"What are we going to do?" asked the Professor. "At this moment," said Syme, with a scientific detachment, "I think we are going to smash into a lamppost."

--G. K. Chesterton

milky way wallpaper

In a world flagrant with the failures of civilization, what is there particularly immortal about our own?

--G. K. Chesterton

green ceramic mug beside book

Meaninglessness does not come from being weary of pain. Meaninglessness comes from being weary of pleasure.

--G. K. Chesterton

sunset with rainbow

Vigorous organisms talk not about their processes, but about their aims.

--G. K. Chesterton

body of water

And pray where in earth or heaven are there prudent marriages-Might as well talk about prudent suicides.

--G. K. Chesterton

green leafed tree on body of water under starry sky

When the chord of monotony is stretched to its tightest, it breaks with the sound of a song.

--G. K. Chesterton

blue and white abstract painting

The man of the true religious tradition understands two things: liberty and obedience. The first means knowing what you really want. The second means knowing what you really trust.

--G. K. Chesterton


leafless tree under gray sky

Laughter has something in it common with the ancient words of faith and inspiration; it unfreezes pride and unwinds secrecy; it makes people forget themselves in the presence of something greater than themselves.

--G. K. Chesterton

cluster of stars in the sky

We lose our bearings entirely by speaking of the 'lower classes' when we mean humanity minus ourselves.

--G. K. Chesterton


black Corona typewriter on brown wood planks

If the world becomes pagan and perishes, the last man left alive would do well to quote the Iliad and die.

--G. K. Chesterton

rock formation under starry skies

Truth, of course, must of necessity be stranger than fiction, for we have made fiction to suit ourselves.

--G. K. Chesterton

yellow background

A child's instinct is almost perfect in the matter of fighting. The child's hero is always the man or boy who defends himself suddenly and splendidly against aggression.

--G. K. Chesterton

blue, white, and pink petaled flowers on gray surface

The Party System was founded on one national notion of fair play. It was the notion that folly and futility should be fairly divided between both sides.

--G. K. Chesterton

sunset

Political Economy means that everybody except politicians must be economical.

--G. K. Chesterton

man in black jacket and black pants standing on brown rock formation during daytime

If a rhinoceros were to enter this restaurant now, there is no denying he would have great power here. But I should be the first to rise and assure him that he had no authority whatever.

--G. K. Chesterton

leafless tree on snow covered ground

In all legends men have thought of women as sublime separately but horrible in a herd.

--G. K. Chesterton

toddlers standing outdoors

Man seems to be capable of great virtues but not of small virtues; capable of defying his torturer but not of keeping his temper.

--G. K. Chesterton

lone tree in grassland

Man is at his tallest when he bows.

--G. K. Chesterton

water on seashore

A great deal of contemporary criticism reads to me like a man saying, 'Of course I do not like green cheese. I am very fond of brown sherry.

--G. K. Chesterton

None

What is called matriarchy is simply moral anarchy, in which the mother alone remains fixed because all the fathers are fugitive and irresponsible.

--G. K. Chesterton


person holding green plant during daytime

Freethinkers are occasionally thoughtful, though never free.

--G. K. Chesterton

trees under blue sky and stars during nighttime photo

When it wishes anything done which is really serious, it collects twelve of the ordinary men standing round. The same thing was done, if I remember right, by the Founder of Christianity.

--G. K. Chesterton

pink petaled flowers under trees at daytime

There is the great lesson of 'Beauty and the Beast,' that a thing must be loved before it is lovable.

--G. K. Chesterton

sunset

What we call emancipation is always and of necessity simply the free choice of the soul between one set of limitations and another.

--G. K. Chesterton

water on seashore

There is nothing the matter with Americans except their ideals. The real American is all right; it is the ideal American who is all wrong.

--G. K. Chesterton

low angle photo of starry night

There's a lot of difference between listening and hearing.

--G. K. Chesterton

purple flowers

The moderns do not realize modernity.

--G. K. Chesterton

white and blue building under clear sky

The essence of all pantheism, evolutionism, and modern cosmic religion is really this proposition: that nature is our mother. Unfortunately, if you regard Nature as a mother, you discover she is a step-mother.

--G. K. Chesterton

red flame

A nation that has nothing but its amusements will not be amused for long.

--G. K. Chesterton

body of water under blue sky with stars

Men feel that cruelty to the poor is a kind of cruelty to animals. They never feel that it is an injustice to equals; nay it is treachery to comrades.

--G. K. Chesterton

band performing on stage in front of people

There are those who hate Christianity and call their hatred an all-embracing love for all religions.

--G. K. Chesterton

white sand

The objection to fairy stories is that they tell children there are dragons. But children have always known there are dragons. Fairy stories tell children that dragons can be killed.

--G. K. Chesterton

sunset

Wit is a sword; it is meant to make people feel the point as well as see it.

--G. K. Chesterton

yellow green leaf

For the only courage worth calling courage must necessarily mean that the soul passes a breaking point and does not break.

--G. K. Chesterton


white and gray floral bed sheet

He said he didn't very well understand how George was going to sleep any more than he did now, seeing that there were only twenty-four hours in each day.

--G. K. Chesterton

yellow flower field under clear sky

Chastity does not mean abstention from sexual wrong; it means something flaming, like Joan of Arc.

--G. K. Chesterton

man with LED headlight looking upward

The sceptics, like bees, give their one sting and die.

--G. K. Chesterton

ice berg

We talk of wild animals but man is the only wild animal. It is man that has broken out. All other animals are tame animals; following the rugged respectability of the tribe or type.

--G. K. Chesterton

clear wine glass with red wine

It is not bigotry to be certain we are right; but it is bigotry to be unable to imagine how we might possibly have gone wrong.

--G. K. Chesterton

sunset with storm clouds

The fatal metaphor of progress, which means leaving things behind us, has utterly obscured the real idea of growth, which means leaving things inside us.

--G. K. Chesterton

person wearing red running shoe

Hope is the power of being cheerful in circumstances which we know to be desperate.

--G. K. Chesterton

person in blue denim jeans and brown leather boots

There is no such thing on earth as an uninteresting subject; the only thing that can exist is an uninterested person.

--G. K. Chesterton


None

Tradition may be defined as an extension of the franchise. Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead.

--G. K. Chesterton

None

If Christianity should happen to be true -- that is to say, if its God is the real God of the universe -- then defending it may mean talking about anything and everything.

--G. K. Chesterton

forest with tall and green trees during daytime

Over-civilization and barbarism are within an inch of each other. And a mark of both is the power of medicine-men.

--G. K. Chesterton


pink petaled flower field

Madness does not come by breaking out, but by giving in; by settling down in some dirty, little, self-repeating circle of ideas; by being tamed.

--G. K. Chesterton

man and woman kissing beside body of water during daytime

To be simple is the best thing in the world.

--G. K. Chesterton

yellow and green forest during daytime

You can only find truth with logic if you have already found truth without it.

--G. K. Chesterton


brown butterfly perched on flower

A man can never quite understand a boy, even when he has been a boy.

--G. K. Chesterton

black and white window illustration

The central idea of poetry is the idea of guessing right, like a child.

--G. K. Chesterton

coffee mug on top of tablecloth beside ashtray

The word good has many meanings. For example, if a man were to shoot his grandmother at a range of five hundred yards, I should call him a good shot, but not necessarily a good man.

--G. K. Chesterton


forest and body of water

The issue is now clear. It is between light and darkness and everyone must choose his side.

--G. K. Chesterton

galaxy

No man who worships education has got the best out of education... Without a gentle contempt for education no man's education is complete.

--G. K. Chesterton

black and gray floral textile

When giving treats to friends or children, give them what they like, emphatically not what is good for them.

--G. K. Chesterton

black and white abstract illustration

We do not need to get good laws to restrain bad people. We need to get good people to restrain us from bad laws.

--G. K. Chesterton

body of water

If the devil tells you something is too fearful to look at, look at it. If he says something is too terrible to hear, hear it. If you think some truth unbearable, bear it.

--G. K. Chesterton

purple flowers under sunny sky

Savages and modern artists are alike strangely driven to create something uglier than themselves. but the artists find it harder.

--G. K. Chesterton

dome tent with galaxy with stars

I believe in getting into hot water; it keeps you clean.

--G. K. Chesterton

rainbow desert

The act of defending any of the cardinal virtues has today all the exhilaration of a vice.

--G. K. Chesterton

purple and black skies

Customs are generally unselfish. Habits are nearly always selfish.

--G. K. Chesterton

None

Ingratitude is surely the chief of the intellectual sins of man. He takes his political benefits for granted, just as he takes the skies and the seasons for granted.

--G. K. Chesterton

person standing on rock formation during daytime

Contemporary society has become dry, not for lack of wonders but for lack of wonder.

--G. K. Chesterton

withered tree surrounded with snow during daytime

Why are we not grateful to God for filling our stockings with legs?

--G. K. Chesterton

None

The people has no definite disbelief in the temples of theology. The people has a very fiery and practical disbelief in the temples of physical science.

--G. K. Chesterton




green grass field

But since he stood for England And knew what England means, Unless you give him bacon You must not give him beans.

--G. K. Chesterton

black Sony point-and-shoot camera on yellow surface

Modern science is necessarily a double-edged tool, a tool that cuts both ways. ... There is no doubt that a Zeppelin is a wonderful thing; but that did not prevent it from becoming a horrible thing.

--G. K. Chesterton

group of people inside the room in grayscale photo

Always be comic in a tragedy. What the deuce else can you do?

--G. K. Chesterton

sunset

A puritan is a person who pours righteous indignation into the wrong things.

--G. K. Chesterton


man running on seashore

There are two ways of getting home; and one of them is to stay there.

--G. K. Chesterton

couple sitting near trees during golden hour

The vulgar man is always the most distinguished, for the very desire to be distinguished is vulgar.

--G. K. Chesterton

green and white painted wall

It is the root of all religion that a man knows that he is nothing in order to thank God that he is something.

--G. K. Chesterton

None

For good or evil, a line has been passed in our political history; and something that we have known all our lives is dead. I will take only one example of it: our politicians can no longer be caricatured.

--G. K. Chesterton

person in black top carrying brown wicker basket

There is a certain poetic value, and that a genuine one, in this sense of having missed the full meaning of things. There is beauty, not only in wisdom, but in this dazed and dramatic ignorance.

--G. K. Chesterton


white clouds and blue sky

You have not wasted your time; you have helped to save the world. We are not buffoons, but very desperate men at war with a vast conspiracy.

--G. K. Chesterton

person walking on snowfield

Playing as children means playing is the most serious thing in the world.

--G. K. Chesterton

rock formation under starry skies

Real development is not leaving things behind, as on a road, but drawing life from them, as from a root.

--G. K. Chesterton

forest trees photograph

People in high life are hardened to the wants and distresses of mankind as surgeons are to their bodily pains.

--G. K. Chesterton

silhoutte of mountains during sunset

The only defensible war is a war of defense.

--G. K. Chesterton


low-angle photo of white daisy

Exactly at the instant when hope ceases to be reasonable it begins to be useful.

--G. K. Chesterton

close-up photo of two men shaking hands near beach at sunset

It is generally the man who is not ready to argue, who is ready to sneer.

--G. K. Chesterton


closeup photo of bird beside purple petal flowers

A feminist is someone who loathes being a woman and who dislikes the chief feminine characteristics.

--G. K. Chesterton

brown wooden board

The poetry of art is in beholding the single tower; the poetry of nature in seeing the single tree; the poetry of love in following the single woman; the poetry of religion in worshipping the single star.

--G. K. Chesterton


sunset

The sort of man who admires Italian art while despising Italian religion is a tourist and a cad.

--G. K. Chesterton

pink, red, and black digital wallpaper

Nothing can ever overcome that one enormous sex (female) superiority that even the male child is born closer to his mother than to his father.

--G. K. Chesterton

blue, yellow, and brown wall decor

Whatever else we may say of our own age, for good or evil, nobody is likely to call it an Age of Reason.

--G. K. Chesterton


mountains covered with fog

Whenever you remove any fence, always pause long enough to ask why it was put there in the first place.

--G. K. Chesterton

blue sky with stars during night time

English experience indicates that when the two great political parties agree about something it is generally wrong.

--G. K. Chesterton

aerial's photo of metropolitan during night time\

These are the days when the Christian is expected to praise every creed except his own.

--G. K. Chesterton

blue and white striped textile

All architecture is great architecture after sunset; perhaps architecture is really a nocturnal art, like the art of fireworks.

--G. K. Chesterton

black bird flying on white background

The whole order of things is as outrageous as any miracle which could presume to violate it.

--G. K. Chesterton

white and purple flower in macro shot

The present condition of fame is merely fashion.

--G. K. Chesterton

white and yellow flowers during daytime

One can sometimes do good by being the right person in the wrong place.

--G. K. Chesterton

lights pattern swirls

Never invoke the gods unless you really want them to appear. It annoys them very much.

--G. K. Chesterton

green leaf in close up photography

The determining bulk of Scotch people had heard of golf ever since they had heard of God and often considered the two as of equal importance.

--G. K. Chesterton

brown and white humming bird flying

Any one thinking of the Holy Child as born in December would mean by it exactly what we mean by it; that Christ is not merely a summer sun of the prosperous but a winter fire for the unfortunate.

--G. K. Chesterton

group of people waving their hands

When men cease to believe in God, they will believe in anything.

--G. K. Chesterton


pair of white lace-up shoes

Journalism largely consists of saying 'Lord Jones is Dead' to people who never knew that Lord Jones was alive.

--G. K. Chesterton

assorted-colored cactus

All but the hard hearted man must be torn with pity for this pathetic dilemma of the rich man, who has to keep the poor man just stout enough to do the work and just thin enough to have to do it.

--G. K. Chesterton

multicolored heart LED light on wall

A man does not know what he is saying until he knows what he is not saying.

--G. K. Chesterton

black textile in close up photography

Christendom has had a series of revolutions and in each one of them Christianity has died. Christianity has died many times and risen again; for it had a God who knew the way out of the grave.

--G. K. Chesterton

brown nut on person's left palm

Hope means hoping when everything seems hopeless.

--G. K. Chesterton

silhouette of mountain

Modern man is educated to understand foreign languages and misunderstand foreigners.

--G. K. Chesterton

red and white led lighted heart decor

There is only one thing that stands in our midst, attenuated and threatened, but enthroned in some power like a ghost of the Middle Ages: the Trade Unions.

--G. K. Chesterton


white petaled flower

The more truly we can see life as a fairytale, the more clearly the tale resolves itself into war with the dragon who is wasting fairyland.

--G. K. Chesterton

sliced lemon on pink surface

Angels can fly because they take themselves lightly.

--G. K. Chesterton

person shadow boxing grayscale

A detective story generally describes six living men discussing how it is that a man is dead. A modern philosophic story generally describes six dead men discussing how any man can possibly be alive.

--G. K. Chesterton


swimming pool with stainless steel ladder

Virtue is not the absence of vices or the avoidance of moral dangers; virtue is a vivid and separate thing, like pain or a particular smell.

--G. K. Chesterton

white flowers

Saint George he was for England, And before he killed the dragon he drank a pint of English ale out of an English flagon.

--G. K. Chesterton


blue and white abstract painting

Men reform a thing by removing the reality from it, and then do not know what to do with the unreality that is left.

--G. K. Chesterton

silhouette of stones during golden hour

Christianity met the mythological search for romance by being a story and the philosophical search for truth by being a true story.

--G. K. Chesterton


old cowboy boots

The traveler sees what he sees, the tourist sees what he has come to see.

--G. K. Chesterton

None

I was planning to go into architecture. But when I arrived, architecture was filled up. Acting was right next to it, so I signed up for acting instead.

--G. K. Chesterton


black, purple, and orange basketball court beside concrete buildings at daytime

To have a right to do a thing is not at all the same as to be right in doing it.

--G. K. Chesterton

mountains with trees under white star at night

Against a dark sky, all flowers look like fireworks.

--G. K. Chesterton

fawn pug lying on floor

If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.

--G. K. Chesterton

brown and gray floral textile

Certain new theologians dispute original sin, which is the only part of Christian theology which can really be proved.

--G. K. Chesterton

Bryce Canyon National Park Sunrise Point at Utah

The perplexity of life arises from there being too many interesting things in it for us to be interested properly in any of them.

--G. K. Chesterton

white and blue ice in water

When belief in God becomes difficult, the tendency is to turn away from Him; but in heaven's name to what?

--G. K. Chesterton

pink, red, and black digital wallpaper

The trouble with always trying to preserve the health of the body is that it is so difficult to do without destroying the health of the mind.

--G. K. Chesterton

body of water during daytime

As regards moral courage, then, it is not so much that the public schools support it feebly, as that they suppress it firmly.

--G. K. Chesterton

shallow focus photography of red flower

There is no bigot like the atheist.

--G. K. Chesterton

white wall paint beside white wall

In the end it will not matter to us whether we wrote well or ill; whether we fought with flails or reeds. It will matter to us greatly on what side we fought.

--G. K. Chesterton

toddlers standing outdoors

I do not feel any contempt for an atheist, who is often a man limited and constrained by his own logic to a very sad simplification.

--G. K. Chesterton

Bryce Canyon National Park Sunrise Point at Utah

Marxism will in a generation or so go into the limbo of most heresies, but meanwhile it will have poisoned the Russian Revolution.

--G. K. Chesterton

shallow focus photography of condenser microphone

The cosmos is about the smallest hole that a man can hide his head in.

--G. K. Chesterton


green and white painted wall

Family is the theatre of the spiritual drama, the place where things happen, especially the things that matter.

--G. K. Chesterton

white and purple flower in macro shot

The rich are the scum of the earth in every country.

--G. K. Chesterton

aerial photography of forest

The worst moment for an atheist is when he feels a profound sense of gratitude and has no one to thank.

--G. K. Chesterton

body of water under blue sky with stars

The State did not own men so entirely, even when it could send them to the stake, as it sometimes does now where it can send them to the elementary school.

--G. K. Chesterton




black wooden louver door window

I believe your own accent is inimitable, though I shall practice it in my bath.

--G. K. Chesterton



tree under blue sky

The only words that ever satisfied me as describing nature are the terms used in fairy books, charm, spell, enchantment; they express the arbitrariness of the fact and its mystery.

--G. K. Chesterton



black textile in close up photography

Civilization has run on ahead of the soul of man, and is producing faster than he can think and give thanks.

--G. K. Chesterton



lights pattern swirls

Employers will give time to eat, time to sleep; they are in terror of a time to think.

--G. K. Chesterton

white and blue ice in water

A man cannot be wise enough to be a great artist without being wise enough to wish to be a philosopher.

--G. K. Chesterton

cup of latte on table

Atheism is too theological.

--G. K. Chesterton

woman standing on beachfront

Be careful how you suggest things to me. For there is in me a madness which goes beyond martyrdom, the madness of an utterly idle man.

--G. K. Chesterton

body of water during daytime

I tell you naught for your comfort, Yea, naught for your desire, Save that the sky grows darker yet And the sea rises higher.

--G. K. Chesterton

high-angle photography of beach side

Idolatry is committed, not merely by setting up false gods, but also by setting up false devils; by making men afraid of war or alcohol, or economic law, when they should be afraid of spiritual corruption and cowardice.

--G. K. Chesterton

sunset

A dead thing goes with the stream, but only a living thing can go against it.

--G. K. Chesterton

green leafed tree on body of water under starry sky

If prosperity is regarded as the reward of virtue it will be regarded as the symptom of virtue.

--G. K. Chesterton

selective focus photography of woman taking selfie

I never could see anything wrong in sensationalism; and I am sure our society is suffering more from secrecy than from flamboyant revelations.

--G. K. Chesterton

red moon at night

The long words are not the hard words, it is the short words that are hard. There is much more metaphysical subtlety in the word "damn" than in the word "degeneration.

--G. K. Chesterton

None

True contentment is a thing as active as agriculture. It is the power of getting out of any situation all that there is in it. It is arduous and it is rare.

--G. K. Chesterton

blue painted wall with white paint

All literary style, especially national style, is made up of such coincidences, which are a spiritual sort of puns. That is why style is untranslatable.

--G. K. Chesterton

white and black floral textile

A man who says that no patriot should attack the war until it is over is saying no good son should warn his mother of a cliff until she has fallen.

--G. K. Chesterton

silhouette of stones during golden hour

The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one's own country as a foreign land.

--G. K. Chesterton

pink and yellow flower painting

Joy, which was the small publicity of the pagan, is the gigantic secret of the Christian.

--G. K. Chesterton

palm trees covered with fog

And we were angry and poor and happy, And proud of seeing our names in print.

--G. K. Chesterton

brown and gray mountains during daytime

Nine out of ten of what we call new ideas are simply old mistakes.

--G. K. Chesterton

orange moon during nighttime

My life is passed in making bad jokes and seeing them turn into true prophecies.

--G. K. Chesterton


man standing on cliff under white sky

It is really not so repulsive to see the poor asking for money as to see the rich asking for more money. And advertisement is the rich asking for more money.

--G. K. Chesterton


man jumping on hill during golden hour

For when we cease to worship God, we do not worship nothing, we worship anything.

--G. K. Chesterton

calm body of water near alp mountains during nighttime

Brave men are all vertebrates; they have their softness on the surface and their toughness in the middle.

--G. K. Chesterton

empty gray floor beside pool

In matters of truth the fact that you don't want to publish something is, nine times out of ten, a proof that you ought to publish it.

--G. K. Chesterton

blue sky and white clouds

And all over the world, the old literature, the popular literature, is the same. It consists of very dignified sorrow and very undignified fun. Its sad tales are of broken hearts; its happy tales are of broken heads.

--G. K. Chesterton

pink umbrella

Youth is always too serious, and just now it is too serious about frivolity.

--G. K. Chesterton


worm's eye view of trees during night time

Aristocracy: government by the badly educated.

--G. K. Chesterton

body of water

The obvious effect of frivolous divorce will be frivolous marriage. If people can be separated for no reason they will feel it all the easier to be united for no reason.

--G. K. Chesterton

men running toward beach

You can free things from alien or accidental laws, but not from the laws of their own nature. You may, if you like, free a tiger from his bars; but do not free him from his stripes.

--G. K. Chesterton

castle surrounded fog

Ivory may not be so white as snow, but the whole Arctic continent does not make ivory black.

--G. K. Chesterton



shorebird on pier

I still think sincere pessimism the unpardonable sin.

--G. K. Chesterton


yellow green leaf

And though St. John saw many strange monsters in his vision, he saw no creature so wild as one of his own commentators.

--G. K. Chesterton


grassland landscape

Jokes are generally honest. Complete solemnity is always dishonest.

--G. K. Chesterton

man riding on white horse on the hill

'It seems to me,' said the other, 'That you are simply seeking a pretext to insult the Marquis.' By George!' said Syme facing round and looking at him, 'What a clever chap you are!'

--G. K. Chesterton

selective photography of green leaf plant

The paradox of courage is that a man must be a little careless of his life even in order to keep it.

--G. K. Chesterton

person holding dried beans

Acceptance is the truest kinship with humanity.

--G. K. Chesterton

aerial view of gray building on brown sand

Art, like morality, consists in drawing the line somewhere.

--G. K. Chesterton

calm ocean

Life is serious all the time, but living cannot be. You may have all the solemnity you wish in your neckties, but in anything important (such as sex, death, and religion), you must have mirth or you will have madness.

--G. K. Chesterton

white brick wall

There is, therefore, about all complete conviction a kind of huge helplessness.

--G. K. Chesterton

seashore during golden hour

Precisely because our political speeches are meant to be reported, they are not worth reporting. Precisely because they are carefully designed to be read, nobody reads them.

--G. K. Chesterton

painting of man walking down a road holding umbrella

It is always the secure who are humble.

--G. K. Chesterton

white flowers

Mysticism keeps mankind sane. As long as you have mystery you have health; when you destroy mystery you create morbidity.

--G. K. Chesterton

white and pink roses on pink wall

Business, especially big business, is now organized like an army. It is, as some would say, a sort of mild militarism without bloodshed; as I say, a militarism without the military virtues.

--G. K. Chesterton

white stars cutout on black surface with red string

Each generation is converted by the saint who contradicts it most.

--G. K. Chesterton

bokeh photography

Here ends another day, during which I have had eyes, ears, hands and the great world around me. Tomorrow begins another day. Why am I allowed two?

--G. K. Chesterton

blue ocean

The madman is the man who has lost everything except his reason.

--G. K. Chesterton

black pug standing tiled floor

The way to love anything is to realize that it may be lost.

--G. K. Chesterton

Arizona landscape

I am at one with my duality.

--G. K. Chesterton

forest trees photograph

How you think when you lose determines how long it will be until you win.

--G. K. Chesterton

sunset

The chief object of education is not to learn things but to unlearn things.

--G. K. Chesterton

pink and blue painted wall

Courage is almost a contradiction in terms. It means a strong desire to live taking the form of readiness to die.

--G. K. Chesterton

full moon during day

Catholic doctrine and discipline may be walls; but they are the walls of a playground.

--G. K. Chesterton

landscape photography of mountains with cloudy skies during golden hour

Artistic temperament is the disease that afflicts amateurs.

--G. K. Chesterton

black fishes

Architecture approaches nearer than any other art to being irrevocable because it is so difficult to get rid of.

--G. K. Chesterton

green trees beside body of water during daytime

Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions.

--G. K. Chesterton

green trees beside body of water during daytime

Every man speaks of public opinion, and means by public opinion, public opinion minus his opinion.

--G. K. Chesterton

calm ocean

Earnest Freethinkers need not worry themselves so much about the persecutions of the past. Before the Liberal idea is dead or triumphant we shall see wars and persecutions the like of which the world has never seen.

--G. K. Chesterton


multicolored abstract painting

The test of happiness is gratitude.

--G. K. Chesterton



high-angle photography of mountain at sunset

Thrift is poetic because it is creative; waste is unpoetic because it is waste.

--G. K. Chesterton

blue and white striped textile

Sometimes he even embarrassed the company by phrases suggesting that there was some difference between a Liberal and a Conservative.

--G. K. Chesterton

body of water under blue sky with stars

It is a mathematical fact that if a line be not perfectly directed towards a point, it will actually go further away from it as it comes nearer to it.

--G. K. Chesterton

brown mountain

There is only one thing that it requires real courage to say, and that is a truism.

--G. K. Chesterton

yellow flower field under clear sky

People who make history know nothing about history. You can see that in the sort of history they make.

--G. K. Chesterton


sunset

Earth will grow worse till men redeem it, And wars more evil, ere all wars cease.

--G. K. Chesterton


clear blue sea under blue sky

America has a new delicacy, a coarse, rank refinement.

--G. K. Chesterton



brown and grey trees and rock formation painting

And it is always the humble man who talks too much; the proud man watches himself too closely.

--G. K. Chesterton

green leaf in close up photography

In truth the Church is too unique to prove herself unique. For most popular and easy proof is by parallel; and here there is no parallel.

--G. K. Chesterton

silhouette of a person during sunset

I think the oddest thing about the advanced people is that, while they are always talking about things as problems, they have hardly any notion of what a real problem is.

--G. K. Chesterton


man on running field

Nothing taken for granted; everything received with gratitude; everything passed on with grace.

--G. K. Chesterton

white clouds and blue sky

When some English moralists write about the importance of having character, they appear to mean only the importance of having a dull character.

--G. K. Chesterton

seashore during daytime

The past is democratic, because it is a people. The future is despotic, because it is a caprice. Every man is alone in his prediction, just as each man is alone in a dream.

--G. K. Chesterton

white satellite dish under starry night

An inconvenience is an adventure wrongly considered.

--G. K. Chesterton

white pendant lamp

I owe my success to having listened respectfully to the very best advice, and then going away and doing the exact opposite.

--G. K. Chesterton

grayscale photography of pug

The only way of catching a train I have ever discovered is to miss the train before.

--G. K. Chesterton

green leafed plant on clear glass vase filled with water

All conservatism is based upon the idea that if you leave things alone you leave them as they are. But you do not. If you leave a thing alone you leave it to a torrent of change.

--G. K. Chesterton

bare tress and mountain

The original quality in any man of imagination is imagery.

--G. K. Chesterton


mountains covered with fog

We are learning to do a great many clever things. The next great task will be to learn not to do them.

--G. K. Chesterton

rocky mountain under starry night

'My country, right or wrong' is a thing no patriot would ever think of saying except in a desperate case. It is like saying 'My mother, drunk or sober.'

--G. K. Chesterton

2 people riding on boat during sunset

The difficulty of explaining ‘why I am a Catholic' is that there are ten thousand reasons all amounting to one reason: that Catholicism is true.

--G. K. Chesterton

person on road at sunset

In the struggle for existence, it is only on those who hang on for ten minutes after all is hopeless, that hope begins to dawn.

--G. K. Chesterton


selective focus photo of brown guitar on white pillow

God is not a symbol of goodness;
goodness is a symbol of God.

--G. K. Chesterton

white desk lamp beside green plant

A man who says that no patriot should attack the Boer War until it is over is not worth answering intelligently; he is saying that no good son should warn his mother off a cliff until she has fallen over it.

--G. K. Chesterton

lion on green grass during golden hour

Ritual will always mean throwing away something: destroying our corn or wine upon the altar of our gods.

--G. K. Chesterton

aerial photography of mountain range covered with snow under white and blue sky at daytime

Journalism is popular, but it is popular mainly as fiction. Life is one world, and life seen in the newspapers is another.

--G. K. Chesterton

silhouette of flower during sunset

Think of all those ages through which men have had the courage to die, and then remember that we have actually fallen to talking about having the courage to live.

--G. K. Chesterton

black pug puppy lying on gray bed

A man was meant to be doubtful about himself, but undoubting about the truth; this has been exactly reversed.

--G. K. Chesterton

black and white bird on seashore

The real pleasure-seeking is the combination of luxury and austerity in such a way that the luxury can really be felt.

--G. K. Chesterton

band performing on stage in front of people

The beautification of the world is not a work of nature, but a work of art, then it involves an artist.

--G. K. Chesterton


blue and white water surface

Odd, isn't it, that a thief and a vagabond should repent, when so many who are rich and secure remain hard and frivolous, and without fruit for God or man?

--G. K. Chesterton


A white stripe pattern made up of concrete facade ribs

I did try to found a little heresy of my own; and when I had put the last touches to it, I discovered that it was orthodoxy.

--G. K. Chesterton

selective focus photo of brown guitar on white pillow

There are no uninteresting things, only uninterested people.

--G. K. Chesterton

milky way galaxy

The unconscious democracy of America is a very fine thing. It is a true and deep and instinctive assumption of the equality of citizens, which even voting and elections have not destroyed.

--G. K. Chesterton

group of people waving their hands

All the exaggerations are right, if they exaggerate the right thing.

--G. K. Chesterton

sunset

Original sin is the only doctrine that's been empirically validated by 2,000 years of human history.

--G. K. Chesterton

rainbow desert

The greenhorn is the ultimate victor in everything; it is he that gets the most out of life.

--G. K. Chesterton

None

To be simple is the best thing in the world; to be modest is the next best thing. I am not sure about being quiet.

--G. K. Chesterton

man in black jacket and black pants standing on brown rock formation during daytime

People seem to fight about things very unsuitable for fighting. They make a frightful noise in support of very quiet things. They knock each other about in the name of very fragile things.

--G. K. Chesterton


lighted candle in dark room

Christianity even when watered down is hot enough to boil all modern society to rags.

--G. K. Chesterton

people near body of water

All science, even the divine science, is a sublime detective story. Only it is not set to detect why a man is dead; but the darker secret of why he is alive.

--G. K. Chesterton

brown wooden pathway in the middle of green trees

"Your offer," he said, "is far too idiotic to be declined."

--G. K. Chesterton


A white stripe pattern made up of concrete facade ribs

I am going to hold a pistol to the head of the Modern Man. But I shall not use it to kill him -- only to bring him to life.

--G. K. Chesterton

red and blue light digital wallpaper

Dipsomaniac and the abstainer are not only both mistaken, but they both make the same mistake. They both regard wine as a drug and not as a drink.

--G. K. Chesterton

blue wall bricks

Boyhood is a most complex and incomprehensible thing. Even when one has been through it, one does not understand what it was. A man can never quite understand a boy, even when he has been the boy.

--G. K. Chesterton

clear wine glass with red wine

Christmas is built upon a beautiful and intentional paradox; that the birth of the homeless should be celebrated in every home.

--G. K. Chesterton

road on forest

Comradeship is quite a different thing from friendship.

--G. K. Chesterton

white printer paper on brown wooden table

Every act of will is an act of self-limitation. To desire action is to desire limitation. In that sense, every act is an act of self-sacrifice. When you choose anything, you reject everything else.

--G. K. Chesterton

palm tree under orange sky

It is still bad taste to be an avowed atheist. But now it is equally bad taste to be an avowed Christian.

--G. K. Chesterton

green trees on brown dried leaves during daytime

We can be almost certain of being wrong about the future, if we are wrong about the past.

--G. K. Chesterton

brown and gray brick wall

ONCE remove the old arena of theological quarrels, and you will throw open the whole world to the most horrible, the most hopeless, the most endless, the most truly interminable quarrels; the untheological quarrels.

--G. K. Chesterton

None

Do not, I beseech you be troubled by the increase of forces already in dissolution. You have mistake the hour of the night: it is already morning.

--G. K. Chesterton

body of water under blue sky during daytime

The modern city is ugly not because it is a city but because it is not enough of a city, because it is a jungle, because it is confused and anarchic, and surging with selfish and materialistic energies.

--G. K. Chesterton


person wearing red running shoe

What embitters the world is not excess of criticism, but absence of self-criticism.

--G. K. Chesterton

aerial's photo of metropolitan during night time\

People that insist upon drinking and driving, are putting the quart before the hearse.

--G. K. Chesterton

milky way wallpaper

I left the fairy tales lying on the floor of the nursery, and I have not found any books so sensible since.

--G. K. Chesterton

crack in wall

The only way to be sure of catching a train is to miss the one before it.

--G. K. Chesterton

Arizona landscape

Coincidences are spiritual puns.

--G. K. Chesterton

panoramic photography of mountains

To the humble man, and to the humble man alone, the sun is really a sun; to the humble man, and to the humble man alone, the sea is really a sea.

--G. K. Chesterton

Bryce Canyon National Park Sunrise Point at Utah

Education is the period during which you are being instructed by somebody you do not know, about something you do not want to know.

--G. K. Chesterton

palm trees covered with fog

With any recovery from morbidity there must go a certain healthy humiliation.

--G. K. Chesterton

person holding gray leaf

I am the fool in this story, and no rebel shall hurl me from my throne.

--G. K. Chesterton

black, purple, and orange basketball court beside concrete buildings at daytime

Tradition does not mean that the living are dead, but that the dead are living.

--G. K. Chesterton

white boat on sea under white sky during daytime

A man imagines a happy marriage as a marriage of love; even if he makes fun of marriages that are without love, or feels sorry for lovers who are without marriage.

--G. K. Chesterton

red textile in close up photography

One of the chief uses of religion is that it makes us remember our coming from darkness, the simple fact that we are created.

--G. K. Chesterton

silver round analog wall clock

In the glad old days, before the rise of modern morbidities...it used to be thought a disadvantage to be misunderstood.

--G. K. Chesterton

Arizona landscape

Humility is the mother of giants.

--G. K. Chesterton

grayscale photography of mountain surrounded by trees

Powerful men who have powerful passions use much of their strength in forging chains for themselves.

--G. K. Chesterton

pink petaled flower field

There is no better test of a man's ultimate chivalry and integrity than how he behaves when he is wrong... A stiff apology is a second insult.

--G. K. Chesterton


purple and white clouds during night time

The madman is not the man who has lost his reason. The madman is the man who has lost everything except his reason.

--G. K. Chesterton

blue wallpaper

Daybreak is a never-ending glory; getting out of bed is a never ending nuisance.

--G. K. Chesterton

black fishes

The ignorant pronounce it Frood To cavil or applaud The well-informed pronounce it Froyd But I pronounce it Fraud.

--G. K. Chesterton

yellow textile

Happy is he who still loves something he loved in the nursery: He has not been broken in two by time; he is not two men, but one, and he has saved not only his soul but his life.

--G. K. Chesterton

None

A thing may be too sad to be believed or too wicked to be believed or too good to be believed; but it cannot be too absurd to be believed in this planet of frogs and elephants, of crocodiles and cuttle-fish.

--G. K. Chesterton

tree frog

A small artist is content with art; a great artist is content with nothing except everything.

--G. K. Chesterton

time lapse photography body of water

The big corporation is not in the least remarkable for efficiency; it is only too big to be blamed for its inefficiency.

--G. K. Chesterton

group of people waving their hands

A good joke is the closest thing we have to divine revelation.

--G. K. Chesterton

white and blue building under clear sky

We cannot fling ourselves into the blank future; we can only call up images from the past. This being so, the important principle follows, that how many images we have largely depends on how much past we have.

--G. K. Chesterton


black mountain under blue sky during night time

Only friendliness produces friendship. And we must look far deeper into the soul of man for the thing that produces friendliness.

--G. K. Chesterton

calm body of water near alp mountains during nighttime

There is only one reason an intelligent person doesn't believe in miracles. He or she believes in materialism.

--G. K. Chesterton

top view of green succulent plants

All government is an ugly necessity.

--G. K. Chesterton

green leaf

There are no wise few. Every aristocracy that has ever existed has behaved, in all essential points, exactly like a small mob.

--G. K. Chesterton


sunset with storm clouds

What affects men sharply about a foreign nation is not so much finding or not finding familiar things; it is rather not finding them in the familiar place.

--G. K. Chesterton

None

Women are the only realists; their whole object in life is to pit their realism against the extravagant, excessive, and occasionally drunken idealism of men.

--G. K. Chesterton



black dragonfly perched on green grass in close up photography during daytime

I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.

--G. K. Chesterton

woman looking up to the sky while standing on white sand

Because our expression is imperfect we need friendship to fill up the imperfections.

--G. K. Chesterton

fawn pug standing on textile

You don't want to be so open minded that your brains fall out!

--G. K. Chesterton


gray concrete road between trees

Thanks are the highest form of thought.

--G. K. Chesterton

woman holding brown umbrella

I always like a dog so long as he isn't spelled backward.

--G. K. Chesterton


rock formation under starry skies

The humorous look of children is perhaps the most endearing of all the bonds that hold the Cosmos together.

--G. K. Chesterton

None

When men have come to the edge of a precipice, it is the lover of life who has the spirit to leap backwards, and only the pessimist who continues to believe in progress.

--G. K. Chesterton

sunset

When a woman puts up her fists to a man she is putting herself in the only posture in which he is not afraid of her.

--G. K. Chesterton

silhouette of person standing beside bare tree under stary sky

It is better to speak wisdom foolishly like the saints than to speak folly wisely like the deans.

--G. K. Chesterton

bird on pier

There should be a burnished tablet let into the ground on the spot where some courageous man first ate Stilton cheese, and survived.

--G. K. Chesterton

Arizona landscape pines

And they that rule in England, in stately conclaves met, alas, alas for England they have no graves as yet.

--G. K. Chesterton

gray leaves

Monotony has nothing to do with a place; monotony, either in its sensation or its infliction, is simply the quality of a person. There are no dreary sights; there are only dreary sight seers.

--G. K. Chesterton

desert grassland

I should say that psycho-analysis was confession without absolution.

--G. K. Chesterton

brown short coated dog wearing blue and red shirt

Self-denial is the test and definition of self-government.

--G. K. Chesterton

None

The first fact about the celebration of a birthday is that it is a way of affirming defiantly, and even flamboyantly, that it is a good thing to be alive.

--G. K. Chesterton

beach during daytime

Let a man walk ten miles steadily on a hot summer's day along a dusty English road, and he will soon discover why beer was invented.

--G. K. Chesterton

empty gray floor beside pool

Lying in bed would be an altogether perfect and supreme experience if only one had a colored pencil long enough to draw on the ceiling.

--G. K. Chesterton

pink petaled flowers under trees at daytime

A madman is not someone who has lost his reason but someone who has lost everything but his reason.

--G. K. Chesterton

yellow painted wall

There cannot be a nation of millionaires, and there never has been a nation of Utopian comrades; but there have been any number of nations of tolerably contented peasants.

--G. K. Chesterton

silhouette of mountains under blue sky during daytime

Modern toleration is really a tyranny. It is a tyranny because it is a silence.

--G. K. Chesterton

man in orange jacket and black pants doing snow ski during daytime

Every high civilization decays by forgetting obvious things.

--G. K. Chesterton

Arizona landscape

It is only great men who take up a great space by not being there.

--G. K. Chesterton

man running on seashore

Love means to love that which is unlovable; or it is no virtue at all.

--G. K. Chesterton


sunset forest

Only man can be absurd: for only man can be dignified.

--G. K. Chesterton


blue and white striped textile

A figure of speech can often get into a crack too small for a definition.

--G. K. Chesterton

closeup photography of wall

The greatest political storm flutters only a fringe of humanity. But an ordinary man and an ordinary woman and their ordinary children literally alter the destiny of nations.

--G. K. Chesterton

brown and black butterfly on pink flower

The word 'good' has many meanings. For example, if a man were to shoot his grandmother at a range of five hundred yards, I should call him a good shot, but not necessarily a good man.

--G. K. Chesterton

body of water during daytime

Every work of art has one indispensable mark ... the center of it is simple, however much the fulfillment may be complicated.

--G. K. Chesterton



sunset with storm clouds

Some of the most frantic lies on the face of life are told with modesty and restraint; for the simple reason that only modesty and restraint will save them.

--G. K. Chesterton

four white balloons on white wall

The primary paradox of Christianity is that the ordinary condition of man is not his sane or sensible condition; that the normal itself is an abnormality.

--G. K. Chesterton

grayscale photography of mountain surrounded by trees

If you'd take your head home and boil it for a turnip it might be useful. I can't say. But it might.

--G. K. Chesterton


silver round analog wall clock

Shouldn't atheist have an equal obligation to explain pleasure in a world of randomness. Where does pleasure come from?

--G. K. Chesterton

man in white shirt and black pants standing on top of building

The cross cannot be defeated for it is defeat.

--G. K. Chesterton


photography of yellow petaled flowers field

Nobody notices postmen, yet they have passions like other men.

--G. K. Chesterton

Milky way in nature photography

Truths turn into dogmas the minute they are disputed.

--G. K. Chesterton

brown sands

The doctrine of human equality reposes on this: that there is no man really clever who has not found that he is stupid.

--G. K. Chesterton

three clear drinking glasses with brown liquid

Marriage is an adventure, like going to war.

--G. K. Chesterton

sunset forest

You can't have the family farm without the family.

--G. K. Chesterton

black textile in close up photography

Christianity, whatever else it is, is an explosion. Unless it is sensational there is simply no sense in it. Unless the Gospel sounds like a gun going off it has not been uttered at all.

--G. K. Chesterton

photo of gray elephant on grass

Every time a man knocks on a brothel door, he is really knocking for God.

--G. K. Chesterton

photo of mountains

For religion all men are equal, as all pennies are equal, because the only value of any of them is that they bear the image of the king.

--G. K. Chesterton

milky way wallpaper

I would never commit the positively anti-social action of robbing a bank, or worse still, working in one.

--G. K. Chesterton

adult black and white dog leaning on wooden fence

One sees great things from the valley; only small things from the peak.

--G. K. Chesterton

None

The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried.

--G. K. Chesterton

galaxy

All good writers express the state of their souls, even (as occurs in some cases of very good writers) if it is a state of damnation.

--G. K. Chesterton


brown and gray brick wall

The Christian pities men because they are dying, and the Buddhist pities them because they are living. The Christian is sorry for what damages the life of a man; but the Buddhist is sorry for him because he is alive.

--G. K. Chesterton

silhouette of a person during sunset

The scientific facts, which were supposed to contradict the faith in the nineteenth century, are nearly all of them regarded as unscientific fictions in the twentieth century.

--G. K. Chesterton



green trees under white sky during daytime

Our digestions, going sacredly and silently right, that is the foundation of all poetry.

--G. K. Chesterton

pavement surrounded with dried leaves

All architecture is great architecture after sunset.

--G. K. Chesterton

None

Christian Science … is the direct denial both of science and of Christianity, for Science rests wholly on the recognition of truth and Christianity on the recognition of pain.

--G. K. Chesterton

black textile in close up photography

Journalism largely consists of saying Lord Jones is Dead to people who never knew that Lord Jones was alive.

--G. K. Chesterton

purple flowers under sunny sky

Ten thousand women marched through the streets shouting, 'We will not be dictated to,' and went off and became stenographers.

--G. K. Chesterton

tall green flowering grasses under blue and white cloudy sky

Fairy tales are more than true.

--G. K. Chesterton

brown wooden surface

A nation is not going mad when it does extravagant things, so long as it does them in an extravagant spirit. But whenever we see things done wildly, but taken tamely, then the State is growing insane.

--G. K. Chesterton

pink petaled flower field

Every remedy is a desperate remedy. Every cure is a miraculous cure. Curing a madman is not arguing with a philosopher; it is casting out a devil.

--G. K. Chesterton

Arizona landscape

The poet only asks to get his head into the heavens. It is the logician who seeks to get the heavens into his head. And it is his head that splits.

--G. K. Chesterton

white Starbuck plastic cup on brown fabric armchair

I've searched all the parks in all the cities -- and found no statues of Committees.

--G. K. Chesterton


man standing on cliff under white sky

It is a quaint comment on the notion that the English are practical and the French merely visionary, that we were rebels in arts while they were rebels in arms.

--G. K. Chesterton

woman wearing gray long-sleeved shirt facing the sea

There is more to life than increasing its speed. Gandhi gave my life to become the person I am right now. Was it worth it? Richard Bach Life exists for the love of music or beautiful things.

--G. K. Chesterton

pink flower

We are like the penny, because we have the image of the king stamped on us, the divine king.

--G. K. Chesterton

white textile in close up photography

Stick to the man who looks out of the window and tries to understand the world. Keep clear of the man who looks in at the window and tries to understand you.

--G. K. Chesterton


foggy mountains

If seeds in the black earth can turn into such beautiful roses, what might not the heart of man become in its long journey toward the stars?

--G. K. Chesterton



blue rose in close up photography

A third-class carriage is a community, while a first-class carriage is a place of wild hermits.

--G. K. Chesterton

silhouette of flower during sunset

The old assumption of the approximate impossibility of war really rested on a similar assumption about the impossibility of evil-and especially of evil in high places.

--G. K. Chesterton


water on seashore

An almost unnatural vigilance is really required of the citizen because of the horrible rapidity with which human institutions grow old.

--G. K. Chesterton

band performing on stage in front of people

The object of a new year is not that we should have a new year, but rather that we should have a new soul.

--G. K. Chesterton

brown mountain

Adventure is the champagne of life, but I prefer my champagne and my adventures dry.

--G. K. Chesterton

pink and blue painted wall

A thing constructed can only be loved after it is constructed; but a thing created is loved before it exists.

--G. K. Chesterton

silhouette photo of mountain during night time

The Bible tells us to love our neighbors, and also to love our enemies; probably because they are generally the same people.

--G. K. Chesterton



black textile on white background

Now there is any amount of this nonsense cropping up among American cranks. Anybody may propose to establish coercive Eugenics; or enforce psychoanalysis that is, enforce confession without absolution.

--G. K. Chesterton

silhouette of tall trees

The point is not that this world is too sad to love or too glad not to love; the point is that when you do love a thing, its gladness is a reason for loving it, and its sadness a reason for loving it more.

--G. K. Chesterton

green water in close up photography

I still hold...that the suburbs ought to be either glorified by romance and religion or else destroyed by fire from heaven, or even by firebrands from the earth.

--G. K. Chesterton

green pine trees near mountain under blue sky during daytime

Once abolish the God, and the Government becomes the God.

--G. K. Chesterton

people walking on hallway

He who has no sympathy with myths has no sympathy with men.

--G. K. Chesterton

purple and blue light illustration

Then I only wondered who put the toys in the stocking; now I wonder who put the stocking by the bed, and the bed in the room, and the room in the house, and the house on the planet, and the great planet in the void.

--G. K. Chesterton

blue and white abstract painting

The disadvantage of men not knowing the past is that they do not know the present. History is a hill or high point of vantage, from which alone men see the town in which they live or the age in which they are living.

--G. K. Chesterton

None

The human race, to which so many of my readers belong, has been playing at children's games from the beginning, and will probably do it till the end, which is a nuisance for the few people who grow up.

--G. K. Chesterton

beach shore during day time

The modern world is a crowd of very rapid racing cars all brought to a standstill and stuck in a block of traffic.

--G. K. Chesterton

high-angle photography of mountain at sunset

There is but an inch of difference between a cushioned chamber and a padded cell.

--G. K. Chesterton


Light blue to dark blue gradient

They have invented a phrase, a phrase that is a black and white contradiction in two words -- 'free-love' -- as if a lover ever had been, or ever could be, free.

--G. K. Chesterton

photography of yellow petaled flowers field

The riddles of God are more satisfying than the solutions of man.

--G. K. Chesterton

mountains with trees under white star at night

Art is born when the temporary touches the eternal.

--G. K. Chesterton

four coffee cups on floor

The best kind of giving is thanksgiving.

--G. K. Chesterton


woman wearing gray long-sleeved shirt facing the sea

The secularists have not wrecked divine things; but the secularists have wrecked secular things, if that is any comfort to them. The Titans did not scale heaven; but they laid waste the world.

--G. K. Chesterton


panoramic photography of mountains

The miser is the man who starves himself and everybody else, in order to worship wealth in its dead form, as distinct from its living form.

--G. K. Chesterton

white wall paint with white wall paint

The simple sense of wonder at the shapes of things, and at their exuberant independence of our intellectual standards and our trivial definitions, is the basis of spirituality.

--G. K. Chesterton

brown and gray floral textile

Stated baldly, charity certainly means one of two things -- pardoning unpardonable acts, or loving unlovable people.

--G. K. Chesterton


Blue to purple gradient

Bigotry may be roughly defined as the anger of men who have no opinions.

--G. K. Chesterton


white brick wall

There are an infinity of angles at which one falls, only one at which one stands.

--G. K. Chesterton

man facing women near forest

Buddhism is not a creed, it is a doubt.

--G. K. Chesterton


person standing on top of mountain

Idolatry is when you worship what you should use, and use what you should worship.

--G. K. Chesterton

assorted books on wooden table

The poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese.

--G. K. Chesterton

green trees beside body of water during daytime

It is true that I am of an older fashion; much that I love has been destroyed or sent into exile.

--G. K. Chesterton



None

It is largely because the free-thinkers, as a school, have hardly made up their minds whether they want to be more optimist or more pessimist than Christianity that their small but sincere movement has failed.

--G. K. Chesterton


black bird flying under white clouds during daytime

Let your religion be less of a theory and more of a love affair.

--G. K. Chesterton

rocky mountain

We fear men so much, because we fear God so little. One fear cures another. When man's terror scares you, turn your thoughts to the wrath of God.

--G. K. Chesterton

man raising arms between greenfield

Men always talk about the most important things to perfect strangers.

--G. K. Chesterton


landscape photo of mountains under starry sky at nighttime

Against a dark sky all flowers look like fireworks. There is something strange about them, at once vivid and secret, like flowers traced in fire in the phantasmal garden of a witch.

--G. K. Chesterton


rainbow

Education is simply the soul of a society as it passes from one generation to another.

--G. K. Chesterton

fireplace on fire

Literature is a luxury; fiction is a necessity.

--G. K. Chesterton

tilt shift lens pink fetal flowers

To be clever enough to get all that money, one must be stupid enough to want it.

--G. K. Chesterton

None

Theology is only thought applied to religion.

--G. K. Chesterton

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