Doctrine Unites, Prejudice Divides


I shared one of my favorite chapters from one of my favorite books by G.K. Chesterton, “The New Hypocrite” from “What’s Wrong With the World” on Fr. John Holleman’s radio show recently. In the chapter, Chesterton contrasts doctrine and prejudice as two modes of thought: “A doctrine is a definite point; a prejudice is a direction”. He explores these two modes in defending what, to modern ears, would seem like an audacious claim:

But indeed the case is yet more curious than this. The one argument that used to be urged for our creedless vagueness was that at least it saved us from fanaticism. But it does not even do that. On the contrary, it creates and renews fanaticism with a force quite peculiar to itself. This is at once so strange and so true that I will ask the reader’s attention to it with a little more precision.

I share Chesterton’s thesis along with a number of key quotes from the chapter and I explore how we can readily see that his diagnosis and predictions have come true and explain the dismal state of modern public discourse.

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