Modern Christian Revolutionaries: An Introduction to the Lives and Thought of: Kierkegaard, Eric Gill, G. K. Chesterton, C. F. Andrews [And] Berdyaev

Excerpt

There is an English proverb, "Give a dog a bad name, and hang him." It is an old dodge, which can be found in action throughout recorded history. It was, and is, used with devastating effect by propagandists; it was, and is, an unconscious irrationality that plays havoc among the thoughtless and lazy-minded--and not among them alone. And it is used not only of persons and groups and policies and philosophies, but even of common words--or rather, of the concrete realities they are supposed to represent.

Such a word is revolution, a word rich in content and meaning, which with its derivatives takes up a column of small print in the "Shorter Oxford English Dictionary." Some time ago I was explaining in conversation the scope of the studies of contemporary Christian revolutionaries that are printed here. I was interrupted by the statement that a Christian, or at any rate a Catholic, cannot be a revolutionary. This rocked me back on my heels; but the Lord delivered the speaker into my hands--for he was an American. "There is an event in history," I replied, "that, as an Englishman, I call 'The American War of Independence.' You, I suppose, call it 'The Revolutionary War'; or do you, a Catholic American, repudiate that war and its name?" He did not pursue the subject further, and it left me thinking.

As I remark elsewhere in this book, the word revolution as commonly used connotes physical violence and the subversion of social order; both those who fear and those who welcome the thing like to think of it in terms of the barricades. Here the pertinent definition of the "Shorter Oxford" is "the complete overthrow of the established government in any country or state by those who were previously subject . . .

Additional information

Contributors:
Includes content by:
  • F. A. Lea
  • Donald Attwater
  • Nicol MacNicol
  • Evgeny Lampert
Publisher: Place of publication:
  • New York
Publication year:
  • 1947

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