Not-So New Rebellion.

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“But the new rebel is a skeptic, and will not entirely trust anything. He has no loyalty; therefore he can never be really a revolutionist.

 And the fact that he doubts everything really gets in his way when he wants to denounce anything. For all denunciation implies a moral doctrine of some kind; and the modern revolutionist doubts not only the institution he denounces, but the doctrine by which he denounces it. . . .

 As a politician, he will cry out that war is a waste of life, and then, as a philosopher, that all life is waste of time. A Russian pessimist will denounce a policeman for killing a peasant, and then prove by the highest philosophical principles that the peasant ought to have killed himself. . . .

The man of this school goes first to a political meeting, where he complains that savages are treated as if they were beasts; then he takes his hat and umbrella and goes on to a scientific meeting, where he proves that they practically are beasts.

In short, the modern revolutionist, being an infinite skeptic, is always engaged in undermining his own mines. In his book on politics he attacks men for trampling on morality; in his book on ethics he attacks morality for trampling on men.

Therefore the modern man in revolt has become practically useless for all purposes of revolt. By rebelling against everything he has lost his right to rebel against anything.” Orthodoxy, G.K. Chesterton

Not all doubt it a bad thing, in fact it can turn out to be a good thing. But not all doubt is a good thing either. Some doubt can leave you desperately confused, exhausted and alone.

As with everything in life, moderation is key. But there is a trend I see in my generation to embrace the kind of skepticism that Chesterton described a century ago. I would call it “circular skepticism.” Doubt which leads to no fruit, only despair. It’s the kind of doubt that does not promote critical thinking but rather opposes it.

A person who doubts everything is like one who builds his house on the sand, his mind is like the stormy ocean.”What’s the use?” “What’s the point?” “What is?” beat against his heart until he is swept away.

Listen to the conversation between Lewis and Macdonald in The Great Divorce.

“What some people say on earth is that the final loss of one soul gives the lie to all the joy of those who are saved.”

“Ye see it does not.”

“I feel in a way that it ought to.”

“That sounds very merciful: but see what lurks behind it.”

“What?”

“The demand of the loveless and the self-imprisoned that they should be allowed to blackmail the universe: that till they consent to be happy (on their own terms) no one else shall taste joy: that theirs should be the final power; that Hell should be able to veto Heaven.

I don’t know what I want, Sir.’

‘Son, son, it must be one way or the other. Either the day must come when joy prevails and all the makers of misery are no longer able to infect it: or else for ever and ever the makers of misery can destroy in others the happiness they reject for themselves. I know it has a grand sound to say ye’ll accept no salvation which leaves even one creature in the dark outside. But watch the sophistry or ye’ll make a Dog in a Manger the tyrant of the universe.”

I truly believe many young evangelicals imprison themselves with their doubts by questioning everything and not submitting to anything. I believe this not only because I see it, but also because I carried the chains for many years myself. Is it possible that many of us are ignorantly blackmailing God? Does God have to submit to you before you place your faith in Him? Does Gods word have to line up with your theology before you trust in Him? Think about how silly that is.

The church needs to be aware of this not-so new skepticism.

 

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