Sunday, 28 October 2007

Ghosts and G. K. Chesterton

Children are sometimes - especially around the age of thirteen - more interested in ghosts than in God. Chesterton's position - "I do not see ghosts; I only see their inherent probability" seems to me an entirely sensible one. I am agnostic about ghosts; but a defender of them in theory. Do people agree with me?

Chesterton, it is fair to say, is a defender of popular superstition, which he saw as the rich soil of true religion. This all ties in with Chesterton's view of the middle ages. With Hallow E'en coming up this seems especially timely:

If we ever get the English back on to the English land they will become again a religious people, if all goes well, a superstitious people. The absence from modern life of both the higher and lower forms of faith is largely due to a divorce from nature and the trees and clouds. If we have no more turnip ghosts it is chiefly from the lack of turnips.
The first quote is from Tremendous Trifles, the latter is from Heretics.

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