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Full text of "The Note Books Of Samuel Butler"

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Rebelliousness                   335 •


Christianity is only seriously pretended by some among
the idle, bourgeois middle-classes. The working classes and
the most cultured intelligence of the time reach by short
cuts what the highways of our schools and universities mis-
lead us from by many a winding bout, if they do not prevent
our ever reaching it.


It is not easy to say which is the more obvious, the ante-
cedent improbability of the Christian scheme and miracles,
or the breakdown of the evidences on which these are supposed
to rest. And yet Christianity has overrun the world.


If there is any moral in Christianity, if there is anything
to be learned from it, if the whole story is not profitless
from first to last, it comes to this that a man should back his
own opinion against the world's—and this is a very risky
and immoral thing to do, but the Lord hath mercy on whom
he will have mercy.


Christianity is true in so far as it has fostered beauty and
false in so far as it has fostered ugliness. It is therefore not
a little true and not a little false.


Christ said he came not to destroy but to fulfil—but he
destroyed more than he fulfilled. Every system that is to
live must both destroy and fulfil.


They do more to unsettle faith in the existing order than
to settle it in any other; similarly, missionaries are more
valuable as underminers of old faiths than as propagators of
new. Miracles are not impossible ; nothing is impossible till
we have got an incontrovertible first premise. The question
is not " Are the Christian miracles possible ? " but " Are
they convenient ? Do they fit comfortably with our other
ideas ? "