T.S. Eliot

The Christian thinker—and I mean the man who is trying consciously and conscientiously to explain to himself the sequence which culminates in faith, rather than the public apologist—proceeds by rejection and elimination. He finds the world to be so and so; he finds its character inexplicable by any non-–religious theory; among religions he finds Christianity, and Catholic Christianity, to account most satisfactorily for the world, and especially for the world within; and thus, by what Newman calls ‘powerful and concurrent’ reasons, he finds himself inexorably committed to the dogma of the Incarnation. To the unbeliever, this method seems disingenuous and perverse: for the unbeliever is, as a rule, not so greatly troubled to explain the world to himself, nor so greatly distressed by its disorder; nor is he generally concerned (in modern terms) to ‘preserve values.’ He does not consider that if certain emotional states, certain development of character, and what in the highest sense can be called ‘saintliness’ are inherently and by inspection known to be good, then the satisfactory explanation of the world must be an explanation which will admit the ‘reality’ of those values.The Pensees of Pascal (Introduction by T.S. Eliot, 1933)

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