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Actually Progressing

Popping up on Facebook was a short item in those big letters saying: “Progress is a journey, not a destination,” with many, many likes and a great many hearts.

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But it’s just no good. Progress has to be a journey to a destination or else it’s just not progress. As Chesterton wrote at the end of his book Heretics…

As he piles doctrine on doctrine and conclusion on conclusion in the formation of some tremendous scheme of philosophy and religion, he is, in the only legitimate sense of which the expression is capable, becoming more and more human. When he drops one doctrine after another in a refined skepticism, when he declines to tie himself to a system, when he says that he has outgrown definitions, when he says that he disbelieves in finality, when, in his own imagination, he sits as God, holding no form of creed but contemplating all, then he is by that very process sinking slowly backwards into the vagueness of the vagrant animals and the unconsciousness of the grass. Trees have no dogmas. Turnips are singularly broad-minded.

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“Progress is a journey” is one of the appealing errors from which the Church delivers us. The Church says “You are here, and you need to be over there.”

You might believe it all rubbish, but at least it offers some hope of actually getting from one place to a better place. Which is to say, actually progressing.

—from the online article Basketful of kittens religion? No! by David Mills

 

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