Nay, the really sane man knows – A Lenten reflection

A  Lenten reflection on a recent tragedy.

“…and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.”

Someone commented the following on the Austin Bomber….
“White male. Anti abortion, anti gay, pro death penalty, conservative, religious extremist. Home grown terrorist.”

So I turned it around to test the validity of the comment.

White Female, Anti-life/kills babies, increasing HIV in the population/wants real men emasculated, allows people to be killed by criminals without penalty, liberal, secular extremist. Home grown terrorist.

Do we see how a limited view of others, seeing them erroneously and prejudicially can be turned logically against one with another limited view? This man, the Austin Bomber, did wrong, but we don’t yet know why he did. In fact, we know nothing. There is nothing concrete in the article about the bomber to tell us why he did this. It only provides more questions. It’s easy to plop such people in a category when they say: “I belong or did this for ISIS” or “I hate _______”. But that is what the police have said about the Austin bomber’s  25 minute “confession” – there are no overt categories to tag as a reason why.

If anything, this should remind us that people are not categories. They are complex beings with a myriad of emotions, agendas, and born with a capacity for both candor and deceit. The honest person knows he has a touch of many characters and qualities inside him, any of which could be touched to go in a certain direction, wrong or right. In other words, the honest man doubts himself to a reasonable extent. Its the materialist who is quite sure he knows and has the right category for everyone.  This is what Chesterton is reminding us in his essay, The Maniac, from his book Orthodoxy, a book full of lenten reflections to consider.

“The Christian admits that the universe is manifold and even miscellaneous, just as a sane man knows that he is complex. The sane man knows that he has a touch of the beast, a touch of the devil, a touch of the saint, a touch of the citizen. Nay, the really sane man knows that he has a touch of the madman. But the materialist’s world is quite simple and solid, just as the madman is quite sure he is sane. The materialist is sure that history has been simply and solely a chain of causation, just as the interesting person before mentioned is quite sure that he is simply and solely a chicken. Materialists and madmen never have doubts.”

― G.K. Chesterton, The Maniac, Orthodoxy, 1908

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