Friday, June 20, 2008

For Heresies

Yes, I am playing off Irenaeus' "Against Heresies," and, yes, I am being obnoxious in referring to Irenaeus in my blog. But I'm working on an adult education lesson talking about heresies and found all sorts of wonderful quotations today that I would like to share, starting with my personal favorite:

“There are no heresies in a dead religion.” Andre Suares, French poet (1868-1948)

I have no idea who Andre Suares was aside from this quotation. Born exactly 100 years before I was, which worries me. Will I die in 2048? In any event, I do love this statement, which rings true to me. Any living faith will struggle with heresies; it's a sign that it is still alive.

“A virtuous heretic will be saved before a wicked Christian.” Benjamin Franklin

Oh, Ben! Mr. Pith himself, encapsulating the debate between orthodoxy and orthopraxy (another obnoxious drop-in, but it's a great word). But I believe that belief plays out in action. No right belief can truly co-exist with wicked behavior.

“A man may be a heretic in the truth; and if he believe things only because his pastor says so, or the assembly so determines, without knowing other reason, though his belief be true, yet the very truth he holds becomes his heresy.” John Milton

Which goes very well with

“Heresy is another word for freedom of thought.” Graham Greene

I think that one from GG is a bit flippant, but it's worth a moment to consider.

Another lovely matched pair:

"The heresy of one age becomes the orthodoxy of the next." Helen Keller

"The difference between heresy and prophecy is often one of sequence. Heresy often turns out to have been prophecy when properly aged." Hubert H. Humphrey

Hubert Humphrey, who'd've thought? And Helen Keller the only woman of the bunch. Are women less concerned with heresy, perhaps? Or merely less quoted?

Here's to good heresy. Long and well may it age.