Tuesday, September 11, 2012

On Heretics and Traveling the Different Road

one way 5
After writing yesterday's post, I stumbled upon a quote on a fellow Quaker's blog that fits nicely with my current train of thought.  Often, when a person of faith steps outside orthodox thinking or questions the status quo or criticizes current practices, he or she is considered rebellious and/or heretical and there is an attempt to redirect and re-educate them on the errors of their ways (or beliefs).  However, the following quote reminds us that those whom we depend upon for our orthodox answers were once themselves heretics:
Heresy is the youth of truth.  Orthodoxy is its decrepit old age.  Heresy is thought.  Orthodoxy is habit.  Heresy is initiative.  Orthodoxy is inertia.  Heresy is that which is to be.  Orthodoxy is that which is and is passing away.
Orthodoxy is self-satisfied, and intolerant of heresy.  Heresy is equally self-satisfied, and intolerant of orthodoxy.  The orthodox should think better of the heretics.  The heretics should think better of the orthodox.  For every orthodoxy was once a heresy, and every heresy is fated to become an orthodoxy, for there are successive generations of ideas and institutions, just as there are successive generations of [people] to tell the endless tale of death and life renewed.
All our states were founded by traitors.  All our churches were founded by heretics.  The patriotism of today glories in the treasons of yesterday.  In our churches we bend the knee in cushioned prayer to saints who were once dragged before the tribunals of the orthodox and condemned and hung for their unbelief.  Half of us are heretics.  The other half worship heretics.  Not even the orthodox worship the orthodox.  Every orthodox faith is founded on some old-time heresy.  The [people] who conform to the old never win immortal palms.  History is unanimous in giving first place to those who find new paths, who think new thoughts, who build new institutions, who fund new faiths.
 We all like heretics, only some of us like them alive and others like them dead.
~Herbert Seeley Biglow, The Religion of Revolution (1916) 


EcoGrrl said...

The Quakers were instrumental in their support of the Underground Railroad - that is beauty, that is doing what's right before worrying about what others say. Amen!

shoreacres said...

I suspect you've re-read this entry at least once since posting it, given the current state of the world. It's so apropos, in so many ways, it's absolutely breath-taking. Thanks for making it available.