Covering the Land of Lincoln

MY PRIMARY ACT OF FAITH

too long; Didn’t Read

And now having stated my conception of the true relationship between our thoughts and words to facts, having distinguished between the more accurate and frequently verified propositions of science and the more arbitrary and infrequently verified propositions of belief, and made clear the spontaneous and artistic quality that inherent in all our moral and religious generalizations, I may hope to go on to my confession of faith with less misunderstanding.

First and Last Things by HG Wells, is part of the HackerNoon Books Series. You can jump to any chapter in this book here. MY PRIMARY ACT OF FAITH

MY PRIMARY ACT OF FAITH.

And now having stated my conception of the true relationship between our thoughts and words to facts, having distinguished between the more accurate and frequently verified propositions of science and the more arbitrary and infrequently verified propositions of belief, and made clear the spontaneous and artistic quality that inherent in all our moral and religious generalizations, I may hope to go on to my confession of faith with less misunderstanding.

Now my most comprehensive belief about the external and the internal and myself is that they make one universe in which I and every part are ultimately important. It is quite possible to maintain that everything is a chaotic assembly, that any part might be destroyed without affecting any other part. I do not choose to argue against that. If you choose to say that, I am no more disposed to argue with you than if you choose to wear a miter in Fleet Street or drink a bottle of ink, or declare the figure of Ally Sloper more dignified and beautiful than the head of Jove . There is no QED that you cannot do so. You can. You will not like to go on with it, I think, and it will not answer, but that is a different matter.

I dismiss the idea that life is chaotic because it leaves my life ineffectual, and I cannot contemplate an ineffectual life patiently. I am impelled by my nature to refuse that. I assert that it is not so. I assert therefore that I am important in a scheme, that we are all important in that scheme, that the wheel-smashed frog in the road and the fly drowning in the milk are important and correlated with me. What the scheme as a whole is I do not know; with my limited mind I cannot know. There I become a Mystic. I use the word scheme because it is the best word available, but I strain it in using it. I do not wish to imply a schemer, but only order and co-ordination as distinguished from haphazard. “All this is important, all this is profoundly significant.” I say it of the universe as a child that has not learned to read might say it of a parchment agreement. I cannot read the universe, but I can believe that this is so.

And this unfounded and arbitrary declaration of the ultimate rightness and significance of things I call the Act of Faith. It is my fundamental religious confession. It is a voluntary and deliberate determination to believe, a choice made.

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This book is part of the public domain. H. G. Wells (2009). First and Last Things: A Confession of Faith and Rule of Life. Urbana, Illinois: Project Gutenberg. Retrieved October 2022, https://www.gutenberg.org/files/4225/4225-h/4225-h.htm

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.org, located at https://www.gutenberg.org/policy/license. html.

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