Heresy and Orthodoxy
“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 found new faiths.
We all like heretics, only some of us like them alive and others like them dead.”
-Herbert Seeley Bigelow (1870-1951), The Religion of Revolution