12 of the Best GK Chesterton Quotes

“Drink because you are happy, but never because you are miserable.”

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Listers, whether the topic was angels or cheese the extraordinary mind of GK Chesterton always had a witticism to share. SPL has frequently commented on the British author and shared his quotes on Facebook and Twitter. The following quotes are the ones that have garnered the best response from the listers on social media. Those unfamiliar with the colossal and unique mind of GK Chesterton will want to pick up his famous work Orthodoxy and his classic The Everlasting Man. Enjoy.



“Just going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than standing in your garage makes you a car.”


“The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried.”


“There are two ways to get enough. One is to continue to accumulate more and more. The other is to desire less.”


“There are those who hate Christianity and call their hatred an all-embracing love for all religions.”


“Impartiality is a pompous name for indifference which is an elegant name for ignorance.”


“To have a right to do a thing is not at all the same as to be right in doing it.”


“The word “good” has many meanings. For example, if a man were to shoot his grandmother at a range of five hundred yards, I should call him a good shot, but not necessarily a good man.”


“It [feminism] is mixed up with a muddled idea that women are free when they serve their employers but slaves when they help their husbands.”


“Dear Sir: Regarding your article ‘What’s Wrong with the World?’ I am. Yours truly.”


“Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions.”


“It isn’t that they can’t see the solution. It is that they can’t see the problem.”


“Drink because you are happy, but never because you are miserable.”


Listers, did we miss your favorite? Feel free to add more GK Chesterton quotes in the comments below and be sure to check out our other lists of quotes.

  • “Angels fly because they take themselves lightly.”

  • TolkienLover

    Ah, there are just too many! I’ve always loved several of the stanzas from The Ballad of the White Horse, particularly this one:

    “That though you hunt the Christian man/ Like a hare on the hill-side,/ The hare has still more heart to run/ Than you have heart to ride.”


    “Our monks go robed in rain and snow,/ But the heart of flame therein,/ But you go clothed in feasts and flames,/ When all is ice within.”

    and his vividly striking portrayal of Mary:

    “One instant in a still light/He saw Our Lady then,/ Her dress was soft as western sky,/ And she was a queen most womanly-/But she was a queen of men.//Over the iron forest/He saw Our Lady stand,/ Her eyes were sad withouten art,/And seven swords were in her heart-/but one was in her hand.”

  • Daedalus

    “[People} use statistics the way a drunk uses a lamppost–more for support that for illumination.”

    Or something like that….

  • Zach

    “I will hold a pistol to the head of modern man. But I shall not kill him, rather bring him to life.”

  • Dawn Axelson

    People have fallen into the foolish habit of speaking of orthodoxy as something heavy, humdrum and safe. There never was anything so perilous or so exciting as orthodoxy.

  • Sam

    I love Chesterton, and these are some great quotes.

    However, I HIGHLY doubt he said this one, ““Just going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than standing in your garage makes you a car.”

    First of all, I can’t verify that he said this. Second, cars were not widely available to the masses when Chesterton lived. It doesn’t seem to fit something Chesterton would say. Just a thought.

  • iheartfractions

    The car in a garage quote is misattributed to Chesterton… He didn’t actually say that…

  • So you like G.K. Chesterton? Did you know there is a High School in Minnesota co-founded by Dale Ahlquist of the American Chesterton Society? Check us out: http://www.chestertonacademy.org You can also find us on Facebook!

  • Sam, you’re right. The Church/car one is not actually a Chesterton quote. Probably why it sticks out like a sore thumb. A shallow, insipid, uninspired, trite, sore thumb.

  • Great list, included a couple I had forgotten! Has anyone ever made a movie about his life? He seems like such a fascinating “bugger!”