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Orthodoxy [Paperback]

G. K. Chesterton
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 9.86 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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Book Description

July 1 2011
This work is a spiritual autobiography which stands as an inspirational apologetic for Christianity. Many Christian thinkers, including C.S. Lewis, have found this book a pivotal step in their adoption of a credible faith.
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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If G.K. Chesterton's Orthodoxy: The Romance of Faith is, as he called it, a "slovenly autobiography," then we need more slobs in the world. This quirky, slender book describes how Chesterton came to view orthodox Catholic Christianity as the way to satisfy his personal emotional needs, in a way that would also allow him to live happily in society. Chesterton argues that people in western society need a life of "practical romance, the combination of something that is strange with something that is secure. We need so to view the world as to combine an idea of wonder and an idea of welcome." Drawing on such figures as Fra Angelico, George Bernard Shaw, and St. Paul to make his points, Chesterton argues that submission to ecclesiastical authority is the way to achieve a good and balanced life. The whole book is written in a style that is as majestic and down-to-earth as C.S. Lewis at his best. The final chapter, called "Authority and the Adventurer," is especially persuasive. It's hard to imagine a reader who will not close the book believing, at least for the moment, that the Church will make you free. --Michael Joseph Gross --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Review

"Whenever I feel my faith going dry again, I wander to a shelf and pick up a book by G. K. Chesterton." ---Philip Yancey --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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Thoroughly worldly people never understand even the world; they rely altogether on a few cynical maxims which are not true. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A detective's romance April 21 2004
Format:Paperback
Before his series of Father Brown mysteries, G.K. Chesterton wrote "Orthodoxy," an autobiographical 'detective' story of how he came to believe the Christian faith. Drawing from "the truth of some stray legend or from the falsehood of some dominant philosophy...an anarchist club or a Babylonian temple what I might have found in the nearest parish church," Mr. Chesterton playfully and inductively reasons his way toward the one worldview that best explains and preserves the phenomena in the world he found around himself.
The world around Mr. Chesterton was rife with Modernism in the early twentieth century. Based on philosophies of the late nineteenth century, religious and political traditions were being questioned. Anarchism, communism, and socialism were the parlor topics of the day; the merely symbolic importance of religion was being settled upon. These are the roots of our post-modern society today in which the meaning of nearly everything (even words, according to literary deconstructionists) is now in doubt. At one point in the chapter entitled "The Suicide of Thought," Mr. Chesterton quips, "We are on the road to producing a race of men too mentally modest to believe in the multiplication table." An exaggeration even today, undoubtedly. Still, we have traveled quite a distance philosophically since the era before the World Wars, and "Orthodoxy" is an excellent snapshot of where we've come from.
But be warned: This snapshot captures a lot of active thought. It took me a couple of reads over as many years to get a handle on the structure of the book, and now the rest of it has been becoming clearer to me. Part of the problem is Mr. Chesterton's writing style.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic every believer should read... Feb. 12 2004
By JAD
Format:Paperback
Some books are timeless classics. In the world of Christian classics Orthodoxy is one of them. It is G. K. Chesterton's account of his search for authentic Christianity in the midst of the conflicting voices of the modern world. So it is both deeply theological and also personal, even quirky, in its critical review of the various other, opposing approaches to life.
Chesterton was a contemporary of Leo Tolstoy, H. G. Wells and George Bernard Shaw. Much of what he writes is "in answer" to them and their divergent views of the meaning of life.
Chesterton came to a deeply held Christian faith that took its outward expression in his 1922 conversion to Roman Catholicism. Today, Chesterton is best remembered as the creator of the "Father Brown" detective stories, but he was a prolific writer, penning studies of Robert Browning (1903) and Charles Dickens (1906), novels including The Napoleon of Notting Hill (1904) and The Man Who Was Thursday (1908), poems, collected in 1927 and essays, collected in Tremendous Trifles (1909) and Come to Think of It (1930).
In the opening chapter of Orthodoxy, Chesterton "eliminates the competition" by skewering competing world-view theories, showing their warts and all. He then describes flawed approaches to life that will lead to despair, in the second chapter, "The Suicide of Thought." Having put erroneous views to rest, for the remainder of the book he describes the central truths of Christianity as the only correct way of understanding creation and human life.
Chesterton portrays himself as one who has traveled all around the world, only to have arrived at home again as if it were some new and strange land. "Home" being the traditions of Christian faith.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Defense of Orthodoxy May 28 2003
By Conlan
Format:Paperback
Like most others who have read Chesterton, I find him enjoyable, hilarious, and utterly commonsensical. Orthodoxy is the perfect introduction to the man and his writings.
(...)The orthodoxy Chesterton speaks of is not the Eastern Christianity but traditional Christian doctrine from even before there was a division in the Church. It is akin to Lewis's Mere Christianity in that it is not in any particular denomination but mainly to be found in the early creeds of the Church which the vast majority of Christians acknowledge as authoritative (e.g., Apostles', Nicene).
In response to those who dismiss Chesterton's views as "unscientific" or "outdated," I answer, as Chesterton might, that a strictly empirical method of acknowledging reality is not defensible on strictly empirical grounds, and to assert such is thoroughly narrow-minded and dogmatic, or something to that effect. Chesterton's treatement of foreign peoples may often be characterized by ill-informed or distorted views, but I cannot recall any malice towards them. In our society so eager to be offended, many often overlook the truths within satire, or satirical writing. As for his views just being an excuse to be contrary, if anything he was seeking to be the same, similar to two thousand years of Christianity. As he famously writes "Tradition is the democracy of the dead."
Finally, I believe that any unprejudiced person, while perhaps not agreeing completely, would find it difficult to deny out-of-hand Chesteron's characterizations of man, man's sinful nature, and his wonder at the universe. And at the very least, his style is engaging and Orthodoxy is certainly great reading.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars I would highly recommend this read
I just finished this book. I had no real expectations when turned to the first page. However, by the time I finished I was pleasantly surprised. The storyline kept my interest. Read more
Published 1 month ago by gerald chambers
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic.
Glad to see this on Amazon/Kindle! Everyone who has ever loved Chesterton simply must read it. Over and over again.
Published 6 months ago by Warren P.
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommend it!
He has a great sense of humour to impart the truth in a way I would never have thought of. I highly recommend it.
Published 11 months ago by Blanche Crowder
3.0 out of 5 stars Mediocre Classic
I deeply respect the man's integrity and as a thinker. I hate to admit this but I think he's overrated as a writer. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Dmitri Martini
5.0 out of 5 stars Orthodoxy
If you are looking to read one of the most gifted writers of the last century, then this is the place to start. I love G.K. Chesterton and this is, perhaps, his best work. Read more
Published on July 15 2012 by Brent Wiley
4.0 out of 5 stars an entertaining read, even when you violently disagree
Chesterton was a gleefully confessed madman and a genius with language, but he's also very "Johnsonian" in his own way--and by that I mean that much like dear Dr. Read more
Published on July 13 2004 by Cherie Priest
4.0 out of 5 stars It won't convince nonbelievers
A Catholic friend recommended "Orthodoxy" by way of trying to justify faith. While it is a very elegant and wittily written book, I can't say it meets that mark. Read more
Published on April 10 2004 by Jerry Brito
3.0 out of 5 stars I wanted to like this book
I myself recently returned to the Catholic church, and I really wanted to like Chesterton's book. And I did *enjoy* it. His style is entertaining, and as a long-time C. S. Read more
Published on Feb. 17 2003 by Evelyn Uyemura
5.0 out of 5 stars Leaves you wanting more!
After reading the first paragraph, I thought, "I wish I had written this book."
Chesterton has the gift of thought and the gift of expression, a rare commodity in the age of... Read more
Published on Oct. 25 2002 by Kendal B. Hunter
5.0 out of 5 stars G.K. Chesterton is the Man
In the tradition of the heavywights like C.S Lewis. G.K.Chesterton makes the final case for the Truth.
Published on Aug. 23 2002
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