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Orthodoxy [Paperback]

G. K. Chesterton
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
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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.


""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

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5.0 out of 5 stars I would highly recommend this read July 24 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
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. I wished I could have finished it one sitting, but family obligations ended that wish. I would highly recommend this read. Well worth the five star rating.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A classic. Feb. 18 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Glad to see this on Amazon/Kindle! Everyone who has ever loved Chesterton simply must read it. Over and over again.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommend it! Sept. 23 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
He has a great sense of humour to impart the truth in a way I would never have thought of. I highly recommend it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Orthodoxy July 15 2012
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. Orthodoxy is a joy ride.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I wanted to like this book Feb. 17 2003
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. Lewis fan I now know where Lewis got his own style.
But in the end, what Chesterton seemed to have written was not Why I am a Christian or Why I am a Catholic, but Why I am a European. And he seems to have thought this amounted to the same thing.
His dismissal of Islam as being cruel and suited to people from dry places is astonishing. His dismissal of knowing God within as leading to....Tibet is likewise astonishing! A lot of his argument seems to be prejudice dressed up as reasons. That he likes romance and adventure, and finds Christianity romantic and adventurous is all very well, but if Christianity is true, it is intended for Tibet and the dry places of the earth as well as the cozy English countryside that he loves.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A detective's romance April 21 2004
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
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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