Orthodoxy (by GK Chesterton)

I've enjoyed, over the years, quite a few works by GK Chesterton. He is best known, of course for his 'Father Brown' mysteries, but was also something of a theologian in the early part of last century.

So I was pleased to find a copy of perhaps his most famous book of apologetics, 'Orthodoxy', available for Kindle. I don't remember now whether I downloaded it from Amazon or elsewhere; I started reading it several months ago, but have only really got into reading it properly in the last few weeks, and finally finished it yesterday.

This book contains a thoughtful and fascinating account of the author's move from agnosticism, in his teens, through to a profound faith in God, and subsequent adoption of the Christian faith. Chesterton describes his gradual search for meaning in life, first assuming a materialist perspective. He looks at objections to God posed by atheists, and gradually, in a consistently logical way, realises that they were all based on fallacy.

He does not describe a moment of conversion, which I can only assume was as reluctant as CS Lewis's some years later. But he describes moments of profound realisation; the 'aha' moments when circumstances and his understanding fell into place, and he could see that the truth had been in front of him all along; he simply had not recognised it.

I found this a very interesting read. Some of it was a bit long-winded, and of course it's over 100 years since it was first published, so it's not surprising that the style and some of the words seemed a bit dated. Still, there was much to ponder, which is partly why I found that a few pages at a time were sufficient. I found Chesterton's thought processes a bit convoluted in places, yet reassuring and often refreshing. Reading through his account, it became hard to imagine why anyone would not believe in the Christian God, if he or she truly considered the evidence with an open mind.

Chesterton wrote the book, apparently, to answer his critics and explain his spiritual quest. In doing so he produced an excellent apologetic for his beliefs, which is still in print as well as being available in more than one Kindle form.

Recommended to anyone who is happy with a somewhat lengthy - and, inevitably, dated - discussion of faith from a fully rational and logical standpoint.

Note: the Amazon links are to paperback editions of this classic; Kindle editions are available both in the US and UK, sometimes packaged with other of Chesterton's works, and generally much less expensive.

Review copyright Sue's Book Reviews, 20th November 2012

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