C.S. Lewis once referred to the writings of G.K. Chesterton as dangerous to the man who wanted to remain an Atheist. Largely through the astounding reasoning of Chesterton, C.S. Lewis finally relented and gave his life to God.
I’ve been so intrigued by Chesterton’s influence on C.S. Lewis, that I finally bought my first Chesterton book- a little book simply called Orthodoxy. I say it’s little only because of it’s meager length (115 pages). But this book is by no means small. It has taken me weeks to wade through the currents and depths and mysteries of Chesterton’s incredible arguments. Rarely have I read a more demanding and challenging book intellectually. Orthodoxy, as the rest of Chesterton’s writings, I’ve learned are not to be read flippantly. You can’t glean much from a cursory read. You must chew and chew and chew in order to savour the wonderful richness of this text.
Chesterton, who lived from 1874 to 1936, took on a prevailing worldview in his day that believed everything was only material and nothing was spiritual. It was the idea that everything could be explained fully through rationale and that everything could be proven scientifically. From the first word of the preface to the last word of the book, Chesterton presents his own journey of thought that led him to a life of wonderment of God. Life is more than a set of rules and logical systems, Chesterton argued. Life has mystery. He wrote:
The real trouble with this world of ours is not that it is an unreasonable world, nor even that it is a reasonable one. The commenest kind of trouble is that it is nearly reasonable, but not quite. Life is not an illogicality; yet it is a trap for logicians. It looks just a little more mathematical and regular than it is; its exactitude is obvious, but its inexactitude is hidden; it’s wildness lies in wait. (61)
Beautiful stuff. Deep rich flowing reasoning that in the end leads the reader to love the mystery of God. But, wow, I need a dictionary and a venti extra hot hazelnut latte to get through some of his thoughts… [read more…]