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4.26 of 5 stars 4.26  ·  rating details  ·  14,218 ratings  ·  845 reviews
In Orthodoxy, Gilbert K. Chesterton explains how and why he came to believe in Christianity, and more specifically, the Catholic Church's brand of orthodoxy. In the book, Chesterton takes the spiritually curious reader on an intellectual quest. While looking for the meaning of life, he finds truth that uniquely fulfills human needs. This is the truth revealed in Christiani ...more
ebook, 148 pages
Published March 25th 2013 by Start Publishing LLC (first published 1908)
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I bought it because I heard this quote recently

"A child kicks its legs rhythmically through excess, not absence, of life. Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, "Do it again"; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough... It is possible that God says every morning, "D
Shane Avery
It is with extreme reluctance that I condemn this work as worthless. The person who recommended it to me is one whose opinion and learning I respect greatly.

Chesterton seems to think (although I'm not entirely sure of anything in this book, inasmuch as the author refuses to write in anything but figurative language and metaphor. In fact, the term "mixed metaphor" is an entirely inappropriate descriptor. One would need to use exponents to keep track of the metaphors and smilies that he heaps upon
Gwen Burrow
I have to think of Chesterton as happy nitroglycerin. This book sends your head up into the clouds while driving your feet deep into the earth. It spins you dizzier than you've ever been, yet makes you walk straighter than you've ever walked.

Read this first in 2007, again in 2011.

imagine walking into a dangerous and violent bar with the biggest, baddest ufc champion ever to grace the octagon. or walking into a house party with the hottest date ever. or entering a church basketball tournament with an nba caliber ringer on your team. i'm guessing that's what it would have felt like to walk with gk chesterton into a room full of skeptics and post-modern christian haters.

okay, that whole paragraph did not work. but this book deserves credit for being mostly a pre-modern wor
Fr.Bill M
This is an absolute must for either Catholics or Protestants, as Chesterton addresses an aspect of mere Christianity (it's profound and monumental common sensensicalness!) in a way that sparkles with wit, humor, and intellectual derring-do.

Incidentally, if you set yourself to reading it out loud, you will put yourself through a training in diction and oral expression that far surpasses anything you could ever hire.

"Things can be irrelevant to the proposition that Christianity is false, but nothing can be irrelevant to the proposition that Christianity is true."

Certainly nothing is irrelevant to discussing Christianity when G.K. Chesterton writes a classic apologetics work. Orthodoxy is and is not a typical apologetics work. It defends the orthodox Christian world-view and it moreover discusses and reveals what Chesterton's own views and values were. As such Chesterton does not back away from discussing a
Nov 20, 2009 Jamie rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who wants to understand why people would believe Catholicism
Recommended to Jamie by: C.S. Lewis, Peter Kreeft, Fulton Sheen
I learned that the Orthodoxy of the Catholic faith is what keeps it (and the world) sane. It calls to us from our fairy tales while at the same time appealing to our logic.

I also learned why so many people, like C.S. Lewis, Scott Hahn, and J.R.R. Tolkien have made reference to G.K. Chesterton - he is brilliant. His mastery of the English language is second to none.

The only difficulty of this book is that it may come off as "high-brow" because it was written in the U.K. (and their English is diff
Clare Cannon

A complex work of great scope that I will need to read a few more times. Chesterton uses metaphors to explain the meaning of his theses, and the reader must work to comprehend what they signify on different levels. I find it amazing that this was first published in 1908. Its ideas refer to - but are so independent from - the philosophies of that time, as though it were written today looking back on them rather than their contemporary.

I'll not write a comprehensive review, but just wish to list
Jun 06, 2010 Werner rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Both Christians and non-Christians interested in what evidence exists for faith
Recommended to Werner by: My Goofreads friend Bruce
Chesterton was one of the premier Christian thinkers of his generation, fully engaged in the intellectual debates of his day (which turn out to be not much different from those of our own!). His writing is frequently characterized by love of paradox, exuberant humor, and intellectual rigor which can make his thought demanding to follow in places (a quality mitigated by his clear effort to tailor the presentation to the average educated reader). All of those qualities are in evidence here. It's a ...more
When I first started reading this book, I was dumbfounded, and I quickly sensed my vulnerability. I’m used to reading challenging authors who work hard to drop-kick your old paradigms and hold you teeth-down to the grinding concrete they’re speeding recklessly over in pursuit of truth. I can sense when an author is sliding towards sensationalism and theatrics in his attempt to convince readers that their life is a sham and essentially a waste of time. I even like it when authors do that, because ...more
Douglas Wilson
I first read this in 1975. It was a life-saver then. Not sure how many times I have read it since, but Nancy and I just finished reading it aloud together (May 2013). Fantastic, as always.
Skylar Burris
Chesterton is witty but dense; his reasoning requires concentration. If I am reading him and not paying close attention to the trajectory of his thought, I find myself saying, "What is he babbling about? What does this have to do with anything, let alone Christian orthodoxy?" If I am paying attention, however, I often find him extremely insightful, and I wish to highlight nearly ever line. I also find him quite contemporary; what he says seems to apply somehow to every age. This is not apologeti ...more
K.M. Weiland
The title belies the true depth and value of this book. Chesterton writes, ostensibly, to share his own conclusions about why Christianity is true and worth following. But the book is so much bigger than that, just as it is so much more intimate than a mere treatise on orthodoxy. Chesterton offers clarity of thought and imagination and wit. Every single page offers something interesting and new to chew on. I’ll be returning to this one over and over.
Regina Doman
Sep 22, 2008 Regina Doman rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone, especially those interested in Catholicism or Christianity
Recommended to Regina by: My English teacher
One of the three most influential books in my life outside the Bible. This book would have made me Catholic, if I wasn't already. It also kept me a Catholic, as I was on my way out of the Church before I read it. It confirmed me in my Catholic faith, made the Church make sense for the first time, and set me on the way I'm still traveling. It gave me a vision for where I was and where I was going. I'm still on my way.
Controversial, but brilliant. Striking, but baffling. Quotable, but confusing.

I almost gave this five stars -- the content is certainly profound and incredible at some points -- but the methods in which Chesterton tackles his ideas are too tangled up and confusing. He makes large leaps in his logic, leaving the reader no room to catch up before going on. While Chesterton repeatedly describes his ideas through pictures, often these explanations still aren't sufficient -- he fails to remember that
Reviewing G.K. Chesterton's Orthodoxy is a daunting task, given the purpose of the book, his sophisticated and subtle commentary, and the nature of the subject. Nevertheless, I'll try to write a response that will enable potential readers to determine what Chesterton wrote about, why, and how successfully.

Already I find myself laboring to pull salient points and summarize arguments from Chesterton's book. The main thing to understand is that this book isn't an apologia for Christianity; I believ
This is the third time I have read Orthodoxy by G.K. Chesterton, and I hope it will not be the last. Written near the beginning of his career, it is by far his best book on the subject of religion. Although he was to return a number of times to the same well, the water was fresher in 1908, some fourteen years before he made his decision to convert to Catholicism. Afterwards, there was an institutional tinge to his writing that vitiated many of his later efforts.

As a lapsed Catholic, I was surpri
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i've finally finished reading his book 'orthodoxy'. it looks little, like a quick read, and then it isn't.

this book seems to have had a revival in the last couple of years. it's recommended by philip yancey, john eldridge mentions it a lot in his writings, and relevant media (purveyors of christian cool) have just released a version under their imprint. i suppose it was also considered a 'christian classic' before this recent press -
Oct 26, 2007 Jason rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone interested in Christian apologetics or top notch rhetoric
Shelves: churchy-stuff
G.K. Chesterton is a rhetorical master, and nowhere is his virtuosity on better display than in Orthodoxy. This book is saturated with classical rhetorical devices, so it may be a bit heavy-handed for modernists. If you enjoy a clever turn of phrase and a top-notch wit, Chesterton is hard to beat.

Orthodoxy is noteworthy for its substantive content as well. In this book, G.K. defends Christianity against the amoral relativism of his day (the turn of the 20th Century). His primary foil is George B
Chesterton arata in aceasta carte ca teologia crestina esentiala este cea mai buna sursa de vigoare si etica sanatoasa. Se poate spune ca este o autobiografie atipica, un fel de calatorie intelectuala personala. A crede in tine insuti este un semn clar al ratarii personale, al esecului. Chesterton observa ca lumea moderna a inceput sa nege existenta pacatului si nu doar a pacatului originar din Eden dar si al murdariei si pacatului zilnic din viata de zi cu zi a oamenilor. Daca omul de azi gases ...more
Jordan Jeffers

This book in one tweet

Dead, cape-wearing English guy from early 1900s still wiser/funnier than anyone you know. #apologetics #iwishpeoplestillworecapes

Favorite quote

But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, "Do it again" to the sun; and every evening, "Do it again" to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may b
I saw this book on my parents' bookshelf all through childhood and out of all the books no title looked at once so forbidding and boring. I thought it was some dour didactic tome about the Roman Catholic Church written by some dour academic clergyman with an unbelievably Dickensian name. The only thing that could have made it worse is if he had been a Lord or an Earl of Bogglebrookendale or something. It seemed like the kind of books gray, sedentary adults would only read after they had become a ...more
Gavin Breeden
All I can say for right now is WOW. Adding this to my "favorites" and will probably read it every few years. Consider this: I'm an unashamed Calvinist and Chesterton maligns Calvinism in almost every chapter and he still managed to dazzle and delight me with this book.
So far incredibly insightful and thought provoking.
This is not the book you think it is.

I read the title and expected this to be a book of doctrine. I expected Chesterton to baldly state that he believed in the virgin birth, the deity of Christ, the resurrection - all the things that make up orthodoxy - and then defend them. That's not what Chesterton did. This is not a book of doctrine; it is a book of social creeds.

By "social creed" I mean that Chesterton, instead of describing actual orthodox doctrines, describes the kind of mental attitudes
anca dc
Bucuria, care este mica publicitate a păgânului, este uriaşul secret al creştinului. Iar acum, când închid acest volum haotic, deschid din nou cartea mică şi stranie din care a purces întreg creştinismul; şi sunt urmărit de un fel de confirmare. Cutremurătorul personaj care umple paginile Evangheliilor se înalţă nemăsurat şi în această privinţă, ca în toate celelalte, deasupra tuturor gânditorilor care s-au crezut vreodată înalţi. Patosul său a fost natural, aproape detaşat. Stoicii, antici şi m ...more
Douglas Dalrymple
It’s the fact that this is such a bad book of Christian apologetics which makes it such a good book of Christian apologetics. The mechanical rationalizations of a Lewis, for example, are absent, and Chesterton’s arguments, when he makes them, are sometimes poor. Most of the time he opts instead to overawe with the glory of his rhetoric, to distract with the playful catholicity of his mind, and to paint a vision of revolutionary, western, Christian sanity that somehow ends up being all the more c ...more
Chesterton provides an intriguing and very convincing account of Christian thought and the way he considers it (with regards to its ability to reconcile paradoxes, such as optimism and pessimism) has shed some light on some of the problems I have had when considering Christianity in the past. However, I think that his reading, though evidently not without thought and a large amount of effort devoted to argumentation, is very much coloured by his preexisting devotion to Christianity. His conceptu ...more
Chesterton is very clever--both witty in words and deeply insightful about the faith. At times his wit became almost tedious to listen to (I listened to an AudioBook version) but his way of summing up intellectual history of various movements and insight into the nature of the Gospel was well worth wading through it all. The book is really an autobiography of sorts--I guess an autobiography of his intellectual journey to faith. Very enlightening, inspiring, and fun.
Eric Schmidt
What to say about a book that is so obviously a masterpiece - and which expressed, better than C.S. Lewis and decades earlier, all the essential arguments for accepting the Christian creed? (Lewis' Mere Christianity, unworthy of the attention it receives, is pretty derivative of Chesterton - almost to the point of near-plagiarism.) Anyways, I could write for days. For now I'll confine myself to a few reflections, and start the dialogue from there.

1) In Chesterton's defense, because I'd guess it
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Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) was born in London, educated at St. Paul’s, and went to art school at University College London. In 1900, he was asked to contribute a few magazine articles on art criticism, and went on to become one of the most prolific writers of all time. He wrote a hundred books, contributions to 200 more, hundreds of poems, including the epic Ballad of the White Horse, fi ...more
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“Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, "Do it again"; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, "Do it again" to the sun; and every evening, "Do it again" to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.” 680 likes
“Love is not blind; that is the last thing that it is. Love is bound; and the more it is bound the less it is blind.” 312 likes
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