I recent finished Orthodoxy by G.K. Chesterton, and it was a truly delightful book. Although it might have helped reading it with a scotch and cigar. All joking aside, it was an interesting look at new arguments for Christianity that really spoke to me. As someone who fell away from the faith and returned due to the good arguments faithful Christians and Jews put forward, as well as bad Atheist arguments, I know why I believe what I believe. In this exploration of why Christianity is true, and how Chesterton came to know that, I came across a set of arguments I hadn’t heard. And, they only fortified my belief further.
"Progress is a metaphor from merely walking along a road –– very likely the wrong road. But reform is a metaphor for reasonable and determined men: it means that we see a certain thing out of shape and we mean to put it into shape. And we know what shape."-G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy
Why Christianity is True, According to Chesterton
His arguments are not ontological proofs or extraordinary miracles he had in his life. Instead, it is is an argument from experience and evidence with a bit of wit mixed in. He demonstrates how many of the problems people raise with Christianity just aren't true. Really, he employs Occam's Razor, or the Sherlock Holmes method: whatever is left after all has been ruled out, must be true. In this discussion I found a new line of argumentation that lead me to see better why Christianity is true, and how the arguments and problems with Christianity fall short of disproving this.
Chesterton's Path to Christian Belief
I picked up Descartes Discourses after I finished Orthodoxy because there wasn't much left in the book and I had time to read. The two works could not be more different. Chesterton speaks from his experience of the world throughout this work, describing how he came to Christianity through these experiences. He does present the arguments for Christianity and arguments against Christianity that he encountered. However, he doesn't work through them systematically like most philosophers, but organically as a sage might.
The juxtaposition of this approach against Descartes' who seeks to do away with all his experiences and his common sense to find what's true. Instead of rejoicing in this world of oddities and wonders, he seems to turn away from it and shun it. And, both these men are Christian thinkers, which to me shows the beauty of the Catholic Church that allows a healthy diversity in approach to the faith.