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A Moment With Gil: Intro to “Orthodoxy”

The Old Book Junkie

The war between atheists and believers has been going on far longer than many people realize. It’s modern form with Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens is but a graceless reflection of what was happening back in the early 1900s. Witness G.K. Chesterton’s book “Orthodoxy” which was published in 1908.

Back at the turn of the previous century, Chesterton’s sparring partners were the likes of George Bernard Shaw and H.G. Wells. No slouches, those two. But unlike today, there was a sort of collegiality between Chesterton and some of his opponents. Bernard Shaw and Chesterton considered themselves to be friends and actually enjoyed their arguments.

“Orthodoxy” was meant to be a companion volume to his previous book, “Heretics,” in which Chesterton had a go at the modern, humanistic philosophies of the time. He was roundly criticized for not offering any alternative philosophy of his own. As one of Chesterton’s targets, G.S. Street, put…

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