Okay, here we go. Prepare to be amazed!!! Just kidding, this’ll probably be awful, but I might as well try =D.
Introduction in Defence of Everything Else:
In the opening paragraphs of Orthodoxy, Chesterton explains that he wrote the book in response to criticism to his previous set of essays named Heretics. And indeed, isn’t this always the case? All through history, there has been action and reaction, response after response. Chesterton also said, “If there were no God, there would be no atheists.” That simple statement, while being ridiculously hilarious, is also startlingly true. What would atheists stand against then? ANSWER: There would be nothing. I think it extremely depressing that atheists have so much proof of a divine being in front of their very eyes, and still decide to turn their backs and deny it.
Another point that was intriguing in the first chapter, was when Chesterton described a story that he wanted to write. The story would be about a man who went around the world and discovered his home land, believing that he had discovered a brand new country.
“His mistake was really a most enviable mistake. . . What could be more delightful than to have in the same few minutes all the fascinating terrors of going abroad combined with all the humane security of coming home again? What could be better than to have all the fun of discovering South Africa without the disgusting necessity of landing there? What could be more glorious than to brace one’s self up to discover New South Wales and then realize, with a gush of happy tears, that it was really old South Wales. . . How can we contrive to be at once astonished at the world and yet at home in it? How can this queer cosmic town, with its many-legged citizens, with its monstrous and ancient lamps, how can this world give us at once the fascination of a strange town and the comfort and honour of being our own town?” – Excerpt: Introduction in Defence of Everthing Else, G.K. Chesterton‘s Orthodoxy
He goes on to say that he is that man. And the same thing applies to all of us. Aren’t we as a race constantly rediscovering knowledge and beauty and memories? There is always that thrill when we see a national monument, but still knowing that millions of others have already seen and wondered at it as well (haha yeah, that was a terrible example but it was all I could think of). Chesterton was a self-proclaimed agnostic and had converted to Catholicism late in life. During his life he had been forced to accept that Christianity was the only answer to life. He himself said, “I did try to found a heresy of my own; and when I had put the last touches to it, I discovered that it was orthodoxy.”
Okay, last thing. Quite possibly the funniest part of the first chapter was towards the end, when Chesterton says:
“If this book is a joke it is a joke against me. I am the man who with the utmost daring discovered what had been discovered before. . . It recounts my elephantine adventures in pursuit of the obvious. No one can think my case more ludicrous than I think it myself; no reader can accuse me here of trying to make a fool of him: I am the fool of this story, and no rebel shall hurl me from my throne. . . I did, like all other solemn little boys, try to be in advance of the age. Like them I tried to be some ten minutes in advance of the truth. And I found that I was eighteen hundred years behind it. I did strain my voice with a painfully juvenile exaggeration in uttering my truths. And I was punished in the fittest and funniest way, for I have kept my truths: but I have discovered, not that they were not truths, but simply that they were not mine. When I fancied that I stood alone I was really in the ridiculous position of being backed up by all Christendom. It may be, Heaven forgive me, that I did try to be original; but I only succeeded in inventing all by myself an inferior copy of the existing traditions of civilized religion.” – Excerpt: Introduction in Defence of Everything Else, G.K. Chesterton’s Orthodoxy
I don’t know, that just brought a grin to my face. I mean, it’s his bald-faced disclaimer. I wish I had one that good. . .