Brandon Vogt

Chesterton and Lewis for Beginners

Dear Inquiring Reader,

In the past, I’ve repeatedly pointed out that C.S. Lewis has had a tremendous influence on my thought and writings. However, I’ve neglected to mention to you an author who has had an enormous impact on both Lewis and me. This man helped Lewis and me convert: Lewis from atheism to Christianity and me from lukewarm Christianity to a sincere Catholic Christian faith.

His name is G.K. Chesterton.

Just looking at his name, you may see an obvious pattern developing–in order to become a great writer and thinker, it seems to be a necessity to abbreviate your first and middle names.

Chesterton is the king of witty and pithy statements regarding the Christian faith and social thought. He is one of the most quoted figures from the twentieth century, both within the Christian world and without. In addition to writing many books on theology, he was a gifted novelist, in particular writing a wealth of detective stories and mysteries.

As I mentioned above, through his writings and his own conversion to the Catholic faith he has been somewhat of a mentor to me through my own. One of his ideas that has especially formed my spirituality is this one, from his classic book “Orthodoxy”, which uses history and tradition as evidence for the authenticity of the Christian–specifically Catholic–faith:

“Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead. Tradition refuses to submit to that arrogant oligarchy who merely happen to be walking around.”

Throughout his writings and talks he dropped numerous other gems such as these:

“The Bible tells us to love our neighbors, and also to love our enemies; probably because they are generally the same people.”

“The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried.”

“Impartiality is a pompous name for indifference, which is an elegant name for ignorance.”

Lewis and Chesterton wrote dozens and dozens of works in their lives, and it can be overwhelming to determine where to even begin. Thankfully, InsideCatholic has developed a beginner’s guide to each of these remarkable writers, summarizing some of their most important works:

Chesterton and Lewis for Beginners

Read and enjoy the loopy adventures and brilliant thought found within the writings of these two great thinkers.

Always yours,
B.W. Vogt

© 2019 Brandon Vogt

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