Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Everlasting Man, by G.K. Chesterton

The Everlasting Man, by G.K. Chesterton

I am not a religious person, but usually enjoy books that challenge my beliefs (like Strobel’s The Case for Christ). The Everlasting Man, however, was hard to finish not only because it was an argument against evolution but because the writing was so difficult. The prose was dense and hard to parse; a typical sentence: “Doubtless those more antiquated men of antiquity who clung to their solitary statues and their single sacred names were regarded as superstitious savages benighted and left behind.” Or even worse, “All this indescribable thing that we call the Christmas atmosphere only hangs in the air as something like a lingering fragrance or fading vapour from the exultant explosion of that one hour in the Judean hills nearly two thousand years ago.”

Chesterton argues that if evolution was real, man wouldn’t be so unique in the world. While that is an interesting argument, there is so much truth in what we do know that I find it ludicrous to dismiss the entire theory. (I also find it interesting that virtually all opposition to evolution is from the religious community and not the scientific one.) Chesteron takes a similar approach to why Christianity is still going strong where other religions have died out, assuming that proves the Church is correct. Hinduism and Buddhism are both older, though, and it is hard to argue they are dying out. Interesting discussion points, but they ring false to me. Chesterton writes, “A history of cows in twelve volumes would not be very lively reading.” While that may be true, only the length of that bovine history makes it less appealing than The Everlasting Man.

First Sentence:
Far away in some strange constellation in skies infinitely remote, there is a small star, which astronomers may some day discover.

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