I have a story that will make you believe in God[1]

– Yann Martel, Life of Pi


Comparative religion is very comparative indeed… it is only comparatively successful when it tries to compare. When we come to look at it closely we find we are really trying to compare things that are really quite incomparable.”[2]

— GK Chesterton, The Everlasting Man


“I don’t mean to water down my Christianity into a vague kind of universalism with Buddha and Mohammed all being more or less equal to Jesus – not at all! But neither do I want to tell God (or my friends) where he can and cannot be seen.”[3]

– Madeleine L’Engle, Walking on Water


Introduction: The Melting Pot of Culture and Faith

What would Chesterton think of our increasingly multicultural world?  How might he respond when it shows up in so many books and films? Pondering the question brings to mind the wisdom that new issues are often old issues in modern dress; it also brings to mind Chesterton’s masterpiece on the course of history, The Everlasting Man, which influenced C.S. Lewis in his journey to the Christian faith. Lewis said of it:

 Then I read Chesterton’s Everlasting Man and for the first time saw the whole Christian outline of history set out in a form that seemed to me to make sense… You will remember that I already thought Chesterton the most sensible man alive ‘apart from his Christianity.’[4]

Our world grows smaller as the West, East, Middle East and global South intermingle on a daily basis. Traditions that have been inextricably linked with age-old religions jostle with each other, and their adherents must dialogue with each other, not just in terms of culture, but also regarding philosophy and religion. Despite projections of the death of religion from Voltaire, Friedrich Nietzsche, and John Lennon, sociologist Peter Berger states, “The world today is massively religious, is anything but the secularized world that had been predicted (whether joyfully or despondently) by so many analysts of modernity.”[5] In fact the word culture admits its basis in religion, as the root cultus (from which cult is derived) references divine worship. In Leisure: The Basis for Culture, Joseph Pieper shows how such cultus implies that a culture makes space to contemplate meaning beyond the daily, utilitarian world of work and even of science.[6] Hence, multiculturalism includes not just the study of culture but also the religious practices on which cultures are founded. Nearly one hundred years ago, G. K. Chesterton examined the cultures and religions that define today’s world in The Everlasting Man. He includes the thought (both religious and philosophical) behind Asian culture (Confucianism, Buddhism, and Hinduism), the Middle East (Islam) and the Christian faith which has contended with cultures both East and West.

Chesterton thus has a great deal to say about the multicultural thrust of such recent films as Yann Martel’s religiously syncretistic Life of Pi and Madeleine L’ Engle’s Wrinkle in Time which draws from the wisdom of many cultures and religions. Since Chesterton finishes The Everlasting Man by considering Christmas, with some sense of fun and good cheer, we will consider how he might view popular holiday-fare productions such as Hallmark Christmas romances and the recently released Last Christmas.

The easiest way for Hollywood to come to grips with the situation is to give all faiths an equal seat at the table, an admittedly necessary step for civil discussion.  The risk of religious multiculturalism, however, is that considering all faiths to be true in fact violates the unique claims of each religion.  As Ravi Zacharias states:

All religions are not the same. All religions do not point to God. All religions do not say that all religions are the same. At the heart of every religion is an uncompromising commitment to a particular way of defining who God is or is not and accordingly, of defining life’s purpose … Every religion at its core is exclusive.[7]

Consequently Zacharias often points out that it is not the case that religions look different but are at heart the same, but the reverse: they may look similar, but, at heart, each makes unique and contradictory claims about reality.

Respect for the various faith traditions is important. Lesslie Newbigin, Christian missionary to India for forty years, warned that “there is something deeply repulsive in the attitude, sometimes found among Christians, which makes only grudging acknowledgement of the faith, the godliness and the nobility to be found in the lives of non-Christians.”[8] Nevertheless, at the level of claims to truth, one is compelled to augment Piotr Mlodozeniec’s well-meaning “Coexist” image turned popular bumper sticker (where the Islamic Crescent, Star of David and Christian Cross constitute the “C,” “X” and “T” respectively) with another bumper sticker “Contradict: They can’t all be true” (in which Daoist yin-yang, Egyptian and tribal religious symbols among others augment the Star of David, Crescent and Cross).[9] Commitment to a single stance on an issue was classic Chesterton, who declared, “Merely having an open mind is nothing. The object of opening the mind, as of opening the mouth, is to shut it again on something solid.”[10]  The principle holds for evaluating religious systems, as Chesterton states “comparative religion is very comparative indeed… it is only comparatively successful when it tries to compare. When we come to look at it closely we find we are really trying to compare things that are really quite incomparable.”[11]

Chesterton and the Many Flavors of Pi

Chesterton and Hollywood have some differences to iron out on the matter of comparing religions. The Life of Pi provides the clearest example of the tension between respecting and believing competing religions, as the young Pi Patel adopts Hinduism, Christianity and Islam simultaneously (which works until the Hindu pandit, Muslim imam and Christian priest simultaneously converge on Pi and his family at the seashore). The Patels properly object: “They’re separate religions! They have nothing common” (then playfully taunting with “so, Swami Jesus, will you go on hajj this year?”).[12] But Pi finds something beautiful, if not ineffable, in each tradition. Of his first faith, Hinduism, he says:

I feel at home in a Hindu temple. I am aware of Presence, not personal the way we usually feel presence, but something larger. My heart still skips a beat when when I catch sight of the murti, of God Residing, in the inner sanctum of a temple.  Truly I am in a sacred womb, a place where everything is born, and it is my sweet luck to behold its living core.[13]

Pi next meets Jesus Christ in a church nestled amidst some small hills of Munnar, Tamil Nadu:

There was a painting. Was this the murti? Something about a human sacrifice. An angry god who had to be appeased with blood … [Father Martin] told me a story … and what a story. The first thing that drew me in was disbelief. What? Humanity sins but it’s God’s Son who pays the price … what a downright weird story. What peculiar psychology. I asked for another story … [but] their religion had one Story … it was story enough for them. That a god should put up with adversity, I could understand … But humiliation? Death? I couldn’t imagine Lord Krishna consenting to be stripped naked, whipped, mocked, dragged through the streets and, to top it off, crucified.[14]

Islam followed right behind, hardly a year later … He was a Sufi, a Muslim mystic. He sought fana, union with God, and his relationship with God was personal and loving. ‘If you take two steps towards God,’ he used to tell me, ‘God runs to you.’ … I challenge anyone to understand Islam, its spirit, and not to love it. It is a beautiful religion of brotherhood and devotion … we prayed together and we practiced the ninety-nine revealed names of God. He was a hafiz, one who knows the Qur’an by heart, and he sang it in a slow, simple chant. My Arabic was never very good, but I loved its sound. The guttural eruptions and long flowing vowels rolled just beneath my comprehension like a beautiful brook.[15]

Pi also describes ecstatic moments when he felt God’s presence in nature, concluding “the presence of God is the finest of rewards.”[16]

Pi even sees atheists as brothers in faith, at least compared to agnostics: “like me, they go as far as the legs of reason will carry them – and then they leap.”[17] Yet, he still opposes their atheism. To the claims of his biology teacher, Mr. Kumar, that “religion is darkness,” Pi declares religion is anything but darkness, and when Mr. Kumar explains that it was science and medicine, not God, that saved him from his polio, Pi reasons “what a terrible disease that must be if it could kill God in a man.”[18] But it is doubt, like Chesterton’s open jaws of indecision that bothers Pi: even Christ anguished in doubt in Gethsemane,  “but we must move one” Pi responds, “to choose doubt as a way of life is akin to choosing immobility as a means of transportation.”[19]

Chesterton, however, cannot follow Pi in collecting religions like trading cards. He thus rejects:

the phrase of facile liberality uttered again and again … [that] ‘the religions of the earth do not differ greatly in rites and forms; but they are the same in what they teach.’ It is false; it is the opposite of the fact … they agree in the mode of teaching; what they differ about is the thing to be taught.[20]

Chesterton sifts world religions into two bins: Christianity and Buddhism. C. S. Lewis followed Chesterton in this when wrestling with his own beliefs, declaring that Christianity and Hinduism “were really the only two answers possible … everything else was either a preparation for, or else (in the French sense) a vulgarisation of these … (Everlasting Man was helping me here).”[21] [22] Thus, Christianity followed Judaism, with Islam building on both, while Gautama Buddha sprouted Buddhism from the seed of Hinduism, with other Eastern philosophies and religions following or related. But Chesterton claimed that even Christianity and Buddhism were highly dissimilar, despite claims to the contrary. Resemblances are only superficial, for instance their moral codes and compassion. Such resemblances are common to humanity, not only to specific religions. Buddhists and Christians alike disapprove of cruelty and excess:

but to say that Buddhism and Christianity give the same account of these things is simply false. All humanity does agree that we are in a net of sin. Most of humanity agrees that there is some way out. But as to what is the way out, I do not think that there are two institutions in the universe which contradict each other so flatly as Buddhism and Christianity.[23]

Chesterton’s Orthodoxy: Christ and the Buddha

The artwork of the two religions, Chesterton claims, provides the clue to their radical difference: “the Buddhist saint always has his eyes shut, while the Christian saint always has them very wide open… the Buddhist is looking with a certain intentness inwards. The Christian is staring with a frantic intentness outwards.”[24] As a pantheist, the Buddhist finds reality within himself, while the Christian finds himself separated from God and searching for reconciliation. This fundamental metaphysical difference has significant consequences. Worship and even love are affected: for the Buddhist, everything is part of a monolithic reality,[25] and the worship of such an all-consuming world soul amounts to loving it “only in order that man may throw himself into it;” it is a “monotonous courtship” with oneself.[26] The Christian, by contrast, is “glad that God has broken the universe into little pieces, because they are living pieces:” “love desires personality; therefore love desires division,” it is a case of saying “’little children, love one another’ rather than to tell one large person to love himself.”[27]

Such pantheism as Buddhism is morally challenged by virtue of its structure, Chesterton further claims. “Pantheism implies in its nature that one thing is as good as another; whereas action implies in its nature that one thing is greatly preferred to another.”[28]  A sense of passivity is attached to pantheism, as the shuttered eyes of the Buddha contemplate the unreality of existence. Chesterton thus connects metaphysics with ethics:

By insisting specially on the immanence of God we get introspection, self-isolation, quietism, social indifference – Tibet. By insisting on the transcendence of God we get wonder, curiosity, moral and political adventure, righteous indignation – Christendom. By insisting that God is inside man, man is always inside himself. By insisting that God transcends man, man has transcended himself.[29]

Further, the suffering Christ, admired by Pi, is the epitome of such a heroic moral crusade, thereby actually enhancing his divinity. Chesterton continues:

That a good man could have his back to the wall is no more than we knew already; but that God could have his back to the wall is a boast for all insurgents for ever. Christianity is the only religion on earth that has felt that omnipotence made God incomplete. Christianity alone has felt that of all creeds, Christianity has added courage to the virtues of the Creator. For the only courage worth calling courage must necessarily mean that the soul passes a breaking point – and does not break.[30]

Pi the Hindu

We now turn back to Pi, who can hardly breathe without his faith, confessing that “a germ of religious exaltation, no bigger than a mustard seed, was sown in me and left to germinate. It has never stopped growing … [though] many people seem to lose God along life’s way [but] that was not my case.”[31] But Pi is first and ultimately a Hindu, with his belief in Brahman nirguna (without qualities, beyond understanding, beyond description), Brahman saguna (with a multitude of names and qualities, Krishna the loving, Shiva the righteous, Shakti the powerful, Ganesha the wise), as well as Brahman expressed in all living things, including in ourselves (atman). The spiritual force inside us, the Atman, is the same force as the infinite Brahman, Pi claims, explaining that “the individual soul touches upon the world like a well reaches for the water table,”[32] drawing on the Bank of Karma, the fruits of our deeds, to fund its journey of liberation from self and reunion with Brahman.  Brahman is not to be possessed, however, just as Krishna vanishes the moment the milkmaids with whom he dances in the forest seek his embrace: “so it is that we should not be jealous with God.”[33] God, however, can be jealous, and powerful in his own way, as Pi cites various stories of gods incarnated as avatars battling evil “with shine and power and might.”[34] But they thus only make the humility and suffering of Jesus more perplexing, even though Jesus does such things as declare a fig tree to be eternally fruitless for its lack of forethought to provide him shade. Pi might do well to consider Chesterton’s point that Jesus’s suffering and humility exemplify his courage, inspiring as both king and rebel.

Pi thus says of Jesus “I could not get Him out of my head. I still can’t.”[35] Part of Pi’s problem with Christ is the commitment he requires: “to one born in a religion where the battle for a single soul can be a relay race run over many centuries … the quick resolution of Christianity has a dizzying effect. If Hinduism flows placidly like the Ganges, then Christianity bustles like Toronto at rush hour … in a moment you are lost or saved.”[36] But Pi’s criteria for God suit Christ as well as the rest, his list including elation, joy, a moral rather than intellectual sense of the universe, and the foundations of love, presence and ultimate purpose.[37]

Martel claims the meaning of Life of Pi centers about love and the presence of God, which can describe Dante’s Divine Comedy as well. In two short but critical chapters, Martel speaks of joy, a moral sense more important than an intellectual understanding of things, and love. Of God’s apparent silence, Martel can offer only the comforting thought of:

“An intellect confounded yet a trusting sense of presence and of ultimate purpose.”[38]

Dante answers Martel’s longing for love, divine presence and purpose in the famous final lines of Paradise:

Already were all my will and my desires

Turned – as a wheel in equal balance – by

The Love that moves the sun and the other stars.[39]

The Love (God) that “moves” our will and desires endows us with purpose, ordering the ways of our heart.  As to presence, the wheel that turns not just ourselves but the “sun and other stars” is the presence of God, divine Love; it evokes not just the wheel of fate spun by Lady Fortune, Boethius’s guide eight centuries prior, in which we travel from the periphery of an often cruel fate to the comforting presence of God at the center, but the notion of Medieval Christian mystic Nicholas of Cusa a century and a half after Dante, in which God is considered as both center and circumference of the world. [40] [41] We will soon see how differently the Asian philosophies and religions conceive of a wheel.

Everlasting Man’s Own Wrinkles in Time

Chesterton further scrutinizes the history of religions, East and West, Christian and Pagan, Ancient and Modern in The Everlasting Man; a brief look at its key themes can better help us untangle the devout but eclectic Pi from his web of contradictory faiths. It can also enlighten us on the patchwork of thinkers, religious, philosophical, literary, scientific and otherwise, found in Madeleine L’Engle’s Wrinkle in Time.  L’Engle’s erudition is undeniable, citing and quoting figures from Horace to Seneca to Dante to Shakespeare to Gandhi. Her Christian faith, however, appears muddled when she cites Scripture and Saint Francis along with figures such as Buddha. Yet, her reliance on Christian scripture in her writing betrays the image of eclectic religious faith. When listing Earth’s fighters in the cosmic battle against evil, Mrs Who first cites Jesus’s “the light shineth in darkness” before her list of artists, scientists, and religious figures of various traditions.[42]  While being transported towards battle with the IT, the group rests in some breathtaking landscape and Mrs. Whatsit calls attention to a resonating voice arising and reading from Psalms, “Sing unto the Lord a new song, and his praise from the end of the earth … let them give glory unto the Lord!”[43] Through such references and her citations of figures from across the disciplinary and religious spectrum, L’Engle seems to be proving the point that “There is nothing so secular that it cannot be sacred, and that is one of the deepest messages of the Incarnation.”[44]

Chesterton helps us unravel Pi as he in fact claims to reverse the preference of the shipping official, and of God, for the story version with the animals: “It is exactly when we do regard man as an animal that we know he is not an animal.”[45] Considering the most primal form of man imaginable, the caveman, Chesterton turns once again to art to illustrate his point. We may find pictures of reindeer on cave walls drawn by cavemen, but have never found a picture of a man drawn by a reindeer. “Art is the signature of man.”[46] Neither might a bird have ever “carefully selected forked twigs and pointed leaves to express the piercing piety of the Gothic, but turned to broad foliage and black mud when he sought in a darker mood to call up the heavy columns of Bel and Ashtaroth.”[47]  Religion did not evolve from devotion paid to natural objects but the need to worship existed first; hieroglyphic languages of the Egyptians likely developed from rich imaginations rather than prelinguistic limitations; and the walls of Babylon protecting from nomads attest that early man preferred settlement to wandering. Neither did morality or even the family evolve, but instead it is “round the family [that] do indeed gather the sanctities that separate men from bees,” sanctities such as decency, liberty, property and honor; “the dawn of history reveals a humanity already civilized.”[48] [49]

Chesterton is just as incisive about the apparent democracy of religions: simply creating a list of founders such as Jesus, Mohammed, Buddha and Confucius confuses how different each one was. Instead, Chesterton proposes such categories as God, gods, demons, and philosophers by which to classify faiths and philosophies. The idea of a single God is often behind religions, however polytheistic: that a religion might hold that “every great thing grows from a seed,” Chesterton reminds us that “they seem to forget that every seed comes from a tree;”[50] even Confucianism, not intended as a religion, ends up as “a vague theism” replacing “God” with “Heaven.”[51] Mythologies are often tied to the worship of localities, such as a particular forest or mountain, though otherwise  “Mythology is a search”[52] and “man found it natural to worship; even natural to worship unnatural things”[53]. Mythologies and religions often turned daydreams into nightmares, as cannibalism and human sacrifice plagued religions from the Old World to the New. Rome’s courageous victory against the onslaught of Carthage and Hannibal (‘Hanniba’al’ translated as ‘grace of Ba’al,’ the god Moloch transported from Tyre and Sidon which demanded regular child sacrifice), amounted to a victory from “the simultaneous fury [of] the one God in Palestine and the guardians of all the household gods in Rome.”[54] The religions of Rome and the Mediterranean, however hearth – and family – oriented they might be at times, offered a more humane face to paganism than did Carthage and Moloch. But Rome’s religions had become exhausted:

There comes a time in the routine of an ordered civilization when the man is tired of playing at mythology and pretending that a tree is a maiden or that the moon made love to a man … Men seek stranger things … to stimulate their jaded sense. They seek after mad oriental religions for the same reason. They try to stab their nerves to life.[55]

The specter of Eastern religions did not offer anything better. These were most often philosophies rather than religions, with Confucius coming close to history’s first “Philosopher King” (otherwise advocated by Plato; Confucius inspired). The Egyptian King Akenahton achieved that honor, as he replaced Egypt’s pantheon of gods with but a single entity, the Sun. Conceiving of God in a circle figure, in fact, symbolized later Asian religious philosophies remarkably well, Chesterton observes, such as with the Asian penchant for viewing life as a cycle, as exemplified in the Wheel of Buddha. This wheel, represented as a swastika, symbolizes for Chesterton nothing but the spinning of a broken cross. At its limit, a circle, it epitomizes “the mind of Asia … a round O … the great Asiatic symbol of a serpent with its tail in its mouth” striving to represent everything, yet in fact showing how devours itself into nothing.[56] Only the cross, an intersection of sorts, of the eternal God with the external world (dismissed by the Buddha), can break the circle, Chesterton claims.  Given the self-renunciation at the heart of Buddhism, Chesterton declares it a “wheel, caught up in a sort of cosmic rotation of which the hollow hub is really nothing.”[57] Such philosophizing overly simplifies the matter:

The temptation of the philosophers is simplicity rather than subtlety. They are always attracted by insane simplifications … [that] everything is a dream and a delusion and there is nothing outside the ego. Another is that all things recur; another which is said to be Buddhist and is certainly Oriental, is the idea that what is the matter with us is our creation, in the sense of our coloured differentiation and personality, and that nothing will be well till we are again melted into one unity. By this theory, in short, the Creation was the Fall.[58]

Of Hindu thought, Chesterton states:

Gods as well as men are only the dreams of Brahma; and will perish when Brahma wakes. There is indeed something of the soul of Asia which is less sane than the soul of Christendom. We should call it despair, even if they call it peace.[59]

From Man in the Cave to God in the Cave: Last And First Christmases

But such despair, paralleling the exhausting of Mediterranean paganism, was answered by another man in a cave, the baby Jesus. Instead of Moloch and Ba’al which had different ideas about babies, the Christian faith presents a startling and novel picture of God: “a picture of a mother and a baby” attendant with “some hint of mercy and softening about the mere mention of the dreadful name of God.”[60] Such an image, Chesterton declares, makes growing up Christian so much different from growing up Jewish, Islamic, or even agnostic. Born as an outcast, homeless, and under the hills, “Christ was not only born on the level of the world, but even lower than the world.”[61] Implications of duties toward the poor, outcast, and even slaves were immediately altered; the exhausted worship of nature found its answer in a cave (the manger of Bethlehem), which held more answers than the “transcendentalism of Plato or the orientalism of Pythagoras,” a cave that was “a place of dreams come true” so that “since that hour no mythologies have been made in the world [as] mythology is a search.”[62]

Chesterton continues The Everlasting Man for nearly another hundred pages, but his work was essentially finished at this point. Christ’s birth “had risen out of the ground to wreck the heaven and earth of heathenism,” engulfing the philosophy, poetry and even common sense of other systems.[63] In Chestertonian style, paradoxes abound: “It proclaims peace on earth and never forgets why there was war in heaven,” and our image of Christ as meek and mild absolutely misses the voice of one who says to demons “Hold thy peace and come out of him,” answering Pi’s objections to a humble but apparently fight-less Jesus.[64] All competitors fall short:

Buddhism may profess to be equally mystical; it does not even profess to be equally military. Islam may profess to be equally military; it does not even profess to be equally metaphysical and subtle. Confucianism may profess to satisfy the need of the philosopher for order and reason; it does not even profess the need of the mystics for miracle and sacrament and consecration of concrete things… No other birth of a god or childhood sage seems to us to be Christmas or anything like Christmas.[65]

The story of Christ and Christmas speaks to the soul as other systems and religions cannot. From Buddha’s wheel to Akhen Aten’s sun to Pythagoras and his mystical idea of “number” to Confucius and his “religion of routine, there is not one of them which does not in some sin against the soul of a story … the ordeal of the free man.”[66] Whether by fatalism, indifference, skepticism or materialism, they miss that “there is a human story; and that there is such a thing as the divine story which is also a human story.”[67] That story is a romance, however divine, of God and man, and set within the structure of a family. Just as human virtues of even the first cavemen could be found in the family, so does the Christmas story take place in not just an Earthly trinity of a family, Father, Mother and child, but in a divine family, of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Holiday romances, even those of the Hallmark Christmas season romances, in some sense capture what Chesterton otherwise terms The Romance of Orthodoxy.[68] The 2019 holiday season film release, Last Christmas, illustrates: Tom’s frequent advice to Kate to “look up” augments the message of giving one’s heart away in love, and reinforces Chesterton’s claim that it was in a family, built on love, where our notions of love and the virtues first arose. The George Michael soundtrack paid homage to many of the themes found in Life of Pi, Wrinkle in Time and in Chesterton. In “Praying for Time,” Michael acknowledges our divine origin, which leads him to long for justice and a God to enforce it:

This is the year of the hungry man …

‘Cause God’s stopped keeping score …

He can’t come back

‘Cause he has no children to come back for

It’s hard to love there’s so much to hate.[69]

Michael flashes a germ of faith in finding an enduring love in the soundtrack’s next song, “You Gotta Have Faith.” But the song “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” best evokes Chesterton’s argument, however subtly. But the waking is not from some Eastern notion of life as a dream, nor the awakening of Brahman, or even the rising of Akhenaton’s sun which ushered in abstract philosophy. Instead, the waking has a divine rhythm and the relish of new life invoked by a sunrise, which Chesterton describes with:

A child kicks his legs rhythmically through excess, not absence, of life. Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. The always say “Do it again” and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly exhausted. For grown up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning “Do it again” to the sun; and every evening “Do it again” to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we. The repetition in Nature may not be a mere recurrence; it may be a theatrical encore.[70]

But the circular figure of the sun, like Buddha’s wheel of fate, ultimately gives way to a sketch of the round face of a compassionate mother, and of a Son.

Merry Christmas.


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Citation Information

Seth Myers. “Chesterton at the Movies.” An Unexpected Journal 2, no. 2. (Advent 2019): 195-224.

Direct Link: https://anunexpectedjournal.com///chesterton-at-the-movies/


[1] Yann Martel, LIfe of Pi (New York:L Harcourt, 2001). x.

[2] G.K. Chesterton, The Everlasting Man (Mansfield Centre: Martino, 2014), 78.

[3] Madeleine L’Engel, Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art (Colorado Springs: Waterbrook, 2001), 28.

[4] C.S. Lewis, Surprised by Joy (Glasgow: Collins, 1955), 178.

[5] Quoted in Daniel A. Seidell, God in the Gallery: A Christian Embrace of Modern Art (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2008), 47.

[6] Josef Pieper, Leisure: The Basis of Culture (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2009), 15. Pieper, a German philosopher, argues that Nazi Germany had not paid attention to divine roots of culture,typically observed in holidays and contemplation that occurs in true leisure.

[7] Ravi Zacharias, Jesus Among Other Gods (Nashville: Word Publishing, 2000), 7.

[8] Lesslie Newbigin, The Gospel in a Pluralist Society (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1989), 180.

[9] Frank Turek, “Cross Examined,” accessed November 22, 2019,  www.crossexamined.org.

[10]  G. K. Chesterton, “Autobiography,” Project Gutenberg Australia, accessed November 27, 2019, http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks13/1301201h.html.

[11]  G.K. Chesterton, The Everlasting Man (Mansfield Centre: Martino Publishing, 2014), 78.

[12] Yann Martel, Life of Pi (New York: Harcourt, 2001), 70-72.

[13] Ibid., 48.

[14] Ibid., 54.

[15] Ibid., 62-63.

[16] Ibid., 63.

[17] Ibid., 28.

[18] Ibid., 48.

[19] Ibid.

[20] G. K. Chesterton, “Orthodoxy,” Project Gutenberg, accessed November 27, 2019, https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/16769.

[21] Lewis first came to admit that “God is God” and thus became a Theist but it took up to two years for him to decide on the Christian faith, though Alister McGrath argues it took just one, from Spring, 1930 to Autumn, 1931. See C.S. Lewis, Surprised by Joy (1955) and Alister McGrath, C.S. Lewis – A Life (Tyndale, 2013).

[22] C.S. Lewis, Surprised by Joy (Glasgow: Collins, 1955), 188.

[23] G. K. Chesterton, “Orthodoxy,” Project Gutenberg, accessed November 27, 2019, https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/16769.

[24] Ibid.

[25] I am here reminded of the story of the Buddhist ordering a hot dog, and when asked what he would like on it, answers “make me one with everything.” I credit my philosophy major brother for that insight.

[26] G. K. Chesterton, “Orthodoxy,” Project Gutenberg, accessed November 27, 2019, https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/16769.

[27] Ibid.

[28] Ibid.

[29] Ibid.

[30] Ibid., 103.

[31] Ibid., 47.

[32] Ibid., 48.

[33] Ibid., 49.

[34] Ibid., 55.

[35] Ibid., 56.

[36] Ibid., 57.

[37] Ibid., 58.

[38] Martel, Life of Pi, 63.

[39] Dante Alighieri, Paradise tr. Anthony Esolen (New York: Modern Library, 2007), Canto 33, l. 143-145.

[40] Boethius, The Consolation of Philosophy (Oxford: Oxford University PRess, 2000).

[41] As discussed in C.S. Lewis, The Discarded Image: An Introduction to Medieval and Renaissance Literature (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994), 87.

[42] Ibid., 85.

[43] Ibid., 64.

[44] Madeleine L’Engle, Walking on Water (Colorado Springs: Waterbrook Press, 2001), 51.

[45] Chesterton, The Everlasting Man, 13.

[46] Ibid., 28.

[47] Ibid., 32.

[48] Ibid., 47.

[49] Ibid., 50.

[50] Ibid., 82.

[51] Ibid., 84.

[52] Ibid., 107.

[53] Ibid., 106.

[54] Ibid., 119.

[55] Ibid., 155.

[56] Ibid., 129.

[57] Ibid., 126.

[58] Ibid., 131.

[59] Ibid., 93.

[60] Ibid., 165.

[61] Ibid., 167.

[62] Ibid., 169.

[63] Ibid., 176.

[64] Ibid., 178.

[65] Ibid.

[66] Ibid., 240.

[67] Ibid., 240.

[68] This is the title of Chapter 8 of his Orthodoxy, the chapter from which most of his discussion on world religions in that book can be found.

[69] George Michael, Praying for Time (Sony Music Entertainment UK LImited, 2017).

[70] G. K. Chesterton, “Orthodoxy,” Project Gutenberg, accessed November 27, 2019, https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/16769.