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HomeArticle4 Books to Help You Defend and Spread Your Catholic Faith

4 Books to Help You Defend and Spread Your Catholic Faith

4 Books to Help You Defend and Spread Your Catholic Faith

Book covers of ‘The Best Argument for God,’ ‘Staying With the Catholic Church,’ ‘Why I Am Catholic’ and ‘What Is Catholicism?’ (photo: Sophia Institute Press / Ave Maria Press / Our Sunday Visitor)

 

Learn how to defend the faith with the help of Patrick Flynn, David Bonagura, Brandon Vogt and John Redford.

More than once in recent months, I’ve encountered someone who scoffed at the idea of organized religion. Maybe it’s Christianity that he disdains; perhaps it’s the Catholic faith in particular that doesn’t ring true to his way of thinking.

How can one counter the Office Atheist, using reason and charity to expose the flaws in his understanding of the meaning of life? Just in time, a couple of great books showed up in my mailbox. Recognizing the emerging need, I reached back into my bookcase to revisit a few older titles that share the mission of converting the skeptic. Perhaps you’ll find them useful, too!

 

The Best Argument for God by Patrick Flynn (Sophia Institute Press, 2023)

The title of Flynn’s book seems to suggest that there is a single primary argument that proves beyond a doubt that God exists, but the book itself presents numerous arguments, each with compelling logic. Flynn counters the claims of atheistic naturalism with charity and clarity, applying philosophy, logic and plain common sense.

How did the world begin? Flynn begins with that classic question, “Why is there something rather than nothing?” He recalls worrying, as a child of just 8 years, whether he might just blip out of existence. And then he helps the reader to see the logic, the manifest necessity, of a Creator who continues to care for his creation.

Flynn takes on the questions of faith through many portals: the necessity of stability and order, in a world created by God; the discernible laws of morality; the existence of observable beings just like us; and the problem of suffering and evil. In the end, having sought the meaning of life through many viewpoints, he exposes naturalism — belief in a world without God — as an illogical and impossible viewpoint. God’s benevolent creation and maintenance of the world around us is the only plausible explanation.

 

Staying With the Catholic Church: Trusting God’s Plan of Salvation by David G. Bonagura, Jr. (Sophia Institute Press, 2021)

Sometimes I read a book or article and realize that the author has captured my thoughts exactly, and there is no longer a need for me to worry about writing it. I just go ahead, post it on social media with a giant “thumbs up” and say “THIS!”

That’s how I felt about David Bonagura’s book Staying With the Catholic Church: Trusting God’s Plan of Salvation. Granted, the Church has faced scandals and challenges; Bonagura acknowledges that right up front. But his book is intended to help believers and nonbelievers move beyond the horrific scandal of priestly abuse, and to open their eyes and their hearts to the beauty and truth of the Catholic faith.

“Imagine what Peter must have been thinking,” Bonagura says, as Peter, the designated leader of Christ’s newly-founded Church, watched his leader work countless signs and wonders, but then endure a painful crucifixion and death.

 

Why I Am Catholic (And You Should Be Too) by Brandon Vogt (Ave Maria Press, 2017)

Brandon Vogt is a force to be reckoned with in the Catholic world. He once fit into the camp of “spiritual but not religious,” but he converted from mainline Protestantism and entered the Catholic Church while he was in college. Since then, in just a few short years, he’s published a dozen best-selling books; founded ClaritasU, an online source that equips Catholics to better explain their faith; and founded the Chesterton Academy of Orlando, a Catholic classical high school in his home state of Florida. He wears many hats at Bishop Robert Barron’s Word on Fire Catholic Ministries, where he’s a podcast host and senior publishing director.

Brandon’s story is compelling, and in Why I Am Catholic, he shares the insights that led to his enthusiastic embrace of the Faith. Catholicism, he explains, is true, it’s good, and it’s beautiful.

In the Introduction, he asks the hard questions that are on some unbelievers’ minds: Isn’t Catholicism a backward, intolerant, bigoted religion? Doesn’t it degrade women and LGBT people and obsess about sex? Isn’t it plagued by pointless rules that stifle real faith? But then he offers 167 pages of clear reasoning, bound to strike a nerve among agnostics, nones and atheists.

Why I Am Catholic is now available in paperback. It would be a great gift for a friend who is a fallen-away Catholic, or for someone who has become jaded and disenchanted with religion.

 

What Is Catholicism? Hard Questions – Straight Answers by John Redford (Our Sunday Visitor, 1997)

John Redford was an Anglican deacon before his studies led him into the Catholic Church, where he was ordained to the priesthood in 1967. He understood both the Catholic and Protestant perspectives, so was uniquely qualified to explain the difficult points — which he did, answering more than 50 important questions that he likely encountered upon his conversion. He tackled the Bible, Church authority, sexuality and ecumenism, responding to pointed questions such as, “How can apologetics (the defense of one’s faith) be reconciled with ecumenism (the search for visible unity among all Christians)?” and “Has the Catholic Church, in its doctrine of the Virgin Mary, confused doctrine and Tradition with legend?”

Father Redford lived and served in England. Avery Dulles, in his endorsement of the book, wrote that his first reaction to the book was “that this work … spoke to issues that were at least as vital in the United States as in England, and that the book, if published on this side of the Atlantic, would fill a notable gap in the existing literature.”

 

 

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