Beginner Book?

Hi, I have a friend who’s 23 years old and grew up in a gnostic household. His family used to be Catholic but for reasons he doesn’t know, left the church before he was born. His family never discuses religion and he considers himself to be an athiest simply because he was never guided in any direction whatsoever.

He sometimes goes to a Presbyterian church with his fiance and is open to the possibility of God; however, the Presbyterians church isn’t offering the most stimulating science for him to chew on (he’s a med student), and when I told him the Catholic church included faith AND reason he said that was “refreshing”. I gave him the book “God at the Ritz” which is by a Priest/Physicist and he’s really enjoyed it. The book is basically about being open to God and following your hearts desire for God.

However, the book doesn’t go into detail on Christianity and I’d like to give him a book (for beginners) that does. I’m currently reading “Mere Christianity” by CS Lewis which is excellent but he has some views that aren’t exactly Catholic.

Can anyone suggest an intelligent book that offers an introductory to Christianity from a Catholic point of view? I know Pope Benedict wrote one years ago but a don’t think my friend is a big fan of his at the moment considering the allegations.

I have no books to recommend off the top of my head but there is a website:

which shows how scholars and historians maintain that Jesus did exist and that He is who He says He is. From refuting the DaVinci code false claims to His death and resurrection to miracles He performed, all is approached from a historical and scientific perspepctive mainly with some faith questions in between. It isn’t a catholic website but it appears to be christian. I haven’t traversed the whole site but so far what I’ve read stands up with catholic theology.

You can check the site out for yourself with a critical eye of course before you suggest it to him.

Stay blessed!

A couple of suggestions:

Believing in Jesus, by Leonard Foley, OFM. An excellent, easy-to-understand introduction to the Catholic faith.

Christianity Pure and Simple by Dwight Longenecker is another book along these lines, but not quite as good as Fr. Foley’s book.

Frank Sheed’s What Difference Does Jesus Make? is excellent, if you can find a copy. Very entertaining and informative.

If he’s looking for some validation that there’s any merit to Christianity, he might consider The Case for Christ, by Lee Strobel, though this may be a bit simplistic for him.

If he’s looking for something that supports an intellectual approach to the faith, then just about anything by Pope Benedict XVI, who is one of the most brilliant minds of our era. God and the World, his interview with Peter Seewald, contains more insight and erudition than anything I’ve read in thirty years.

Those should help him get started…


“Theology and Sanity” by Frank Sheed, and published by Ignatius Press, devotes more than 30 pages to The Blessed Trinity. Not an “introductory” book: but a great way to show an intelligent person (a med student cant be too dense) that we have a convincing case for our belief in the Trinity. Were dealing with the very inner Life of God here; so you can`t get any closer to the heart of Christianity than that!

The (Trinitarian) Protestant denominations seem to pay only lip service to the doctrine, so he`d see that our Theology is more profound than theirs.

The rest of the book is a good read, as well.

Books by Joseph Ratzinger/Pope Benedict will be OK after all of these accusations have been exposed for the lies that they are.
Let him see that the Church has more than a few powerful intellects under Her wing.
GK Chesterton?
John Henry Newman?
St, Thomas Aquinas?
Feed his mind!
Let him plumb the depths!

Some info about, say, The Little Flower would show him the more “tender” side: the Church is for everyone.

Mere Christianity is just that, Mere Christianity. I think Lewis did a very good job developing this book from a eccumenical view.

My personnal opinion is that this book simply cannot be topped. As Peter Kreeft (very Catholic) says, Everyone should read Mere Christianity 6 times. I agree. It’s a treasure beyond all other treasures when it comes to grassroots Christianity.

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