BOOKS: john samuel barnett's "why i'm not catholic"

hi everyone,

i recently bought a kindle and have been poring over amazon’s extensive library of kindle format books, especially catholic ones. during one of my many searches, i found a book called “church history explained: why i’m not catholic”, by john samuel barnett. i read the description and downloaded a sample of the book, because i wanted to see what this guy could possibly have as ammo against us catholics. he attacks the eucharist, mary, the saints, purgatory, and a number of other things not included in the sample.

these are all typical things that people attack about our faith. i’m not really sure what my question is… i guess i was wondering if anyone has read the entire book, and if so, what your take on it is.

Don’t bother with it. I made the mistake of getting on youtube and finding a video on Stephen Fry’s comments against the Catholic church. Of course to sum it up he and another guy, who is an atheist, start picking at the church just like any other uneducated, closed-spirited individual that is out there to slam the Catholic faith. Don’t bother reading it. Do read about the history of the church. Delve yourself into the faith and learn as much as you can that way you can be prepared for the unexpected. God bless you.


“Domine Dirige Nos”

If its anything like Bertrand Russel’s why i am not a christian, I cant see it being all that great or even theologically accurate and instead of calling it “why I’m not catholic” it should be called “why i’m not what i think a catholic is”

but i have not read it so i may be wrong but usually i find such works to be seriously lacking.

Barnett is quite different from Stephen Fry in that he is a protestant scholar rather than an atheist journalist. I’m sure whatever he wrote is much stronger and more difficult to pick apart than the things Fry says. I would say the best way to approach books like this, if you are truly curious about knowing what they have to say, is by balancing it out with a good Catholic apologetic source.

I just wanted to reiterate what you said here because I think it warrants repeating:

Instead of calling it “why I’m not Catholic” it should be called “why I’m not what I think a Catholic is”


So True!!:thumbsup:

I avoid anything anti Catholic like the plague

My guess on how Barnett could be different is what I’ve heard from most Protestants - that Catholics ‘make up teachings’ that aren’t ‘in the Bible’, as if the Bible composed every single religious belief in it. They don’t share our belief that all teachings are (and should be) consistent with scripture, but they are not solely contained in Scripture.

Also, I’d be weary of the Catholic author Garry Wills. Though I haven’t read “Why I am a Catholic”, I heard reviews that his ideas were quite un-Catholic. Unfortunately, I found this to be true upon reading “What Jesus Meant”, which I had bought without looking at reviews first. This author claims to be Catholic, but is against the clergy, the Pope, organized religion, ‘exclusion’ of women from the priesthood, and a slew of other Catholic teachings (he seriously uses the phrase “St. Judas” at one part).

My advice before buying Catholic books - do a thorough review from trusted sources (I checked CAF after the fact, and it confirmed what I had already experienced). As for anti-Catholic sources, I don’t much see the point in reading those when one can simply turn on any popular television station and just wait for some irreverent comment.

I just got a Kindle, too, and I’m enjoying it.
I’ve wasted some money on books because it is so easy to just hit BUY.

Don’t waste money and time on people who write this drivel. If they want to write this stuff, it is their right.

I went into a Barnes and Noble several years ago and found a bunch of atheist books and was shocked. But it made me question why someone would go out of their way to dis-prove God’s existence? What is in it for them?

It stems from pride, the same sin that Lucifer had. Pray to St Michael, go on to the next subject on your Kindle and read something worthwhile. The devil tempted Jesus in the desert and it is still going on.

They all seem angry at “religion” (have you ever watched Bill Maher?) and take it out on God.

There is SO much stuff we need to learn as Catholics that we shouldn’t have time to bother with anti-Catholic literature. Seriously.

Fr. John Corapi’s advisor, when he finished his doctorate, said to him, “Well, you’ve received every degree the Church offers. At what level would you like to teach?” He was thinking college, seminary, etc. Fr. Corapi said he told him, 'Kindergarten." Why? He said because the vast majority of Catholics in the U.S. have a kindergarten level education in the faith. And I think he’s right. Once you really get into it, it is SO deep that you can spend your whole life studying it and never finish. Even the Pope has his personal theologian to help him out.

while i do agree that there is so much anti-Catholic literature that it’s not worth wasting time on, i also believe that it’s important to be able to arm ourselves against these attacks. i’m not as well-versed as i’d like to be, Bible-wise or doctrine-wise, and i guess i hoped that by reading his arguments against, i could look for rebuttals supporting Catholic doctrine.

for the record, i did NOT buy this book! i downloaded a sample, which is free. it was very badly written, for one (horrible grammar and run-on sentences, repeating himself too much), and many of his arguments were weak, thankfully. he attacked the Mass (“Catholics re-sacrifice Jesus over 200,000 times a day” or something along those lines), he called the Eucharist a “pancake” (i nearly dropped my kindle when i read that!), and, while he did admit that Mary was a very special woman, he stopped just short of calling our veneration of Mary “Mariolatry” (a term i read on a forum from an anti-Catholic).

i started getting involved in my faith when i was 19, and i’m 26 now, so my time steeped in Catholicism has been pretty short. i’ve recently become really revved up in learning more about it, but i’m pretty clueless most of the time! i love hearing that even the Pope has help :slight_smile:

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