I have been given a fairly unique opportunity (Book Recommendation)

So, a Muslim friend and I have recently been seriously discussing our respective faiths. This has been good for both of us since it gives me an opportunity to learn more about Islam (of which I am fairly uninformed) and gives her an opportunity to learn about Christianity (of which she is completely uninformed).

She has often contended that the reason I am not a Muslim is because I have been misinformed about what Islam actually is. I disagree, but, I think I will give her the following offer: I’ll read a book of her choice/ talk to a Sheikh of her choosing/ whatever she feels would give me a more complete overview of Islam IF she will agree to read a book of my choosing. I think that this proposition has a reasonable chance of succeeding. If it does manage to work I want to be ready with my recommendation?

The book should be short and relatively easy to read. It should have be a brief (and brevity is key here) overview of what Christians believe. My immediate thought is that Mere Christianity might fit the bill (but having never read it myself, I’m not sure) but if there are any other recommendations I’d gladly take them.

As a note: I would be reading anything I pass on beforehand so that I would be able to discuss it later. So I look at it as two benefits: a chance to educate me AND my Muslim friend more.

The Gospel according to Matthew or John.


I’d personally say St. Luke and St. John, but St. Matthew includes the most of Christ’s parables and teachings…well, actually, all four Gospels is probably a good recommendation!

Following this, the Epistle of St. Paul to the Romans is a logical next step…

Hope She will become more open to you being Roman Catholic once you have read some of the books. As we all know our faith isn’t as simple as reading a book to give us more understanding on another faith. All the best in reading and it is wise to understand where another is coming from especially if you are solid in your own faith. I hope she will in time accept you as a committed RC to whatever knowledge and understanding you may have about others Amen

The Catholic Truth Society do excellent books, including shorter ones. If you look at the Catechism or Evangelisation sections you can find something you think would be appropriate.

Another option is the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. It is available online here for free. It has a Q-A format which your friend may find more accessible than just a full body of text.

You suggest ‘Mere Christianity’ but I would not advise that. C.S. Lewis was an Anglican, despite holding some more Catholic positions. Giving your Muslim friend an Anglican text would be completely counter-productive to your aims. If you are going to educate her in Christianity it should be only in the full truth of the Catholic Church.

I will keep your efforts in my prayers.

First, you should read “Mere Christianity”. Then you can give it to her to read.

While Lewis was an Anglican, his writing is VERY appropriate to understanding the Catholic Church specifically, as well as Christian life in general. Then you might proceed to “The Screwtape Letters”, if you dare. You will receive a complete education in the dangers of modern cultural thought, compliments of the Devil himself.

There is NO book written (including the Scriptures) which, in so few pages, defines what Christianity should be.

“Mere Christianity” is just fine for your needs. It’s short, but still manages to cover all the bases that someone would need to learn the basics of Christianity as a religion. It’s one of the best books I have ever read.
Another good one would be Cardinal Donald Wuerl’s “The Catholic Way”.
You don’t want to bury a person in details, so short and concise is the best way to go.

Admirable idea, but not exactly what I’m looking for. Yes, there would be no better way to teach her Christian teachings then the words and actions of Christ Himself, but I feel as if the reading would be too long, too dense, and she might feel a little odd (not quite what I mean, but exactly how to write my thoughts on the subject currently escape me).

It isn’t so much that she isn’t open to me being Roman Catholic. I don’t think she’s met too many Roman Catholics who actively practice their faith (not that I’m trying to say I’m a model Christian, nothing could be further from the truth) and thus that my *perceived * piety would be better spent in Islam.

I thank you for your prayers. The Compendium is a good idea, and I do own and have read the Compendium. it does, however, fall short of what I was intending. I personally attempt to answer any questions she has about the faith. What I do need is someone to present the the core beliefs of the faith as simply and elegantly as possible (I tend to jump around a lot about how great this and that is).

Thank you for the recommendation. I actually have read the Screwtape Letters and I enjoyed it immensely. That’s actually what lead me to think that Mere Christianity might be exactly what I needed.

And it is true that that no book can really define what a Christian should be. Really, I think the best bet in the short term would be to try and exemplify Christian life in my own personal life. I do, of course, try to do that but I’m just an inadequate canvas to paint the fullness and beauty of Christianity.

That was what I was thinking. I’ll definitely look at the Catholic Way too.

Thanks for the suggestions and prayers everyone! More of either would be very much appreciated.

I’ve heard good things about Fr. Barron’s Catholicism. That might be a good way to go. I think your aim in going for something that simply and beautifully proposes the truths of the faith is probably a better bet than giving her a straight apologetics book.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.