Need book recommendation to give to Agnostic


#1

I would appreciate it greatly if some of you could give me recommendations on books you are familiar with that might be appropriate to give to an agnostic.

My brother has just informed me that the reason he doesn’t go to church any more (for a very long time) is because he can’t believe that a loving God would allow war, famine, injustice, violence, earthquakes, tidal waves, incurable diseases etc. to cause suffering for His creatures.

Being it was Christmas, I didn’t want to get into a protracted discussion, but I pointed out that if there were no suffering, it wouldn’t be much of a test for God to see if His creatures truly loved him, willingly.

I’m sure that there are other reasons that he has for his non-belief. His wife is Lutheran is one reason. Interference with his Sundays would be another one. I practiced that one myself for over 20 years. But I’m back.

I’m sure there are many better arguments that could be made.

I look forward with great interest to your various recommendations.

Thanks in advance.


#2

Ray

I have recently started this series with my SDA wife. Dwight Longnecker is a clear and concise author. He is a very easy read.

Hope that is may be of some help.

dwightlongenecker.com/Content/Pages/Books/ChristianityPureAndSimple.asp


#3

I would recommend C.S. Lewis’ “Mere Christianity”, and, if he’s a guy who likes to read, G.K. Chesterton’s “The Everlasting Man” and “Orthodoxy” (perhaps the latter first, though with Chesterton it’s always hard to choose).

If he isn’t much of a reader, then I would suggest going to Catholic.com and looking up articles from past “This Rock” magazines. I know that this (the problem of evil)is a topic that has been dealt with. In the current issue, there’s an article that covers five philosophical positions, including the problem of evil, which includes a quick refutation of them.

I have a lot of respect for Peter Kreeft’s writings, and I believe he has one on the fundamentals of faith—I can’t remember the title (I haven’t read that one), but perhaps someone else knows the book I am referring to.

Best wishes, and God bless you for your efforts. It’s hard to get through a person’s apathy.


#4

Peter Kreeft, three approaches to abortion or Introduction to Philosophy


#5

This is not a book, per se, but a series of articles. christian-thinktank.com/objedex.html has answers to ‘common objections’ that cover the issues you mentioned.

Please not that this is NOT a Catholic site, but a Protestant one; thus, there may be some doctrinal errors, but still some very helpful answers.

I would also recommend Lee Strobel’s The Case for Christ, which does not focus too much on the problem of evil, but defends the accuracy of the Gospels, and that Jesus was a real person who was who He claimed. Again, this is Protestant. (Sorry, I’m a former Protestant entering the Catholic Church…I don’t know a lot of good Catholic apologetics aimed at non-Christians).


#6

“On the Meaning of Human Suffering”, by Pope John Paul II.

“The Problem of Pain”, by C. S. Lewis.


#7

[quote=Sherlock]I would recommend C.S. Lewis’ “Mere Christianity”, and, if he’s a guy who likes to read, G.K. Chesterton’s “The Everlasting Man” and “Orthodoxy” (perhaps the latter first, though with Chesterton it’s always hard to choose).

If he isn’t much of a reader, then I would suggest going to Catholic.com and looking up articles from past “This Rock” magazines. I know that this (the problem of evil)is a topic that has been dealt with. In the current issue, there’s an article that covers five philosophical positions, including the problem of evil, which includes a quick refutation of them.

I have a lot of respect for Peter Kreeft’s writings, and I believe he has one on the fundamentals of faith—I can’t remember the title (I haven’t read that one), but perhaps someone else knows the book I am referring to.

Best wishes, and God bless you for your efforts. It’s hard to get through a person’s apathy.
[/quote]

I believe the book you are thinking of by Peter Kreeft is “Making Sense of Suffering.” It’s a good read. A lot of the book is written in response to Rabbi Kushner’s book on suffering.


#8

Some books that were recommended to me were:

The Case for a Creator: A Journalist Investigates Scientific Evidence That Points Toward God by Lee Strobel

and his other book:
The Case for Christ: A Journalist Investigates Scientific Evidence That Points… by Lee Strobel
Both are available at Amazon.com

The writer was an agnostic and became a believer when he found supporting evidence for the Christian position. I have not read “The Case for the Creator” but I have read the other. The books are a little long winded and a hardheaded agnostic can argue the evidence as weak, but I thought the book had some good evidence that helps build on my faith. These books are not particularly Catholic, but I didn’t see anything too wrong with them. There are some other books that were written for teenage catechesis, I think they being with Why…??? like Why God, Why Prayer, Why Church…. These are small apologetics of about 50 pages or so that explain to those rebellious types Why.

I am always looking for books on this subject myself. We may argue who has the fullest of the faith, but for those who have none, it would be good to have that magic bullet which would convince them otherwise. We also need faith that God will do the work, but we must be open to be His instrument and that special book or video might be the right tool. If you go to EWTN.com/libriarys/audio you can search for Fr. Groshel’s new series called Sunday Night Live, (Or something close to that) he covered the subject of non believers a couple of weeks ago. This is a free audio download that can be listened to with real player (also available for free on that site) These files are about 6 Meg, so if you are on dial up it will take fifteen or so minutes to download.

Hope this helps.


#9

Are there any books which present both sides of the issues of God’s existence, Christ’s existence and divinity, the problem of evil? Should he hear both sides of the discussion? Responses to Strobel’s works, for instance, are readily available.


#10

Thanks, folks.

I was thinking of Lewis and Chesterton myself. I’ve read some things of Kreeft that I really liked.

I’ve actually exchanged emails with Longenecker and like his stuff also. I’ve saved some of the “This Rock” articles already.

I’m going to look at those others also. I’ve not had much formal religious education since high school. I’ve read a bit and taken a few night classes. I look forward to reading those books myself.

Keep 'em coming. I’ll make a nice list and then maybe post it whenever the threat peters out.

Ray


#11

I like CS Lewis a lot too. “The Problem of Pain” specificly address the issue he raised. I think a lot of Christian replies to that question are a little shallow. This book might be a good choice if that is really what is keeping him from believing in God.

If it’s more complicated than that, “Mere Christianity” might be better as far as Lewis goes.

The Screwtape letters is one look at how people can lose their Christian beliefs.


#12

[quote=Ray Marshall]I would appreciate it greatly if some of you could give me recommendations on books you are familiar with that might be appropriate to give to an agnostic.

My brother has just informed me that the reason he doesn’t go to church any more (for a very long time) is because he can’t believe that a loving God would allow war, famine, injustice, violence, earthquakes, tidal waves, incurable diseases etc. to cause suffering for His creatures.

Being it was Christmas, I didn’t want to get into a protracted discussion, but I pointed out that if there were no suffering, it wouldn’t be much of a test for God to see if His creatures truly loved him, willingly.

I’m sure that there are other reasons that he has for his non-belief. His wife is Lutheran is one reason. Interference with his Sundays would be another one. I practiced that one myself for over 20 years. But I’m back.

I’m sure there are many better arguments that could be made.

I look forward with great interest to your various recommendations.

Thanks in advance.
[/quote]

C.S. Lewis The Problem of Pain
Is the Best book on a Christian response to the problem of pain and evil in the world.
Mere Christianity is also good but it sounds like the main problem here is the existence of evil and “The Problem of Pain” deals with this in far greater detail.
The Handbook of Christian Apologetics by Peter Kreeft is an excellent book that deals with most common objections an atheist would have. He also has less detailed book that in essay form called Fundamentals of the faith in that book he has a short essay called “The Problem of Evil” it is short and to the point.

Catholic Mike were you reading my mind?
I just posted my response and noted your new post.Great minds think alike.


#13

I think the Kreeft book *is * called “Fundamentals of the Faith.” Another good book of his is “Yes or No” which uses the Socratic method of dialog between a believer and a skeptic to question and answer every common objection to religion in general and Christianity in particular. I’d also second the recommendation for “Mere Christianity” and “Handbook of Christian Apologetics.”


#14

marianland.com/apolo018.html


#15

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