Philosophical foundation

I am about to begin work as a missionary, and this will involve having discussions quite frequently with people that range from uninformed to outright hostile in regards to faith. Philosophy, as I have learned, is a key to understanding and explaining faith in a reasonable way. Unfortunately, I have virtually no philosophical foundation.

I would like a good list of reading material that will help introduce me to philosophy. I have begun reading “Philosophy 101” by Kreeft, and plan on reading “Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview,” by Craig and Moreland, along with “Socratic Logic,” by Kreeft. Is there anything else I should be made aware of?

Thanks in advance.

PRAY THE ROSARY! You have to become devoted to it yourself, first, and then pray it for those you preach to, and teach them to pray it. You don’t need philosophy, you need prayer.

Daily prayer/mass is an essential part of this ministry. But thank you for the advice!

I like Kreeft myself, and watch a lot of his videos on youtube. He was probably my first introduction to in-depth Catholic faith. I’d also add his books:

  • Handbook of Christian Apologetics - basic arguments for the existence of God, and the Catholic/Christian faith.

  • A Shorter Summa - a distillation of Aquinas’ Summa Theologicae for dummies like myself

  • The “Socrates Meets…” series is interesting and fun to read, where Kreeft imagines how Socrates would respond to western civilizations greatest (or most destructive) philosophers. Ex. (Socrates Meets Hume, Socrates Meets Sartre, Socrates Meets Marx, etc.)

I’m a bit of a philosophy noob myself, and have a difficult time understanding the terminology flung around, but a fellow CAF member was kind of enough to educate me:

William Lane Craig is okay, but I think his argumentation falls short when debating other religions, such as Islam, which Kreeft can honestly understand and sincerely address much better.

Start by reading everything you can get your hands on by or about Plato. I’ve been told he’s the lodestone for Western philosophy. Aristotle is good too but not as entertaining.

Bertrand Russell has a well-known and well-regarded overview of Western philosophy; it might be wise to read that as well as you get started.

I think you have it almost all wrong. Philosophy helps you understand people and cultures. If you would win souls…don’t try to reason people into Heaven. Paul tried that with a vast audience in Athens and only got 2 people to listen.

Rather… a missionary should seek to know Christ and Him crucified…and walk with the POWER of the Spirit and a simple message of faith and love…eg…Damien of Molikia

Ps…Mother Teresa was adamant that her nuns FILL UP their souls each day in front of the Blessed Sacrament…before they pour it out on the poor and dying.

I agree completely! They will, after all, know us by our love. And indeed I seek to have a passionate relationship with Jesus Christ, and to make my faith more of a love affair and less of a theory. However, in my experience when dialoguing with faithless or skeptic people, it is good to have a knowledge of fallacies, errors in logic, and be able to question or cause someone to question preconceived notions. This is especially effective with abortion proponents.

I appreciate the advice to pray, and we will indeed pray. Daily holy hour and mass are required. However, I wish to know Jesus first with my heart, but also with my mind. A complete faith is required, perhaps not for conversion, but for having a defense of the hope that is in me.

Thank you, and may the grace and peace of Christ be with you!

Thank you for the answers, everyone!

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