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I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist
I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist
by Norman L. Geisler
Edition: Paperback
Price: $12.66
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3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, July 3, 2011
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Norm Geisler is a brilliant man and he demonstrates this clearly in this book. If you are Christian then you will probably find the title alone makes it worth the price. However the substance does not disappoint.

In some cases Mr Geisler takes an optimistic view of the data (specifically the number of non-Christian early authors writing about Jesus) but pedantic issues like this have no practical consequence for the information presented.

This is the second time that I have bought the book. It is one of two books that I bought for a friend converting to Catholicism after having serious doubts about Christianity and then seeing the light.


A Biblical Defense of Catholicism
A Biblical Defense of Catholicism
by Dave Armstrong
Edition: Paperback
Price: $18.33
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Useful book, July 3, 2011
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Up front I don't believe that different denominations should publically fight about minor doctrinal differences. Often little things appear huge to atheists because we get carried away in debate. Egged on by secular fundamentalists atheists can be deprived of the opportunity of appreciating the immense value of God's Word. They figure that we don't know what we are talking about because we can't agree with each other so how could Christianity possibly be worth looking into?

That said private debates on these things are enjoyable - particularly if you are Catholic as the Bible is "stacked" our way. Also, if Catholicism gets bagged too heavily in public I believe it should be defended. This is so people don't get too warped an idea of Catholicism but sometimes also defending it is in the interests of those protestants who bad mouth it because they sometimes 'shoot themselves in the foot' by attacking the largest Christian denomination. This can reflect on the validity of their own denomination in the eyes of atheists and thus prospects of conversion. We should never stand in the way of the opportunity for atheists to freely choose our religion.

As a resource I find this book particularly valuable. Protestants don't care what our Catechism says or what Popes have pronounced. Those who are motivated to debate have the common ground that they believe in God's Word. That is a strength of this book. It doesn't just include this but relies solely upon it.

The author is a protestant convert who converted after trying to show that Catholicism was non-Biblical and his research made him realise that the caricatures of Catholic doctrine were incorrect and the doctrines taught to the first Catholics by the Apostles better fit the Bible then protestant guesses that started about 1500 years later. Accordingly, it is a very practical resource to use when protestants claim Catholicism is unBiblical. I recommend it to any Catholics who don't have a thorough knowledge of how the scriptures relate to Catholic doctrine. This is the second time I have bought it. This purchase was for a friend who indicated that they were joining the Catholic Church.


The Witch-Hunt in Early Modern Europe
The Witch-Hunt in Early Modern Europe
by Brian P. Levack
Edition: Paperback
Price: $46.32
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Evidence based and thoughtful for a mainstream book on the topic, May 8, 2011
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Finally, a scholarly treatment of the issue unimpeded by an emotional attachment to the forgery Etienne Leon de Lamothe-Langon's Histoire de l'Inquisition en France, written in 1829 (even though the forgery was uncovered in 1975)or any strong desire to hammer a square peg into a round hole to promulgate a writer's own personal crusade.

The result is an evidence based and thoughtful historical treatment of the Witch Hunting tragedy with reasonable conclusions.

If you are sick of unrealistic oversimplifications that reflect the pet interest/s of the author more than the historical evidence or sick of books where the author has not taken the time to keep 'up to date' with historical developments (35 years ago) and believes that the Witch Hunt is a purely medieval phenomenon rather than peaking between 1550 and 1650 this is the book to read.

Given the strengths of the book I would recommend it to anyone from budding historians to general public with an interest in a historically accurate take on the Witch Hunts. I acknowledge that Catholics might find slight discomfort in the author's apparent prejudice against Catholicism. He writes of reformation greats being Luther and Calvin and seems to downplay their contribution by contextualising that they didn't make much direct comment on the topic even though one of them insisted that witches need to be killed or something and they were highly influential. That is not to say that he fails to acknowledge that they contributed just a slight reluctance to give their contribution as much weight as someone who doesn't consider reformists to be great might. This is a very subtle issue that does not significantly detract from this first rate book.


A Sceptic's Guide to Atheism: God is Not Dead
A Sceptic's Guide to Atheism: God is Not Dead
by Peter S. Williams
Edition: Paperback
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoughtful rebuttal, March 13, 2011
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Peter Williams is an intelligent theist who thankfully took the time to consider the 'new atheist' literature. This is fortunate as Mr Williams might rightfully have considered the weak straw men used to attack theism in that literature a waste of his time discussing. He is clearly capable of doing much more weighty intellectual endeavours. Accordingly, theists should be indebted to him for taking the time and illuminating the current situation that is shadowed by the new athiests' straw men.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 28, 2014 10:02 AM PDT


The Biblical Basis for the Catholic Faith
The Biblical Basis for the Catholic Faith
by John Salza
Edition: Paperback
22 used & new from $14.08

4.0 out of 5 stars Great so far, September 20, 2010
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I have only read portions of it and skimmed through the rest. However so far it appears to be an excellent reference for anyone who wants to check the Catholic faith against Biblical scripture.


God's Battalions: The Case for the Crusades
God's Battalions: The Case for the Crusades
by Rodney Stark
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $15.04
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Balanced information, June 6, 2010
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This is the first history of the crusades I've read that didn't set out to convince that the Catholic Church is a wonderful defender of civilization as we know it or that both the Muslims involved and the Byzantine city were set upon by barbaric Christian hordes egged on by an evil Pope.

Instead it goes into more depth about all the parties concerned. The 3 main players appear to be European Christians generally, Turkish and Middle Eastern Muslims, and the Byzantine Empire and more particularly a series of Byzantine Emperors.

Stark argues well with historical evidence that the crusades were more nuanced than most literature on the subject seems to care to admit. None of the key players appear to escape serious criticism in Stark's book. The image of the benevolent advanced Islamic civilization being set upon by barbarians is challenged from a number of angles. Likewise Stark makes an attack on the Catholic Church while explaining that the European crusaders, subject to unruly elements within, were largely a dedicated team who sacrificed much to assist Christian brothers and sisters in Jerusalem rather than an unruly group of opportunists in search of Islamic wealth. This is in the context where thousands of European Christian casualties were attributable to the treachery of Bizantine Emperors who repeatedly betrayed them after they came to help.

Stark also contextualises actions widely held to be Christian atrocities by pointing to the exagerations apparent in the descriptions and the rules of engagement at the time. He applies a consideration of adherence to rules of engagement to both sides with the much praised Saladin getting his literary dues due to being the one who breached rules of engagement.

The pragmatic approach of the Popes was eye opening. They acknowledged that certain groups effectively killed people for a living and continued to manufacture local battles in spite of their otherwise religious persuasion. The Popes decided to encourage them to defend fellow Christians instead as a more morally justifiable use of their inevitable propensity to fatal violence.

In all it is an interesting and informative read that I would thoroughly recommend it to anyone wanting a better understanding of the relevant battles from a more balanced source free from cultural cringe or Catholic apologetics. Stark appears to take a negative view of the Catholic Church but, to his credit, seems generally capable of preventing this from colouring his analysis of history.


The Case for Christ:  A Journalist's Personal Investigation of the Evidence for Jesus
The Case for Christ: A Journalist's Personal Investigation of the Evidence for Jesus
by Lee Strobel
Edition: Paperback
751 used & new from $0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars another fine strobel book, November 9, 2008
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This is another example where Strobel faces the issues and supports the long held theory that it is more reasonable to be a Christian than an atheist. I believe this book was inspired by Strobel's own journey which led him from atheism to Christianity. Instead of engage in reading to research he interviews experts which enlivens the information with human interest. A committed atheist probably wouldn't enjoy this type of book very much. A genuine enquirer might find themselves on a path to Christianity. A committed Christian who has never been an atheist should take the time to appreciate how well evidenced is their faith.


Approaching Jehovah's Witnesses in Love: How to Witness Effectively Without Arguing
Approaching Jehovah's Witnesses in Love: How to Witness Effectively Without Arguing
by Wilbur Lingle
Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.16
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best I have read, November 9, 2008
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This is the best book I have read which assists people to witness to Jehovah's Witnesses. Most books I have read try to meet Jehovah's Witnesses at their own game. As Jehovah's Witnesses are well trained that is a challenge. This book takes a more lateral approach and I believe that it will be more effectual for most readers.


The Devil's Delusion: Atheism and Its Scientific Pretensions
The Devil's Delusion: Atheism and Its Scientific Pretensions
by David Berlinski
Edition: Hardcover
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6 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars clever and entertaining, May 25, 2008
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An excellent book for those who are sick of atheist fundamentalists pretentiously criticising religious faiths.

The author demonstrates his scientific prowess whilst very thoroughly demonstrating that people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.

Finally, an extremely effectual secular response to secular fanatics who seek to bully their religious counterparts.


Anti-Catholicism in America: The Last Acceptable Prejudice
Anti-Catholicism in America: The Last Acceptable Prejudice
by Mark Stephen Massa
Edition: Paperback
Price: $18.96
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36 of 42 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Contributes to knowledge but not the solution, February 28, 2008
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The oft quoted saying that problems can't be solved at the same level that they were created applies here if the study of anti-Catholicism is intended to help alleviate it. `Unlike Catholic and non-Catholic authors of other books on the subject that I have read, the author of this book (in spite of being a Catholic priest) appears to be himself quite hostile toward Catholicism (but not somehow 'being a Catholic').

People who despise Catholicism and appreciate a well written and well referenced book arguing that Catholicism itself is the root of its problems will enjoy this book. The author genuinely seems to want anti-Catholicism to end. However he considers the substance of Catholicism to blame and believes that the solution is Catholicism reinventing itself so that its structure and beliefs enable it to blend better with popular secular culture.

The issue of the sexual abuse scandals is legitimately raised as a catalyst for extreme modern anti-Catholicism. The author rightly points out that "One of the many tragedies of the Boston Clergy sexual abuse case is its handy availability as proof positive for those citizens already uneasy with Catholicism that their fears were well placed after all."

Nevertheless, as has been pointed out in other literature, the scandal was exacerbated by critics of the Church who helped generate the media construct and who fanned the flames hoping to derive support for their ongoing attack on Catholicism.

Unfortunately the author leans toward continuing this exacerbation. Don't expect more than an incidental mention of the low incidence of abuse among the clergy relative to comparable groups and the mitigating reasons for inappropriate management by the Bishops. Such mention is made only passingly to rebut its mitigating implications for the moral culpability of the Bishops.

Ironically the facts adduced to condemn the Bishops almost completely exonerates them. The exception is a March 2002 psychiatrist's statement contradicting claims of Edward Cardinal Egan. Other attempts to establish moral culpability are weak and clearly establish that psychiatric and medical opinion at the time resulted in and supported Bishop's decisions. Nevertheless the author strings the proverbial long bow in second guessing a Bishop for failing to reject the medical opinion of a molestor's "family doctor and friend". Another example of an equally long bow is represented by holding up a 1985 Bishop's report as a smoking gun. The report was partly based on testimony of psychiatrists. It held that treatment could "help rehabilitate (paedophile) clerics so that they could return to active ministry" providing that a specific treatment regime was followed to avoid recidivism. The key treatment required was 6 months at a facility. The author focusses on the example of molestor Father Georghan to demonstrate non-compliance with the report recommendations. Although in that example rehabilitation at facilities clearly lasted less than 6 months per visit it is plain that Georghan attended facilities for treatment and plain that the treatment duration was based on the recommendations of the facilities. That an honest attempt was made to follow the report recommendations is palpable.

The unreasonable assumption that such facts are a smoking gun appears to be based on the author's bias toward viewing Bishops as villains presumably due to being part of institutional Catholicism. Indeed he even dismisses Catholics with the temerity to criticize media reports on the topic which included exageration or misrepresentation. He implies that such Catholics are labelling legitimate criticism as Catholic bashing. Further, he so ardently seeks condemnation of Bishops that he considers the following comment somehow self evidently relevant to the above situations: "a church culture that places the reputation of that church above the safety of children is a church culture that must be seriously reexamined." Implicit is an unestablished extrapolation that relying on then current medical opinion was somehow a coverup wilfully accepting that children would continue to be harmed and any call for fair and honest media reporting on such an inflamatory issue equates to an attempted cover up.

For the record I firmly believe that Bishops deferring all authority to mental health professionals (even if they consulted canon law to ensure the rubber stamping was implemented with correct procedures) acted extremely misguidedly and incompetently. They failed miserably to act as shepherds rather than rubber stamps for secular decision makers. This resulted in tragic consequences for some of their flock. However that does not mean that the author's weak excuses to unfairly condemn the Bishops for more damaging reasons should be countenanced.

Unfortunately the author seems more interested in changing Catholicism then analysing anti-Catholicism. Noteable is the glossing over of the statistical surge in abuse cases commencing in the 1960s and ending in the 1980s an era when liberal Catholicism dominated the Church. Indeed the author's casual use of the term "homophobic" in the final chapter when arguing that Catholics are not the only group who encounter modern prejudice speaks volumes about his level of acceptance of Catholic teachings. Likewise the uncritical and undue emphasis (compared to other Catholic views) afforded to recording explanations for anti-Catholicism derived from "Catholic commentators" who blame institutional Catholicism itself for its problems supports this view. This emphasis includes quotes from a gay Catholic and a Catholic who states "the arguments for what passes as current church doctrine are so intellectually contemptible that mere self respect forbids a man to voice them as his own." The corollary of the willingness to embrace opinions violently opposed to Catholic doctrine is presumably that the author shares the hostility.

In the final analysis the irony here is that a book from a Catholic priest and academic apparently hostile toward Catholicism is unlikely to alleviate anti-Catholicism and may well exacerbate it. Like a badly behaving priest in the news, a priest hostile toward Catholic belief will affirm in people already uneasy with Catholicism that their uneasiness must be well grounded after all.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 12, 2014 4:42 AM PDT


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