A reader asks about apologetics books

A reader asks about apologetics books December 22, 2011

He writes:

I’ve asked a question like this before on John C. Wright’s blog, but I figured I’d do well to get as many answers as I could.”There is safety where there is much counsel”, and all that.

If all goes well I’ll be joining the Catholic Church this coming spring. My family is Protestant from head to toe, and though my immediate family seem okay (if wary) about my conversion, I suspect I’ll have to do some apologetic work once my extended family finds out. Could you suggest useful apologetic books for Roman Catholicism (suggested apologetic books against atheism would also be appreciated, but that’s less urgent)? And in case you were wondering, I don’t mind if you suggest some of your own books.

I understand you’re under no obligation to give me suggestions, and I thank you for at least considering my request.

First off, welcome! I’m delighted to see you will be joining us at the Altar soon! Congratulations! And, of course, I’m happy to hear that you sensibly wish to get all of my stuff, multiple times, for your family and everybody else with a pulse. Very wise.

But seriously, as far as a sort of library of apologetics stuff, I think you can’t do better than to go over to Steve Ray’s site and peruse his massive list of resources for every occasion. Or, another thing you might try is just getting “Catholic Controversies” (which is listed at my link above). It’s basically a one stop shopping collection of little essay about a whole boatload of controverted issues in theology and history.

Peter Kreeft has written well about atheism, as has Scott Hahn. My own take is summed up here.

And you can never get started too early reading Chesterton, particularly his Orthodoxy, The Everlasting Man, and St. Thomas Aquinas: The Dumb Ox (all available online or through Amazon if you like dead tree).

Two last things: If you are looking to argue for the Catholic tradition with Protestants, everything hangs on Sacred Tradition, so read By What Authority? by your obdt. svt. to get the hang of that.

Finally, don’t make apologetics the center of your faith. It’s not. Apologetics is a tool for helping people of good will get past rational difficulties. It can clear blocked roads, but it can’t make people walk down them and it can be dangerous if it becomes the raison d’etre of your faith. For my views on that and how to cultivate a healthy rather than a diseased missionary impulse, go here.

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