Post # 1
What are some of your favorite books that have to do with religion, Christianity, and/or Catholicism? I read a ton of books in this genre when I was going through RCIA. What are some of your favorites and why?
Two of my favorites were Mere Christianity and The Screwtape Letters, by C. S. Lewis (of Chronicles of Narnia fame). For anyone interested who has not read them, they are not about Catholicism in particular but about Christianity in general (Lewis was actually a convert to the Church of England, but that church in his day bears much resemblance to the Catholic church today). Mere Christianity was really powerful in reasoning the "why could there be a God" argument.
The Screwtape Letters are a satire, wherein a minor demon has the task to corrupt a newly Christian man and the conceit is that he is writing home to his uncle who is a more powerful demon, who gives him advice in reply. They’re hysterically funny and very poignant. They appealed to me because whenever I am reading one argument, I like to play devil’s advocate…except in this case, I found myself arguing the affirmative!
If you’ve never read them, here is an excerpt I find quite compelling, especially when I find myself losing steam in the religion department (this excerpt is publically available on the internet):
"Another possibility is that of direct attack on his faith. When you have caused him to assume that the trough is permanent, can you not persuade him that "his religious phase" is just going to die away like all his previous phases? Of course there is no conceivable way of getting by reason from the proposition "I am losing interest in this" to the proposition "This is false". But, as I said before, it is jargon, not reason, you must rely on. The mere word phase will very likely do the trick. I assume that the creature has been through several of them before—they all have—and that he always feels superior and patronising to the ones he has emerged from, not because he has really criticised them but simply because they are in the past. (You keep him well fed on hazy ideas of Progress and Development and the Historical Point of View, I trust, and give him lots of modern Biographies to read? The people in them are always emerging from Phases, aren’t they?)
You see the idea? Keep his mind off the plain antithesis between True and False. Nice shadowy expressions—"It was a phase"—"I’ve been through all that"—and don’t forget the blessed word ‘Adolescent.’"
Post # 3
I’m a big fan of Scott Hahn (and his wife Kimberly). My favorite is their book called Rome, Sweet Home. Scott and Kimberly were raised in Baptist families, and both of them have multiple degrees in Theology. While Scott was doing research as a faculty theologian he began to believe that maybe Catholicism was the true faith that he really believed in, and Scott and Kimberly both ended up converting a few years later.
The book is divided into "Kimberly" parts and "Scott" parts, and each of them tell the story of how they worked through their doubts and issues with the Catholic Church and its beliefs and ended up converting. It’s a great book for people who are considering becoming Catholic, for people who just want to understand more about what the Catholic Church teaches, and for lifelong Catholics who would just appreciate some extra confirmation and insight about their faith.
It’s an easy read, and VERY interesting!
Post # 4
I love C.S. Lewis! One book about Christianity that I found really interesting was Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith by Rob Bell. It’s one of those that you have to think about and sometimes have to reread paragraphs a couple times, but it’s really good!
Post # 5
There are so many books, I wouldn’t be able to finish naming them. However I just purchased "Three to Get Married" by Bishop Fulton Sheen
I suppose I could just name the books I own: Both translations of the Theology of the Body. The Theology of the Body Explained, by Christopher West, though it used the older translation. The compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Confessions of St. Augustine, Jesus of Nazareth by Pope Benedict the 16th, St. Faustina’s Diary, Married Saints and blessed throughout history, the Catechism of the Catholic Church (Ok, I own two copies), Love and Responsibility by Justice of the Peace II (written before he was Pope), The Story of a Soul (autobiography of St. Therese), Handbook of Christian Apologetics by Peter Kreeft, Life Giving Love by Kimberly Hahn, The Great Divorce by CS Lewis, the Divine Office for DODOS, Handbook of Christian Prayer, Understanding the Scriptures by Dr. Hahn and some other people.
Oh and I own two translations of the Bible: NAB and RSVCE. The RSVCE is a better translation though I’d like to get the Doey Rheims someday. NAB is what we read at Mass. And I own an English translation of the Torah.
Post # 6
I second the recommendation of Velvet Elvis. Great read.