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Author Topic: Books for an agnostic  (Read 674 times) Average Rating: 0
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William
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« on: November 16, 2011, 09:21:58 PM »

If you had to recommend one Christian book to someone battling agnosticism, what would it be?
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« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2011, 09:33:02 PM »

The Mountain of Silence: A Search for Orthodox Spirituality
by Kyriacos C. Markides
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« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2011, 10:34:32 PM »

I think a bit more on the person's background, e.g. familiar with real Christianity, Orthodoxy or not, would be helpful for a sound recommendation.

That said, I still think C.S. Lewis' works like the Screwtape Letters, Mere Christianity, Problem of Pain, and the Great Divorce (all can be found in one book) present a helpful, generic Christian perspective.  Is it high theology? Certainly not, but I get the feeling that people who demand exhaustively rigorous theology to shore up their faith may be in trouble.

St. Athanasius' On The Incarnation may be helpful.

Looking forward to additional suggestions.
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« Reply #3 on: November 16, 2011, 10:42:25 PM »

Perhaps, William, you could share with us what specifically you are struggling with? People become agnostics or atheists for divergent reasons. I personally for a long time struggled with materialism. Reading William Blake of all people did the most to help me out of it, but Blake is so not Orthodox that I'm not sure I can recommend him to everyone.
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« Reply #4 on: November 17, 2011, 10:22:41 AM »

I think a bit more on the person's background, e.g. familiar with real Christianity, Orthodoxy or not, would be helpful for a sound recommendation.

That said, I still think C.S. Lewis' works like the Screwtape Letters, Mere Christianity, Problem of Pain, and the Great Divorce (all can be found in one book) present a helpful, generic Christian perspective.  Is it high theology? Certainly not, but I get the feeling that people who demand exhaustively rigorous theology to shore up their faith may be in trouble.

St. Athanasius' On The Incarnation may be helpful.

Looking forward to additional suggestions.
You may want to add C.S. Lewis' "Miracles" to the list.
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« Reply #5 on: November 17, 2011, 06:19:34 PM »

I think a bit more on the person's background, e.g. familiar with real Christianity, Orthodoxy or not, would be helpful for a sound recommendation.
His mother is a very religious Catholic and he's been raised Catholic all his life. He doesn't identify with Catholicism anymore mostly because of a "lack of proof" and, I think, the traditional Christian teaching on homosexuality.
Perhaps, William, you could share with us what specifically you are struggling with? People become agnostics or atheists for divergent reasons. I personally for a long time struggled with materialism. Reading William Blake of all people did the most to help me out of it, but Blake is so not Orthodox that I'm not sure I can recommend him to everyone.
It isn't me.
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« Reply #6 on: December 03, 2011, 09:01:20 PM »

One way to battle agnositicsm is to read books written by the best agnostics, like Robert Ingersoll.

Quote
Still, Ingersoll did not embrace atheism, or belief in no God, and he was quick to explain why. "I do not deny," he writes in the essay, published three years before his death at age 66. "I do not know." Despite vehemently rejecting Christianity, then, he did not close the door on religious belief. Instead, like many other agnostics at the time -- including Leslie Stephen, George Eliot, Herbert Spencer, Charles Darwin and Thomas Huxley (who coined the term agnostic three decades earlier, in 1869) -- he thought belief should rest on evidence, not faith, but also that evidence itself was in some key instances wanting.

That stance irks absolutists on either side who have come to consider agnosticism as spineless and wishy-washy, and agnostics as people who can't or won't make up their minds. According to Quentin de la Bédoyère, science editor of the Catholic Herald, for example, the Catholic historian Hugh Ross Williamson respected firm religious belief and certain unbelief, but "reserved his contempt for the wishy-washy boneless mediocrities who flapped around in the middle." Richard Dawkins not only repeats the same line in his recent book, The God Delusion, but prefaces it with similar invective from a "robust Muscular Christian" preacher of his schooldays, for whom agnostics were "namby-pamby, mushy pap, weak tea, weedy, pallid fence-sitters."
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« Reply #7 on: December 03, 2011, 09:04:15 PM »

Handbook of Christian Apologetics - Peter Kreeft
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« Reply #8 on: December 03, 2011, 09:24:38 PM »

Fr. John Romanides' Patristic Theology. This books covers such a wide variety of topics, that I typically recommend it to every single person, no matter the situation. In the case of agnosticism, Fr. John's witness to noetic prayer is especially powerful.
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« Reply #9 on: December 03, 2011, 09:30:08 PM »

It depends on how cynical the agnostic is. "The Brothers Karamazov" is always a powerful read and proof of Orthodox Christianity's influence in every day life.
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« Reply #10 on: December 03, 2011, 09:31:10 PM »


This one.
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William
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« Reply #11 on: January 28, 2012, 10:16:21 PM »


The author of that will actually be speaking at my parish in late February.
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« Reply #12 on: January 28, 2012, 10:40:10 PM »

If you had to recommend one Christian book to someone battling agnosticism, what would it be?

Sayings of the Desert Fathers
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« Reply #13 on: January 28, 2012, 11:05:13 PM »

Climacus Conference?
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If you will, you can become all flame.
Extra caritatem nulla salus.
In order to become whole, take the "I" out of "holiness".
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"Those who say religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion is." -- Mohandas Gandhi
Y dduw bo'r diolch.
William
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« Reply #14 on: January 28, 2012, 11:09:18 PM »


Yep.
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Apart from moral conduct, all that man thinks himself able to do in order to become acceptable to God is mere superstition and religious folly. - Immanuel Kant
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