jamor 2013

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FEBRUARY 8, 2013

I am frequently asked at speaking events and by email to recommend books. So here is my list of the best Christian books both classics and contemporary. Like my other list “27 Books that Every Conservative Should Read,” I should caution that this is not a comprehensive catalog.

Happy reading.

Five Christian Classics

1. Augustine, Confessions. The original Christian testimony, written without self-pity and with deep spiritual insight. Interesting to contrast with Rousseau’s self-indulgent book of the same title.

2. Dante, The Divine Comedy. I’d recommend reading Dante in conjunction with the Great Courses lectures. Dante has Virgil as his guide; you’ll have Professors Thomas Wood and Ronald Herzman.

3. Milton, Paradise Lost. I’d read this in concert with Stanley Fish’s How Milton Works, a masterful theological interpretation by a secular Milton scholar.

4. Anselm, Proslogion and Other Writings. Anselm is more contemporary than Aquinas. His argument for God is brilliantly bizarre, but don’t ignore his other works including “On the Fall of the Devil” which convincingly explains, for the first time, why Satan chose to rebel against God.

5. Pascal, Pensees. The original apologetics masterpiece, written not as a systematic treatise but rather as a series of short meditations and diatribes. Worth the reading for Pascal’s wager alone, but it bristles with insights throughout.

Six Contemporary Christian Books

1. C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity. A lucid, intelligent argument against relativism and in defense of the moral law, accompanied by a logical demonstration of why a moral law presumes a moral lawgiver.

2. Paul Davies, The Mind of God. A leading physicist and agnostic spells out the stunning implications of the Anthropic Principle—the idea that the universe is “fine-tuned” for life. This book is an atheist nightmare.

3. Francis Collins, The Language of God. A world-class biologist and geneticist shows why evolution is not incompatible with religious belief, and makes the “design” argument for God.

4. Bertrand Russell, Why I Am Not a Christian. No apologetics is complete without a full understanding of the “other side,” and here Russell makes the comprehensive atheist case in a manner that no recent atheist tract can match.

5. Stephen Barr, Modern Physics and Ancient Faith. This book, a little-known masterpiece, shows how science points to God rather than away from God, using evidence from modern physics and astronomy.

6. Dinesh D’Souza, What’s So Great about Christianity. The first apologetics book I wrote (Life after Death and Godforsaken followed), answers a range of questions related to science, atheism, and the good Christianity has brought to the world.