No joke -- I've wanted the knowledge that is in these books for so long, nicely consolidated for me and easily available on my bookshelf, and here they suddenly come on the heels of one another, written by my friends, Stacy Trasancos and Trent Horn, who are also friends of the Bubble!
You all are going to love this.
In my opinion, the toughest and most common questions (sometimes accusations) that we Catholics have to answer are questions of 1) reconciling faith and science, and 2) questions about the "hard sayings" of the Bible, including the "mean God" of the Old Testament and all the "inconsistencies and contradictions".
Dr. Stacy Trasancos' book, Particles of Faith: A Catholic Guide to Navigating Science tackles the question of faith and science. Written for for the average layman who may or may not have a background in science (I do not!), Stacy takes us first through her fascinating personal story, including her movement away from the Protestantism of her childhood and into a kind of religious indifference as she moved through her doctoral studies and career as a research chemist. Not without suffering, Stacy ultimately found her way to Catholicism and now occupies space on both sides of the science vs. faith debates, which makes her voice invaluable to all of us today.
The epiphany of how she personally reconciled faith and science is not what I expected, and I could never do it justice here. Expressed so intimately and beautifully, her perspective shuts down the erroneous idea that faith and science must constantly be fighting, and she describes this mystery in a way that only a brilliant scientist and a servant of God can.
Some of the questions she breaks down and explains:
Can a Christian accept evolution? Does quantum mechanics explain free will? Does the Big Bang prove God? Are Creationism and Intelligent Design correct? When does human life begin?
There are passages that describe the basics of the atomic world and points of chemistry that I found fascinating but didn't fully absorb (my brain really does not work spatially and scientifically), and that's okay. Skim or skip the technical explanations if you must, and you won't miss a beat.
Aside from her personal journey ("A Story About the Chasm"), the most compelling part of the book for me was her explanation of the origins of man, specifically, how to reconcile what we know through scientific discovery with our belief in Adam and Eve, our first parents. I feel like I finally have a language for discussing the subject, and much more deeply and thoroughly than I had before.
If you have ever been confused or tongue-tied about how science and faith fit together, read Particles of Faith (available for pre-order now). If you are like me, you'll read it straight through and then keep coming back to it when you need it. I am so grateful to have it.
I am also incredibly grateful for Trent Horn's Hard Sayings: A Catholic Approach to Answering Bible Difficulties. Trent is a writer, speaker, and radio host for Catholic Answers, and I'm not the only one who believes that he is the best Catholic apologist of our day. The man has a gift, people!
Trent's book covers just about every biblical "hard saying" and misunderstanding you can imagine (and have likely been confronted with) and explains each one with incredible clarity. You will feel blissfully knowledgeable when you walk away from each chapter.
And it's all there:
Is the Old Testament just Bronze Age ignorance? What of legendary biblical creatures, mythical patriarchs, and bungled history? Aren't there 1001 internal contradictions in the Bible? Gospels that can't agree, conflicting advice, and contradictory names and numbers?
And what about all the evil? Isn't the Bible just evil? What of the bad role models, misogyny, bizarre laws, and cruel punishments? Doesn't the Bible (thus God) endorse slavery and genocide? And so much more, including the Catholic view of Scripture and whether or not the Bible has been corrupted.
Hard Sayings is that reference book that you'll return to time and again, sometimes for your own edification and knowledge, and sometimes when a particular question or accusation has been thrown your way.
We are so blessed to have these great minds using their gifts and talents to help the rest of us better understand and defend our Catholic Faith.
Thank you, Stacy and Trent!
On a personal note, I apologize for the dearth of blog posts lately! Believe it or not, I have just today (finally!!) finished writing my book, Raising Chaste Catholic Men, and after I attend to the details of the publishing part of it, it should be ready by (please God) the end of this month. Meantime, I will be taking one of my sons off to his freshman year of college soon, at which point exactly half my children will have flown the coop. Sob!
Thanks for bearing with me, thanks for any prayers you can spare, and I will be back in the saddle just as soon as I can!