Monday, January 09, 2012

Atheist to Catholic

About the Book:
Most of the former atheists in this book had investigated religion's claims to truth, rejected them and were shocked to then find themselves turning to faith. Some of these stories come from: a university professor unexpectedly attracted to the faith when a student described her retreat at a monastery; a young woman impressed by a colleague's Mass attendance: I wanted to find her ridiculous, but quite unexpectedly, I felt like the ridiculous one; a Polish immigrant who once shared communism's disdain for religion; these seekers ended up someplace they never intended to go, the Catholic Church, and yet went there and found that they were home.

My Comments:
As a cradle Catholic I have sometimes envied those who can claim a conversion moment, a time when they went from not believing to believing, a time when they really felt Jesus in a way that compelled them to take action.  Over the years I have spent a lot of time reading about my faith and the faith of others.  I have haunted AOL message boards, read apologetics websites and read plenty of books.  One thing I've found interesting is how often converts to Evangelical Protestantism describe emotional experiences and how often converts to Catholicism describe intellectual ones.  While a rousing sermon may get you to answer an altar call, what prompts you to not only accept Jesus but to accept a belief system that limits personal freedom and goes against many of what people consider to be defining characteristics of our era like sexual freedom, gender equality and tolerance of varied sexual identities?  
Atheist to Catholic is a compilation of the stories of eleven former atheists who are now Catholic.  Most found their way to Catholicism if not Christianity, through reading and study.  While some had mystical or emotional experiences, those experiences either confirmed ongoing study or set study in motion.  What they describe is an intellectual search for the truth, not an emotional search for love.   Some of the stories are about bloggers known to many who read Catholic blogs--Jennifer of The Conversion Diary, The Raving Theist and Karen Edmisten are three.  As someone whose approach to life, and faith, is more intellectual than emotional, I appreciated the reasoned approach of these people.  
The book itself is easy to read and while it talks about reading philosophy, St. Thomas, St. Augustine, Chesterton or Tolkien, it doesn't quote them extensively nor is it an apologetics book dressed up as life stories.  We get a brief background on the faith life (or more precisely the lack of faith life) of each convert along with the story of their conversion.  I recommend this book to those who wonder how any intelligent person could believe all that stuff anyway.  Grade:  B+

I wrote this review of Atheist to Catholic: Stories of Conversion for the free Catholic book review program, created by Aquinas and More Catholic Goods, your source for Baptism Gifts and Oplatki Christmas Wafers.

Tiber River is the first Catholic book review site, started in 2000 to help you make informed decisions about Catholic book purchases.

I receive free product samples as compensation for writing reviews for Tiber River. 


  1. I like your review and plan to look for the book!

  2. I'm glad to hear your take on this book. I've been hearing about it, and it sounds like it might be interesting.

  3. It does sound interesting. Maybe one for my son in law.....

  4. Sounds good. Thanks for the review.


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