A Certain Faith:
The Catholic Alternative
by Barry R. Pearlman
This is a remarkable work of Catholic apologetics. The author looks at a variety of different topics including revelation, Christology, the nature of the Church and the moral and spiritual life in the Catholic tradition.
The first chapter is about being. Being is essential to our way of understanding the world. From a study of being, we can arrive at the five ways of Aquinas, the "classical arguments for the existence of God."
In the second chapter, the author argues that the enlightenment philosopher Kant's "overemphasis on God's absolute transcendence" led to an eventual "divorce of God from his creation."The enlightenment philosophers simply failed to understand what is meant by the analogy of being.
The next chapter looks at what we understand by good and evil. The chapter following this, on the Son of God, is absolutely brilliant, especially for those of us who have been confused by the new biblical critics, many of whom appear to be non-Christian or people who have lost their faith. The author successfully critiques form criticism in particular. He gives us good reasons to trust the Bible. The Gospels are based on eye-witness accounts. The miracles of Jesus are real and not just made up by the early Church. Jesus knew he is the Son of God. He really and truly rose from the dead. He founded a Church and put Peter as its head.
In the next few chapters, the author looks at some reasons why the Catholic Church has been attacked: the Crusades, the Inquisition, the notion that the Church is against science and, of course, the Galileo affair. In each case the author gives us a thorough defence of the Church.
The last chapters are on the spiritual life. The author bases his discussion on the three ways of the spiritual life: purgation, illumination and union. I was pleased to note that the much misunderstood Catholic mystic Mother Julian of Norwich is mentioned. So are Francis of Assisi, John of the Cross, Therese of Lisieux, Maria Goretti and Mother Teresa.
This is a work in which philosophy, theology and spirituality are integrated in order to give us reasons for a certain faith, a faith that is certain. It is a masterpiece of modern Catholic apologetics.