Nine years ago, while I was an undergraduate, I converted to Catholicism. Most people know that about me, and a lot of people think it’s strange, and that’s okay.
I read a lot then and I read a lot now; here are five books that helped me on my way (in addition to the numerous actual people I observed and whose example and conversation affected me):
- The Confessions of St. Augustine
- Granted, this great saint and theologian was trained in rhetoric in the classical Roman educational style, but his language draws the reader right in. He is so forthright in telling his own wrong-doings, the thought-process of his conversion and in describing the nature of God and how he discovered it.
- It’s near-impossible not to be captivated by Augustine’s style and emotion as unfolds the story. There is a lot I identified with and a lot that I learned that Augustine puts into words rather well.
- “Our hearts are restless until they rest in you, O Lord.”
- After Virtue by Alasdair MacIntyre
- A tour-de-force modern classic of philosophy that goes through the history of the Enlightenment moral philosophers to explain why moral/ethical discourse today has gone astray and why we often have difficulty just talking to one another about it.
- He criticizes the Enlightenment, destroys relativism as a fall-back and proposes a modern Aristotelianism.
- When I was pondering the casual relativism so rampant on college campuses, no other book dealt with the philosophical difficulties therein so well or so broadly. In many ways, this book was for me intellectual permission to set a stance, to reject the proposition that there is no truth, but while maintaining respect for others.
- Interestingly, MacIntyre was not Catholic when he wrote this, but he did later convert.
- The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown