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Fioretti: The Little Flowers of Pope Francis (Ignatius Press, 2014)

Almost a thousand years ago, God commanded St. Francis, ‘Rebuild my Church.’ And through a collection of stories, sayings, and colorful anecdotes—the original Little Flowers—we discovered how St. Francis did it. Andrew Tornielli introduces those same flowery scents, hints of the aroma of Christ, wafting throughout Pope Francis’ first year. His new book is full of memorable anecdotes and insightful reflections, which will help you sense the fragrance of this new Francis.

Letters to an Atheist

Letters to an Atheist: Wrestling with Faith (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2014)

This collection of letters from Dr. Peter Kreeft to a fictional young atheist is sort of a reverse Screwtape Letters. In both cases, you only read one side of the conversation—Kreeft leaves out the atheist’s letters just as C.S. Lewis eschews Wormwood’s replies to Uncle Screwtape—but Kreeft’s letters inspire faith rather than challenge it.

When Kreeft first connects with the young man, the boy is struggling with doubts. Clearly well-versed in philosophy and science, the young skeptic parrots many slogans associated with modern atheism: religion is based on myth and wishful thinking, science has disproved God’s existence, you don’t need God to be good, etc. Kreeft responds to each objection with compassion and understanding, but also with a bit of challenge. He wants to lead the boy to truth through the boy’s own reasoning, and isn’t afraid to push against his assumptions.

In the end, Kreeft’s letters demonstrate how to hold charitable, fruitful dialogue with unbelievers. Kreeft covers all the famous arguments for God’s existence, including Aquinas’ Five Ways and the arguments from desire, morality, fine tuning, and Big Bang cosmology. But he does so with a refreshing friendliness. The letters lack the polemical and turgid prose seen in many books on atheism. Instead, his book is sharp, witty, and warm, and one of the first I’d recommend to anyone wrestling with faith.