Brandon Vogt

Interview with Peter Kreeft – On C.S. Lewis, Philosophy, and Great Books

Dr. Peter Kreeft is is a professor of philosophy at Boston College and at the King’s College (Empire State Building), in New York City.

He is a regular contributor to several Christian publications, is in wide demand as a speaker at conferences, and is the author of over 67 books including the Handbook of Catholic Apologetics, Christianity for Modern Pagans, and Fundamentals of the Faith.

He regularly writes on philosophy, theology, and culture, and he’s an expert on C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien.

In my opinion, Dr. Kreeft is the closest thing we have to a twenty-first century Lewis. Nobody mirrors Lewis’ total package like Kreeft: his cunning wit, sharp thinking, baptized imagination, and love for story and wonder. Just listen to some of his talks to see what I mean.

Dr. Kreeft recently sat down with me to discuss C.S. Lewis, the New Atheism, philosophy, story, books, and much more. Enjoy!


 
Brandon: You’ve written several books on C.S. Lewis, including C.S. Lewis for the Third Millennium. One of the prominent threats to Christianity in this third millennium is the so-called New Atheism. It’s spearheaded by Richard Dawkins, an emeritus fellow at Lewis’ own alma mater. How would Lewis respond to this modern form of atheism?

Peter Kreeft: Atheists in C.S. Lewis’ day were as snobbish and arrogant as they are now, but better educated and more capable of debate. Anthony Flew, for example, was eminently fair and intelligent (and, of course, therefore eventually became a theist).

The atheists Lewis knew were more like “The Great Knock” in Surprised by Joy or MacPhee in That Hideous Strength, in that they were quite intellectually honest. I suspect Lewis would prefer not to cast his pearls before swine, so he would probably ignore the so-called “four horsemen” of New Atheism.
 
Brandon: Your newest book, Summa Philosophica, begins by praising two styles of argument and calling for their revival: the Socratic dialogue and St. Thomas’ disputatio. Why are these forms so valuable and why have they been lost?

Peter Kreeft: The Socratic method and the Summa article are both ways of making an issue clear and fair and presenting both sides in a very rational way. They have been lost because philosophy has degenerated into ideology. Objective truth itself is sometimes often seen as a right wing Republican-Christian plot to take over the government (though the rhetoric is cleverer than that, that’s the bottom line).
 
Brandon: It would be a severe understatement to say you like C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. You’ve written several books on their fiction, and in 2011 you followed their path with your own novel, An Ocean Full of Angels (which I reviewed here). Why is story so valuable in communicating truth, goodness, and beauty?

Peter Kreeft: Story is the oldest, commonest, most beloved, and most effective form of communication because our life is essentially a story. That’s why the Bible is the most realistic of religious books. We can easily ignore or argue away abstractions, but we bump up against concretely real people, things, and events in story, as in life. It is easier to compare concrete things in a fictional story with concrete things in real life than it is to compare abstractions with concrete things in real life (though both are honorable and necessary things to do).
 
Brandon: Moving on to a simpler question, who is your favorite saint and why?

Peter Kreeft: St. Augustine, who has the Lewis-like combination of passionate heart, beautiful style, and deep understanding.
 
Brandon: Outside the Bible and Catechism, what are the top five books you wish every Catholic would read?

Peter Kreeft: Augustine’s Confessions, Pascal’s Pensees, Frank Sheed’s Theology and Sanity and Society and Sanity, and Brother Lawrence’s The Practice of the Presence of God. All of them bring heart and head together to powerfully push the reader up the road to the meaning of life, which is to be a saint, in head, heart, and hand.

The Confessions is unclassifiable; it has everything. The Pensees is the best modern apologetic book. Sheed’s two classics are the clearest popular introduction to Catholic theology I know. And Br. Lawrence’s is the simplest and most effective book for beginners in the spiritual life.

(Note: On Dr. Kreeft’s website he suggests seven more “highly recommended books”:

Brandon: Suppose the Pope invites you to Rome where he ushers you to the balcony at St. Peter’s. He gives you one minute to address the watching world. What do you say?

Peter Kreeft: Listen to this man who ushered me here. Listen to his predecessors. Listen to the One who called him and other successors of Peter. For that One alone has the secret of eternal life and joy.
 


 
Check out Dr. Kreeft’s website at PeterKreeft.com. You’ll also find updates about his work on Facebook.

And if you liked this discussion, you can find several more on my Interviews page with people like Fr. Robert Barron, Archbishop Charles Chaput, Carl Olson, and more. Be sure you don’t miss future interviews by subscribing to the blog via feed reader or email.

What’s your favorite Peter Kreeft book?

 

My own Peter Kreeft collection.

 

  • Cam

    Nice collection.
    Well, I guess should say nice library (in general). 🙂

  • Rklattter

    I love Lewis and Kreeft! The Screwtape Letters (Lewis) is by far one of the best books ever written by an Englishman. Lewis was influenced by Chesterton, who was another powerhouse of not just theology, but virtually every facet of human life. I know this is a simple statement, but, after following that atheist commentator for a few threads, I realized that atheism never puts forth a positive (i.e. alternative or forward-thinking) message on which one can build another idea (let alone, a civilization) on. They are perpetually in “nay-say” mode…but offer nothing worth trying to debunk in general. They are a-fill in the blank with regards to everything. As Chesterton said in so many words, an agnostic (or atheist) is forced to be agnostic about not just God, but by necessity, everything else. No statements are objectively true, except their statement that their is no truth. To work off the works of Lewis, the mantra of the modern atheist is “I do not beleive in God, and I hate Him!”

  • Rob B.

    My favorite books by Dr. Kreeft include his edited versions of the Summa Theologica (I use sections of them to teach Aquinas to tenth graders because the footnotes are so darn good. I’m also quite fond of his “Socrates Meets…” series.

    Dr. Kreeft is one of the only writers I’ve ever written a fan email too. I am such a geek… 🙂

  • Dan Crofts

    It’s probably way too late to comment on this, but I’d like to say that of those of Dr. Kreeft’s books that I have read, my favorite is “Love is Stronger Than Death.” I have never read a more thoughtful reflection on life or death than that which is contained in this book, and I would highly recommend it to everyone — to Catholics in particular, but also to anyone with an interest in exploring the deeper topics of our existence.

  • Stceolfrithtx

    I really enjoyed and learned from Kreeft’s “The Unaborted Socrates”. I might have read it sooner if I’d realized that it was a story, not a miniature philosophy text

  • Instead of offering my favorite Kreeft book, I’d like to offer my favorite Kreeft talk: “How to Win the Culture War” (make sure to listen all the way to the end). This talk literally changed my life a number of years ago. Do yourself a favor and allow your mind and heart to get Jesus-rocked toward holiness. http://www.peterkreeft.com/audio/01_culture-war.htm

  • Deblette

    I loved “Jesus Shock.” It is a wake up for anyone who has fallen into lukewarmness when it comes to who Jesus Christ is.
    I gave up following the discussion with the salvage dude because he truly is exactly what Dr. Kreeft stated. I would like to add idiot to that description too. I will pray for him though.

    • I *love* “Jesus Shock” too. I just discovered that Matthew Kelly’s ‘Dynamic Catholic Book Program is offering “Jesus Shock” for parishes at an incredible rate. You can order 500+ copies for just $2/copy *including shipping* (if you order less than 500 it’s $3/copy). It might be worth telling your pastor about.

      http://cart.dynamiccatholic.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=JS-MULTI

      • ForChristAlone

        Almost finished “Jesus Shock” and found Kreeft’s thoughts to be well-packed wiith profundity but pithy as well.

        Kreeft’s a blessing to the Catholic Church. The Holy Spirit has sent the Church many converts in the past 40 years who have revitalized the Church spiritually as well as intellectually. No one ought to ever depair about the Church when we review the complete list of some of our recent converts.

  • Steve Acciani

    Of the books on the shelf I counted 8 that we have read…more than I thought, (but we also read one on prayer I couldn’t find). Of those eight, one in particular had a profound affect on my outlook: Three Philosophies of Life. Amazing book, amazing author and we are grateful for his hard worth and profound faith.

    • Which one on prayer? I’m sure it’s in the picture. They’re all in alphabetical order if that helps find it.

      • On second thought, I just realized you’re probably talking about “Prayer for Beginners”! My wife is reading that now 🙂

  • sharonmarkey10

    Thank you for a most interesting interview. Dr. Kreeft continually helps me clear my mind and order my thinking. Favorite book? Three Philosophies of Life. The Book of Job has always been my favorite OT book, and Dr. Kreeft’s book has opened new paths of thought to me. A sincere thanks, good Doctor!

  • salvagesalvage

    >Atheists in C.S. Lewis’ day were as snobbish and arrogant as they are now

    Yeah, well we can’t help but feel a touch superior when debating people who think that Bronze Age mythology laced with Ancient Roman superstition is factual.

    >but better educated and more capable of debate.

    That’s why theism is slowly declining across the board! What’s your church attendance numbers like again? Have there ever been as many books about atheism in the mainstream? And yet atheists are incapable of debate, hmmm good thing our targets are so soft that skills aren’t required.

    >Anthony Flew, for example, was eminently fair and intelligent (and, of course, therefore eventually became a theist).

    Right around the same time he was diagnosed with what brain ailment again? Oh yes, dementia. Bravo! Guess you guys gotta find your wins where you can in this modern world.

    I like your graphic at the bottom there, not all protected child rapist of course but enough to make me wonder to your definition of “hero”.

    • Hey, salvage, thanks for the comment!

      1) If I encountered someone convinced of Bronze Age mythologies, I wouldn’t be snobbish, arrogant, or superior. I’d simply point out specific errors. I’m not looking for a vomit of accusations, but give me just one example of how Catholicism is nothing more than “Bronze Age mythology laced with ancient Roman superstition.” What’s the biggest, most obvious mythological fantasy within Catholicism that just makes you fume at its silliness?

      2) Theism is slowly declining across the board? Well, this is awkward:

      http://www.catholic.org/international/international_story.php?id=23018

      And if you’re ready to decide Truth by how many books are produced, Joel Osteen would be more truthful than Richard Dawkins and we’d all embrace the religion of Romance Novels.

      Finally, your very comment demonstrates Dr. Kreeft’s point, namely that instead of attempting to refute Christian arguments, or debate specific points, many atheists turn to snobbery and rhetoric.

      3) If you’re insinuating that Flew was “out of his mind” and had no idea what he was doing when he converted to theism, I’d ask for proof beyond mere conjecture.

      4) You say “not all” of my heroes are child rapists. That’s ludicrous and offensive. Can you name one hero on my website who abused any child?

      • salvagesalvage

        1) What’s the biggest, most obvious mythological fantasy within Catholicism that just makes you fume at its silliness?

        Well your god is from Bronze Age mythology based on Babylonian myths mostly. Your god started off as a mountain thunder god that was part of a pantheon of other nature gods. It eventually became a solo act evolving over the millennium to what you worship now
        Theoretically it can be traced to the Neolithic but then again so can everything.

        2) Theism is slowly declining across the board? Well, this is awkward:

        No, I’m talking not your specific brand but theism overall is in decline. Third World nations are always going to be hotbeds of religion because of theism’s promise of a better afterlife appeals to those having horrible current lives. In developed areas like Europe and North America the decline is pronounced and picking up speed.

        If you want to talk Catholicism, Ireland is a good example of your church collapsing:

        http://www.latimes.com/news/la-fg-ireland17apr17,0,256230.story

        You’ll note my source is a tad more unbiased than yours.

        >And if you’re ready to decide Truth by how many books are produced

        I am not and I said no such thing. It’s interesting how theists always choose to interpret things askew.

        My point was that there has never been a time where atheism has been so mainstream. An obvious symptom of the decline of theism and a rebuttal to the silly generalization that atheists can’t debate.

        >Finally, your very comment demonstrates Dr. Kreeft’s point, namely that instead of attempting to refute Christian arguments, or debate specific points, many atheists turn to snobbery and rhetoric.

        Once again, you think a Bronze Age mythological figure is real, that’s my specific point, you think something that clearly isn’t real is.

        I’m sure that sounds “snobby” to you but it’s true isn’t it? I think that’s what actually bothers you, when someone points out the roots and foundation of your beliefs. What you would rather is if we treated your beliefs with respect and didn’t mention just how ridiculous it all is when you strip it down to the basics.

        There is no polite way to call someone silly, sorry.

        3) If you’re insinuating that Flew was “out of his mind” and had no idea what he was doing when he converted to theism, I’d ask for proof beyond mere conjecture.

        Ah this is theist thinking at its finest!

        I say something, you could check on the validity of my statement with a simple Google but you know that the answer that will produce will not be to your liking so you don’t. I could provide several links but you won’t follow them deciding that they must be biased and lies otherwise why would I provide them? Hence you will always be right because you will never investigate the possibility of being wrong.

        Like how I say your god is from ancient myths, you could investigate that yourself but you won’t because you do not want it to be true.

        This is how you maintain your delusions by very carefully omitting any facts or even the chance of finding out facts that could dispel them.

        4) You say “not all” of my heroes are child rapists. That’s ludicrous and offensive. Can you name one hero on my website who abused any child?

        See? Once again you put my words askew so you don’t have to address the actual point I made, is it on purpose or are you unaware that you’re doing it? Let’s take a look at what I ACTUALLY said:

        “not all *****protected***** child rapist of course but”

        The word is “protected” not “abused”. I don’t think any of them abused children directly but I do know for a fact that the last two Popes PROTECTED abusers.

        And I would provide links but again you won’t follow them nor will you look for yourself for the reasons I’ve already gone into.

        But it’s a fact, the Vatican put the welfare of their church’s reputation above the welfare of children. Rather than having child abusers arrested they moved them so they could abuse more children.

        Facts! As a theist I know you’re not a fan but nonetheless there they are.

        • This is my last response; feel free to have the last word:

          1) You again avoided my request for one specific example of Christianity “basing itself” on a Bronze Age mythology. Please show me where in Bronze Age mythology a Jewish carpenter, claiming to be God, died, was buried, and rose from the dead. I’ll read any link provided.

          2) You claimed “theism was declining across the board”. Across the board means it is declining everywhere. Yet that’s not true. I showed how at least in one segment, global Catholicism, your claim is objectively false. You then cited one particular country where Catholicism is in decline, which does nothing to change the fact that it is increasing globally.

          3) Again, despite me asking you to give evidence to your claim that Flew was out of his mind when converting, you provide nothing. You simply suggest a “Google search”. The reason is that there is no evidence for your claim beyond atheistic conjecture. I’m more than willing to investigate evidence but you have to provide some first.

          4) You say you know for a fact that Popes Benedict XVI and John Paul II protected rapists. I have extensively researched both of their responses to the abuse crisis and came across no legitimate example. Again, I asked for proof of your claims, yet you did nothing but smugly dismiss the request.

          To summarize:

          1) You claimed Christianity was nothing more than Bronze Age myth. Yet you provided no examples or proof.

          2) You claimed ‘theism was declining across the board. Yet I provided proof to the contrary.

          3) You claimed Flew was out of his mind when converting. Yet you provided no proof.

          4) You claimed my ‘heroes’, Popes Benedict XVI and John Paul II in particular, “protected child rapists.” Yet you provided no proof.

          Do you see why Dr. Kreeft could say atheists in C.S. Lewis’ day were more fair, intelligent, and capable of debate?

          • salvagesalvage

            >This is my last response; feel free to have the last word:

            Yeah, typical.

            1) You again avoided my request for one specific example of Christianity “basing itself” on a Bronze Age mythology.

            Uh your god? I gave that as an example! Explained it and everything, wow, you really are deluded. Where do you think your god came from? What was the age called about 6,000 years ago? What geography did it come from? Facts! You can find them if you want.

            >Please show me where in Bronze Age mythology a Jewish carpenter, claiming to be God, died, was buried, and rose from the dead. I’ll read any link provided.

            Oh that’s not Bronze Age, that bit comes from Ancient Greek, Roman and Egyptian myths. The philosophy of Jesus comes from a mix of Far Eastern stuff.

            2) You claimed “theism was declining across the board”. Across the board means it is declining everywhere. Yet that’s not true. I showed how at least in one segment, global Catholicism, your claim is objectively false. You then cited one particular country where Catholicism is in decline, which does nothing to change the fact that it is increasing globally.

            Once again, THEISM is in decline, the specific sects will rise and fall but THEISM the belief that there are such things as gods is in decline.

            See how you pick and choose reality?

            3) Again, despite me asking you to give evidence to your claim that Flew was out of his mind when converting,
            Sigh.
            https://www.google.ca/#hl=en&gs_nf=1&tok=C37FlruMtuvjEhPkktmBVA&cp=16&gs_id=b8&xhr=t&q=antony+flew+dementia&pf=p&biw=1920&bih=943&sclient=psy-ab&oq=Anthony+flew+dem&gs_l=&pbx=1&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.,cf.osb&fp=1563116b8d498a2f

            4) You say you know for a fact that Popes Benedict XVI and John Paul II protected rapists. I have extensively researched both of their responses to the abuse crisis and came across no legitimate example.
            ______________________________________________
            Pope Benedict XVI was drawn deeper yesterday into the clerical sex abuse scandal that has begun to overwhelm the Roman Catholic Church, when he was accused of personally failing to take action against a serial paedophile.
            The Pope was blamed directly for ignoring repeated pleas by senior American churchmen to take action against a priest who had molested up to 200 deaf boys.
            Father Lawrence C. Murphy, who worked at the St John’s School for the Deaf in St Francis, Wisconsin, from 1950 to 1974, starting as a teacher and rising to director, allegedly molested scores of pupils, preying on his victims in their dormitories and on class trips.
            But instead of being defrocked and the police called in, it is alleged that Father Murphy avoided justice and remained a member of the Church after a key intervention by the Pope — then known as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. Murphy was quietly moved to the Diocese of Superior in northern Wisconsin in 1974 and spent his last 24 years working freely with children in parishes and schools. He died in 1998 at the age of 72, still a priest.
            ____________________________

            Fr. Maciel was ‘one of Catholicism’s worst child abusers’

            During the term of his papacy Pope John Paul II took Fr. Maciel with him on three overseas journeys to Mexico, the first in January 1979, 1990 and 1993. Those trips were public signs of the extraordinary bond between the two men, yet the Pope either actively or passively ignored open allegations that Fr. Maciel was an active paedophile who also fathered children with at least two women and whose monetary schemes included bribery and financial misconduct in the highest levels of the Vatican. Fr. Maciel collaborated extensively with John Paul II who praised, endorsed and glorified him, promoting him to different Vatican offices and making him an integral part of the Holy See’s inner circle of associates. Public accusations against Fr. Maciel again surfaced in the mid-1990s, yet John Paul II protected him from investigation and criminal charges right up to his death in 2005. One victim reported that Fr. Maciel boasted that he had a special written dispensation from Pope John Paul II to allow him to be masturbated because of the pains he suffered as a result of his ‘delicate’ health.

            Here’s two examples, the first was from the mainstream press and the second from the “Vikileaks” that was with a quick Google.

            And your “extensive research” missed this? Weird, even South Park made a reference to the deaf children being raped and I can’t imagine they do much research themselves much less extensive!

            I know, I know, the Popes knew nothing and if they knew something it was too late and they tried to do the right thing but … Satan. Yes, Satan, that’s why. At any rate Jesus has forgiven or will punish those who did wrong so can’t we all just forget about it?

            > Again, I asked for proof of your claims, yet you did nothing but smugly dismiss the request.

            There’s two, now are those men still “Your heroes”?

            Of course they are! You don’t care what they’ve done, your religion has imbedded such a fear of your god in you that you will stick with your Church no matter what. After all you leave and your loving god will throw you into Hell forever and ever.

            >1) You claimed Christianity was nothing more than Bronze Age myth. Yet you provided no examples or proof.

            No, I state the fact that your religion is BASED on Bronze Age myth. Wow you really have a hard time with reading comprehension, small wonder your “research” didn’t pan out the facts.
            Christianity is nothing more than superstations but that’s true of all religions.

            >2) You claimed ‘theism was declining across the board. Yet I provided proof to the contrary.

            No, you provided a link from a biased source that notes in one geographical area Catholicism has had a mild bump. Research, once again you’re doing it wrong.

            >3) You claimed Flew was out of his mind when converting. Yet you provided no proof.

            Well I posted a link from the Google search “Anthony Flew Dementia” you could have done the same if you thought I was wrong, you did it with my “theism decline” but you know I’m not so… well I’ve explained that already.

            >4) You claimed my ‘heroes’, Popes Benedict XVI and John Paul II in particular, “protected child rapists.” Yet you provided no proof.

            Wow, the denial of reality is deep with this one! Most Catholics just pretend I didn’t say anything but you go for the straight up “No! Never happened!”.

            Hey, here’s another fact for you to deny, the Vatican Bank launders money for the Mafia. Or did your extensive research debunk that too?

            >Do you see why Dr. Kreeft could say atheists in C.S. Lewis’ day were more fair, intelligent, and capable of debate?

            LOL! How did you start this post? Oh yes, “This is my last response; feel free to have the last word:”

            Next research project for you : meaning of hypocrisy.

        • MarylandBill

          You write, “You’ll note my source is a tad more unbiased than yours.”

          Translation: This source agrees with me.

          You also write that our God is mostly inherited from Babylonian myth. This kind of proves Mr. Vogt’s point about atheists in the past, since most secular scholars don’t believe that at all, but rather believe that Jew faith developed from either a Canaanite or an Edomite cult. Also most of those same scholars believe that the Israelites didn’t become monotheists until much later… in the Iron Age.

          So essentially, you are critiquing the the Judeo-Christian faiths by accepting their internal narrative (i.e., that Abraham was real, came from Sumaria (i.e., what would later by Babylonia), but rejecting the supernatural element on what basis? That it is old?

          • salvagesalvage

            >Translation: This source agrees with me.

            No, it’s not a website from a religious organization that is keen on promoting its brand of religion. You don’t think they would be biased?

            >You also write that our God is mostly inherited from Babylonian myth.

            Oh not just me, historians and anthropologists do too.

            >This kind of proves Mr. Vogt’s point about atheists in the past, since most secular scholars don’t believe that at all, but rather believe that Jew faith developed from either a Canaanite or an Edomite cult.

            And before that? What did the Canaanites and Edomites get their religion from? There are no new religions, like everything else on this planet they evolved from previous models, shaped by culture.

            But generally Christians like to pretend that the OT is some vague distant cousin three times removed from Jesus and their current version of that ancient god.

            >Also most of those same scholars believe that the Israelites didn’t become monotheists until much later… in the Iron Age.

            Yeah, it’s spotty as to when they combined their gods into one but the roots are Bronze Age.

            >So essentially, you are critiquing the the Judeo-Christian faiths by accepting their internal narrative (i.e., that Abraham was real, came from Sumaria (i.e., what would later by Babylonia), but rejecting the supernatural element on what basis? That it is old?

            No, I am saying your religion is based on myths, you seem to agree. I have no idea how real Abraham was, about as “real” as King Arthur, Robin Hood and Jesus I suspect.

            And of course I reject the supernatural, by definition it’s not real.

          • Bob

            you sure are smart!

          • salvagesalvage

            Not really but you don’t have to be smart to know there are no such things as gods. It’s pretty obvious even with the slightest bit of thought.

          • MarylandBill

            I will reply here to prevent the column from getting too narrow.

            1. Just because a site isn’t from a religious organization does not mean it is less biased. Clearly lots of people and organizations that are not explicitly religious are biased with respect to religious subjects (and actually everything else but that is a different story).

            2. Canaan and Edom were not part of the Babylonian empire until after belief in the what we now call God was clearly established (perhaps not monotheism if we believe some accounts… I don’t… but lets stick to the stuff everybody agrees to, which is belief in “God” was clearly established before the northern Kingdom was conquered by the Babylonians. If we are going to insist that Canaanite and Edomite religion necessarily had a precursor, why not a common ancestor to all semitic religions.

            Of course, I don’t at all accept the notion as proven that Judaism developed from a previous religion. Perhaps, the terms of El, Adoni and the name of God came from another religion but the notion that it had to evolve from another religion is kind of based on the notion that it is false. The problem is that its truth is rejected out of hand. Therefore, everything in its books is rejected, because to accept it is to accept the truth of the religion.

            If God is real, it really doesn’t matter if he first revealed himself to man in the paleolithic age, the bronze age or the iron age. But it is important if your reject God, because the older the notion, the more easily you can claim human progress has outstripped it.

          • MarylandBill

            Oh, BTW, claiming that Jesus was mythical like King Arthur immediately brands you as historically illiterate. The vast majority of professional historians accept the historical reality of Jesus even if many of them reject the divine aspects of his story.

  • Fr. Frank

    My favorite Peter Kreeft writing is his Luke Hart series published by the Knights of Columbus: 30 pamphlets on the Catechism. Absolutely marvelous!

  • swoltze

    Paolo,
    As an FYI, Kreeft has been clear and open about the fact that he is not a mystic. But God has given him other tremendous graces. Deo Gratias!

  • Kreeft is not only an apologist but a mystic, a great mystic. I’m sure he is the “Modern Boston’s Newman” or even Augustine. In fact, as Lewis, preaching “Transposition” on the Feast of Pentecost, May 28, 1944, I also had been – reading chapter 24 of “ An Ocean full of Angels”- and still am so overcome by emotion that I had to stop in the middle of the reading. I think this book represents some of Kreeft’s best theological thinking, not only a moral or spiritual one. I envy you, Brandon, a little- from Rome! May the Almighty bless a similar apostle of the true faith – Defensor fidei -, and you, American catholics of great promise, hallelujah!

  • Kristine

    We loved Because God is Real: 16 Questions One Answer. And actually used it as a supplemental “must read” for our daughter in preparation for Confirmation. And will do so with the next in line. It was an opportunity to introduce Peter Kreeft – without being completely over their heads. Nice interview.

  • Great interview, Brandon.

    I thought my collection of 14 Kreeft books was impressive – until I saw yours! Great!

    Picking just one – or even a top 3 – is tough. But I will say ‘A Refutation of Moral Relativism,’ ‘How to Win the Culture War,’ ‘Socrates Meets Marx,’ and ‘The Journey’ had a very positive impact on me.

    Thanks again. God bless you both!

  • Daniel

    My Peter Kreeft shelf looks almost identical to yours! Thanks for the great interview, Brandon. Apart from Christianity for Modern Pagans, may I be allowed to suggest two other favorites? A Refutation of Moral Relativism and Heaven: The Heart’s Deepest Longing are both excellent (the first quite a bit more philosophically dense, intellectually speaking, and the second radiates with the beauty of that place to which our hearts most deeply long). Runner up: Love is Stronger than Death, most especially the section at the end where Kreeft includes his personal diary entries written during a time where he thought his child was dying. Impossible to read without crying, especially if you have children!

  • Mack

    Lewis is an honest, intellectual Protestant, not a screamer. He got so many things exactly right on a personal level. We can see now why the concept of Mere Christianity cannot work outside of Catholicism; in his day a dialogue among Orthodox, Catholics, and the Church of England was a more optimistic matter because the C of E was at that time still Christian. I would listen to CSL just as I would listen to a wise rabbi or a solid Orthodox believer, always remembering that Rome has the first and last word — and Word!

  • JX

    The Imitation of Christ is an astonishing miss.

  • Maria

    When the Catholic tradition is so rich, why recommend the protestant Lewis? Sigh.

    Nevertheless, my favorite Kreeft book is Christianity for Modern Pagans.

    • Lewis was Catholic at heart, but his Ulster Protestant upbringing prevented him from converting. I’m convinced if he was alive today he would enter the Church through the new Ordinariate, however, especially with the state of Anglicanism today.

      • Timothy Burdick

        Without Lewis, many Protestants would not have found the truth of Catholic faith. Mr. Kreeft came to my town and was asked why Lewis never converted to Catholicism and he responded “We had to give them [the protestants] at least one saint to bridge them over!” Hilarious but true.

      • Maria

        I’m not opposed to Lewis, but a “catholic at heart” should have the guts to be a catholic in practice, regardless of one’s upbringing.

    • Have you read Lewis? If/when you do, I think you will find his works self-recommending.

  • TRD

    As always, Peter Kreeft provides wonderful direction. I would draw attention to his “festooning” of Pascal in “Christianity for Modern Pagans–Pascal’s Pensees–Edited, Outlined, & Explained,” published by Ignatius Press. I found this an especially useful door to Pascal’s apologetics. Thanks, Brandon.

  • Wow! What a great little interview. I really appreciated your questions…Dr. Kreeft gave some really practical responses that can help our spiritual and intellectual development. Thanks for sharing.

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