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The Books of Faith and Reason

Readers respond with a list of books which discuss how faith informs reason.

11:00 PM, Mar 14, 2002 • By DAVID BROOKS
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A COUPLE OF weeks ago I wrote a piece on how George W. Bush, who doesn't possess stellar academic credentials, has nonetheless made a series of extremely wise decisions while leading the war on terror. I pointed out that Bush's brilliant performance challenges our conventional definitions of intelligence, and theorized that Bush's religious faith contributes to his ability to think clearly about complex problems.

I also asked readers if anybody could suggest a good book that explains how faith informs reason. There were scores of responses, which filled up my e-mail folder for days. Twenty-one people suggested I read the Bible. Some made the suggestion sincerely, a few sarcastically. Believe it or not I'd thought of that, though I did appreciate the number of people who directed me to Proverbs and the 1st and 2nd book of Samuel.

I was actually looking for less obvious books by theologians or philosophers that might help me understand the interrelationship. There were dozens of good suggestions, and while I haven't had time to read these books, I thought I'd share some of the recommendations:

-"The Consequences of Ideas" by RC Sproul (several people recommended this one.)

-"Logic: The Right Use of Reason in Inquiry After Truth" by Isaac Watts

-"Summa Theologica" by Thomas Aquinas (also nominated several times)

-"The Hero With a Thousand Faces" by Joseph Campbell

-"Mere Christianity" by C.S. Lewis

-"Kingdoms in Conflict" by Chuck Colson

-"The Clash of Orthodoxies" by Robert P. George

-"The Four Cardinal Virtues" by Josef Pieper

-"Eudemian Ethics" by Aristotle (This came from a professor of philosophy at the Gregorian University in Rome, who especially recommended the penultimate chapter.)

-"Lectures on Faith" by Joseph Smith

-"Beware the Busy Manager" in the February 2000 issue of the Harvard Business Review, by Heike Bruch and Sumantra Ghoshal

-"Back to Virtue" by Paul Kreeft

-"Norms and Nobility" by David Hicks

-"The Beginning of Wisdom" by J. Budziszewski, coming out this fall from Spence Publishing

-"The Call" by Os Guiness

-"The Christian Mind" by Harry Blamires

-"Abolition of Man" by C.S. Lewis (just about every Lewis book was nominated by someone)

-"Created to be God's Friend" by Henry T. Blackaby

I'll try to read a few of these books and pass along some wise morsels.

David Brooks is a senior editor at The Weekly Standard.