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I am a devout Catholic, but even I used to grimace a little when I would hear complaints about how the Church stifled science, condemned Galileo, held down uneducated people hundreds of years ago, etc. These are topics that are widely accepted as fact in this day and age, and rarely refuted in public, even by Catholic apologists.
In this book, however, all these topics and many, many more are discussed in great depth, and we learn about all the monumental contributions the Church made to virtually every pillar of western civilization. Science; astronomy; international law; economics; charity; etc. The list of Catholic inventions and research is truly amazing. "Who would have thought that modern economic theory began with a Franciscan friar in the 13th century?"
From an apologetics standpoint, I'd consider this book less as a Protestant vs. Catholic work. There is very little discussion of this since most of the discussions do not involve theology. Instead, I'd consider it an excellent primer for an atheist or agnostic who is of the opinion that the Catholic church has largely been a force for corruption and regression in the world.
52 of 54 people found this review helpful
Got this because of all the negative arguments I've heard about Catholicism...even by Catholics. Many I heard were misstatements following popular secular, media thinking, e.g the Pope's Regensburg lecture. I couldn't figure out how the Church survived all these generations if it was/is guilty of all this (supposed) villany. The book is an advocate for the faith but I think it does it very well. In some cases it argues to forcefully and takes too much credit. Islam, China, other religions are given scant credit for scientific, literary, artistic achievements or influences. Even if half of what Woods says is true (I suspect it's much, much more) it is a much needed revelation and tonic of the good the Church has done. It doesn't proselytize and it adroitly lays out very convincing arguments and historical facts. Highly recommended for those with an open mind.
15 of 16 people found this review helpful