Building a Case for Faith
Book pick on A Faith Brief: A Lawyer's Argument for Why Faith Prevails over Doubt
A Faith Brief
A Lawyer’s Argument for Why Faith Prevails over Doubt
By Patrick M. Garry
Kirk House Publishers, 2012
91 pages, $14
To order: kirkhouse.com
There are different ways to move people away from disbelief and doubt and toward faith.
To do so, author Patrick Garry takes a road less traveled, because he draws on his expertise as a law professor.
Like a good lawyer, Garry builds his case for faith over doubt clearly and colorfully.
He shows that doubt cannot be the default or starting position in any argument against faith because doubt’s position cannot be proven. He gives evidence that doubt is really an “unsustainable position.”
Garry unmasks doubt’s unsustainable position without the convoluted twists of a trial lawyer, but with a straightforward examination that anyone can follow.
He presents exhibits on how faith of a secular kind is evident in our daily lives. The strong everyday examples throughout the book are the kind which just about everyone can relate to: everything from faith that a favorite team will win the big game even though they’re well behind to faith that the electricity will work, traffic lights will function and airplanes will get safely to their destinations.
He also challenges the stance of those who have no doubt in themselves but much doubt in the power of God. Like a good lawyer, he shows the holes — some tiny, some gaping — in the arguments of the doubters, especially those who doubt because of the suffering in the world. Garry does this without any superior attitude, but with a kindly manner intent on leading the doubters to at least dip their toes into faith in God — because once they do, they will want to wade deeper.
What naturally follows are ways to take the first steps to knowing God: reading Scripture, praying and listening to God.
He goes on to show readers, with more practical examples and metaphors, why faith is so necessary to a meaningful life — and that, without it, we waste our time and talents on worldly pursuits that will bring us no happiness. Faith dispels fear and gives us true freedom.
Along the way, references to Scripture, plus some thoughts from G.K. Chesterton and C.S. Lewis, become expert witnesses to several points the author makes.
There is no shying away from areas like suffering and adversity, which Garry shows are gifts from God. Adversity in the only way some make the leap to faith, he points out.
Faith, he writes, “does not help you get rich; nor does it congratulate you for your riches. It is not something you can put on a resumé. It in fact requires that you shift your focus from all those earthly, material things. It requires you to believe in a God who teaches lessons that diminish and maybe even contradict the things that we normally value in life.”
Overall, A Faith Brief is nondenominational in approach and not a heavy theological work, but this basic briefing on faith in less than 100 pages is a thoughtful, easy-to-understand and convincing starting point.
Joseph Pronechen is a Register staff writer.