Item description for Theology and Sanity by Francis J. Sheed, F. J. Sheed & Frank Sheed...
One of Sheed's most popular books, this ideal volume for the layman shows the practical aspects of theology in the life of a Christian believer. Logic, clarity, and simplicity permeate this eminently readable book.
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Reviews - What do customers think about Theology and Sanity?
Wonderful Overview in Plain English May 14, 2008
This was a wonderful book; one that I needed to read given my questions concerning God and His role in our lives. I also needed to read this book to determine how it is that the Church continues to spread the word of God given that the Church is organized and run by man. Man, inherently, because of the fall of Adam, is prone to sin. So how is it that the Church, run by man, who is prone to sin, can be the one organization to espouse the "truth" of God and His Son, Jesus?
The first aspect of this book that I really enjoyed was that Father Sheed takes some very complicated topics and puts them into plain English so that the lay person can understand them. Father Sheed's explanation of the trinity, one of the most complicated aspects of the Catholic Religion (in my opinion), was explained in a most wonderful way. It was explained so that I could understand it and without all the "religious" terminology that usually accompanies such explanations.
The second aspect of the book that I enjoyed was the organization. He takes these issues from step one and then logically continues with the book up to the end. He takes the prior steps and incorporates them into later steps and wonderfully demonstrates how they all fit together.
The third aspect of this book I loved was the explanation of why Jesus "lowered" himself to human form. Father Sheed had a wonderful way of explaining why is it was that Jesus came to do what he did. He ties this in with the fall of Adam and how the fall of Adam severed our relationship with God. Father Sheed also explains what "original sin" is and why we have it. It is not that the person born has sinned but has the sin of Adam just because we are human. Because of the fall, man was severed with God but Jesus came to "bridge" that gap and that is what he did.
Do not get the idea that the "sanity" part of the book title means that if you don't live the Catholic Way perfectly that one is insane. This is not what that term means in the context of the book. Sanity means seeing the world as it really is; not deceiving ourselves that the world is differnt that it really is. If we can do that, then we are seeing things correctly and have "sanity". However, not seeing the world and God as they truly are does not mean you are insane, in the mental aspect of the word. Father Sheed gives us a good idea what it means to not see things as they really are and how to change that in our lives.
This is a wonderful book. However, this did take me a long time to read. Father Sheed has much to say and it is all something that you must think about to fully understand what he is saying. You cannot read this book like a fiction novel; you can't or you will miss much of what Fr. Sheed is saying. It will take time but the time is well worth it.
I have already purchased two more of Fr. Sheed's books and I look forward to reading them.
If you have an interest in learning more about the Catholic, or even just the Christian faith in plain English, then I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It certainly has helped me along in my own search on God and the role He plays in our lives.
Theology and Sanity Feb 23, 2008
Excellent, reasoned defense of Christianity and the Catholic faith. This apologetic is a classic, a must read for an informed Christian. Much easier to read than Chesterton, this book reminds me of C.S. Lewis in practical writing, with a more in depth examination of theology.
Theology and Sanity Feb 8, 2008
This is an amazing book. Frank Sheed does an excellent job of sharing his insight into the mysteries of God.
Outstanding Review of Catholic Worldview and Implications for One's Life Jan 19, 2008
This is an excellent and engaging book. In the author's own words this is a book about seeing the universe the way the Church sees it because that is reality, and seeing reality is sanity. Seeing the world in any other way is not reality, and therefore insane. As a very early example Sheed writes,
"...she [the Church] sees all things whatsoever held in existence from moment to moment by nothing but the continuing will of God that they should not cease to be. When she sees anything at all, in the same act she sees God holding it in existence. Do we? It is not merely a matter of knowing that this is so. Do we actually see it so? If we do not, then we are not living mentally in the same world as the Church. What is more, we are not seeing things as they are, for that is how they are."
Sheed's writing has a very academic tone to it. In fact he states up front that he is writing about the intellect, not the will. He is clear that salvation depends directly on the will, not the intellect, but at the same time he emphasizes that neglecting the intellect is to our own great disadvantage. In Sheed's own words,
"But knowledge of the truth matters all the same. It matters for the reason we have already stated, namely, that every new thing known about God is a new reason for loving Him. It matters also...[because] in the appallingly difficult struggle to be good, the will is helped immeasurably by the intellect's clear vision of the real Universe."
"After all, the man who uses his intellect in religion is using it to see what is there. But the alternative to seeing what is there is either not seeing what is there, and this is darkness; or seeing what is not there, and this is error, derangement, a kind of double darkness. And it is unthinkable that darkness whether double or single should be preferred to light."
The academic tone to the book will definitely appeal to those who are more intellectually oriented, but the book is much more than pure academics. Sheed spent many years as a street minister and this comes through in the book, making each point hit home personally in one's own life.
The book is written in three main parts: God, Creation, and Oneself. And within these three sections the author covers the whole gamut of the Catholic faith including: Thomistic proofs of God's existence, the mystery of the Trinity, God's creation of man, God's personal relationship with man, the life of Jesus Christ, the Church as the body of Christ, the sacraments, the human condition as viewed by the Church, heaven, angels, sanctifying grace, and so much more. In short it is an exceptionally good overview of what the Catholic church is about and how it sees the world.
There are a few things one might want to be aware of before choosing or starting to read this book. First, as I've already mentioned, sometimes Sheed's writing, can have an academic air about it that might turn some people off. Many will appreciate the academic tone, but Sheed's passion for the intellect may at times be a little overbearing and rub some people the wrong way. If this is the case for you, try not to let it distract you too much. What Sheed has to say is excellent regardless.
In the same way, with Sheed's passion for the intellect, sometimes his writing is not the easiest to read. For the most part his writing is very clear, but sometimes it can be just a little difficult to follow. I mention this simply because I would hate to see someone start the book and then stop reading it because it was more difficult to read than they expected. It is better to know up front that it might be a little difficult in spots, and be determined to push through it, than to give up entirely.
Finally, the book was written in 1946 and updated in 1978, so some things may feel a bit dated. Again, I point this out simply so that one does not begin the book only to give up on it because it "sounds too old." On the whole, everything Sheed has to say is just as relevant now as it was then.
In summary, through a mix of theology and ministry this book provides an exceptionally good overview of how the Catholic church sees the world and what that means for us in our personal lives.
Great insights Jul 19, 2007
This book provides wonderful insights into what Catholics believe, with supporting arguments and justification. If you have ever been at a loss to explain your faith, you should read this book. It's written for lay people, not religious scholars, so it's pretty easy to understand.