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Thinking as Though God Exists

Thinking as Though God Exists

Newman on Evangelizing the “Nones”

By Ryan N. S. Topping

186 pp

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About the Book

In post-modern society the “nones” have become our new poor. The West still commands vast markets and militaries but our culture has long been living off of borrowed moral capital with no foreseeable schedule of repayment. In Thinking as Though God Exists, Catholic philosopher Ryan Topping draws upon St. John Henry Newman’s voluminous insights to present a far-ranging cultural strategy for the New Evangelization. 

The conversion of secular culture requires many things – the rebuilding of the family, the recovery of our artistic traditions, the reimagining of the liberal arts, the reestablishment of local priestly vocations, and more. In this book readers discover how Newman’s concept of an integrative habit of mind can help believers reconstitute and re-propose a coherent and emotionally satisfying account of faith and culture for our time.


“This brief but welcome primer on the New Evangelization is chock-full of the wisdom of John Henry Newman. It’s thus two books in one: an instruction manual for implementing Catholicism's 21st-century grand strategy and an introduction to the mind and heart of one of the modern Church’s great spirits.”


Distinguished Senior Fellow and William E. Simon Chair in Catholic Studies, Ethics and Public Policy Center

"This superb book brilliantly identifies the key modern challenges to evangelization in a world made lonely and lifeless by a secularism that privileges an inhuman autonomy; it charts the path ahead, guided by the insights of St. John Henry Newman, whose coherently Catholic integrative habit of mind allowed him to see the compelling richness of the human experience, especially when made vibrant by grace.”


Archdiocese of Toronto


“Ryan Topping has ransacked Newman’s works for texts and themes that can help re-evangelize former Christians. Convinced that Newman can still show us how to baptize reason and imagination in the realms of morals, art, politics, education, and religion itself, Topping wants to see new Catholic missionaries formed in Newman’s spirit now that the fragmenting of a Christian culture which the newly-canonized saint described has become the godless West he foresaw. With his up-to-date observation of the current North American cultural scene, the author shares Newman’s astuteness about human capacities and responsibilities, and likewise his desire for an ‘integrated habit of mind’—one that is based on sound first principles, makes connections between disciplines, and recognizes the difference God’s self-revelation makes to every area of knowledge.”


formerly Pope John Paul II Memorial Lecturer in Roman Catholic Theology, University of Oxford

“St. John Henry Newman is a thinker who has been a source of intimidation for me, but Dr. Topping, stemming from his experience as a teacher, has a unique ability to make difficult subject matter more accessible. He introduces the reader to St. Newman and his expansive thought while directing us to the specific wisdom that this great saint offers to the mission and needs of the Church today. This much-needed exposition of Newman is a sure guide for those wishing to apply his wisdom to their evangelistic efforts.”


Catholic apologist, podcaster

About the Author

RYAN N.S. TOPPING is the author of ten books on education and culture including The Case for Catholic Education, The Elements of Rhetoric, and Rebuilding Catholic Culture.  He is the Director of the Benedict XVI Institute for the New Evangelization at Newman Theological College in Edmonton, Canada.  He and his wife have ten children.

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