Important Influencers of my Catholic World View


My Catholic world view was greatly influenced by the following scientists, philosophers, theologians, apologists, authors, public speakers and debaters:

 

Mortimer J. Adler, Jimmy AkinMarcellino d'Ambrosio, Mother Angelica, Elizabeth Anscombe, St. Anselm of Canterbury, Aristotle, Dave Armstrong, St. Thomas Aquinas, Fr. Benedict Ashley, St. Augustine of Hippo, Michael Barber, Stephen M. Barr, Bishop Robert Barron,  Douglas Beaumont, Francis J. Beckwith, Thomas Berry, Craig Blomberg, Jeffrey E. Brower, Karlo Broussard, Thomas Cajetan, William E. Carroll, Jeff CavinsFr. Michael Chaberek, G.K. Chesterton, Patrick Coffin, Francis Collins, William Lane Craig, David Currie, Leah Darrow, Brian Davies, James E. Dolezal, Colin Donovan, John Eccles, Michael Egnor, Brian Ellis, George F.R. Ellis, Peter Enns, Craig A. Evans, Christopher Ferrara, Edward Feser, Tracy Finke, Alfred Freddoso, Steve Fuller, Jennifer Fulwiler, Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, Norman GeislerDouglas Geivett, Étienne Gilson, René Girard, Marcus Grodi, Anselm Grün, Stuart C. Hackett, Gary HabermasScott HahnJohn HaldaneDavid Bentley Hart, Johannes Hartl, John F. Haught, Michael S. Heiser, Brian Holdsworth, Trent Horn, William A. Jurgens, Karl KeatingCharles de KoninckRobert C. KoonsPeter Kreeft, Saul Kripke, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, Brian LeftowJohn Lennox, C.S. Lewis, Leah Libresco, Mike Licona, Bernard Lonergan, E.J. Lowe, Cardinal Henri de Lubac, Patrick Madrid, Jacques Maritain, Taylor Marshall, John Martignoni, Thomas Merton, Alister McGrath, Ralph McInerny, Chad MeisterAngus MenugeGary Michuta, Barry Miller, J.P. Moreland, Hans-Dieter Mutschler, Thomas NagelMatt Nelson, Cardinal John Henry Newman, Timothy O'ConnorDavid Oderberg, Carl E. Olson, Amy Orr-EwingStephen E. ParrishAlvin PlantingaNancy Pearcey, Brant Pitre, Plato, Plotinus, John PolkinghorneAlexander Pruss, Hilary Putnam, Stephen K.  RayMichael ReaVictor ReppertAlan RhodaJay Wesley Richards, Jesse Romero, Fr. Mario Romero, Devin RoseMichael RotaJohn SalzaFr. Mike Schmitz, Marcel-Paul Schützenberger, Bl. John Duns Scotus, Paul Seely, Mark Shea, Frank Sheed, Bishop Fulton J. Sheen, Wolfgang SmithDavid SnokeDinesh d'SouzaFr. Robert SpitzerEdward SriTim Staples, Rodney Stark, Richard SternbergEleonore Stump, Francisco Suárez, Scott M. SullivanRobert SungenisRichard Swinburne,  John Michael TalbotCharles Taliaferro, J.R.R. Tolkien, Frank TurekWilliam VallicellaBrandon VogtMichael VorisAron WallJames Warner WallaceWilliam A. Wallace, John Walton, Keith Ward, Erich Wasmann, Fr. James A. Weisheipl, Greg WeltyBen Witherington IIIN.T. Wright, Ken Yasinski, Milo Yiannopoulos, and the extremely helpful and highly recommended Catholic Answers website.

 

I seriously warn against pseudo-Catholic heretics like Ron Conte (Catholic Planet) and Eugen Drewermann, or sedevacantists like SSPX or Brs. Michael & Peter Dimond (Most Holy Family Monastery), even though their websites still do feature some legit and useful Catholic content. Likewise deceptive are pseudo-Christian (but rather crypto-atheist) ex-priests like John Dominic Crossan, Francisco Ayala, and John Shelby Spong. I explicitly reject and despise pop-evangelists like Joyce MeyerJoel Osteen, Paula White-Cain, Jesse Duplantis, Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland, or the Hillsong Church (in spite of their wonderful worship music), who teach a silly gospel of prosperity and happiness as well as other heretical doctrines (see here). I also reject the feel-good Christianity preached by progressive liberal leftists like Rob Bell, which shamelessly curries favor with the zeitgeist.

 

Lecture of Prof. William Lane Craig on 2nd Nov. 2015 at the university of Vienna / Austria on evidence for God and Christianity, which I attended with my father in law and my nephew (photo ©: G. Bechly, 2015). The writings and debates of William Lane Craig had a big influence on my conversion to Christian theism.

Prof. Craig's Website Reasonable Faith represents an excellent web-resource on rational and evidential reasons for belief in God and Christianity, but I meanwhile came to disagree with his support of particular Protestant doctrines like the penal substitution theory, his Molinism, his semi-heretical views on the Trinity (partialist Cerberus analogy) and Christology (monotheletism and neo-Apollinarianism), and his justification of atrocities in the Old Testament, as well as his misguided critique of classical theism (esp. divine simplicity and immutability).

For about 15 years I thoroughly evaluated and finally rejected several other alternative world views, and extensively studied the writings of the following authors:

 

Hector Avalos (atheist, anti-Christian), Ian Barbour (Process theologian), Dan Barker (ex-Christian turned atheist), Richard Carrier (atheist, NT critic), Paul Davies (process thought), Richard Dawkins (New Atheist, Darwinist), Daniel Dennett (New Atheist, Darwinist), David Deutsch (atheist, physicist), Gary Drescher (atheist, naturalist), Bart Ehrmann (agnostic, NT critic),  Amit Goswami (quantum mysticist), Brian Greene (naturalist, physicist), John Michael Greer (neopagan), David Ray Griffin (process theologian), Sam Harris (New Atheist), Stephen Hawking (atheist, physicist), Christopher Hitchens (New Atheist), Derrick Jensen (neopagan, radical environmentalist), Lawrence Krauss (New Atheist, physicist), John A. Leslie (axiarchic neoplatonist), John Leslie Mackie (atheist philosopher), John W. Loftus (ex-Christian turned atheist), Friedrich Nietzsche (atheist philosopher, "nihilist"), Graham Oppy (atheist philosopher),  Robert Price (atheist, NT critic), Ayn Rand (atheist, objectivist), Alexander Rosenberg (atheist philosopher), Bede Rundle (atheist philosopher), Bertrand Russell (atheist philosopher), Carl Sagan (atheist, naturalist), Michael Shermer (atheist, skeptic), Peter Singer (atheist philosopher of ethics), Quentin Smith (atheist philosopher), Victor Stenger (New Atheist, physicist), Max Tegmark (atheist, physicist, mathematical monist), Alfred North Whitehead (process philosopher), Ken Wilber (neoperennial philosopher, Integral Theory).