A FAITH BRIEF

A Faith Brief: A Lawyer’s Argument for Why Faith Prevails Over Doubt 

A Faith Brief, published by Kirk House Publishing Company, is written for a general though somewhat educated audience. It is a fairly quick and easy read—and its writing style is much more conversational than academic or scholarly. The goal of the book is not only to show how logic can support faith, but particularly how doubt fails the test of logic. So often, logic is used to discredit faith; but this book seeks to put doubt to that same logical test, and in so doing to show how doubtful doubt can be.

Reviews of A Faith Brief

Patrick M. Garry has used an attorney’s keen logical and rhetorical skills to demolish one of the most widely accepted premises of modern life: the assumption that skepticism and doubt are intellectually and morally superior to faith in God. Readers of this book will never again see that premise in the same way. Such readers, which I hope will be many in number, will find that Garry has not only made a wonderful contribution to Christian apologetics, but that he has taught them something vitally important about how to live their lives—with greater confidence, courage, and joy.
– Wilfred M. McClay, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Patrick Garry’s Book, A Faith Brief: A Lawyer’s Argument for Why Faith Prevails Over Doubt, is an inspiring book. In the great Catholic tradition in which, following St. Augustine, “We believe in order to understand,” Garry writes with a lawyer’s intellect about the intersection of faith and reason, about belief in an age of doubt. I found many echoes of the wisdom of St. Benedict’s counsel that only when we “listen with the ear of the heart,” will we find true understanding. It is an inspiring book.
– Fr. Robert Koopmann, President, St. John’s University

Recognized in the Learning Curve column as a recommended book on faith and religion.
– World Magazine

“A Faith Brief” provides an insightful, engaging, and compelling explanation of our journey from doubt to faith. This pithy, Biblically grounded book is recommended reading for anyone interested in exploring the rational aspects of Christian faith, for one’s own understanding or to encourage others. With incisive and lawyerly logic, Garry shows how one’s faith starts, deepens, and grows through a lifetime relationship with God.
– Sally R. Wagenmaker, Board of Directors, Christian Legal Society

“A Faith Brief” is an insightful take on intellectualism, logic, and God, and how they all can get along quite well.
– The Midwest Book Review

This is not only a book about faith, but even more significantly, it is a book about doubt. More precisely, it is a book about the conceit of doubt – that is, the contemporary and conventional arrogance that the true thinking person must close his or her mind even to the possibility of faith in God. By shifting the burden of proof to “the foe of doubt,” Patrick Garry encourages the genuine truth-seeker to “clear away the falseness of doubt just long enough to get a glimpse of the truth of faith.”
– Gregory C. Sisk, Pio Cardinal Laghi Distinguished Chair in Law, University of St. Thomas 

I have long been familiar with Patrick Garry’s scholarly and historically well informed insights into the Constitutional protection of religious liberty. But in little more than four score pages, Professor Garry proves himself to be a valued counselor well beyond the legal profession. Indeed, his thoughtful argument for faith over doubt is valuable to anyone who has questioned their faith in God, or more frequently today, has had that faith questioned as the source of small-mindedness, bigotry, and violence. In other words, this “brief for faith” merits everyone’s thoughtful attention.

Smugly, man has demanded God explain why the world we inhabit is not perfect in every respect. As Garry relates, since none of us can demonstrate self-creation, would it not be more appropriate to allocate the burden of explaining the evils and shortcomings of the earthly realm under our bailment to ourselves and God’s disproof to the nonbeliever.

Some rather famous Americans like our first diplomat, Benjamin Franklin, whose aphorisms often had the ring of truth, and who urged those writing the Constitution to pray, since a great nation could not rise without the blessing of God’s providence, ironically misled our infant nation suggesting that those who wanted to “see by faith” were obligated “to shut the eye of reason.” Like the Holy Father, Garry illustrates that empirical support for faith is all around us, but faith comes only to those who are open to it, and in that receptivity–which is nurtured not in one fleeting moment after disaster enters our lives, but every day.

The reader will find this short book a worthy companion to keep close at hand. It is in our nature, to readily exalt ourselves, but as with all self-promotion, this limits rather than enlarges our potential. A few sincere words of gratitude to a Creator whose desire was only to love us, Professor Garry argues, conquers fears that strangle the doubtful mind. Moreover, it is in the imitation of the love of that Creator which allows faith to magnify the best in us and others. Garry’s trump for faith over doubt thus rests ultimately in the proposition that no logical appraisal of lived experience has been otherwise. Think about it.
– Douglas W. Kmiec, U.S. Ambassador (ret.); Caruso Family Chair in Law & Human Rights, Pepperdine University

Patrick  Garry’s Faith Brief is not just a lawyers’ read. It is for everyone. It is in fact a most engaging read. Faith Brief is a unique and splendid sort of work which everyone who is struggling with doubts about their faith needs to read. If you are among the fortunate who are not presently in that category, read the book anyway. You will nourish your own faith, and be all the more effective at giving an account of your faith when called upon to do so.
– Gerard Bradley, Professor of Law, University of Notre Dame

In this deep but easily digestible book, Patrick Garry discusses the very concept of faith, tests the logic of Christian faith, and shows readers how to bring faith more fully into their lives. In the tradition of the finest Christian writing, A Faith Brief is simple yet profound. Garry draws on history’s great thinkers and provides modern examples in a way that exposes the shallowness of the ‘new atheism’ movement. I will be recommending this book for years to come.
– Ronald J. Rychlak, MDLA Professor of Law, University of  Mississippi, Author of Hitler, the War, and the Pope

Reason is not an antonym of faith. So begins the argument by the indefatigable law professor, Patrick M. Garry. In clear and crisp prose, Garry methodically builds the case for reason, not as a bane to belief, but as a tool, given by God, for breaking down the opponent’s positions that cause doubt.
– Carl H. Esbeck, R. B. Price Distinguished Professor of Law, University of Missouri School of Law; Director, Center for Law & Religious Freedom and Senior Counsel to Deputy U.S. Attorney General

Professor Garry offers a compelling case for an attitude of faith over doubt, especially when inquiring into the existence of God and the truth of Christianity. Like Pascal, Garry challenges us to examine our doubts with the same critical rigor we use to examine the claims of faith. He depicts faith not as the act of a moment but as the journey of a lifetime, one in which faith naturally advances as doubt recedes. The book is unique in addressing the most common psychological as well as intellectual obstacles to faith, and in offering practical first steps for those willing to consider the path of faith. Believers and skeptics alike will benefit from this timely and provocative exploration of the sources of doubt and the credentials of faith.
– Dr. Laura L. Garcia, Department of Philosophy, Boston College

A Faith Brief: A Lawyer’s Argument for Why Faith Prevails Over Doubt, by Patrick M. Garry is an intriguing little (91 pages) book by a law professor at the University of South Dakota. It falls in the category of Christian apologetics, which is a discipline that seeks to explain and defend the faith. And the conceit of the book is that the author puts on his lawyer hat and argues the case.  So Garry seeks here to present a logical case for why faith makes rational sense, at least compared with dismissive doubt. And for being so brief, it’s quite a good collection of arguments . . .  Perhaps Garry’s best contribution is in his chapter on theodicy, which is to say the old question of why there’s suffering and evil in the world if God is good. He doesn’t break any new ground here (in fact, there is no new ground to break on this ancient subject) but he does gather up some good traditional thinking about the matter, finally concluding that “adversity and suffering are really a gift from God” though “this is not to say that pain and suffering are welcome events.” Garry has written the sort of engaging treatise that adult Christian education classes in churches would do well to adopt as a study book. The conversations this book would produce in such a setting would be many and fascinating.
– Bill Tammeus, Former columnist for the Kansas City Star and current columnist for the National Catholic Reporter

“In this slim volume, Patrick Garry ably demonstrates how logic supports faith and, perhaps more importantly, how doubt fails the test of logic. Written with the skills of a veteran law professor, A Faith Brief: A Lawyer’s Argument for Why Faith Prevails Over Doubt, makes a persuasive case why the skeptics are wrong.”
– Catalyst: Journal of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights

A Faith Brief by Patrick M. Garry is truly a one-of-a-kind book. I have often heard that intelligent people have a harder time believing in God. Garry has shattered that stereotype with this book. One by one he dissects common questions about God and Christianity, proving that faith is truth and doubt is false. He uncovers fallacies in logic that are commonly presented when discussing the Bible and convincingly argues his case. God is frequently viewed in a subservient role to humans, as if He has to answer to us for anything. In reality, I heard it said once, “If God were small enough to be understood, He would not be big enough to be God.” That is why we need faith. Further, Patrick Garry takes the position that you must start from belief, and try to prove that God does NOT exist. Before long you will see that you cannot prove that. There are too many patterns, coincidences and the like in the world for things to have happened randomly. There are too many prophecies in the Old Testament fulfilled in the New Testament. There are even non-Christian writers such as Josephus who witness to Bible events and personalities (most importantly Jesus) in their writings. Another point is that as humans we are prone to inconsistencies, and one big one is that we trust in ourselves or other humans rather than trust in God, taking the credit for good things that happen in our lives even when we prayed to God to make them happen.

A Faith Brief may seem like a quick read, but do yourself the favor of taking your time to fully digest it. There is a lot to think about here. Patrick M. Garry has given us a well-written and well-laid out book that would be a valuable addition to your library.
– Readers’ Favorite

A Faith Brief: A Lawyer’s Argument for Why Faith Prevails Over Doubt, by Patrick M. Garry, a law professor and novelist, is about finding faith despite an immersion in a life and culture of doubt, and about finding a way to dispel the doubt. Nondenominational in approach, it relies predominantly on philosophical and reasoned arguments to plead its case… A Faith Brief does not work to convince the reader by authority or revelation; rather, its aim is to detach the reader from a state of  skepticism…With lawyerly precision, Garry guides his reader along steps to overcoming religious doubt.
Chronicles book reviews

An interesting and well-explored argument for the primacy of faith over doubt.
– Midwest Book Awards

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.
– Joseph Pronechen, National Catholic Reporter

If our society were rightly ordered, a book of this kind would be required reading for every law student.  Here Patrick Garry shows the way to rise above the storms that assail the undefended soul.  It is the way of Our Lord, who overcame the world.
– Christopher A. Ferrara, President and Chief Counsel of American Catholic Lawyers Association

Book Awards

2015 NIEA Book Award, Religion Nonfiction

Gold Prize, 2015 Feathered Quill Book Award

Runner-up, 2014 London Book Festival

Gold Medal Winner, 2013 Illumination Book Award

Runner-up, 2013 New England Book Festival

Winner, 2013 USA Best Book Award

Runner-up, 2013 The Great Midwest Book Festival 

Winner,  2013 DIY Book Festival Awards

 Finalist,  2013 Beverly Hills Book Awards for Non-fiction

Finalist, 2013 International Book Awards