There's some optical illusion here. The floodgates haven't quite opened. The publisher of my novel The Last Dreamgirl decided at the last minute, when the book was about to go into production, that they would have a better sale if that book followed the publication of The End of Unbelief (nonfiction) and could "piggyback" (her term) on the anticipated success of that book, which would provide a publicity platform for the novel. So the novel won't come out till next spring.
But The End of Unbelief: A New Approach to the Question of God will be released on 9/9 and is available for pre-order now on Amazon at this link: http://www.amazon.com/End-Unbelief-New-Approach-Question/dp/0891124381/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1408447681&sr=1-1&keywords=shane+hayes
My cousin in Ireland pre-ordered a copy last Friday, so I'm sure of at least one sale. (I've already spent my anticipated $2 royalty on a celebrative slice of pizza.)
Alas, I'll be torn apart by some believers on the right (Kozin, the most formidable) and everyone on the left. Remember, the basic premise of the book is that standard conversion literature is designed for the apathetic believer and can't reach the hardcore unbeliever, whose mindset is radically different. I'm a bad guy, from your perspective: a believer who doesn't think our doctrines -- even God's existence -- can be proven. So I'm philosophically agnostic, but I've chosen -- without changing my philosophical position -- to believe. I'm living proof that one can remain an agnostic and still believe passionately in a personal and loving God, which is one step out of atheism.
I see Christianity as a second step, doctrinally a very complicated one. I had to remain at the one-step position, with a very active prayer life, for two years before the second step -- to Christianity -- became possible for me. So my book argues only for the first step, which I call Pure Theism. I give what Protestants call "a Christian witness" -- tell of my own conversion and its great benefits -- but argue only for Pure Theism. Many will take that one step who want no part of Christianity, but when they've take the one step God is in their life, and they (some, at least) will presently be more open the second step.
Since I don't press for Christianity I don't touch on the differences between Catholic and Protestant doctrine. This is a book that you will read with interest (as much as you'll disagree, I feel sure of that), and give to the skeptic in your life when direct Christian approaches have been rejected. It may succeed when all else fails.
The existence of a personal and loving God is the most essential element in Judeo-Christian theology. Presenting that by itself -- and urging acceptance of it -- is not a betrayal of one's full Catholic or Protestant faith. It's a strategic way of starting the process of conversion. Who says we must slam the skeptic with everything at once, if that's going to scare him away? Jesus said, "I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves." He was not against subtle approaches to befriend the wolf. Today their numbers proliferate at such a rate that even churchmen have called this "a post-Christian era." My book is needed. As the back cover urges: "Read it and give it to the skeptic in your life."
Shane P. S. My regards to Holly and your lovely daughter, whose name eludes me. P.P.S. I just wrote to Pete Federico, whom I think you knew from Bonner. Pete's a very conservative Catholic too; I think what I say here might interest him, so I'm sending him and some others a blind copy of this.