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The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism Hardcover – February 14, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
In this apologia for Christian faith, Keller mines material from literary classics, philosophy, anthropology and a multitude of other disciplines to make an intellectually compelling case for God. Written for skeptics and the believers who love them, the book draws on the author's encounters as founding pastor of New York's booming Redeemer Presbyterian Church. One of Keller's most provocative arguments is that all doubts, however skeptical and cynical they may seem, are really a set of alternate beliefs. Drawing on sources as diverse as 19th-century author Robert Louis Stevenson and contemporary New Testament theologian N.T. Wright, Keller attempts to deconstruct everyone he finds in his way, from the evolutionary psychologist Richard Dawkins to popular author Dan Brown. The first, shorter part of the book looks at popular arguments against God's existence, while the second builds on general arguments for God to culminate in a sharp focus on the redemptive work of God in Christ. Keller's condensed summaries of arguments for and against theism make the scope of the book overwhelming at times. Nonetheless, it should serve both as testimony to the author's encyclopedic learning and as a compelling overview of the current debate on faith for those who doubt and for those who want to re-evaluate what they believe, and why. (Feb. 14)
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*Starred Review* Keller has just made life harder for preaching atheists such as Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, and Christopher Hitchens. For with this tightly reasoned defense of faith, he challenges the evangelists of doubt on their own ground. One by one, the arguments for unbelief fall before Keller’s unrelenting logic. The claim that science has disproved religion comes in for particular scrutiny, as Keller deflects the antireligious syllogism that converts evolutionary theory into an obituary for orthodoxy. Keller even turns the tables on rationalists, adducing compelling evidence for scriptural doctrines, including the physical resurrection of Christ. And although Keller frankly acknowledges that inquisitors have justified atrocities as religious duties, he nonetheless traces the modern concept of human rights back to religious roots and exposes the fragility of such rights when shorn from those roots. We start down the road to Hitler’s death camps and Stalin’s gulag, he warns, whenever we refuse to recognize in fellow humans the divine image of God. But by recognizing that image, Keller affirms, we open sacred possibilities not only for redemption in the hereafter but also for social justice here and now. Readers expecting Keller to deliver the usual pious bromides may experience a profound shock to their spiritual and social complacency. --Bryce Christensen
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Tim doesn't try to "prove" Christianity or that God exists- no one can do this. But he makes excellent, well articulated and reasoned arguments for why it is reasonable to believe in God. If you are looking for theology, this is not your book (this book is much more philosophical if anything). But if you are looking for a book that argues the rationale for belief in God from a reasonable perspective, this is your book! Very highly recommended!
Here's the list of chapters so you have a better idea of what he covers. The first part he address is common arguments against Christianity and the second is reasons for belief in Christianity.
Timothy Keller, the founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City, addresses the frequent doubts that skeptics and non-believers bring to religion. Using literature, philosophy, anthropology, pop culture, and intellectual reasoning, Keller explains how the belief in a Christian God is, in fact, a sound and rational one. To true believers he offers a solid platform on which to stand against the backlash toward religion spawned by the Age of Skepticism. And to skeptics, atheists, and agnostics he provides a challenging argument for pursuing the reason for God.
Part 1: The Leap of Doubt
There Can't Be Just One True Religion
How Could a Good God Allow Suffering?
Christianity is a Straitjacket
The Church is Responsible for So Much Injustice
How Can a Loving God Send People to Hell?
Science Has Disproved Christianity
You Can't Take the Bible Literally
Part 2: The Reasons for Faith
The Clues of God
The Knowledge of God
The Problem of Sin
Religion and the Gospel
The (True) Story of the Cross
The Reality of the Resurrection
The Dance of God
There's lots of quotes to share, so let's dive right in!
"Everyone has faith in something....What is religion then? It is a set of beliefs that explain what life is all about, who we are, and the most important things that human beings should spend their time doing."
"At the very heart of [Christians'] view of reality was a man who died for his enemies, praying for their forgiveness."
"Love is the most liberating freedom-loss of all. Human beings are most free and alive in relationships of love [whether for a friend or romantic love]."
Regrading injustice: "When people have done injustice in the name of Christ they are not being true to the spirit of the one who himself died as a victim of injustice and who called for the forgiveness of his enemies. When people give their lives to liberate others as Jesus did, they are realizing the true Christianity that Martin Luther King, Jr., Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and other Christian voices have called for."
"If there is no God, then there is no way to say any one action is "moral" and another "immoral" but only "I like this." If that is the case, who gets the right to put their subjective, arbitrary moral feelings into law?"
On the resurrection: "The resurrection also puts a burden of proof on it's nonbelievers. It is not enough to simply believe Jesus did not rise from the dead. You must then come up with a historically feasible alternative explanation for the birth of the church. You have to provide some other plausible account for how things began...If the resurrection of Jesus happened, however, that means there's infinite hope and reason to pour ourselves out for the needs of the world."
So now that I just did a quote slam, what do you think? Have you read any of Keller's writings? Any of the quotes resonate? I would love to hear your thoughts!