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The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism Paperback – August 4, 2009
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"It is easy to understand [Timothy Keller's] appeal."
-The New York Times
"In a flood of bestsellers by skeptics and atheists...Keller stands out as an effective counterpoint and defender of the faith. The Reason for God makes a tight, accessible case for reasoned religious belief."
-The Washington Post
"It's a provocative premise, in pursuit of which Keller...takes on nonbelievers from evolutionary biologists to the recent rash of atheist authors."
-The Boston Globe
"Reverend Tim Keller [is] a Manhattan institution, one of those open urban secrets, like your favorite dim sum place, with a following so ardent and so fast-growing that he has never thought to advertise."
-New York magazine
"An intellectually compelling case for God."
"I thank God for him."
About the Author
Timothy Keller was born and raised in Pennsylvania and educated at Bucknell University, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and Westminster Theological Seminary. His first pastorate was in Hopewell, Virginia. In 1989 he started Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City with his wife, Kathy, and their three sons. Today, Redeemer has nearly six thousand regular Sunday attendees and has helped to start more than three hundred new churches around the world. He is the author of The Songs of Jesus, Prayer, Encounters with Jesus, Walking with God Through Pain and Suffering, Every Good Endeavor, and The Meaning of Marriage, among others, including the perennial bestsellers The Reason for God and The Prodigal God.
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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!
Some have commented on how little Timothy Keller addressed evolution, and the fact that he comes out in favor of what many would call Theistic Evolution. While I disagree with Timothy Keller's position on evolution, I would not consider his position a test of whether he is a Christian or not, since he still affirms that God created our world and the rest of the Universe.
I greatly enjoyed Timothy Keller's answers, and feel this is a book I may want to read again sometime in the future. It really gave me a lot of food for thought, especially in terms of how people's everyday choices and behaviors either draw them closer to God and Heaven, or push them farther away from God, and toward Hell. I've been challenged to look at my own Christian life - even after following Christ for 40 years.
I strongly recommend this book to anyone who is open to considering the claims of Christianity, and to hearing out how common objections to Christianity can be resolved in a manner that 21rst century people can understand.