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Paperback The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism Book

ISBN: 1594483493

ISBN13: 9781594483493

The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism

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Book Overview

A New York Times bestseller people can believe in--by "a pioneer of the new urban Christians" (Christianity Today) and the "C.S. Lewis for the 21st century" (Newsweek). Timothy Keller, the founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City, addresses the frequent doubts that skeptics, and even ardent believers, have about religion. Using literature, philosophy, real-life conversations, and potent reasoning,...

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The Best Defense for Christianity

Tim Keller's new book, The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism, is currently #7 on the New York Times Hardcover Nonfiction Bestseller's List - and for good reason. This is an articulate, reasonable, compassionate, and informed defense of Christianity. Keller's book is written for both believers and skeptics and addresses the seven most common objections people have to Christiantiy. Part One: The Leap of Doubt: 1. There can't be just one true religion 2. How could a good God allow suffering? 3. Christianity is a straitjacket 4. The church is responsible for so much injustice 5. How can a loving God send people to hell? 6. Science has disproved Christianity 7. You can't take the Bible literally. Then Keller builds a case for the plausibility of Christiantiy in seven chapters. Part Two: The Reasons for Faith: 8. The Clues of God 9. The Knowledge of God 10. The Problem of Sin 11. Religion and the Gospel 12. The (True) Story of the Cross 13. The Reality of the Resurrection 14. The Dance of God This book is so good, it could become the Mere Christianity (C. S. Lewis's famous defense of Christianity written in the first half of the twentieth century) of the twenty-first century. Here's what I like about Keller. He speaks the language and understands the mind-set of postmoderns, because he has worked with them, witnessed to them, and pastored them for nearly twenty years in Manhattan. But he is orthodox in his theology, not shying away from the more difficult aspects of historical Christian doctrine. Instead, he faces these "hard doctrines," acknowledges the difficulty these pose to many people, and then offers nuanced and intelligent answers to the questions. Keller is also a gifted communicator, drawing from an amazing breadth of philosophy, literature and popular culture. This one's a keeper. I'll read it again and hope lots of others will read it too.

Everyone has faith in something.

The Reason For God by Timothy Keller is a superb book. It presents powerful arguments for the Christian faith, but without the complexity and underlying judgmentalism that has characterized many books on the subject. It makes an obvious but powerful point, that even the loudest critics of faith are themselves "people of faith." Not to believe in a creator, for example, requires a leap of faith. On close examination, each of us inevitably believes in something, even if that something is the belief that there is nothing worth believing in. What do you believe about your life, why you are here, where you are going? Is life just a mindless fumbling through a maze or does it have purpose and meaning? What does the future hold, a depressing existence and then annihilation or the promise of hope and a future? These questions and many more are answered in plain language with intelligence and respect. It is a powerful book. Keller is the founder and senior pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan. Redeemer is amazing, attended by more than 5000 each week, mostly in their 20s and 30s. Many are highly successful people with advanced degrees and lots of questions. The church does not rely on music or drama to bring people in, rather Keller has found a way to speak into the interests and concerns of so many people by addressing their serious questions directly: "There can't be just one true religion." "How could a good God allow suffering?" "Science has disproved Christianity." "You can't take the Bible literally." And many others. You will find them all here and will not be disappointed.

The 'Go-To' Book for Thinking Christians AND Questioning Non-Believers

In the late '70s and early '80s, Christians coming of age who wanted a better grasp of theology turned in significant numbers to one book: J.I. Packer's 'Knowing God.' The book was a watershed in how many of us understood the nature of God and His interaction with the world. There were, of course, other excellent texts for thoughtful laypeople. Francis Schaeffer's work excited the imaginations of that generation of believers. Of course, C.S. Lewis was (and still is) at the pinnacle of modern-day Christian thinkers and apologists. But it was Packer's book we all read and discussed studied in order to make up for what we should have known about our faith, but didn't. Thirty years on, Tim Keller's 'The Reason for God' is the new 'Knowing God,' but with a critical difference: This is a go-to book for everyone thinking about Christianity. Indeed, as Tim says on, the book is primarily for non-believers with doubts about Christianity. My point here is that it is likewise indispensable reading for Christians who regularly interact with others who have serious questions about faith in a secular age. For that reason, the first half of the book will be new and somewhat challenging, even if you've heard Tim speak many times. Tim's response to the different arguments against God's existence require careful attention, particularly if you refer to and study his footnotes (well worth the price of the book on their own). The second half will be familiar territory to regular Keller devotees. But here again, the great benefit of this work is that all those themes that have shaped our thinking about the Gospel are now collected in one place. Finally, the last chapter (`The Dance of God') is pure poetry. Great writing from a great thinker.

Rationality, as well as beauty and respect

I'm a certified member of the Tim Keller fan club. I listen to his sermons. I read everything he writes. I even belong to the Facebook fan club. Few thinkers or practitioners have influenced me more than he has. I am not the biggest fan out there, but I'm certainly a member of the club. This is dangerous, because nobody can live up to all that. But Keller isn't the first to face the challenges of a growing profile and unrealistic expectations, and thankfully, he continues to use his influence wisely. The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism, now on the New York Times bestseller list, is likely to multiply his influence even more, not only within the church but also within a culture with serious doubts about Christianity. In a sense, there's nothing new in this book. It's all out there in other places, just like all the ingredients of a meal prepared by a chef are there in the grocery store. In The Reason for God, you have presuppositional apologetics in the tradition of Van Til, as well as generous doses of C.S. Lewis, the subtle but strong influence of Jonathan Edwards, as well as engagement with contemporary thinkers and writers. What is unique is how Keller brings all together; in other words, the way these ingredients are mixed. Keller aptly deals with common doubts and objections to Christianity, such as "There can't be just one true religion" and "How can a loving God send people to hell?" Behind every doubt is an alternate set of beliefs. "The only way to doubt Christianity rightly and fairly," Keller writes, "is to discern the alternate belief under each of your doubts and then to ask yourself what reasons you have for believing it." Keller does this with each of the objections to Christianity, showing that none of the objections make Christianity impossible or even implausible. Doubting our doubts about Christianity is only part of the journey. In the second half of the book, Keller offers reasons for faith, demonstrating that the Christian faith makes the most sense of the world. "I ask you to put on Christianity like a pair of spectacles and look at the world with it. See what power it has to explain what we know and see." What really stands out about this book, besides its content, is the way that Keller engages with these issues. He is civil, respectful, winsome, and ironic, but never hostile. He does not belittle those with alternate beliefs, even as he directly examines and challenges those beliefs. Keller models a way of relating to those who disagree, and provides a model for all of us. He shows how one can possess an robust and orthodox Christian faith, and yet winsomely engage with those with completely different and hostile beliefs. Keller's wife, Kathy, has said that the mark of a good sermon is that people stop taking notes part way through. It starts rationally, like a lesson, but ends with an encounter with Jesus. The Reason for God is full of rational arguments, but it doesn't end there. By the end of the

A Must-Read for Both Believers and Skeptics

There are many people I "know" primarily through their books. I read constantly and find that books allow me to understand the people who write them, especially when the author has written several books. As I read through the corpus of his writings I learn to understand how he thinks and learn to understand what he believes. Even if I have never met an author face-to-face, I often feel like I have met him in his books. Because Tim Keller has written so little, I do not know him in the way I feel I know many of his peers--pastors and theologians who have written extensively. So it was with great interest that I read The Reason for God, only his second book (besides edited volumes to which he has contributed a chapter) and certainly his most significant. Published by Penguin and with a positive review by Publishers Weekly, it has all the makings of a bestseller. The Reason for God is written for skeptics and believers alike. It is a response to or perhaps an antidote to the the writings of popular authors like Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris. And it is a fine one, at that. While the skeptic has several volumes he can hand to a believing friend (many of them written by the aforementioned authors), the believer has fewer to choose from. So many introductions to Christian beliefs were written many years ago and simply do not resonate with today's skeptics. They assume too much and deliver too little. Keller's volume seeks to fill that void, and it does so well. The Reason for God arrives at a unique time, for we are at a point when both belief and skepticism are on the rise. "Skepticism, fear, and anger toward traditional religion are growing in power and influence," says Keller. "But, at the same time, robust, orthodox belief in the traditional faiths is growing as well." As each grows, those who hold to each become increasingly convinced that they are in imminent danger. The world is polarizing over religion--or at the very least our culture is polarizing over religion. "We have come to a cultural moment in which both skeptics and believers feel their existence is threatened because both secular skepticism and religious faith are on the rise in significant, powerful ways. We have neither the western Christendom of the past nor the secular, religionless society that was predicted for the future. We have something else entirely." Attempting to find a way forward, Keller suggests that both believers and skeptics look at doubt in a whole new way. Within the book he does not make the classical distinction between believers and unbelievers, but rather between believers and skeptics. His thesis depends on this distinction between unbeliever and skeptic because, he says, we all believe something. Even skeptics have a kind of faith hidden within their reasoning. Understanding what we believe about belief is crucial. His thesis is this: "If you come to recognize the beliefs on which your doubts about Christianity are based, and if you
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