Monday, April 10, 2017

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

The Reason for God by Timothy Keller

Have you ever been at a loss to answer questions such as: How could a good God allow suffering? How can a loving God send people to hell? Maybe you’ve wrestled with such questions yourself. Author Timothy Keller does a masterful job of putting into everyday language responses that will resonate with you, responses that will have you saying, “That’s what I always thought but didn’t know how to express it. That illustration makes sense.”

In the book’s introduction, Keller examines the current religious scene and the polarization of positions. His eclectic background has exposed him to traditional denominations and to people who embraced social activism. He writes: “The people most passionate about social justice were moral relativists, while the morally upright didn’t seem to care about the oppression going on all over the world.” He kept asking, “If morality is relative, why isn’t social justice as well?”

Keller eventually became a minister and opened a Manhattan church for a largely non-churchgoing population. As individuals doubting their faith confronted him, he urged them to “doubt your doubts.” This book resulted from many conversations with individuals of all persuasions—from skeptics to believers—who came to him to discuss spirituality.

Part 1 centers on “The Leap of Doubt,” and articulates the questions most doubters present. Besides the questions listed in the first paragraph, chapter titles include: There Can’t Be Just One True Religion, Christianity is a Straitjacket, The Church is Responsible for So Much Injustice and Science Has Disproved Christianity.

Part 2 presents “The Reasons for Faith.” Here Keller offers: The Clues of God, The Knowledge of God, The Problem of Sin and several chapters related to the gospel. The book includes extensive notes and an index. Rather than an easy read, it’s a thoughtful read, but quite understandable. A great book to keep on your shelf to help you articulate responses to questions about spirituality posed by friends and associates.

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