I was converted from educated secularism in 2003 Every objection I had is addressed by this book for my background AND it s done by showing God in Jesus, and Jesus crucified.When I became a Christian, 3 other books the New Testament, The Case for Christ, and Desiring God were primary in my conversion The Case for Christ proves the Resurrection as a historical event The New Testament self authenticates itself as God s Word and shines Jesus Christ out to the reader Desiring God presents tha I was converted from educated secularism in 2003 Every objection I had is addressed by this book for my background AND it s done by showing God in Jesus, and Jesus crucified.When I became a Christian, 3 other books the New Testament, The Case for Christ, and Desiring God were primary in my conversion The Case for Christ proves the Resurrection as a historical event The New Testament self authenticates itself as God s Word and shines Jesus Christ out to the reader Desiring God presents that God is zealous for his glory, as he should be, and we humans can glorify him best by being satisfied totally by God and only by God.The Reason for God would be a perfect 4th book as making sense of the intellectual barriers to faith that have built up in the modern worldview A life not centred on God leads to emptiness Building our lives on something besides God not only hurts us if we don t get the desires of our hearts, but also if we do Few of us get all of our wildest dreams fulfilled in life, and therefore it is easy to live in the illusion that if you were as successful, wealthy, popular or beautiful as you wished, you d finally be happy and at peace That just isn t so Most people believe that, if there is a God, we can relate to him and go to heavenA life not centred on God leads to emptiness Building our lives on something besides God not only hurts us if we don t get the desires of our hearts, but also if we do Few of us get all of our wildest dreams fulfilled in life, and therefore it is easy to live in the illusion that if you were as successful, wealthy, popular or beautiful as you wished, you d finally be happy and at peace That just isn t so Most people believe that, if there is a God, we can relate to him and go to heaven through leading a good life Christianity teaches the opposite Jesus does not tell us how to live so we can merit salvation He comes to forgive and save us through his life and death in our place God s grace does not come to people who morally outperform others, but to those who admit their failure and need of a Saviour I ll be honest, I m not a fan of Keller for a number of reasons However, other Christians who are dubious about some of his other writings have recommended this book It was a freebie.The first half of the book is apologetic Keller tackles the objections raised by non believers As an evangelist myself, I can confirm that, with the exception of the straitjacket comment, these are the things people most often raise on the street 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 literallyThe biggest one of these is the issue of absolute truth vs relativity Keller spends some time dealing with this He answers each of the questions thoroughly enough although I would have liked to see a clearer statement that Christians are Christians because they believe Christianity is the truth If Christianity is true, that Jesus is the only way for us to be saved from our sin, then none of the other religions or atheism can be true because they all say different things Therefore, logically, they cannot all be correct It s a simple argument, but it s amazing what a few decades of post modernism has done to people s brains.Unsurprisingly, I had a few issues with some of his statements In the section about Christianity being a straitjacket, he suggests that people might think that a relationship with God is inherently dehumanising because God is forcing us to adjust to Him that there is no way that God could adjust to and serve us He then suggests that through the incarnation and atonement God has adjusted to and served usGod has said to us, in Christ, I will adjust to you, I will change for you I ll serve you even though it means a sacrifice for me He then argues that we can and should do the same for God and for others Maybe it s just the way this is worded, but it feels wrong God didn t adjust to us or change for us He doesn t change He met His own conditions in order to rescue us from our sin knowing it was the only way for us to be saved He did this out of love for us In the section about the church being responsible for so much injustice, he argues that because people who ve led harder lives and who are lower on the character scale arelikely to turn to God, we should expect standards of behaviour within the church to be worse than outside it He uses the analogy of the health of people in a hospital being comparatively worse than people visiting museums.Whilst it is true that people may turn to God at a crisis point or when they reach the end of themselves, the work of the Holy Spirit in a person s life should create a visible difference effective immediately It s also about the way a Christian responds to sin which should be markedly different to a non believer If there issin in the church than outside it then where is the evidence of the power of God to sanctify and change a person Where is the public testimony that will draw others I find this argument by Keller to be beyond bizarre especially as it contradicts a lot of the rest of the book.In the section on science, Keller reveals that he is a theistic evolutionist believing that parts of Genesis are poetic Also that he believes in the Big Bang I don t have much time for Christians that meddle with Genesis as it undermines everything else Prof Andy McIntosh from Truth in Science is in my church If we have death before Adam in any capacity then why did Jesus die In the middle of the book, Keller states that he is making claims about the truth of Christianity in general and is deliberately avoiding becoming denominational or focusing too much on issues that divide the Christian church However, he chooses to include Catholics in his list of Christians, so not only is he being non denominational but also ecumenical This is something I cannot support as most Catholics are trusting in a religion of works in addition to Christ Keller spends a lot of time elsewhere ensuring readers are clear that we are not saved by works, then ruins all his good work by refusing to be clear.The second half of the book is better effectively explaining the problem of sin and the Gospel message The final chapter encourages readers to make a decision or to resolve unanswered questions before it s too late In conclusion, this was better than I was expecting However, there is far too little reference to Scripture especially in the first half of the book and too much reliance on quotations from historians, scientists and even atheists There is no real mention of unbelievers being blinded to the truth so that they cannot believe unless God opens their eyes Unsurprisingly, there are a lot of angry people that have given this book one star reviews because the weak arguments have irritated them without providing the answers they need Christians must pray that God opens the eyes of these people so that they can see the truth in Jesus.Not without its flaws but worth a read Sitting across the table from a Christian friend, I find myself again and again shaking my head in wonder at our different paths, beliefs and motivations There are differences between us that I suspect we both pray over in our own ways Conversations sometimes reach a point where we can only look at each other from a distance as over a river raging with spring melt We wish to bridge that gap and yet, often, cannot Still, I want to be engaged in these differences The antagonism between sides Sitting across the table from a Christian friend, I find myself again and again shaking my head in wonder at our different paths, beliefs and motivations There are differences between us that I suspect we both pray over in our own ways Conversations sometimes reach a point where we can only look at each other from a distance as over a river raging with spring melt We wish to bridge that gap and yet, often, cannot Still, I want to be engaged in these differences The antagonism between sides that dominates most public discussions related to faith yields too few attempts at mutual understanding and produces even fewer solutions In my own life, I want to build relationships with those people on the other side of so many issues that matter most to me It was within this context that I was loaned and read Tim Keller s apologia, Reason for God The book is perfect for anyone yearning to listen to a Christian answer to seven fundamental doubts that people express about Christianity the first part of the book and to an intelligent and compassionate Christian s defense of his Bible based faith I imagine that Christians reading this book might find their own faith bolstered and deepened and so would recommend it to them, too Keller challenges non Christians to doubt their doubts and recognize the unprove able beliefs faith upon which their own relativist humanist etcist values rest It is this challenge that I value most from the book, as well as a stronger understanding of how a Christian might respond to some of my own doubts As far as whether Keller s reason swayed my own we come again to that river between us If you only knew what I know, if you only read what I read, if you only had the conversations and the courageous, intelligent contemplation that I have had, you would believe what I believe This is what divides all us believers I found myself deeply sad at several points in the book where I saw the river grow too wide for any bridge And I often felt sheer love for Keller s faith and kindness This is obviously a subjective reading I am not interested right now in an intellectual debate about faith like all of us, I ve had those conversations because right now I am just seeking understanding and connection Is this irresponsible Intellectually weak Perhaps But listening w out reacting is where I am in my practice right now Keller s book came recommended by virtually every thinking Christian I know, billed as the theological answer to recent mass market agnosticism Indeed there are many out there who have artfully defended a belief in the Christian God, but Keller does not meet the mark The first half of his book, written for skeptics, is very soft on logical rational arguments His response to evolution a whopping two and a half pages , for example, is to say that if you pin him down, he believes in the process Keller s book came recommended by virtually every thinking Christian I know, billed as the theological answer to recent mass market agnosticism Indeed there are many out there who have artfully defended a belief in the Christian God, but Keller does not meet the mark The first half of his book, written for skeptics, is very soft on logical rational arguments His response to evolution a whopping two and a half pages , for example, is to say that if you pin him down, he believes in the process of evolution by natural selection, but that Christians must accept their faith first, and then move to evaluating foundation shaking science only after they have positioned themselves beyond doubt Fine for believers, but he won t win converts from among rationalists with arguments like that Throughout the book, Mr Keller applies a thick coat of scholar like varnish, yet his logic is far from solid oak This is one of those, Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus books i didn t pick up this book to make fun of it i read it because i would like to hear an intelligent plausible argument for the existence of God I am sure there is one, but you won t find it in this book To paraphrase the author why did Jesus have to die for our sins Well, if your neighbor accidentally ran into your wall and it wasn t covered by insurance, someone would have to pay for the damages So even if you forgave you This is one of those, Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus books i didn t pick up this book to make fun of it i read it because i would like to hear an intelligent plausible argument for the existence of God I am sure there is one, but you won t find it in this book To paraphrase the author why did Jesus have to die for our sins Well, if your neighbor accidentally ran into your wall and it wasn t covered by insurance, someone would have to pay for the damages So even if you forgave your neighbor, he d still have to pay for the repairs Thus, God sent his son to pay for the damages of our sins, even though he forgave us Wantlogic like this Basically God exists because the author just can t imagine how we could have such a wonderful world without God Why is there pain and suffering The answer is for Him to know and for us to find out ie., mere mortals can t be expected to figure out the answer I liked this book a lot, because it gives a fundamentalist perspective primarily based on the idea that the Bible is the literal world of God, or Bible inerrancy.and it was great to see that so clearly defined I thought that Keller argued this viewpoint incredibly well.I couldn t begin to comment on all the points raised in the book, but some major issues concerned me.Firstly, I was very disconcerted by Keller s insistence that only one of the major religions is right and other religions a I liked this book a lot, because it gives a fundamentalist perspective primarily based on the idea that the Bible is the literal world of God, or Bible inerrancy.and it was great to see that so clearly defined I thought that Keller argued this viewpoint incredibly well.I couldn t begin to comment on all the points raised in the book, but some major issues concerned me.Firstly, I was very disconcerted by Keller s insistence that only one of the major religions is right and other religions are wrong If Christians are right about Jesus being God, then the Muslims and Jews fail in a serious way to love God as God really is, but if Muslims and Jesus are right that Jesus is not God, but rather a teacher or prophet, then Christians fail in a serious way to love God as God really is The bottom line was we couldn t all be right about the nature of God How about the viewpoint instead that we are all striving to worship God as best we know Insofar as we all have different traditions can t we accept that God is going to be generous in his attitude towards the fact we are trying, albeit in different ways Think of the aggression between some of the Sunni and Shia Muslims, or the Troubles in Ireland, or the Mormon missionaries, trying their hardest to convert us to their Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints I m not saying for a minute that all religions are equal, but we are all trying to do our best to love and worship God in the way we know how, and surely God is going to be responsive to that good intention About suffering, Kellor says that the way we suffer can be paths to growth Many people have to admit that most of what they really needed for success in life came to them through their most difficult and painful experiences Some look back on an illness and recognise that it was an irreplaceable season of personal and spiritual growth for them.Though none of these people are grateful for the tragedies themselves, they would not trade the insight, character and strength they had gained from them for anything With time and perspective most of us can see good reasons for at least some of the tragedy and pain that occurs in life Why couldn t it be possible that, from God s vantage point, there are good reasons for all of them If you have a God great and transcendent enough to be mad at because he hasn t stopped evil and suffering in the world, then you have at the same moment a God great and transcendent enough to have good reasons for allowing it to continue that you can t know Indeed, you can t have it both ways Whilst I understand that experiences of suffering can often encourage empathy for other people s misfortunes, and a greater appreciation of the things that matter in one s own life, I just can t accept the idea of a loving and omnipotent God who chooses to allow it on the basis of possible spiritual growth I prefer an idea I saw discussed by an elder in The Church of Scotland, Lesley Anne Weir who used to be a lawyer She talks about natural evil and moral evil , terms apparently used in philosophy Natural evil is things like earthquakes, tsunamis and cancer Moral evil is people doing bad things This idea proposes the concept of a non omnipotent God, one that needs to work with natural laws, so that when s he created the world had to follow the natural laws of physics and chemistry and so forth, and as a result life is a process which naturally includes both triumphs and suffering This makes so much sense to me.farthan the idea of an omnipotent God who chooses to allow suffering when it could be stopped especially suffering on the scale that we see so often see happening in the world Kellor also discusses sinning, judgement, and hell and how Jesus has delivered us from our sins He also stresses time and time again that we have to give our lives to Jesus It s not enough to try and live a good life, you have to give him your all He says we don t give him our lives because we have too, but because we love him so much we want to give everything, and that he will then shape us as he wishes us to be shaped As someone who had a very authoritarian father I find it difficult to take these ideas on board as an overarching theme Not least because there are lots of bits in the Bible talking about judgement and hell for those who don t work their hardest to be good Christians Finally, another issue in the book that really interested me was that Kellor also believes that all good moral outlooks are based on religious values Even if those values aren t acknowledged for instance we in the West are obviously the product of a Christian tradition, even if we aren t Christians ourselves I struggle with this I can t wholly dismiss it in the way that I would like to As a long time follower of sociological and psychological ideas, I feel I ought to say this is wrong.and yet I feel he has an important point Having raised the above issues, I am nevertheless very grateful to this book It has helped me clarify my ideas Whilst I totally appreciate that a fundamentalist reading of the Bible is the easiest way to read it, and I have a lot of sympathy for those who do read it literally I am however going to continue to approach it differently listening to those who have aliberal understanding of a message written 2000 years ago, in a society very different to the one we live in today As Keller points out, of course today isn t necessarily right in the way we see things, but I truly believe we have made headway in a lot of important spheres.Finally, to return to the beginning of the book, Keller talks about how Christianity is growing in the developing world.about how whilst Christianity may be shrinking in the West, it is growing exponentially in other parts of the world There are now six timesAnglicans in Nigeria than in all the USA There arePresbyterians in Ghana than in the USA and Scotland combined Korea has gone from 1% 40% Christian in 100 years, and in China Christianity is growing very fast too He adds And the faith that is growing in these countries is not thesecularized, belief thin version, rather it is the robust supernaturalist kind of faith, with belief in miracles, scriptural authority and personal conviction In spite of Keller s excellent arguments in this book, defending a fundamentalist approach I feel quite concerned about that I didn t get this book to try to refute it I was actually as excited to get it as I am with any non fiction book The introduction was great and I thought it was going to be a good read It s about 10 pages or so and I thought it was really well written.Then starts the doubts and questions he has received and his reasoning against them The questions are great ones that are very typical, so it s not like he s throwing himself softball questions Another good point To me a lot of these made sen I didn t get this book to try to refute it I was actually as excited to get it as I am with any non fiction book The introduction was great and I thought it was going to be a good read It s about 10 pages or so and I thought it was really well written.Then starts the doubts and questions he has received and his reasoning against them The questions are great ones that are very typical, so it s not like he s throwing himself softball questions Another good point To me a lot of these made sense, and I was starting to like the organization of the book, I could see how it could almost be used as flowchart to convince a skeptic But then I started seeing repetitiveness, and then some outright flawed logic, and then even MORE flawed logic The repetitiveness was his circular logic A lot of his stances boiled down to I know you are but what am I You call me arrogant for thinking I have all the answers, but you thinking I m wrong implies that you have a better vantage point than I do which is in itself arrogance I think there s a bit of truth in that, but not to the extent he does.there are specific examples in the book that I could list that the reasoning was SO flawed as to be laughable.So yeah, I was excited to read this book and was left feeling disappointed Making Sense of God An Invitation to the Skeptical, is a prequel to The Reason for God Belief in an Age of Skepticism The End of Faith The God Delusion God Is Not Great Letter to a Christian Nation Bestseller lists are filled with doubters But what happens when you actually doubt your doubts Although a vocal minority continues to attack the Christian faith, for most Americans, faith is a large part of their livespercent of Americans refer to themselves as religious, andpercent of all Americans consider themselves Christians So how should they respond to these passionate, learned, and persuasive books that promote science and secularism over religion and faith For years, Tim Keller has compiled a list of the most frequently voiced doubts skeptics bring to his Manhattan church And in The Reason for God, he single handedly dismantles each of them Written with atheists, agnostics, and skeptics in mind, Keller also provides an intelligent platform on which true believers can stand their ground when bombarded by the backlash The Reason for God challenges such ideology at its core and points to the true path and purpose of ChristianityWhy is there suffering in the world How could a loving God send people to Hell Why isn t Christianity inclusive Shouldn t the Christian God be a god of love How can one religion be right and the rest wrong Why have so many wars been fought in the name of God These are just a few of the questions even ardent believers wrestle with today In this book, Tim Keller uses literature, philosophy, real life conversations and reasoning, and even pop culture to explain how faith in a Christian God is a soundly rational belief, held by thoughtful people of intellectual integrity with a deep compassion for those who truly want to know the truth There are much better texts on theology, ethics, belief in a god or gods When compared to the well educated writings of Bonhoeffer, Kant, Satre, Anselm, Dawkins, Aquinas this book is woefully lacking I might add, it read as you would expect a privileged and sheltered American new age preacher would write Anything outside of his expertise is met with derision and ignorance I would be shocked if this man ever saw a Mosque, Synagogue, Buddhist temple, let alone read the works of their major p There are much better texts on theology, ethics, belief in a god or gods When compared to the well educated writings of Bonhoeffer, Kant, Satre, Anselm, Dawkins, Aquinas this book is woefully lacking I might add, it read as you would expect a privileged and sheltered American new age preacher would write Anything outside of his expertise is met with derision and ignorance I would be shocked if this man ever saw a Mosque, Synagogue, Buddhist temple, let alone read the works of their major prophets The argumentative style would make Plato, Aristotle, and Socrates physically ill A Freshman in college taking a basic logic of philosophy class can see through all of the arguments from ignorance, appeals to authority, straw men, and slippery slopes If you are seeking to further your understanding of religion, of the god debate, I implore you to look of the authors I mentioned prior If you are looking forself satisfaction that the religion forced upon you by your parents known as Christianity is perfect, this book is for you Or if you are a Muslim, Jew, Buddhist, Atheist, Confucian, Native American or Central American looking for confirmation that Christians are simply myopic crusaders, then this book may be for you as well If you are a professor of philosophy and need illustrations of bad arguments for class, this book is for you I was really disappointed by this I actually picked it for a group read with some friends, having read Keller before and been impressed by him I wasn t impressed with this The full title of the book is The Reason for God Belief in the Age of Skepticism And the back suggests that Keller addresses the frequent doubts that skepticshave about religion And goes on to say that Keller explains how the belief in a Christian God is, in fact, a sound and rational one And then, to skeptics, I was really disappointed by this I actually picked it for a group read with some friends, having read Keller before and been impressed by him I wasn t impressed with this The full title of the book is The Reason for God Belief in the Age of Skepticism And the back suggests that Keller addresses the frequent doubts that skepticshave about religion And goes on to say that Keller explains how the belief in a Christian God is, in fact, a sound and rational one And then, to skeptics, atheists, and agnostics, he provides a challenging argument for pursuing the reason for God Unfortunately, I feel like he didn t meet this at all Let me caveat this by saying that I do believe in God My point here is that, if I didn t, this book wouldn t sway me an inch The first half of the book addresses several skeptic arguments But they are really straw men in comparison to real skeptic arguments Instead of addressing things like, I see no evidence to indicate that there is a personal God described in the Bible, he addresses things like Christianity is too exclusive and there can t just be one religion TheI think about it, theI feel like he s just trying to argue that Christianity is better than the other world religions Which is completely different than arguing for the existence of the Christian God The second half of the book gives reasons to believe in God This would be better addressed to evangelicals as Keller s this is why I believe in God A couple are somewhat compelling, and might have value to strengthen the faith of someone who is already a believer, but as any sort of proof or evidence, they are a poor apologetic Keller starts off in this book on the wrong foot In the first chapter There Can t Just be One True Religion , I counted 6 different logical fallacies alone 1 Bandwagon This suggests that something is true because everyone believes it It s a fallacy because things need to be argued on their own merits, not because everyone thinks they re true Keller states Religion is not just a temporary thing that helped us adapt to our environment Rather it is a permanent and central aspect of the human condition In other words, I read, it s always been here, it s always going to be here, therefore God exists 2 Burden of Proof This one is his favorite He tries to put the burden of proof on those that do not believe but the burden of proof is on those that do If you say unicorns exist, and I say they don t, the burden of proof is on you to prove they exist If I say God exists and you say I don t see any evidence for God then the burden of proof lies on me But he wants to put them in the same camp, as if believing God exists and believing God doesn t exist are the same thing 3 Tu Quoque Pronounced too kwo kwee This is the so are you argument He wants to suggest that Christianity is better, but rather than presenting proof that it is, he just says that the insistence that doctrines do not matter is really a doctrine itself In other words, instead of presenting evidence that God holds us to a specific doctrine and way to live and worship Keller responds that if we don t think he holds us to a specific doctrine, then that s the specific doctrine we believe he holds Yes, it s very confusing 4 Generalization He likes to use this in reference to secularists and atheists Skeptics believe that any exclusive claims to a superior knowledge of spiritual reality cannot be trueThey believe the world would be a better place if everyone dropped the traditional religions views of God and truth and adopted theirs C mon, Tim that s not true of everyone.5 Straw Man This is related to Generalization in that, if he can generalize atheists enough, he can set up a straw man to knock down He says, For example, some think that this material world is all there is, that we are here by accident and when we die we just rot, and therefore the important thing is to choose to do what makes you happy and not let others impose their beliefs on you I realize he says some , but this is a commonly held belief of non believers by believers Non believers don t really have morals.6 No True Scotsman This is his second favorite he does this a lot later in the book, too But toward the end of chapter 1, he describes a Christianity I would believe in, but don t see practiced, and compares it to other religions Most religions and philosophies of life assume one s spiritual status depends on your religious attainments He doesn t come out and say it, but if I were to argue that I don t think a lot of Christians practice the things he suggests makes a true Christian, he would argue That s not real Christianity And that s just chapter 1 He uses the No True Scotsman fallacy all through the book describing a Christianity that may reflect the teachings of Jesus, but that do not reflect the actions of the millions of Christians around the world He makes many statements about all Christians that may apply to a few but definitely don t apply to the majority of the ones I ve known For example Christians don t believe they are saved based on how good they live their lives Or, Christians know that because they are flawed many people who aren t Christians will bemorally upstanding I d like to meet those Christians, Tim He sets up atheist straw men throughout the first half of the book, too He doesn t address people who have investigated belief in God and come away with the belief that there isn t enough evidence to support the belief in the personal, Christian God Which to me would be the biggest reason to be an atheist Not just because a loving God wouldn t send people to Hell In chapter 2 How Could a Good God Allow Suffering , he suggests that if you think anything is bad or evil , you are stating a belief in God His argument seems to go something like this 1 Evil exists 2 If evil exists, then good exists 3 If good exists, it was created by God Therefore, since evil exists, there is a God He goes on to quote Dostoevsky, basically saying we should believe in God because it consoles us in our suffering Nothing in this chapter argues a reason for the existence of God Just for a belief in God because it makes us feel better Chapters 3 through 7 are just as flawed Filled with fallacies, they knock down straw man arguments, make generalizations about skeptics, and use an ideal perfect version of Christianity in their arguments rather than the real flawed version of Christianity that exists The rest of the book are arguments for God The first chapter of this section isn t terrible, but it is lacking Looking at the creation, at beauty, this is an argument for Deism, but not necessarily the Christian God Morality proving God is just a re work of an old C.S Lewis argument The idea that because we need meaning in our lives proves that there is a personal God is a poor argument And some of the valid points point toward Deism but just because you believe in God doesn t mean you believe he did everything that the Bible describes And the rest of the points have to do with Christian theology The cross The resurrection Which would all be great things in a book written for Christians about why Tim Keller believes in the Christian God , but not in a book to prove to skeptics that God exists One thing that really bothered me Keller quoting N.T Wright at the end of chapter 7 They both seem to agree that if the resurrection stories in the Gospels didn t happen exactly in the way they described, then there is no point to being a Christian, following God, or indeed caring for other people This just seems like really shitty theology From both Keller and Wright And then, finally, we come to the last paragraph of the book I realize I m missing the point of this last paragraph Keller is trying to say that God seeks us But in this true according to Keller story, the person searching for God keeps praying, God, help me find you And God continually ignores her But someone told her to, instead pray, God come and find me And then He did What I want to say to Keller here is that if you want people to believe in an all powerful, loving, personal God, don t make Him out to be some sort of petty asshole that ignores people s honest pleas, until they change that to very specific language Would a loving God really do that