Good Book Review About The Reason For God
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The issue of apologetics and defending the Christian faith is crucial for Christians to understand in today’s world. Christian arguments and beliefs come under attack frequently, so it is important that Christians be able to defend their faith in light of this. Tim Keller, in the book The Reason for God describes many practical points that show rational reasons for the belief in God and the Christian religion.
The first point Keller describes is the notion of Christianity as the one true religion. One of the most basic criticisms of the Christian faith is its exclusivity. Christianity says that it is the only true religion and the only way to obtain eternal life. Only through Jesus can anyone be saved. This is a basic criticism of most religions and Keller actually has some sympathy for this position. However, Keller ultimately believes in that Christianity’s ability to explain the nature of humanity, that being the sinful and selfish heart, along with the proposed solution of love, make it a powerful message to bring to the world. Christianity should ultimately be about love.
A second common criticism of Christianity is the concept of suffering, and God allowing evil to exist within the world. There appears to be much pointless evil that occurs within the world, and this appears to speak against an all-good, supremely powerful being. However, Keller does not see the issue this way. Keller believes that all this suffering is evidence for God, especially in his plan for salvation and redemption. Suffering, when viewed in the perspective of Jesus’ death and resurrection makes more logical sense, considering the sinful state of humanity. Furthermore, Keller argues that even labeling something as “evil” means that a person holds to certain supernatural standards of right and wrong, which effectively point back to God.
The third practical point described by Keller is the notion of Christianity as a straightjacket or inhibitor of freedom. Christianity is accused of keeping people from creating their own meaning and purpose in life. Keller admits that there are certain beliefs and practices one must do to be accepted within the Christian community, however Keller notes the inclusive and transformative powers Christianity brings to the world. Keller describes the benefits of discipline and constraints, and how Christianity promotes a message of engaging humans with dignity, humanity, and care.
Keller also addresses the issue of why God created hell and is willing to send people there. The notion that an all-loving God can send people to a place of torture appears contradictory. Keller shows how there are many misconceptions about hell, and that it is simply the trajectory of living a self-absorbed life. Only God truly knows the destination of anyone’s soul, but he alone is the judge.
Another large issue regarding the truth of Christianity is science and how many leading scientists have described Christianity as being incompatible with science. Keller describes the attitudes that say science has disproved the existence of miracles, but disagrees. For science, there always has to be a rational explanation for everything, even though science has not produced a rational explanation for everything. Science has not proven miracles cannot and do not exist, and lacks explanations for certain phenomena in the universe. Furthermore, there is the question of evolution and the Genesis 1 account. Evolution appears to disprove a literal interpretation of the creation narrative, but Keller notes that there are many different interpretations of the Genesis account, some of which can account for evolution, especially if God is seen as the driving force behind the evolutionary process.
The Bible and its accuracy and historicity is another issue often under attack within the Christian faith. Keller defends the Bible and its accuracy describing the detailed accounts of Jesus’ life. It is written as a historical narrative and does not exhibit the characteristics of legend. The Bible is also accused of being anti-women and supporting of slavery. Keller defends the Bible regarding these two issues by showing how the culture of the time did not support the type of slavery that existed in the colonies. As for women, there are many interpretations and women have had many important roles throughout the Bible.
Keller spends the second section of his book defending many of the common Christian doctrines, such as God, sin, and the resurrection. To support the existence of God, Keller uses a presuppositionalist approach to show how without God, there can be no standard for anything, and knowledge itself cannot exist. The rational view of the world fails to explain why anyone should trust what their brains have concluded since there is no higher standard. Furthermore, the fact that most people agree that freedom, life, and love are good things speaks to some universal moral standards. Without God, this would not be the case and there would be no foundation for anything to be wrong or right.
Keller addresses the issue of the resurrection and the historical proof for this event. Keller admits there will never be conclusive proof, like in a science lab, to show the resurrection. However, given the Biblical accounts and the events which occurred afterwards, there is solid evidence. There were documented witnesses who saw Christ after he had risen, and there were actual people testifying to this years after Jesus’ ascension. Keller relies a lot on Paul’s account of these matters to prove his point, along with the fact many apostles were willing to do for this cause.
In conclusion, Keller presents many convincing arguments and practical suggestions on how the defend the Christian faith. He discusses virtually every controversial issue that has Christianity under attack and does a good job showing how the universe speaks to God’s existence. His arguments about the lack of moral objectivity is one of his best arguments for the existence of God. He also does a good job in showing how to reconcile science with the Bible. Altogether, this is a very convincing defense of the Christian faith.
Keller, Timothy J. The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism. New York: Dutton, 2008.
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