The Reason for God by Timothy Keller
I don’t know where to start. Timothy Keller’s The Reason for God just blew my mind away. So far, it’s the most intellectually-moving book I ever read.
Keller writes to both skeptics and believer. The book is divided into two sections. The first one, addressed to the modern-day skeptics, consists of seven chapters, which are all dedicated to addressing the common objections to Christianity. These include objections on exclusivity, suffering, culture, injustice, hell, science, and the Bible.
The second one is addressed to the believers. It also consists of seven chapters and deals with God’s existence, sin, religion and grace, the cross, resurrection, and redemptive history.
In this book, Keller makes use of multitudes of references from philosophy, anthropology, and other disciplines. To prove a point or disprove an argument, he sometimes quotes the works of famous personalities, including the Christian philosopher Alvin Plantinga, atheist Richard Dawkins, Anglican theologian and New Testament professor N.T. Wright, and American reformed theologian Jonathan Edwards. In every chapter, he cites from the works of C.S. Lewis, whom, along with his wife Kathy and the theologian Edwards, he is indebted for fundamentally shaping his Christian faith.1 Of course, he quotes from the Scripture whenever necessary.
As a pastor of a church in Manhattan, New York, he had many conversations with skeptics. Some of these conversations can be found in the pages of this book.
Keller urges readers, skeptics and believers alike, to look at doubt “in a radically new way.” He says to the believer, “A faith without some doubts is like a human body without any antibodies in it…A person’s faith can collapse almost overnight if she has failed over the years to listen patiently to her own doubts, which souls only be discarded after long reflection…Only if you struggle long and hard with objections to your faith will you be able to provide grounds for your beliefs to the skeptics.” And to the skeptic he says that they “must learn to look for a type of faith hidden within their reasoning. All doubts, however skeptical and cynical they may seem, are really a set of alternate beliefs.”2
The Reason for God is a must-read for skeptics and believers. This book has given me intellectually-compelling claims in responding to skepticism and in grounding my faith. I highly recommend this book.
1Timothy Keller, The Reason for God (New York, NY: Dutton, 2008), 241.
2Keller, The Reason for God, xvi-xvii.