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Bestseller sets new tone on God for skeptical world

March 5, 2014

book-the-reason-forGod
By Michal Ann McArthur, Bend
Author of Choking on a Camel

Her blog

 

Book Review: “The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism” by Timothy Keller

Being an apologetics enthusiast, I have read countless books on the topic of the existence of God, but I think Keller’s “The Reason for God” is the best. One of the qualities of the book that I most appreciate is its tone. Keller writes with respect for skeptics and those who hold opinions that differ from his own. His tone is friendly and humble, never abusive or strident. I’m not at all surprised that the book became a New York Times bestseller.

In the first section of the book, Keller considers some of the major objections people may have to Christianity. These include the exclusivity of Christianity, the problem of evil and suffering, the failings and abuses of the Church, the horrors of eternal damnation, and the idea that science has disproved religion. I think he states the objections fairly and accurately without building straw men. He deals with these objections with clear logic, using facts and arguments taken from philosophy, anthropology, literary classics, and various other disciplines.

In the second section, he considers some major reasons for believing in God. He makes many points in this section that I don’t agree with, but I think he makes them well. For example, he discusses clues that he sees in the universe that point to the existence of God, although he concedes that they don’t prove God’s existence. But then he takes a baffling turn, based on what seems to be no facts at all. He concludes that people know God exists even if they can’t prove it. I find such a leap disappointing.

The reader may or may not be persuaded by Keller’s arguments, but I think he does a good job of presenting the best of what Christian thinkers and apologists have to offer.

  
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Discuss this article

Christine Webb March 6, 2014

Based on this very nicely written review, I am going to read this book. Thinking perhaps “faith” was the basis for a couple of the conclusions drawn by the author, and had a major part to play in the second section as he considered reasons believing in God was reasonable. Looking forward to reading this book. Thanks very much…

Leona J. Atkinson March 7, 2014

Thank you for the great review. It makes me want to read this book. I am a Christian and I think the baffling turn you speak of where he concludes that people know God exists even if they can’t prove it, may be based on Psalm 19 in the bible.

Jan March 7, 2014

Thanks for introducing us to this book. It seems that Keller addresses many subjects that we all think about. I do so enjoy your book reviews and, once again, your review has inspired me to read the book. I’m especially interested in your description of Keller’s tone as “friendly and humble”. How refreshing! There often seems to be so much arrogance when addressing the subject of the existence of God. Looking forward to the read.

TTaylor March 9, 2014

I’ve heard numerous reviews and comments on Keller’s book but none have pointed out the “baffling turn” you reference. That of course has sparked my interest to read it but to do so with discernment. Knowing he approaches a difficult and divisive subject with humility and respect, and from a variety of disciplines will be a welcome change. Your knowledge on the topic has provided a respectful and quality review leaving room for readers to appreciate Keller’s work. Thanks Ann.

Yvonne March 13, 2014

There is a hunger to know God and it inspires us to questions and search for truth in this life. Thanks for the great review!

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