Bestseller sets new tone on God for skeptical world

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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.