Monday, August 18, 2008

Book Review: The Reason For God

I finished another book! I know that my season for reading will be coming to an end in about 3 months (when Baby Anna arrives - yes we named her Anna!), so I'm enjoying reading while I have time.

About a month ago, I finished The Reason For God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism by Timothy Keller. It came out in February and is written by a conservative pastor in Manhattan. As a side note, before I read a non-fiction book, I always check with trusted sources to make sure it is biblically sound. I highly recommend this book and will tell you why. This is an apologetics book that deals with some of the world's most popular arguments and reasoning against Christianity. I learned a great deal about what self-proclaimed atheists think today, and their philosophical arguments. Now, these arguments would normally be way over my head, but Keller does a great job of describing them in everyday language that is not too dumbed-down. My faith was increased as Keller took apart each argument logically and showed how it is a huge leap of faith for a person to claim there is no God. Keller shows how much of today's thinking is a product of our Western culture by contrasting it with the thinking of other cultures. He is also pastoral and often brings the argument back to the gospel, showing the beauty of a humble faith based on the death of Jesus for sinful man.

The first half of the book is called "The Leap of Doubt" and deals with topics such as "There Can't Be Just One True Religion," "How Could a Good God Allow Suffering?," and "The Church is Responsible for So Much Injustice" among many others. The second half of the book is called "The Reasons for Faith" and deals with topics such as "The Problem of Sin," "The Clues of God," and "The Reality of the Resurrection." I would highly recommend this book for Christians and non-Christians. My eyes were opened to a lot of the folly that the "wisdom of this age" has to offer. Their arguments can seem strong and very intellectual at first glance, but Keller is able to use their very own arguments to show them how they are taking a leap of faith themselves in believing them. There are a ton of great quotes from the book, but I'll just share a few below:

In the Introduction Keller says,
"But even as believers should learn to look for reasons behind their faith, skeptics 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... If you went to the Middle East and said, 'There can't be just one true religion,' nearly everyone would say 'Why not?' The reason you doubt Christianity's Belief A is because you hold unprovable Belief B. Every doubt, therefore, is based on a leap of faith."
On Suffering:
"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?"
On "Christianity is a Straitjacket:"
"One of the principles of love - either love for a friend or romantic love - is that you have to lose independence to attain greater intimacy. If you want the 'freedoms' of love - the fulfillment, security, sense of worth that it brings - you must limit your freedom in many ways... Human beings are most free and alive in relationship of love. We only become ourselves in love, and yet healthy love relationships involve mutual, unselfish service, a mutual loss of independence."
On "The Church is Responsible for So Much Injustice:"
"Think of people you consider fanatical. They're overbearing, self-righteous, opinionated, insensitive, and harsh. Why? It's not because they are too Christian, but because they are not Christian enough... Because they think of Christianity as a self-improvement program they emulate the Jesus of the whips in the temple, but not the Jesus who said, 'Let him who is without sin cast the first stone."
On "How Can a Loving God Send People to Hell:"
"Our culture, therefore, has no problem with a God of love who supports us no matter how we live. It does, however, object strongly to the idea of a God who punishes people for their sincerely held beliefs, even if they are mistaken."

"In short, hell is simply one's freely chosen identity apart from God on a trajectory into infinity."
And again, many more great quotes including a great breakdown of evolution and its great weaknesses. I now have arguments and thoughts on topics that I knew almost nothing about before I read this book. It was an encouragement. If you have the time, read it and let me know what you think!

1 comment:

sherry said...

As you know, I'm stoked about the name Anna. I love it! It will be easy for me to pick this book up because it's sitting on my "to be read" shelf. Thanks :)