Reason for God

Reason for God

Belief in an Age of Skepticism

by Timothy J. Keller
Publisher: Penguin Putnam
Hardcover, 293 pages
Current Retail Price: $24.95
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Timothy Keller's The Reason for Godisn't your typical apologetics manual. He doesn't spend a lot of time marshaling logically infallible statements, engaging philosophers, or presenting evidence of the Bible's reliability. Instead, he offers what he calls "clues" to the existence of God—clues which by themselves are not compelling but taken cumulatively provide good reason to believe the claims of historic Christianity.

These clues are often simple common sense. For instance, to the objection that Christians are often worse at following their own standards than non-Christians are, Keller responds that of course someone learning to adapt to a radically new way of thinking and behaving will have far more difficulty adhering to its demands than someone who is self-aware and well-adjusted yet rejects the faith.

Other arguments are less obvious. He discusses the nature of the Bible compared to that of other ancient literature, showing that if it had been the invention of men it would also have been the most radical literary innovation of all time—the modern novel. Given the nature of ancient writing, it's safe to assume the authors of the Bible only added details they remembered as, or heard from, eyewitnesses, and that they weren't just making stuff up.

This is not a scholarly work, though Keller is intellectually rigorous. A Chestertonian attitude pervades each chapter, and we realize Keller isn't trying to "win" anything, just to demonstrate to a religion-weary world why Christianity makes sense, in a way that makes sense to most people. The subtitle confirms this—"Belief in an Age of Skepticism." The pastor of a large church in New York City, Keller has met his share of skeptics and his responses are both well-rehearsed and effortlessly extemporaneous.

Many have been helped by The Reason for God, both skeptics wanting to make the final steps to Christianity, and Christians wanting questions addressed or simply something to think about. Keller's educated but accessible style eliminates the chore aspect often associated with books of this kind (it's actually fun to read). More importantly, it defends the Christian Gospel in its entirety while maintaining a humility and intellectual honesty all-too-often jettisoned by popular defenses of the faith.

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