The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism

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The End of Faith. The God Delusion. God Is Not Great. Letter to a Christian Nation. Bestseller lists are filled with doubters. But what happens when you actually doubt your doubts?

Although a vocal minority continues to attack the Christian faith, for most Americans, faith is a large part of their lives: 86 percent of Americans refer to themselves as religious, and 75 percent of all Americans consider themselves Christians. So how should they respond to these passionate, learned, and persuasive books that promote science and secularism over religion and faith? For years, Tim Keller has compiled a list of the most frequently voiced “doubts” skeptics bring to his Manhattan church. And in The Reason for God, he single-handedly dismantles each of them. Written with atheists, agnostics, and skeptics in mind, Keller also provides an intelligent platform on which true believers can stand their ground when bombarded by the backlash. The Reason for God challenges such ideology at its core and points to the true path and purpose of Christianity.

Why is there suffering in the world? How could a loving God send people to Hell? Why isn’t Christianity more inclusive? Shouldn’t the Christian God be a god of love? How can one religion be “right” and the rest “wrong”? Why have so many wars been fought in the name of God? These are just a few of the questions even ardent believers wrestle with today. In this book, Tim Keller uses literature, philosophy, real-life conversations and reasoning, and even pop culture to explain how faith in a Christian God is a soundly rational belief, held by thoughtful people of intellectual integrity with a deep compassion for those who truly want to know the truth.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
This book owes at least a small debt to the author's congregation. In New York City's Redeemer Presbyterian Church, Timothy Keller ministers to a flock of 15,000. Over the years, Rev. Keller has compiled a list of doubts by parishioners and visitors. In The Reason for God, he responds to seven common objections to religion in general and/or Christianity in particular. For believers or would-be believers, this book provides a reassuring response to books such as God Is Not Great, Letter to a Christian Nation, and The God Delusion.
Publishers Weekly

In this apologia for Christian faith, Keller mines material from literary classics, philosophy, anthropology and a multitude of other disciplines to make an intellectually compelling case for God. Written for skeptics and the believers who love them, the book draws on the author's encounters as founding pastor of New York's booming Redeemer Presbyterian Church. One of Keller's most provocative arguments is that "all doubts, however skeptical and cynical they may seem, are really a set of alternate beliefs." Drawing on sources as diverse as 19th-century author Robert Louis Stevenson and contemporary New Testament theologian N.T. Wright, Keller attempts to deconstruct everyone he finds in his way, from the evolutionary psychologist Richard Dawkins to popular author Dan Brown. The first, shorter part of the book looks at popular arguments against God's existence, while the second builds on general arguments for God to culminate in a sharp focus on the redemptive work of God in Christ. Keller's condensed summaries of arguments for and against theism make the scope of the book overwhelming at times. Nonetheless, it should serve both as testimony to the author's encyclopedic learning and as a compelling overview of the current debate on faith for those who doubt and for those who want to re-evaluate what they believe, and why. (Feb. 14)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Library Journal

As founder of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City, Keller has heard many people question religious beliefs and ask questions like, "How can there be one true religion?" or "How can a loving God allow suffering?" In his new book, written to help counter books like Richard Dawkins's The God Delusion , Keller addresses these and other questions and gives his reasons for believing in God unconditionally. He shares his personal path to Christianity through experiences with his own doubts about faith and conversations he holds with those still struggling with personal belief. Using literature, philosophy, and pop culture, the author gives convincing reasons for a strong belief in God. It is refreshing to read a book that presents a religious view without being overly critical of the secular side presented in other books. An excellent conversation starter, this book presents a valid, well-written, and well-researched argument and should be considered for public libraries.-Jennifer Kuncken, Williamsburg Regional Lib., VA

Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780525950493
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 2/14/2008
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 85,631
  • Product dimensions: 6.26 (w) x 9.26 (h) x 1.12 (d)

Meet the Author

Timothy Keller

As the founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City, Tim Keller started his congregation with a few dozen people. It now draws over five thousand weekly attendees who meet in three Manhattan locations. Redeemer has since spawned a movement of churches across America and throughout major world cities. Many pastors model their churches on Redeemer and Tim's thoughtful style of preaching. Dr. Keller lives in New York City with his wife and sons.

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Table of Contents

Introduction ix

Part 1 The Leap of Doubt

1 There Can't Be Just One True Religion 3

2 How Could a Good God Allow Suffering? 22

3 Christianity Is a Straitjacket 35

4 The Church Is Responsible for So Much Injustice 52

5 How Can a Loving God Send People to Hell? 70

6 Science Has Disproved Christianity 87

7 You Can't Take the Bible Literally 100

Part 2 The Reasons for Faith

8 The Clues of God 131

9 The Knowledge of God 148

10 The Problem of Sin 165

11 Religion and the Gospel 180

12 The (True) Story of the Cross 193

13 The Reality of the Resurrection 209

14 The Dance of God 222

Epilogue: Where Do We Go from Here? 237

Acknowledgments 253

Notes 255

Index 299

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Customer Reviews

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( 139 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 55 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 11, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A Modern-Day C.S. Lewis

    Well, let me put it this way. Tim Keller nailed it on the head. I knew coming in it was good, but I did not think it would be THAT good. First part, he shows the flaws in the common objections of Christianity. And shows the validity of the assertions of Christianity. I think this is a book that Christians and Non-Christians (since he wasn't merely targeting Christians) can glean from. I was especially impressed with his chapter, "Christianity is a Straitjacket". Then again, I personally love the topic of Freedom.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 17, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Great for New Christians

    As with most books arguing in favor of Chrisitanity I don't think it will change anyone's position. For me, it was thought provoking and inspired me to look deeper into the reasons for my own faith. As a devout Christian it did force me to re-examine my motivation and spiritual foundation. I think it is a excellent read for those who are Christians and want to continue down the path of becoming closer to God.

    If you are a non-believer it will take more than a book to change your perspective, but this is a nice start.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 24, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    The Reason For God - Is Clear

    For those who know God, the God of the Bible seen through His Son Jesus Christ you will be encouraged and challenged to life your live more joyously in Christ's unending love, grace and mercy. For those searching for meaning and ultimately for God - the one and only Creator of the Universe - well you will find Him. Timothy Keller does a great job explaining the faith found in Jesus Christ and what it means to truly be a Christian. His insight into our skepticism breaks down the arguments to their lowest denominator and then bridges us back to discovering the God has been there all along, waiting for you to find Him - actually you need to ask God to find you (read the book and you'll understand!) I Challenge you to read this book and come to a different conclusion.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2008

    Religion versus Christianity

    Tim Keller eloquently makes the distinction between religion and Christianity betwen grace and works, and how God's grace to sinners humbles us to want to obey God in appreciaition for what Jesus has done rather than feeling guilty and fearsome, and compelled to obey.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 16, 2010

    A modern, extraordinary apologetic work

    Imagine your favorite professor in college. Now imagine him teaching, in that same comfortable-but-confident conversational style, about the most important topic you could imagine: does God exist, and if so, how do I know (or, what do I do now)?

    A highly recommended book on why it's rational to believe and why it's
    ok to sometimes doubt.

    Considering the complex nature of the questions this book addresses, it's remarkable that he balances an easy-to-follow and interesting style with a brilliant intellect and great points, both original and from 2,000 years of philosophical, scientific and theological sources.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 23, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Fantastic book.

    Very clear, honest, and engaging.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Another recommendation

    To "Anonymous" No. 2: May I recommend HOW GOOD IS GOOD ENOUGH by Andy Stanley. Short and to the point, it is a simple and straightforward explanation of our need for a savior.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2008

    No reason, No God, No logic

    I am a yet-to-be-believer who likes to read books about the validity of Christianity, proGod books if you will, I also read books that are proatheist. That being said this book was not very helpful at all. I found Part one of the book to can I say this, but a complete waste of time. He makes so many presumptuous assumptions, but states them as absolute facts. He talks about love, like their is an absolute definition of the word. His whole piano player metaphor about how doing something, anything, enslaves you!!! What pish-posh. Obviously if you do something it restricts you from doing something else, but if you are doing something you like, you love, are you being enslaved??? Almost everything he presents as absolutes, I see handfuls of counter arguments. 'Only a Sith deals in absolutes'--Obi-Wan, and to this Keller would obviously refute that Obi-Wan's statement is an absolute. Duh. All of Part One is constructed on a elementary school style argument, which is: 'I know I am but so are you.' He encourages people to be open-minded, which is great advice, but there is not much value in that for people who are already open-minded. If you are an atheist who reads book about religion and god, in hopes to find them, then this is not the book for you. Obviously if you are an atheist reading about god, then you are already open to new ideas. Part two of the book is ok, but nothing I did not read in Mere Christianity. If you are trying to find God, more specifically Jesus, then I recommend the afore mentioned Mere Christianity and The Case for Christ, two very good books and two very different styles of presentation. I recommend this book to people who are Christians who think they are 'good' people, who think their doo-doo don't stink. And to atheists who think that Christians and other god believing persons are idiots, this book is a good start, but my recommendation is to read Case for Christ first. Keller does sort of counter some of Dawkins 'The God Delusion' arguments, but I would put The God Delusion on top of this book. I'd give Delusion say 3 and a half stars.

    1 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 27, 2008

    A Nice Try, but...

    ...ultimately not what I hoped for. I was wanting a fresh, validating, positive response to Dawkins/Harris et al (the angry atheists) while also not swinging too far in the literalist direction. I was hoping for the sweet spot, and instead got a bit of the slightly stale warmed-over C. S. Lewis. I like Lewis, but I wanted something fresh...and non-circular, logically. If you are looking for that middle path between militant atheism and the intellectual straight-jacket of Christian literalism, I would recommend Marcus Borg's The Heart of Christianity, rather than Timothy Keller's pretty good effort. He ultimately veers toward a literalistic view of Christianity which is intellectually unfulfilling for many.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 12, 2008

    Good Reasons for defending the faith

    What i like most about Keller's book, The Reason for God, is it gives you a logical, common sense defense of the Christian faith without having to slam other religious traditions. It strikes me that Keller is fair and balanced in his approach, giving equal time to the arguments against and the reasons for believing in Christianity. As G.K. Chesterton noted, its not that the Christian ideal has been tried and found wanting, it has been found difficult and left untried. That is what I most enjoyed about the book, Keller gives us many reasons to try or practice the faith even its most difficult parts for it will deliver the ultimate reward of finding salvation from a loving and just God. In addition, C. S. Lewis fans will especially enjoy this book as Keller liberially quotes from his many favorites such as Mere Christianity, Four Loves and The Great Divorce. Finally, I am now better prepared to explain my Christian faith as well as to understand and practice it in my own life. You will be a better person for reading this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2008

    A reviewer

    Just as C.S. Lewis answered the skeptics of his day, Tim Keller has written what feels very much like an updated version of 'Mere Christianity'. It has all the hallmarks of becoming a classic. Like Lewis, he goes through the major objections modern people have to Christianity and shows how nearly by logic alone these objections are easily answered. They simply don't stand up to scrutiny and reason. For Christians who get anxious when someone challenges their faith with questions like 'how could a good God allow suffering' or 'how can I believe in a religion that is so hostile to science?', you will love this book. These objections are easily defeated with a little knowledge and a little logic. And Keller is a master at showing believers how they can answer these objections in a loving, patient and even charming way! When you really understand these issues, there is no reason to ever be anxious or defensive when a friend confronts you with these questions. And for non-believers, you will find Keller's logic insightful and illuminating. As he does with his Sunday sermons, which are directed to a very secular New York audience, he will challenge you to think. You may not walk away with your mind changed, but your beliefs will be challenged and your thoughts will be clarified. After all, it is when our beliefs are challenged that they are either changed or clarified. So, don't be afraid to take the challenge! Each question is discussed in a single chapter. These questions could have books and books written about them, but that was not the intent of this book. Don't expect a detailed treatise on each question. Rather this book gives a concise overview laying out the logical, factual and historical frameworks through which these questions can be considered.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 12, 2010

    It makes you think! -- Highly Recommended

    As a Christian, It makes me think. Why I think what I think and why I do what I do. The most beautiful reason for me is that there are corrections in the faith, not with God but with people !!!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    If You Have Questions...

    Keller has answers. Perhaps, as he admits, not ever answer, but this book is filled with thought provoking arguements for the existence of God. I read this when I was experiencing a period of doubt in my personal faith and this helped me tremendously! Mr. Keller has a way of approaching questions of God and the Bible that makes you think differently about beliefs you have held to be true and re-access them, which strengthens your faith. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who has questions about their personal faith, or the Bible, or doubts the existence of a god at all.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 19, 2009

    As you can see, I rated this book the highest in every catagory.

    This is a succint answer to the New Atheists. It's a book that any intellectual or thinking person should be willing to examine. I wish I could buy a case full of this book and give it to people who are willing to truly examine the reason for God.

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  • Posted August 6, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Great for Discussions

    I bought this book for a bible study at church. I would even recommend it for people who don't believe in God. Tim Keller really knows what he's talking about and addresses topics that even I as a Christian am skeptical about. At times he words things that I have to sit there and think about because it writes it at times in not a matter of fact sort of way. Good book. Great for discussions and debates and if you have doubts about God and his existence.

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  • Posted April 7, 2009

    Very Inspiring.

    The author cuts through all the bs and delivers an informative and thought provocative analaysis on the subject.

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    Posted January 15, 2010

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    Posted January 7, 2010

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    Posted January 21, 2010

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    Posted October 18, 2009

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