Thursday, April 12, 2012

Book Review :: The Reason for God by Timothy Keller

As someone born and raised in a Christian home, married to a man who was born and raised in a Christian home, and who is currently raising my own children in a Christian home, it should come as no great surprise that my exposure to people who don't share my faith is often limited.

Add to that the fact that I live in the Bible belt and you can imagine that it is possible for me to go months - even years - without having to defend my faith to anyone.

But that doesn't mean I don't need to know how.

Because when I take a tiny step outside my sheltered existence I find a whole world of skepticism and doubt. A world full of people who are loved by God and who desperately need to know Him.

A world I'm praying for more opportunities to shine a light into.

So when I saw The Reason for God by Timothy Keller on the shelf at Barnes and Noble several months ago, I decided to add it to my to-be-read stack. I've been working my way through it ever since.

To me, it's not the kind of book you sit down and read in an evening. The chapters are broken up into 2-4 page sections that make it just right for a slow and steady pace. It is at times quite philosophical, and there are many references and quotes from both Christian and atheistic/agnostic writers, some I was familiar with and some who were new to me. My brain appreciated the chance to use some reason and logic for a change. (The reason and logic I employ on a daily basis are often lost on the toddler set I hang around with!)

In Part 1: The Leap of Doubt, Keller addresses seven of the most common objections he's encountered to Christianity. And as the pastor of a large Presbyterian church in Manhattan, he's probably heard most of them. Questions about how God could allow suffering, why God would send people to hell, how it's possible to be a person of science and a person of faith, and why we believe that there really is only one way to reconciliation with God.

In Part 2: The Reasons for Faith, he expounds on sin, the cross, the resurrection, and the nature of God as he argues in favor of a true, life-changing faith (not to be confused with adherence to religion).

While there were a few topics where I did not completely agree with his assertions, overall this book provides well thought-out, reasoned arguments for faith and Christianity. And does so in a respectful way. If you find yourself with questions of your own, or are trying to share your faith with someone who is challenging you to give reasons for what you believe, I'd recommend The Reason for God.

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So what about you? Do you frequently interact with skeptics? How do you feel about answering the tough questions? Are you confident or timid when it comes to sharing your faith? I'd love hear about your experiences in the comments!
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