Timothy Keller’s The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism is written as an apologetic for “people with doubts about Christianity,” specifically, the educated, urban, secularist. Although it is written primarily for nonbelievers, it may actually be just as (or more) helpful for believers to read.
With such an audience in mind, Keller draws on writings from a wealth of theologians, philosophers, and scholars as he first addresses seven common objections to Christianity, and then seven reasons for belief in God.
The seven objections comprise seven chapters and are addressed the first section of the book, “The Leap of Doubt:”
1. There can’t be just one true religion.
2. A good God could not allow suffering.
3. Christianity is a straitjacket.
4. The church is responsible for so much injustice.
5. A loving God would not send people to hell.
6. Science has disproved Christianity.
7. You can’t take the Bible literally.
In the second section (following an “Intermission” section), “The Reasons for Faith,” Keller examines seven reasons for which to consider the Christian faith:
1. The Clues of God
2. The Knowledge of God
3. The Problem of Sin
4. Religion and the Gospel
5. The (True) Story of the Cross
6. The Reality of the Resurrection
7. The Dance of God
If you’ve read other books by Timothy Keller, you will likely recognize some of his classic phrases, descriptions, and emphases. But in other ways, this book is unique.
I doubt this book would be helpful to just anyone who claims to deny the existence of God, and is likely best reasoned for the skeptic who has studied and is familiar with philosophical arguments against God (such as Dawkins or Hitchens). For those who claim Christ, this book serves to address many of the ways we’ve migrated from the Bible in our practical theology and living, for often the skeptics view of Christianity is an accurate view of those they’ve heard claim to be Christians, but in reality live very differently from true Christianity.
In this brief video, Keller explains who he wrote the book for and why he wrote:
“When we look at the whole scope of this story line, we see clearly that Christianity is not only about getting one’s individual sins forgiven so we can go to heaven. That is an important means of God’s salvation, but not the final end or purpose of it. The purpose of Jesus’s coming is to put the whole world right, to renew and restore the creation, not to escape it. It is not just to bring personal forgiveness and peace, but also justice and shalom to the world. God created both the body and soul, and the resurrection of Jesus shows that he is going to redeem both body and soul. The work of the Spirit of God is not only to save souls but also to care and cultivate the face of the earth, the material world.”.