Yes, I thought Reason for God lacked guts a little, and was unlikely to impress a lot of people who were looking for something more rigorous. Making Sense of God is not an easy read. It is hard to say how you would find this book. But as you (I think) are someone who is more convinced by life than by arguments, and this is a lot about how we live, you may get a lot out of it. One example: if we have different belief systems, we will have different views on what constitutes harm. My hope is that many will read it, … Eight years ago he published The Reason for God, a thoughtful book of what we might term “soft apologetics” – that is, he didn’t try to present strong arguments for the existence of God and the truth of Jesus, but rather suggested ideas that would give readers answers to questions and reasons to believe, without being too “pushy”. But is it true? Today’s Truth “The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul. Keller says that in most cultures in the past, people gained their identity from tradition, culture, God and the roles each person played in their society. Keller’s approach is to firstly compare the foundations of Christianity and secularism – the latter being the view that denies the existence of a supernatural realm and is concerned with the here-and-now.Â He begins by challenging the idea that religious belief is inevitably declining, citing statistics that show Christianity is thriving in the non-Western world. I’ll have to give this one a go in light of your recommendation. I have addressed this question in What is the meaning of life? Can it have any meaning at all? Our desires are constantly changing and often contradictory, and we can’t base our sense of who we areÂ on them. The reason he gives for such a prequel is that he felt the need to offer a well-reasoned position as to why people might (or could) be motivated to consider a reasoning for God in the first place. Each of these chapters begins with quotes from people Keller has spoken to that encapsulate or exemplify the argument being discussed. The end result is the same; Christians are forever part of God’s family. At some point, for most of us, as it was for some biblical writers, God stops making sense. In Walking with God Through Pain and Suffering he spends a solid third of the work showing the way secularism has a very high bar to meet when it comes to making sense out of suffering as well. God adopts people who are completely unworthy, because He adopts on the basis of His grace. Has anyone read the book "The Reason for God" by Tim Keller. If we love anything more than God, it will become the source of our happiness, and will eventually fail us. God willed for this thing to happen.” If God willed it, then God actually caused it to happen. Hence, we must stand in a sense of awe and gratitude to Him. Keller covers a lot of ground, and references many philosophical concepts that some readers may not be familiar with. God wrote this event into your life story. ð. The subtitle of Making Sense of God: An Invitation to the Skeptical should attract an audience who might not otherwise open to such an appeal. But Keller argues that “discovered meaning” (a meaning which comes from some external, objective source, which christianity says is God) is more rational, more durable and more communal than created meanings (the meaning we may choose to give our lives). Now Keller has followed up with what could be called a prequel, Making Sense of God, addressing those sceptics who see … When we choose to make decisions based on wisdom alone, we are exercising common sense. What about injustice? Lewis famously put it. But christianity provides a basis for human rights that secularism cannot provide. Instead, people saw no reason to be unselfish, and it was the rare person who could self-sacrifice. Secularism struggles to explain the ethical feelings that everyone has, and to provide a source of the shared morality that all societies need to function. Naturally, The Reason for God discussed the rational, while Making Sense of God focuses on the emotional and cultural, making the case for Christianity's relevance in both spheres. These created meanings can serve us well, and we must not tell secular friends their lives have no meaning. On the other hand christianity offers a reason to believe in moral obligation and a God who can provide a shared ethic. But he points out that created meanings are ultimately insignificant when the big picture is considered, and are impotent in the face of personal suffering. What about suffering? Making Sense of God by Timothy Keller was published by Hodder in November 2016 and is our 15462nd best seller. He does this by outlining cultural illustrations that … Keller’sÂ comparison of secularism and Christianity Â is thorough and well-researched, drawing on broad range of scholarly sources. Like the focus on individual freedom, this has enabled considerable good, such as preparing American culture for the civil rights movement. Change ), You are commenting using your Facebook account. carefully. If “everything needs a cause” then it does make sense to ask what caused God. Making Sense of God's Will . Now he’s produced a follow up which in a sense prepares the way for The Reason for God. Making Sense of God - a review Andrew Larkin, Bethinking The book is written for those for whom the issue of God seems fanciful and not even worth considering, so a more accurate reflection of the book is that it is “An Invitation to the Sceptical” to reconsider their views on God. Naturally, The Reason for God discussed the rational, while Making Sense of God focuses on the emotional and cultural, making the case for Christianity's relevance in both spheres. ( Log Out / Christianity offers a hope that God is at work in the world, and that there is a life to come, and this hope is very sustaining. Timothy Keller knows how to promote a thoughtful take on Christianity, and the success of his Redeemer Presbyterian Church in the secular nerve center of New York City … What if God is just an illusion of the mind? Perhaps the most universal value in modern secular societies is individual freedom to make our own choices provided we don’t harm others. Creating a … Our standard of living (in the first world at any rate) has never been higher, and yet many people have deep longings and still feel discontent: “is this all there is?” They develop strategies to deal with discontent – they can live a life of striving to find the thing that will give us satisfaction, or they might assume it isn’t possible and not even try. When we seek God’s perspective, we can make decisions based upon their eternal significance rather than selfish interest. Keller claimsÂ that a consequence of this acceptance is the ability to freely enjoy other identity factors such as race, work, family and community ties, and this is why Christianity is by far the most culturally diverse of all religions.Â He offers the example of African identity, the core of which is a belief that the world is full of evil and good spirits. Keller spends the majority of the remainder of the book performing this comparison. Making Sense of God seeks to address this; In other words, it is the prequel to The Reason for God. Keller rightly notes that a focus on individual freedom has in many instances led to a fairer society, but thinks the narrative has gone awry. It is worth considering. To answer that question,Â Keller offers a concise summary of the arguments presented in The Reason for God. I acknowledge the Gweagal and Norongeragal people of the Dharawal nation and language, the traditional custodians of the land and waters where I live and write this blog. Tim Keller is well known these days. If we consider that we are created by God, then God has determined our purpose and the constraints we should live by. An invitation to the sceptical. If everything happens for a reason, and by that we mean it is part of God’s plan, then we have really said, “God planned for this tragedy to come to you. ... “I believe that the difference in death rates can be traced to the fundamental human need for a reason to live.”6 Gawande goes on to ask “why simply existing—why being merely housed … Change ), Alister McGrath talks with Bret Weinstein, The problem of miscarriage for pro-lifers. If you do buy it, I hope you won’t be disappointed. Making Sense of God is a masterpiece. And this is what the rest of the book is mostly about. Charles Taylor’s A Secular Age is a key reference, and for readers unfamiliar with this work, it would be worth readingÂ James K. A . Secularism’s best case is that they are self-evident, while Christianity claims our worth is based on our having God’s image within us, giving every human being dignity no matter what their capacity.When it comes to justice, secularism struggles without universal, objective values that religion can provide. Perhaps Keller (Redeemer Presbyterian Church; The Reason for God) should have titled his book "making sense with God," since he sets out to show that the world makes the most sense from a Christian perspective. In contrast, he points out that christian identity comes not from our performance, but from a God who loves us regardless and calls us his children. Keller's main point for both books is to explain how Christianity makes sense emotionally, culturally, and rationally. Instead, we all operate based on a set of tacit assumptions about reality that we are not consciously aware of. Since God created everything that exists, He is the owner and master of everything, including us. It’s not just that Christianity isn’t overwhelmed by the problem of evil, but that it offers help for a universal problem … Religion, including christianity, has been a force for justice and human rights, but also a source of oppression, but the same is true of secularism. In the first, Keller addresses seven of the most prevalent arguments against the existence of the Christian God. What is the meaning of life? Our worth is based on the value God has placed on us, not on achievements, race or relationships – or even our efforts to be moral. A second reason why, even in our secular age, religion continues to make sense to people is more existential than intellectual. The book concludes with two chapters arguing (briefly) that theism, and christianity in particular, are reasonable. If human relationships are what makes our life meaningful , death destroys them. Viking. So his book attempts to argue that christian belief is culturally relevant, that it makes “more sense of a complex world and human experience” than do secular worldviews. Secularism rejects such beliefs, while Christianity accepts this understanding of the world, and offers a solution to the problem of how one can be protected from evil spirits. In what is probably his strongest chapter, Keller introduces the moral argument for God’s existence, noting that it has influenced many sceptical friends. Rather reason, emotions, experiences and intuitions have a role in forming our world views, regardless of which worldview we adopt… Creating a True Secular Safe Space for Discussion. Change ), You are commenting using your Google account. On the individual level, death is the end of all hope. Naturally, The Reason for God discussed the rational, while Making Sense of God focuses on the emotional and cultural, making the case for Christianity’s relevance in both spheres. Making sense of God by Timothy Keller. As human beings, we cannot live without meaning, satisfaction, freedom, identity, justice, and hope. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple” (Psalm 19:7 NIV). Timothy Keller’s The Reason for God, published a few years ago, was an excellent exposition of reasons to believe in God and Christianity. It is well-written, well-researched, and on point. Naturally, The Reason for God discussed the rational, while Making Sense of God focuses on the emotional and cultural, making the case for Christianity's relevance in both spheres. Sharon Jaynes July 8, 2009 General Inspiration, Trusting God 5 Comments. The desire for instant gratification is the enemy of common sense. But what is that end? Rather, he says he is trying to show that christian belief makes sense and is worthy of further consideration. I heartily recommend this book. He is arguing that christianity is a more, Scientific (and historical) hypothesis are tested by how much of the evidence they. Even if we eschew material success and base our identity on the love of another, if this is lost we will be devastated. We will email you … Keller goes on to expose the flawsÂ in the narrative that claims the religious live by blind faith, while non-believers ground their position in evidence and reason. So, Christians have been born into God’s family (using a Jewish metaphor) and adopted into God’s family (using a Roman metaphor). Also, an extreme focus on individual freedom and personal fulfilment actually threatens freedom itself, as self-absorbed individuals undermine communities and democratic institutions. A Reformed pastor who is hip. But modern identity is also problematic. WillÂ Making Sense of God convince secularists to take a deeper look at the arguments for Christianity? Making Sense Of God - Timothy Keller. Synopsis . All reason depends on faith in our cognitive faculties, and the belief that science is the only arbiter of truth is itself not a scientific belief. God Sense vs Common Sense. By contrast the Christian approach to identity is based on unconditional acceptance by God. SecularistsÂ will find it challenging to their worldview, while Christians will find itÂ intensely rewarding. Keller argues that secularism makes unproven assumptions just as religious belief does, and that for most “converts” out of christianity, rational argument is only one part of the motivating reasons. In Making Sense of God Keller offers questions for skeptics who believe they already have the answers to the big questions of life. No-one can “assume an objective, belief-free, pure openness to objective evidence”. I remember thinking at the time that it was good, but probably would only convince those who were already questioning their unbelief. He notes that human rights are far from self-evident, and that Christianity offers the strongest foundation for them. His aim is to show that Christianity is worth investigating. Both christians and atheists can do moral and immoral things, but only christianity provides a reason for moral obligations. I think the matters he addresses are very important and offer strong reasons in support of the truth of christianity. But I personally find the arguments about meaning, ethics, free will, identity, etc quite convincing, more perhaps than he does, so I really appreciated the discussion and the references to other thinkers, sociologists, psychologists, philosophers, etc. Written for both the ardent believer and the skeptic, Making Sense of God shines a light on the profound value and importance of Christianity in our lives. And there is the fact of our own mortality. I found eveything he put forwards unconvincing, even though I was hoping to be convinced. Smith’sÂ How (Not) to Be Secular: Reading Charles Taylor. ( Log Out / Timothy Keller discusses Making Sense of God in a Mere Fidelity podcast here.Â. Sitewide Banner Message The Well Bookstore is only open for curbside pickup which will be available Monday through Thursday from 9:00-4:00 and Fridays from 9:00-12:30. Secularists have looked to the end of religion, education and technological progress to produce a better future, but there is increasing pessimism that this will happen. Since God is our master, we must be His … But this is the message of Christianity – thatÂ there is hope beyond death, thatÂ love will survive. First, he counters arguments that, in the face of reason, faith in God fades in favor of a secular perspective. Freedom is now understood as the “right of the individual to choose his or her values”, and we can live as we see fit. It has produced the “harm principle”, where we believe we should be free to live as we please as long as we don’t harm anyone else. Keller then goes on to ask which of secularism or religion provides the better foundation for human rights. Do we need God for life to have real meaning? But in modern western societies we are urged to get our identity from our own free choices, running our own race. You can call us to place an order at 913-544-0240 or order online and choose "Pick Up at The Well." In our day-to-day lives, we often judge something by whether it “works”. I enjoyed it greatly and was informed by it. I will be using this book to provide input to this website for some time. Therefore, everything we use in our daily lives, and all of the essential things that we require to survive, are due to God. Demographic studies that show that religious populations are more likely than secular ones to grow through higher birthrates and greater retention of members, and sociologists of religion now generally accept that secularisation isn’t going to happen as once expected. Now he’s produced a follow up which in a sense prepares the way for The Reason for God. Keller begins with preliminary chapters on whether religion is going away as many secularists hope and on the common charge that religion is based on faith while secularism is based on evidence. “Making Sense of God’s Will: Why Love Triumphs” Romans 8:28, 35, 37-39 October 14, 2012 Rev. ... As I did, I took a lot of notes on Keller's ideas and claims that didn't make sense or didn't add up. But this requires humility, and includes giving up our rights to our freedoms. One of the most helpful aspects is the references – 69 pages of them. Those looking for “proofs” may feel he offers nothing, but I think his discussion is convincing for three reasons. I tried to hint at this in my initial comments without being too critical. But this is disingenuous, because the notion of harm is dependent on what a good human life consists of – and that is a matter ofÂ our subjective beliefs. He has gone on record stating that Making Sense of God is a sort of prequel to his best selling The Reason for God. ItÂ does a thorough job of exposing the assumptions secularism makes about reality, which should make anyone demanding “evidence” for the existence of God a little more cautious in their assertions. Keller has done a service to the Church in writing this volume. We have a universal declaration of human rights, but where do such rights come from? Making Sense of God addresses skeptics’ objections to faith by attempting to create a true secular “safe space” for those exploring faith and ideas. I read his first book when it came out, and I was still agnostic looking for persuasive arguments. Finally, Keller examines the problem of moral obligation. Christianity provides us with unsurpassed resources to meet these needs. Keller draws on Augustine’s insight that dissatisfaction and discontentment is a consequence of our failure to love God first and foremost. But where can we find it? But cosmological arguments for the existence of God do not make this claim. Written for both the ardent believer and the skeptic, Making Sense of God shines a light on the profound value and importance of Christianity in our lives. So, he argues, we should not only look at the obvious evidence and arguments for and against the existence of God, but we should consider the internal coherence of all belief systems, and whether they actually “work” in life, before we make a judgment on which is most likely to be true. By contrast, Christianity claims there is objective, eternalÂ MeaningÂ that can be discovered, and teaches that suffering is a terrible reality that canÂ still have purpose. The ephemeral nature of satisfaction and our desire for something that the world cannot supply points to our being “made for another world” as C.S. Making Sense of God begins from Tim’s observation that, although many in the secular west think religious belief is not just wrong, but irrelevant and even harmful, there are many people who want to … But at the same time I thought it was well-written, polite, and better than much that passes for christian apologetics. DVD. Since “God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him” (Gen 1:27), certain aspects of our humanity may reflect features of divinity. Keller’s most recent contribution, Making Sense of God: An Invitation to the Skeptical (Viking, 2016) complements The Reason for God, seeking to engage skeptics and providing reasons to consider the reasonable claims of Christianity. Change ), You are commenting using your Twitter account. ( Log Out / Â If they are willing to put serious effort into their reading of Keller, it certainly should. Keller has already explained the issues with deriving meaning and satisfaction from created things. Gilkey concluded that only faith in God, exemplified by former Olympic athlete Eric Liddell who was interred in the camp, enabled people to be truly unselfish in such circumstances. We have to filter our desires based on a set of beliefs and values, and they are obtained (mostly unconsciously) from our culture and community. "The Reason for God" is divided into two parts. In chapter six, Keller moves on to our personal identity, noting the differences between the traditional concept of the self being “defined and shaped by both internal desires and external social roles and ties”Â and our modern, Western identity based on individualism and detachment. The central premise of the book is that no one comes to their core beliefs by reason alone, or by emotion alone. Secularism struggles to give an account of moral facts or even what comprises “good”, despite secularists having strong moral opinions. 51 quotes from Making Sense of God: An Invitation to the Skeptical: ‘Actually, it is quite natural to human beings to move toward belief in God. These chapters give a quick overview of the classic arguments that most of us are familiar with, but are intended as an adjunct to the main chapters. Meaning is linked to happiness and satisfaction in life, Keller’s next point of comparison.Â Despite the advances we’ve made in science, technology and medicine, we are not any happier. Having read it, I will read it again. As you’d expect, Keller argues that christian faith provides the sense of satisfaction that secularism struggles to give. Â Now KellerÂ has followed up withÂ what could be called a prequel, Making Sense of God,Â addressing those sceptics who see Christianity as so implausible that no rational person could even consider it. It is part of oneself, but is distinct from other aspects of one’s being, such as the body. Creating a True Secular Safe … Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com. Yes, there is the danger of becoming the oppressors when confronting oppression, and Christianity has often done so, but this has always contradicted theÂ gospel. Instead, they contain premises like these: “Whatever begins to exist requires a cause” “Whatever can fail to exist requires a reason for its existence” This means that instead of asking religious people to prove their beliefs, we need to compare religious and secular beliefs based on their evidence, consistency, and success in accounting for our experiences. Many people sense that secular reason does not provide a sound basis for meaning and virtue, and fails to explain the widespread perception that there is more to life than just the material. In terms of key facets of human life, meaning, satisfaction, freedom, identity, hope and justice, Christianity makes sense. Take human thought. God’s answer to Job, if I may translate into the contemporary idiom, is that the divine is “trans-rational.” At the end of the day, the human thought process can only get you so far when it comes to God. In case it would ... compare them with your own notes. So absolute freedom is not an end in itself, but rather a means to an end. ( Log Out / Keller, like a lot of Christian apologists I've read, makes the mistakes of either a) making claims to support … And, he observes, it isn’t just facts and arguments they want: Believers and nonbelievers in God alike arrive at their positions through a combination of experience, faith, reasoning, and intuition. He affirms that this modern approach avoids people being locked into societal roles by privilege or lack of it, but he also argues that this view is a great burden (because our identity depends on our performance, achievements and style) and it doesn’t achieve what is hoped. He concludes with Langdon Gilkey’s powerful story of selfishness in a Second World War prison camp, where rationality proved insufficient as a basis for moral obligation when resources were scarce. Traditionally secularism has believed in the idea of progress, but optimism is beginning to crumble in the light of issues such as climate change.But humans are future-focused, and we need hope. In an earlier book, The Reason for God, the author made a case for Christianity; Making Sense of God starts further back, addressing people who strongly doubt that any version of religion or faith makes sense or has anything of value to offer the contemporary world. 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