2021 new arrival Making Sense of God: discount Finding God in sale the Modern World online

2021 new arrival Making Sense of God: discount Finding God in sale the Modern World online

2021 new arrival Making Sense of God: discount Finding God in sale the Modern World online

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We live in an age of skepticism. Our society places such faith in empirical reason, historical progress, and heartfelt emotion that it’s easy to wonder: Why should anyone believe in Christianity? What role can faith and religion play in our modern lives?

In this thoughtful and inspiring new book, pastor and New York Times bestselling author Timothy Keller invites skeptics to consider that Christianity is more relevant now than ever. As human beings, we cannot live without meaning, satisfaction, freedom, identity, justice, and hope. Christianity provides us with unsurpassed resources to meet these needs. 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.

Review

Praise for Timothy Keller and Making Sense of God

"Writing about philosophy and religion without jargon, condescension, or preaching, Keller produces an intelligent person’s invitation to faith." — Booklist

"Keller provides a calm and measured invitation to examine convictions and assumptions in a way that both believers and skeptics could use as part of a reasoned dialogue." — Library Journal

"Keller masterfully weaves in relevant history, politics, and literature while expounding on the scriptures, and effectively exposes the weaknesses of secularist and atheistic worldviews. . . . Skeptics with philosophical minds will appreciate Keller''s thoughtful, tightly-argued prose." — The Christian Post

"Superb . . . we should be grateful to Keller for his wisdom, scholarship, and humility." —The Gospel Coalition

"Tim Keller’s ministry in New York City is leading a generation of seekers and skeptics toward belief in God. I thank God for him." —Billy Graham

"Unlike most suburban megachurches, much of Redeemer is remarkably traditional. What is not traditional is Dr. Keller’s skill in speaking the language of his urbane audience. . . . Observing Dr. Keller’s professorial pose on stage, it is easy to understand his appeal." — The New York Times

"Fifty years from now, if evangelical Christians are widely known for their love of cities, their commitment to mercy and justice, and their love of their neighbors, Tim Keller will be remembered as a pioneer of the new urban Christians." — Christianity Today 

About the Author

Timothy Keller was born and raised in Pennsylvania and educated at Bucknell University, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and Westminster Theological Seminary. His first pastorate was in Hopewell, Virginia. In 1989 he started Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City with his wife, Kathy, and their three sons. Today, Redeemer has nearly six thousand regular Sunday attendees and has helped to start more than three hundred new churches around the world. He is the author of God''s Wisdom for Navigating Life, Hidden Christmas,  The Songs of Jesus, and The Meaning of Marriage, among others, including the perennial bestsellers The Reason for God and The Prodigal God.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

One

Isn''t Religion Going Away?

You have picked up this book, which shows you have some interest in the question of whether religious belief is possible in our time. But really, should you keep reading? Isn''t a book about the relevance of religion nothing but a desperate, rear-guard action? Isn''t the greater reality that "nonbelief is on the march"? That religion in general and Christianity in particular are spent forces, inevitably declining? Aren''t increasing percentages of the population, especially millennials, finding that they have less need for God and faith in their lives?

A woman in my church brought a colleague from the business world to visit a Sunday worship service. The man, in his late fifties, was stunned to see several thousand professionals present, mostly young and living in Manhattan. He found the service helpful, thought provoking, and even moving. Afterward he admitted to her that the experience was unnerving. Why, she asked? He answered: "It has always been a settled belief of mine that religion is dying out, at least among educated people and certainly among the young. Oh, I can understand young adults being attracted to the Christian rock-concert-type things. But my experience here puts something of a hole in that assumption."

After a major new study by the Pew Research Center, the Washington Post ran an article entitled "The World Is Expected to Become More Religious—Not Less." While acknowledging that in the United States and Europe the percentage of people without religious affiliation will be rising for the time being, the article distilled the research findings, namely, that in the world overall religion is growing steadily and strongly. Christians and Muslims will make up an increasing percentage of the world''s population, while the proportion that is secular will shrink. Jack Goldstone, a professor of public policy at George Mason University, is quoted: "''Sociologists jumped the gun when they said the growth of modernization would bring a growth of secularization and unbelief. . . . That is not what we''re seeing,'' he said. ''People . . . need religion.''"

Many readers of the Washington Post article had the same reaction as the man who had visited our church. They found the study''s findings unbelievable. One opined, "It''s easy to get rid of religion just by educating people about other religions, or even giving them a secular, non-biased look at the history of the religion that any given kid has been raised in." In other words, as long as education levels rise and modernization advances religion has to die out. In this view, people feel they need religion only if they are untutored in science, history, and logical thinking.

The Pew study, however, threatened these deeply held beliefs about why people are religious. Not long ago, leading scholars in Western society were also nearly unanimous in thinking that religion was inevitably declining. They thought the need for religion would go away as science provided explanations and aid against the natural elements better than God ever did. In 1966 John Lennon represented this consensus when he said, "Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I needn''t argue about that; I''m right and will be proved right."

However, this hasn''t happened as advertised. As the Pew study proves, religion is on the rise, and the emergence of the more strident and outspoken "new atheists" may be in fact a reaction to the persistence and even resurgence of vibrant religion. Nor is the flourishing of faith happening only among less educated people. Over the last generation philosophers such as Alasdair MacIntyre, Charles Taylor, and Alvin Plantinga have produced a major body of scholarly work supporting belief in God and critiquing modern secularism in trenchant ways that are hard to answer.

Demographers tell us the twenty-first century will be less secular than the twentieth. There have been seismic religious shifts toward Christianity in sub-Saharan Africa and China while evangelicalism and Pentecostalism have grown exponentially in Latin America. Even in the United States the growth of the "nones" has been mainly among those previously identified but nominal or disengaged with a faith while the devoutly religious in the United States and Europe are growing.

Belief in God makes sense to four out of five people in the world and will continue to do so in the foreseeable future. The immediate question is, then, why? Why does religion still grow amid so much secular opposition? Some might answer that most people in the world are simply undereducated, while others might be a bit more blunt and respond, "Because most people are idiots." But a more thoughtful, less misanthropic answer is in order. There are two good answers to the question of why religion continues to persist and grow. One explanation is that many people find secular reason to have "things missing" from it that are necessary to live life well. Another explanation is that great numbers of people intuitively sense a transcendent realm beyond this natural world. We will look at both of these ideas in turn.

An Awareness of Something Missing

Some years ago a woman from China was doing graduate work at Columbia University in political theory, and she began attending our church. She had come to the United States to study partially because there was a growing body of thought among Chinese social scientists that the Christian idea of transcendence—that there was a supernatural reality—was the historic basis for the concepts of human rights and equality. After all, she said, science alone could not prove human equality. I expressed surprise at this, but she said this was not only something that some Chinese academics were arguing, but that some of the most respected secular thinkers in the West were saying it too. Through her help, I came to see that faith was making something of a comeback in rarefied philosophical circles where secular reason—rationality and science without any belief in a transcendent, supernatural reality—has increasingly been seen as missing things that society needs.

One of the world''s most prominent philosophers, Jürgen Habermas, was for decades a defender of the Enlightenment view that only secular reason should be used in the public square. Habermas has recently startled the philosophical establishment, however, with a changed and more positive attitude toward religious faith. He now believes that secular reason alone cannot account for what he calls "the substance of the human." He argues that science cannot provide the means by which to judge whether its technological inventions are good or bad for human beings. To do that, we must know what a good human person is, and science cannot adjudicate morality or define such a thing. Social sciences may be able to tell us what human life is but not what it ought to be. The dream of nineteenth-century humanists had been that the decline of religion would lead to less warfare and conflict. Instead the twentieth century has been marked by even greater violence, performed by states that were ostensibly nonreligious and operating on the basis of scientific rationality. Habermas tells those who are still confident that "philosophical reason . . . is capable of determining what is true and false" to simply look at the "catastrophes of the twentieth century—religious fascist and communist states, operating on the basis of practical reason—to see that this confidence is misplaced." Terrible deeds have been done in the name of religion, but secularism has not proven to be an improvement.

Evidence for Habermas''s thesis comes from recent research on the history of the eugenics movement in the early twentieth century. Thomas C. Leonard of Princeton University shows that a century ago progressive, science-based social policies were broadly understood to entail the sterilization or internment of those persons deemed to have defective genes. In 1926 John T. Scopes was famously tried under Tennessee law for teaching evolution. Few people remember, however, that the textbook Scopes used, Civic Biology by George Hunter, taught not only evolution but also argued that science dictated we should sterilize or even kill those classes of people who weakened the human gene pool by spreading "disease, immorality, and crime to all parts of this country." This was typical of scientific textbooks of the time.

It was the horrors of World War II, not science, that discredited eugenics. The link between genetic makeup and various forms of antisocial behavior has never been disproved; indeed, the opposite is true. Recent studies, for example, show that a particular receptor gene decreased boys'' likelihood to stay in school, even with compensatory support and help from teachers and parents. There are many other links of heredity to disease, addictions, and other problematic behavior. Thomas Leonard argues that "eugenics and race science were not pseudosciences in the . . . Progressive Era. They were sciences." It was perfectly logical to conclude that it would be more socially and economically cost effective if those genetically prone to nonproductive lives did not pass on their genetic code. However, the death camps aroused the moral intuition that eugenics, while perhaps scientifically efficient, is evil. Yet if you believe that it is, you must find support for your conviction in some source beyond science and the strictly rational cost-benefit analysis of practical reason. Where can you look for this support? Habermas writes: "The ideals of freedom . . . of conscience, human rights and democracy [are] the direct legacy of the Judaic ethic of justice and the Christian ethic of love. . . . To this day there is no alternative to it."

None of this denies that science and reason are sources of enormous and irreplaceable good for human society. The point is rather that science alone cannot serve as a guide for human society. This was well summarized in a speech that was written for but never delivered at the Scopes "monkey trial": "Science is a magnificent material force, but it is not a teacher of morals. It can perfect machinery, but it adds no moral restraints to protect society from the misuse of the machine. . . . Science does not [and cannot] teach brotherly love." Secular, scientific reason is a great good, but if taken as the sole basis for human life, it will be discovered that there are too many things we need that it is missing.

Facing Death and Finding Forgiveness

A popular book that makes similar points is the best-selling When Breath Becomes Air, the reflections of a young neurosurgeon, now deceased, who wrote about a journey back toward faith when he was dying of cancer. Kalanithi had been an "ironclad atheist." His primary charge against Christianity was "its failure on empirical grounds. Surely enlightened reason offered a more coherent cosmos . . . a material conception of reality, an ultimately scientific worldview." But the problem with this whole conception became evident to him. If everything has to have a scientific explanation and proof, then this "is to banish not only God from the world but also love, hate, meaning—to consider a world that is self-evidently not the world we live in."

All science can do, Kalanithi argues, is "reduce phenomena into manageable units." It can make "claims about matter and energy" but about nothing else. For example, science can explain love and meaning as chemical responses in your brain that helped your ancestors survive. But if we assert, which virtually everyone does, that love, meaning, and morals do not merely feel real but actually are so—science cannot support that. So, he concluded, "scientific knowledge [is] inapplicable" to the "central aspects of human life" including hope, love, beauty, honor, suffering, and virtue.

When Kalanithi realized that there was no scientific proof for the reality of meaning and virtue, things he was sure existed, it made him rethink his whole view of life. If the premise of secularism led to conclusions he knew were not true—namely that love, meaning, and morals are illusions—then it was time to change his premise. He found it no longer unreasonable to believe in God. He came to a belief not only in God but also in "the central values of Christianity—sacrifice, redemption, forgiveness—because I found them so compelling." Paul Kalanithi had also found that, in Habermas''s phrase, the completely secular point of view had too many things "missing" that he knew were both necessary and real.

Kalanithi refers in passing to forgiveness as one reason he left secularism behind. He does not elaborate but another account may shed light on this. Author and teacher Rebecca Pippert had the opportunity to audit some graduate-level courses at Harvard University, one of which was "Systems of Counseling." At one point the professor presented a case study in which therapeutic methods were used to help a man uncover a deep hostility and anger toward his mother. This helped the client understand himself in new ways. Pippert then asked the professor how he would have responded if the man had asked for help to forgive her. The professor responded that forgiveness was a concept that assumed moral responsibility and many other things that scientific psychology could not speak to. "Don''t force your values . . . about forgiveness onto the patient," he argued. When some of the students responded with dismay, the professor tried to relieve the tension with some humor. "If you guys are looking for a changed heart, I think you are looking in the wrong department." However, as Pippert observes, "the truth is, we are looking for a changed heart." Secular reason, all by itself, cannot give us a basis for "sacrifice, redemption, and forgiveness," as Paul Kalanithi concluded in his final months.

A Sense of the Transcendent

A second reason why, even in our secular age, religion continues to make sense to people is more existential than intellectual. Harvard professor James Wood, in a New Yorker article "Is That All There Is?" tells of a friend, an analytic philosopher and a convinced atheist, who sometimes wakes in the middle of the night haunted by a visceral angst:

How can it be that this world is the result of an accidental big bang? How could there be no design, no metaphysical purpose? Can it be that every life-beginning with my own, my husband''s, my child''s, and spreading outward-is cosmically irrelevant?

Wood, who is a secular man himself, admits that "as one gets older, and parents and peers begin to die, and the obituaries in the newspaper are no longer missives from a faraway place but local letters, and one''s own projects seem ever more pointless and ephemeral, such moments of terror and incomprehension seem more frequent and more piercing, and, I find, as likely to arise in the middle of the day as the night."

What is this "incomprehension" that can suddenly grip even secular persons? Wood''s friend''s questions reveal more an intuition than a line of reasoning. It is the sense that we are more and life is more than what we can see in the material world. Steve Jobs, when contemplating his own death, confessed that he felt that "it''s strange to think that you accumulate all this experience . . . and it just goes away. So I really want to believe that something survives, that maybe your consciousness endures." It seemed to Jobs untrue to reality that, for something as significant as the human self, death would be just an "off switch," so it is merely " Click! And you''re gone."

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David George Moore
5.0 out of 5 stars
KELLER''S BEST BOOK? PERSONAL RESPONSE BY KELLER
Reviewed in the United States on September 20, 2016
I wrote in a previous interview with Keller, “He has a healthy aversion to sanctimony and platitudes. He has a low tolerance for simplistic answers. Years of pastoral ministry in the hurly-burly of New York have given him a deep desire to articulate the Christian faith... See more
I wrote in a previous interview with Keller, “He has a healthy aversion to sanctimony and platitudes. He has a low tolerance for simplistic answers. Years of pastoral ministry in the hurly-burly of New York have given him a deep desire to articulate the Christian faith with integrity. Keller’s ability to frame old issues in fresh ways is a hallmark of both his teaching and writing. “

I’ve read six other books by Keller, but Making Sense of God may now be my favorite.

All the hallmarks of Keller’s writing appear. There is an integrative approach where wonderful quotes (no, I won’t use the overused “money” quotes!) from various disciplines are used throughout the book. Keller clearly keeps up in his reading, especially when it comes to philosophy, sociology, and cultural analysis. How many pastors do you know who have read Charles Taylor’s big book, A Secular Age not once, but three times? As Keller commonly says, he reads so widely because he is “desperate.” Many of us are beneficiaries due to Keller’s desperation.

Another common feature of Keller’s approach, especially as it relates to skeptics, is what I like to call “incremental apologetics.” This is where the skeptic is moved ever slowly. No big jumps from A to Z. The skeptic is paid the respect he deserves. The skeptic is truly listened to, and maybe most importantly, is confident that Keller is portraying his positions accurately. Given these realities it is not surprising that Keller would realize a “prequel” to The Reason for God was needed.

Related to the former is what I like to call “let’s talk on the bridge.” Keller models this well in both The Reason for God and in Making Sense of God. All sides are invited into a conversation (no bomb throwing allowed) where each participant is reminded that they utilize both faith and reason. This can be a tough sell for Christians and non-Christians alike, but it is crucial if real dialogue is to occur.

Making Sense of God is strong at showcasing the problems of a materialistic worldview. The problems that ensue from the reductionism of believing that the physical world is the totality of existence are a particular strength of Making Sense of God. And Keller does not just use Christians to answer materialists like Stephen Pinker. Rather, he highlights other skeptics like Julian Barnes whose reflections on the beauty of Mozart’s Requiem made him wonder whether physical reality is the sum total of human existence.

I close with one slight disappointment and a comment about source notes.

First, the slight disappointment. Keller writes, “All of us have things we believe—including things we would sacrifice and even die for–that cannot be proven. But since these beliefs cannot be proved, does this mean we ought not to hold them, or that we can’t know them to be true? We should, therefore, stop demanding that belief in God meet a standard of universally acknowledged proof when we don’t apply that to the other commitments on which we base our lives.” Granted there is an important truth there, but believing or not believing in God is far more costly than other matters, so it is understandable why we might “demand” more evidence. There may be sufficient evidence for Christianity, but it is understandable why many of us would like more. I found this a bit too quick of a dismissal of an honest objection, something that is uncharacteristic of Keller.

It may seem rather strange to finish this review with a comment about endnotes, but I must. I regularly scan the footnotes (these days they are almost always endnotes) to see whether the author has interacted with the best literature. Not only do Keller’s endnotes demonstrate his careful reading, but there really is a book within a book. My only concern here is that too many readers will forego reading the endnotes thinking they are unimportant, or simply too academic. For those willing to slow down and read the endnotes, they will find a treasure trove of bibliographic suggestions, further interaction, and fuller quotes.

Tim Keller graciously responded to my "slight disappointment" with this:

My point here was that both belief in a universe without a God (that things exist on their own, that moral obligation exists without God, and so on) and belief in a universe with God-take equal amounts of faith and reason to hold. Both views (I argue in the book) require major steps of faith, and both also have some good logical arguments on their side. Neither can demonstrably prove their position to all rational people. So I don’t think the objection--that belief in a universe with God must meet a higher standard of proof than believe in a materialistic-only universe—really holds true. — Tim Keller
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Kevin Halloran
5.0 out of 5 stars
A Worthy Prequel to The Reason for God
Reviewed in the United States on September 20, 2016
Tim Keller''s 2008 New York Times Bestseller, The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism, is what first propelled him into the international spotlight. The Reason for God sought to make skeptics ''doubt their doubts'' about Christianity by holding them up to the same... See more
Tim Keller''s 2008 New York Times Bestseller, The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism, is what first propelled him into the international spotlight. The Reason for God sought to make skeptics ''doubt their doubts'' about Christianity by holding them up to the same intellectual scrutiny as to which they held Christianity.

While The Reason for God impacted many interested in Christianity or at least in its consideration, Keller realized it was not written for those who do not deem Christianity "relevant enough to be worth their while" (4). Such people would never pick it up, but rather dismiss Christianity altogether as a "blind faith in an age of science, reason, and technology" or believing "fewer and fewer people will feel the need for religion and it will die out" (4). Keller''s newest book, Making Sense of God, is directed at those people, serving as The Reason for God''s prequel.

Keller''s main point for both books is to explain how Christianity makes sense emotionally, culturally, and rationally. 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.

Creating a True Secular Safe Space for Discussion
Making Sense of God addresses skeptic objections to faith by attempting to create a true secular "safe space" for those exploring faith and ideas. Keller argues that such a space is needed since there is no "truly secular state" in which all beliefs and ideas can be presented in mutual respect and peace (3). Keller frames this safe space on page 50:

"Rather than unfairly asking only religious people to prove their views, we need to compare and contrast religious beliefs and their evidences with secular beliefs and theirs. We can and should argue about which beliefs account for what we see and experience in the world. We can and should debate the inner logical consistency of belief systems, asking whether they support or contradict one another. We can and should consult our deepest intuitions."

Making Sense of God is divided in three parts:

• Part 1 (Why Does Anyone Need Religion) exposes erroneous thinking that secularism and human advancement is swallowing up religion and argues that secularism and religion are both founded on faith.
• Part 2 (Religion Is More Than You Think It Is) tests both skepticism and faith by examining what they mean for our meaning in life, satisfaction from life, individuality, finding your true self, hope, morality, and justice—issues of profound importance for every person, regardless of worldview.
• Part 3 (Christianity Makes Sense) does what one would expect: make the case for Christianity''s reasonableness by first testing reasonableness for belief in God and then belief in Christianity.

Keller doesn''t typically explain the flaws of secularism and skepticism through use of Scripture, but rather interacts with a diverse range of sources from a variety of fields: including scientists, secularist thinkers, philosophers, artists, and musicians. I appreciate Keller''s generosity and humility in both seeking and describing truth. This generosity drove me to a deeper understanding of the nature of his critique. Examples of this comes when explaining how many non-religious people are actually more moral and kind than religious people, or when he cites Nietzsche to prove his points.

There are many features of Keller''s writing that makes it easy to see why he is a bestselling author: clarity of argument, deep knowledge of the secular belief systems he interacts with, a smattering of powerful illustrations and quotations, and a compelling presentation of the God who provides realistic and compelling answers to life''s issues. Keller''s writing both feeds the intellect and stirs the soul.

Why skeptics should read this book
If you are a skeptic, I hope you take Keller''s invitation to enter the secular safe space he seeks to create. Read this book and honestly think through his analysis. See if you agree with him that the secular worldview can''t describe why good things like courage and love exist, why we need morals and on what basis they come, nor truly provide lasting satisfaction that can hold the weight of intense suffering.

By doing so you might find yourself among the many mentioned in the book, both committed skeptics and converts to Christianity, who have thanked Keller for exposing flawed presuppositions and sharpening their grasp on reality.

Why believers should read this book
Keller is masterful at examining secularism and skepticism with a surgeon''s precision. Like its predecessor, this book is a must read for communicators of the faith and believers trying to live faithfully in a secular age. You will know how to engage skeptics better by understanding the thought processes that drive their beliefs and decisions. If you are like me, you will also be convicted and discouraged by seeing how our secular culture has influenced you.

Most important of all, Keller''s work will make you more confident that the God of Christianity is not only relevant for today, but the only One that makes broken humans whole and human existence in this crazy world understandable.

Title: Making Sense of God: An Invitation to the Skeptical
Author: Timothy Keller
Publisher: Viking
Year: 2016
Rating: 5 Stars
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JVib
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
God Claims Make No Sense
Reviewed in the United States on June 28, 2019
Preface: Tim: “Believers and nonbelievers in god alike arrive at their positions through a combination of experience, faith, reasoning, and intuition.” I disagree that non-believers coming to their position using faith and intuition. (Faith: 1. Complete trust or confidence... See more
Preface: Tim: “Believers and nonbelievers in god alike arrive at their positions through a combination of experience, faith, reasoning, and intuition.” I disagree that non-believers coming to their position using faith and intuition. (Faith: 1. Complete trust or confidence in someone or something; 2. Strong believe in god or the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof.) Based on these definitions I do not have either. What I do have is reasonable level of confidence based on the information and evidence to which I have access. (Intuition: The ability to acquire knowledge without proof, evidence, or conscious reason, or without understanding how the knowledge was acquired.) Based on this definition I would not rely on intuition to determine the truth because intuition is not a reliable pathway to determine if a proposition is true (factually accurate). As for experience; we receive all of our information through experience (input to your brain through your five senses) and use reasoning to make sense of that information. These two elements are what I use. Tim goes on to redefine a word to fit his agenda. Secularism: 1. Separation of church and state. 2. In describing individuals: A secular person is one who does not know if there is a god or any supernatural realm beyond the natural world. Everything, in this view, has a scientific explanation. (I agree with not knowing if a god, or anything supernatural exists; or it could be better stated as not knowing if the claims humans make that a god exists are factually accurate. However, not everything has a scientific explanation currently. 3. In describing a kind of culture with its themes and narratives. A secular age is one in which all the emphasis is on the saeculum, on the here-and-now, without any concept of the eternal. Meaning in life, guidance, and happiness are understood and sought in present-time economic prosperity, material comfort, and emotional fulfillment. (I disagree with the “here-and-now comment.” We do look to the future and future generations and work to ensure the future of humans and our planet are better. We humans can understand the concept of the eternal however we have no means to demonstrate anything is eternal exists. Yes, humans strive to have more wellbeing. A life with less suffering is generally better than a life with more suffering.)
C1: Isn’t religion going away? According to recent research religious belief is declining in countries where greater access to higher education is available. In countries with low levels of higher education the religious population is growing (in some part due to birth rates). So, is religion going away any time soon? Probably not. However, it may decline over time as our education, technology and scientific discoveries improve. Tim goes on to state “Another explanation is that great numbers of people intuitively sense a transcendent realm beyond this natural world.” I agree that some people “feel” that there may be something transcendent but that does not demonstrate that something transcendent exists. Tim then goes on to say that reason & science cannot adjudicate morality. Tim appeals to emotion by referring to all of the violence which occurred in the 20th century. Human have always been violent to other humans. In the 20th century we had greater capability to do so because of improved technology. This has NOTHING to do with secularism. The bible (god) advocates violence in many ways. I don’t see how it is any better. Tim moves on and states, “But if we assert, which virtually everyone does, that love, meaning, and morals do not merely feel real but actually are so - science cannot support that.” Love, meaning and morals exist in human minds and are part of the functions of our physical brains. They do NOT exist outside of human brains. Tim states: “Secular reason, all by itself, cannot give us a basis for sacrifice, redemption, and forgiveness.” Yes, it can. We are social animals. We desire being with other people because it is in our best interest to be part of the group. If we do something of which the group disapproves, we may be ostracized. Seeking redemption and forgiveness for our bad behavior can bring us back into the group. We understand pain and, as part of the group, want to prevent the pain of others for whom we care. None of this requires a supernatural explanation. Tim moves on to the beginning of the universe and provides a quote; “How can it be that this world is the result of an accidental big band?” First, using the word accidental is unfair because we don’t know the cause at this time; and this applies to every human who has ever lived. If someone want to posit an explanation of how the universe came into existence, that person must demonstrate their explanation is factually accurate. Just stating or implying a god did it is not enough. Tim moves on to the argument from beauty. He uses the example that some people are moved by Mozart’s Requiem. Yes, it does move some people emotionally and others are not move at all. But this is a completely natural emotional reaction. What one person finds beautiful others may not. This is completely subjective. It seems Tim is implying that these emotional reactions are being provided on a supernatural level. If these emotions somehow exist external to a physical brain it must be demonstrated. Next, Tim appeals to stories of people’s personal experiences. Personal experience is not a reliable pathway to truth because it is not possible to determine if someone’s personal experience is, factually, what they thought it was. Ask yourself, will you believe every claim anyone makes if they appeal to their personal experience? Could they be mistaken? Tim then states: “Strick secularism holds that people are only physical entities without souls, that when love ones die they simply cease to exist, that sensation of love and beauty are just neurological-chemical events, that there is no right or wrong outside of what we in our minds determine and choose.” As far as we humans can determine most of this statement is true. There is no evidence to demonstrate we are anything but physical entities, nor evidence to demonstrate a soul exists, nor evidence of an afterlife. We can demonstrate our brain reaction to feelings of love and beauty which indicates they are, in fact, neurological-chemical events.
C2: Isn’t religion based on faith and secularism on evidence? In this section Tim is trying to push that nonbelievers have just as much faith as the religious. As Tim mention above, the religious rely on faith and intuition along with experience and reasoning. Whereas I do not rely on faith nor intuition. I do use experience and the evidence it provides. At one point, Tim states that we cannot determine if our reality is “real.” This is accurate. We can never know for certain that our senses are accurately assessing our reality; however, we can verify what we are experiencing with other humans. Ultimately this is the only reality we have, so we must accept it and live as if it is real. Tim goes on to state that secular people cannot believe in ethical behavior because it can’t be proven in a laboratory. This is ridiculous. We can demonstrate that human ethical behavior exists and that it is beneficial to overall human wellbeing. Tim states, “..reason depends on the faith that our cognitive sense…are not tricking us.” No, there is no faith involved. We can demonstrate and verify that our cognitive sense is accurate in our shared reality. Ultimately, this entire chapter is an attempt to push faith-based belief onto nonbelievers in order to move the burden of proof away from the religious. But it fails. Not being able to accept a claim as being factually accurate due to lack of evidence is not faith. Later in the chapter Tim makes this statement: “However, if we are just a decaying piece of matter in a decaying universe and nothing more significant than that, how does it follow that we should live a life of love toward others? It doesn’t. Why shouldn’t we live as selfishly as we can get away with? How do beliefs in individual freedom, human rights, and equality arise from or align with the ideal that human beings came to be what they are through survival of the fittest?” We humans survive because of our social and cooperative nature. We all work together to make a better life for all. Evolution makes sense here as the more cooperative we were the more successful we were which allowed us to survive and thrive. Christianity did not invent these natural human qualities. These qualities predate Christianity and all other religions.
C3: In this chapter Tim speaks of the meaning of life. Then Tim speaks of “created meaning” vs “discovered meaning.” He claims that “inherent” and “assigned” meanings exist and these are provide by a god and we can discover them. Whereas secular people have not discovered, but rather created their meaning in life. So, what mechanism can we use to differentiate between a person who claims to have discovered her meaning in life and a person who has a created her meaning in life? The only difference between the two is how the person feels emotionally about what they perceive to be their meaning. Tim goes on to speak of moral authority. Simply put, human wellbeing is how we determine our shared morals. Human morals evolve over time. We can use the bible to demonstrate this fact. The bible, and thereby god, sanctions owning other people as property and never renounces it. Yet, over time humans arrived at the conclusion that humans owning other humans as property was not conducive (and it was often detrimental) to human wellbeing. If god has placed morals in us this claim must be demonstrated to be true.
C4: A Satisfaction That Is Not Based on Circumstances. In this chapter Tim uses many quotes from other people to support his claim that our current society is somehow less happy than ancient societies. There is no way for Tim to demonstrate this claim to be true, as no statistics were kept regarding happiness in ancient societies. He is simply speculating. What we do know is the ancient world was far more primitive and dangerous to humans than today. Tim goes on and on about how unhappy our current global society is in our current age. Yet, he doesn’t provide any statistics to back up this claim. Then he spends the majority of this chapter attempting to convince his readers how horribly unhappy (discontent) we all are. I have seen this tactic before. He is first trying to convince us that we all have some problem (not being happy). He then tells us that other philosophical & religious beliefs won’t help us. Then, at the end of the chapter, he pushed his cure for the problem. He tells us that accepting and following his very specific religious doctrines (Christianity) will cure us. Yet, he does not demonstrate this is true. As a matter of fact, many Christians do suffer from depression and many do commit suicide. Also, some surveys show that Hindus and Buddhists are happier than Christians. So, Tim is demonstrably wrong. I am not a religious person and yet I am extremely content with my life and find happiness in so many things. If you find happiness in your religious beliefs, I am glad for you. However, Tim should not be pushing religion as a solution because it is not a magical fix.
C5: In this chapter Tim discusses how we, as humans, are tied to other humans. I have covered much of this elsewhere in this review. Tim goes on to say that whatever you love the most becomes your ultimate master. This is a ridiculous claim! Then Tim states that “…whatever is the source of your meaning and satisfaction in life is what you are worshipping, though you may not acknowledge it as such.” (Worship: [noun] The feeling or expression of reverence and adoration for a deity. [verb] Show reverence and adoration for (a deity); honor with religious rites.) Why does Tim find it necessary to claim that every human has some form or religion like he does? I am NOT worshiping anything! I have things I must do to survive and thrive in this reality. Tim goes on to exaggerate his claims by stating, “If anything threatens them, you get uncontrollably anxious or angry. If anything takes them away, you can lose the very will to live.” Yes, if something threatens the safety and security of me or others I will get anxious and angry. That is completely natural, and it would drive me to prevent these bad things from happening. However, if they were taken away I would find a way to move on with my life over time. Tim states, “If there is no god, you will have to turn some created thing into a god to worship…” NO! This is simply wrong. There is a huge difference between worshiping something and requiring something (a job), or enjoying something (a hobby), or seeking something (long term good health). If someone takes these things to an unhealthy level it will ultimately have a negative impact to his life and that person will have to deal with the consequences his actions here in the real world.
C6: In this chapter Tim covers identity or “Who am I?” Tim attempt to separate our attitude toward a group and the individual. However, most people can fall into both categories depending on circumstances. He implies that the individual one is somehow selfish and wrong. We need to be good or ourselves just as much as we should be good to others. Tim states, “Secular thinkers, however, attack the very idea of a cosmic, normative moral order, and this created major problems…” I would question how Tim could demonstrate this cosmic, normative moral order exists. This implies that this moral order exists outside of the minds of humans. Yet again Tim is painting a bleak picture of how humans feel in this chapter. Does Tim realize that this happens to everyone? Sometimes we must give up on something we want to get something else? Tim states that we all focus only on internal validation when this is not true. We need to appreciate ourselves and we need social acceptance. We all receive a combination of both. If we don’t like ourselves this is a problem we need to address because it can have a negative impact to our lives. If others criticize us we may want to examine why and if those criticisms are valid we should consider making some changes. Tim is greatly oversimplifying our identity. It is far more complex than the simple examples he provides. Take all the aspects of a person as a whole and you would have a much better idea of who she is. Yet, people change aspects of themselves all the time. We grow and develop over time. So, who a person was in the past, who a person is right now, and who a person is in the future can all be different based on voluntary and/or involuntary changes. Tim states: “Ironically, the apparent freedom of secular identity brings crushing burdens with it.” Really? How so? Again, Tim is pushing his tactic of trying to convince us we have a problem and he has the solution (Christianity).
C7: This chapter is a continuation of the last chapter. Tim goes on and on about how being a Christian is the only way someone can have “identity” where you feel good. Tim states: “but there is a third option – there are people who, as it were, look neither outward nor inward but upward.” How can anyone differentiate between looking upward (to a belief in a god) and looking inward (what exists in your mind)? These are the same thing. Tim continues to paint an overly bleak picture of anything other than Christian belief, “The modern self is crushing. It must base itself on success or achievement or some human love relationship, and if any of these things is jeopardized or lost, you lose your very identity.” This is ridiculously overstated. We humans are resilient both physically and emotionally. If we don’t get what we had hoped for, we mourn and move on! People can lead fulfilling lives and have a positive view of their identity without religion. Then Tim states, “Only love of the immutable can bring tranquility. Only the unconditional love of a god will do.” Again, Tim is demonstrably wrong. How can we differentiate between this love and our own feelings?
C8: Tim speaks of suicide rates going up. Yes, suicide rates tend to go up under certain circumstances. However, Christians suffer from depression issues and Christians commit suicide. Tim states: “We cannot live without at least an implicit set of beliefs that our lives are building toward some end, some hope, to which our actions are contributing.” I can somewhat agree with this statement. We all have goals, desires, and needs. Hope is an emotional desire for something. We all hope for things we want. Again, Tim claims that without Jesus our hope is futile. He claims, to have a “better life” we must be a Christian. This formula is getting tedious. We all have goals. But these goals evolve over time. We achieve some and do not achieve others. We all deal with this on an emotional level and most people deal with this just fine. This book should have been titled “The Only Way Your Life Won’t Suck is If You Convert to Christianity.”
C9: Tim is going to cover morality, which in his opinion exists outside of human minds. The argument boils down to the standard apologist moral argument: 1. If there are objectively binding moral obligations, then God exists. 2. There are objectively binding moral obligations. 3. Therefore, God exists. Ultimately there are no objectively binding moral obligations. All morals are subjective. We humans do have shared moral values because we are human. We understand how it feels to be human. We understand what feels good and what feels bad. We understand that other humans (for the most part) feel as we do. We understand the potential benefits of making others feel good and the potential consequences of making others feel bad. This is call empathy. The basis of our morality is human wellbeing.. Human morality has evolved over time which demonstrates that is not objective and provided to us by an external source. Is owning another person as property morally wrong? It was in the past (Exodus 21 & Leviticus 25) but it no longer is in most countries of the world. Is killing someone because they had consensual sexual contact with someone of the same gender? It was in the past (Leviticus 18 & 20). If there were moral absolutes which exist outside of human minds our morals would not have evolved over time, yet they did.
C10: Tim rehashes the moral argument in this chapter and then tries to demonstrate that the Christian form of morality is really the only one that works because it is based on commands. Yet he only focuses on the “Love thy neighbor” command and ignores all of the other commands in the bible (parents killing disrespectful children, killing homosexuals, slavery being morally acceptable, etc)
C11: In this section he again claims that Christians do not have the burden of proof to demonstrate their god exists because non-believers have a belief. He finally adds that this is for people who claim there is no god. I do NOT claim there is no god. I simply do not have enough evidence to be convinced by the claims people make that a god exists. So, in this case the burden of proof does belong to the Christian to prove their claim is true. Then Tim moves to some standard Christian apologetics arguments which I don’t have space to cover, but some have already been covered in earlier chapters.
C12: In this section Tim uses the bible to attempt to prove the bible to be true which is a text book example of circular reasoning. The bible is the claim which must be demonstrated to be true. He does nothing to demonstrate the factual accuracy of anything stated in the bible. He is simply appealing to emotion.
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Dottie Parish
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
This is an outstanding book!
Reviewed in the United States on January 9, 2017
Making Sense of God is an excellent exploration and comparison of the beliefs of the secular culture versus faith in God. Timothy Keller invites skeptics to read and follow his logic. Keller has thoroughly researched the in and outs of philosophy, history and religion as it... See more
Making Sense of God is an excellent exploration and comparison of the beliefs of the secular culture versus faith in God. Timothy Keller invites skeptics to read and follow his logic. Keller has thoroughly researched the in and outs of philosophy, history and religion as it applies to faith and he carefully explains the reasons we can make sense of God. He suggests that we can’t live without meaning, satisfaction, freedom, identity, hope and justice.

Part One of the book is titled Why Does Anyone Need Religion? Many skeptics believe religion will eventually go away. Keller cites many facts to show the opposite is true; religion is growing. Skeptics also believe religion is based on faith and secularism is based on evidence. Keller shows that both faith and secularism are based on faith as well as evidence.

Part Two, Religion is More than You Think It Is, covers eight meaty chapters. In Chapter Six, The Problem of Self, I particularly liked his comparison of an Anglo-Saxon warrior in Britain in AD 800 who examines his heart and sees two strong inner impulses or feelings. One is aggression which fits his culture so he says “That’s me.” The other impulse he sees in himself is same sex attraction. He suppresses that and says “That’s not me.” Keller compares this to a man today walking around New York who has the same two inward impulses. Sensing an impulse to aggression he says, “This is not me.” Sensing same sex desire he says “That’s me.” Keller shows that identity is not just an expression of inward desires and feelings. We use a set of beliefs and values to sort through and decide what we will incorporate into our identity. “Identity is determined not by our feelings and desires but rather by our beliefs about our varied, contradictory, changing feelings and desires.” Pg127

In Part Three, Christianity Makes Sense, Keller shows that Christianity offers “a meaning that suffering cannot remove, a satisfaction not based on circumstances, a freedom that does not hurt but rather enhances love, an identity that does not crush you or exclude others, a moral compass that does not turn you into an oppressor, and a hope that can face anything, even death.” Pg 216 This section includes information on the historical evidence about Jesus, his life, death and resurrection. The qualities of Jesus and his claims are detailed beautifully. The Epilogue offers an illustration that vividly demonstrates how God makes sense.

This is an outstanding book.
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Robert A Haworth
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Keller does it again
Reviewed in the United States on May 28, 2017
Tim Keller continues his run of well-researched and readable books for the seeker with an inquiring mind with this “prequel” to his excellent book “A Reason for God”. This book is a prequel because it addresses and challenges many of the background beliefs that shape the... See more
Tim Keller continues his run of well-researched and readable books for the seeker with an inquiring mind with this “prequel” to his excellent book “A Reason for God”. This book is a prequel because it addresses and challenges many of the background beliefs that shape the secular world view, often without overt acknowledgement, that lurk behind the given explicit reasons for “not God”. Such background beliefs may keep secularists from even considering the Christian faith. The pity is that this might also keep them from reading this book. Even so, this book can equip believers who are in relationship with secularists to understand where they are coming from, and how the Gospel addresses their deepest needs, including the shortcomings of the secularist position. With such a relationship in place, a secularist might be induced to read it.
First, the good:
1. The material in this book is the fruit of weekly discussions for skeptics held at Redeemer Presbyterian church in New York City, where Keller is Pastor. As a result the scope and content is in tune with the current secularism of the big-city urbane.
2. Keller has a knack for presenting the essence of complex topics with a clarity that makes the book a pleasure to read.
3. Assertions are backed up with extensive quotes, references, and 67 pages of notes.
4. The flow of the book is logical. In Part 1, unfounded assumptions of secularism are challenged, and the case is made that both belief in God and secularism are both based on some kind of faith. This leads to Part 2, where the case is made that Christian faith makes a firm foundation for many secular beliefs that are otherwise unfounded. Finally, in Part 3, the reader is asked to evaluate which of the two views, belief in God or secularism, makes the most sense, based on the preceding.
Next, the not-so-good:
1. Perhaps as is inevitable when broad and deep topics are dealt with in summary fashion, people knowledgeable in those areas will find nits to pick. This does not matter much when assertions are fair, and Keller generally goes out of his way to treat fairly how a secularist might respond to the arguments he makes. Endless qualifications, appropriate in academia, would significantly detract from the readability of the book. But the following are to me more than nits.
2. On p217 Keller asserts that “Nothing cannot produce something”. This would have never been challenged 50 years ago. But advances in cosmology since then have made it quite conceivable that something, including the universe (which is the context of his assertion), could have come from nothing. Evidence in support of a mechanism for the hyperinflation of the universe during the first tiny fraction of a second after the big bang has been gained by the COBE explorer. This mechanism, in conjunction with spontaneous particle creation from vacuum fluctuations, makes spontaneous creation of the universe conceivable within the framework of the laws of physics. It is surprising and disappointing that Keller does not appear to be aware of this. It is important because it appears to undermine the rationale of his argument. It can always be said, of course, that the question remains of what it is that determined the laws of physics. But that is what should have been in his argument.
3. On p230 Keller quotes Richard Bauckham as stating: “All scholars agree that Gospel traditions must originally have been formulated by disciples of Jesus and others who encountered him, witnessed the events, and remembered his teaching”. While that may be true of all conservative scholars, not all liberal scholars are convinced of that. The statement is important because it inaccurately conveys a level of certainty that not all share, even though the overall case for the statement may be good. I doubt that all scholars agree on anything.
4. A perhaps more serious concern is that, in Part 1, the juxtaposition of the faith-base of belief in God with the faith-base of secularism does not do justice to the force of the impact of science on the cognoscenti, an impact that has led to the materialistic world-view that underlies secularism. Many secularists would grant that the Christian world view would indeed provide a much rosier view of life than a secularist view, but the demythologizing influence of science has for many been very persuasive, and has rendered God an unnecessary hypothesis. The power of this viewpoint is under-represented when the God/notGod arguments are placed on a par just because of their common faith-base. A secularist might justifiably respond that the faith-base of secularism has proven reliable with the success and advancement of science, while the faith-base of belief in God seems to require a much bigger leap. To my mind, a better approach is to think more critically about whether there are things that materialism definitely cannot account for. The argument from consciousness on p222 has the potential to do this, but the argument is under-developed. A rigorous defeater of materialism (physicalism) could go a long way towards making secular people seriously reconsider their position, at least for those whose objections are genuinely world-view based.

Conclusion: in spite of the above reservations, this is a book that can usefully serve to challenge the assumptions of secularists, and potentially remove some barriers to faith.
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S. Grotzke
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Top Shelf Book
Reviewed in the United States on August 21, 2017
Point: Every single individual lives a life based on a complex tangle of “experiences, faith, reasoning, and intuition.” Although the materialist or secularist can claim that belief in a God outside of space and time is unreasonable, that position is only tenable if the... See more
Point: Every single individual lives a life based on a complex tangle of “experiences, faith, reasoning, and intuition.” Although the materialist or secularist can claim that belief in a God outside of space and time is unreasonable, that position is only tenable if the presupposition “God cannot exist” is there prior.

Path: In three main parts, Keller patiently and systematically guides the reader through the reasonability of faith in God, and not just any God, but the God of the Bible. Those parts are titled “Why does anyone need religion?”; “Religion is more than you think it is”; and “Christianity makes sense”. The middle part is by far the largest and most comprehensive, dealing with meaning, satisfaction, freedom, self, identity, hope, morals, and justice. His purpose is not to give a definitive argument for God, but demonstrate that arguments against a God are unfounded and fail repeatedly.

Sources: Keller does his normal deep digging and provides the reader with a lifetime of supplementary reading ranging from early church fathers to reformers, philosophers to militant atheists.

Agreement: This is the absolute best book I have read regarding the holes in the modern and postmodern worldview and how Christianity addresses them. After reading nearly every chapter I thought, “I just had this conversation last week!” This book both opened my eyes to a greater understanding of the problems and a greater appreciation to how Jesus solves them.

Personal App: The greatest compliment one of my unbelieving friends can pay me is “you understand and state my belief better than I could!” I feel as though this book helps me do this.

Favorite Quote: There is no way to pick a favorite, but one which points to a strength of the book is this one: “The point is rather that science alone cannot serve as a guide for human society.”

It would be worth another read and I would recommend it to someone who:

Believes science has all the answers.
Is struggling to believe in the God of the Bible while surrounded by “real life”.
Wants to better understand their neighbor, coworker, or family member who thinks “faith” is a crutch.
Anyone trying to engage the modern and postmodern man.

Other books along this theme would be:
Anderson, James N. What’s Your Worldview?: An Interactive Approach to Life’s Big Questions. Crossway Books, 2014.
Craig, William Lane. On Guard: Defending Your Faith with Reason and Precision. New. David C. Cook, 2010.
Keller, Timothy J. The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism. New York: Riverhead Books, 2009.
Koukl, Gregory. Tactics: A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions. Zondervan, 2009.
Lewis, C. S. Mere Christianity. New York: HarperCollins, 2001.
Strobel, Lee. The Case for the Real Jesus: A Journalist Investigates Current Attacks on the Identity of Christ. 1st ed. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2009.
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Joy S. Frady
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Compassionate and Compelling Case for Christianity
Reviewed in the United States on January 3, 2017
Tim Keller, Pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan, is a prolific writer and influential leader in the evangelical world. There is none of the bluster with him which is commonly associated with evangelical preachers, in his speaking or his writing. Keller is a... See more
Tim Keller, Pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan, is a prolific writer and influential leader in the evangelical world. There is none of the bluster with him which is commonly associated with evangelical preachers, in his speaking or his writing. Keller is a calm, measured voice committed to what he sees as biblical truth.

Keller’s book, Making Sense of God, is something of a follow-up to his book The Reason for God. Keller went with a more conventional apologetic approach in The Reason for God but in this latest book he acknowledges that while this approach has its place, for many people today it is necessary to establish why considering the truth of Christianity is something that is even worthwhile to do. Many people in today’s world consider Christianity irrelevant, outmoded, unnecessary in an age of science, reason and technology. Keller’s aim in Making Sense of God is to gently undermine this view of Christianity and to show the superior value of a Christian worldview.

Keller begins by challenging the notion that the world is becoming more secular. He also challenges the idea that non-religious people live by reason while religious people live by faith. Keller contends that a variety of factors lead us to embrace our worldview. In these first two chapters Keller leans on the work of Charles Taylor to understand contemporary Western culture. The goal of these first two chapters seems to be to cause the disinterested or the skeptical to question their assumptions and crack open the door to the Christian worldview.

In the heart of the book, Keller takes eight chapters to show how Christianity presents us with an integrated worldview, which gives meaning that suffering can’t take away, satisfaction not based on circumstances, a life of self-giving love, an identity that doesn’t crush the individual or cause her to exclude others, a hope that can face anything, true morality and a justice that does not create oppressors. This section of the book presents a compelling case for the value of Christianity. Throughout this section Keller also consistently contrasts the Christian worldview with the secular/humanist worldview and shows the secular view lacking in providing us with a holistic path forward in the world.

Keller concludes the book with two chapters and an epilogue on the issue of believing. Keller says at the outset of this section that he can not demonstrably prove that religion is true. Nor, he says, can the secularist demonstrably prove his view. Keller’s view is that we need to weigh the evidence of the worldviews. Which makes the most sense emotionally, culturally and rationally? Keller made the argument in the second section of the book that Christianity is the most compelling worldview and therefore is worthy of our allegiance. Keller concludes the book with a more traditional apologetic for the existence of God and the reality of Jesus as a way to address the nagging doubts of those who may have cracked open the door in the first section and opened it in the second section of the book but are still hesitant to cross the threshold to faith in Christ. In chapter 11, Keller marshals the most common arguments for God’s existence, being careful to note that while none of these arguments is conclusive in itself, taken together they form a rational basis for belief in God. But Keller goes on in chapter 12 to the person of Jesus Christ, the heart of Christian faith. He says we could come away from chapter 11 convinced of the existence of God but this would not make us distinctively Christian. So Keller takes time for a defense of the reasonableness of faith in Jesus, using the common arguments for the authenticity of His life and ministry. The Epilogue fittingly concludes the book with the story of Langdon Gilkey, a humanist who was imprisoned in China during the Japanese invasion. Gilkey’s worldview crumbled under the increasingly difficult circumstances he found in the prison camp. At the same time, Gilkey saw a living example of the Christian worldview in the person of Eric Liddell, the former Olympic champion who was working in China as a missionary when he was captured and imprisoned. The process of change in worldview that happened in Gilkey’s life is the same change Keller hopes to see in others who take up and read his book.
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Stephan Davis
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Well done -- clear and well-researched Mere theology
Reviewed in the United States on August 2, 2017
I just adopted this as a textbook for a theology course in a Catholic liberal arts college. I hesitated because of Rev. Keller''s theological and educational background (on paper) but I cannot disregard how good this work is. I have read some people likening... See more
I just adopted this as a textbook for a theology course in a Catholic liberal arts college. I hesitated because of Rev. Keller''s theological and educational background (on paper) but I cannot disregard how good this work is.

I have read some people likening Keller to CS Lewis. I teach courses on Lewis and bristle when I read such things about recent authors (e.g. N.T. Wright), but it is true that I think of him when I read Keller because they share the ability to communicate the ideas of others without the jargon.

Yet I do not think the comparison works beyond that. Lewis was a scholar''s scholar who was able to write for the educated masses and children. Keller is a pastor who writes as a scholar; his Making Sense and the Reason for God are more like ideal textbooks because they clearly communicate the best of what others are writing. In addition, they come from the perspective of a pastor who knows people.

Perhaps Lewis and Keller are alike in that their theological biases are not apparent. From my brief acquaintance this summer, this pastor passes the "mere Christianity" test. I have a hard time reading Protestant theology sympathetically at this point in life, but not once was I distracted by it in Making Sense.

Last point: I found Reason for God at a reduced rate, liked it, then checked Scribd and found the audiobook for Making Sense there. I have since bought the Kindle version of Making Sense for $14 and adopted for class, which means 25 students will be purchasing it as well.
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Top reviews from other countries

andy
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Preaching to someone who is converted, but this book should make us all think
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 14, 2016
Possibly Keller''s best book. So enjoyed reading this and sharing quotes on social media to sceptical friends, it caused a few conversations. This has the usual gracious tone from Tim Keller. I always love his ability to build his case using a wide array of sources, (the...See more
Possibly Keller''s best book. So enjoyed reading this and sharing quotes on social media to sceptical friends, it caused a few conversations. This has the usual gracious tone from Tim Keller. I always love his ability to build his case using a wide array of sources, (the footnotes alone take up 30% of the book and could provide a years reading on their own!) He argues that secular humanism is also based on certain presuppositions that cannot be proved. There are faith based beliefs which cannot be scientific proved. He then seeks to convey that theistic belief makes more sense of the world in terms of morality, identity, purpose/meaning and beauty than secular humanism does. The final section of the book argues for the validity of the person and works of Jesus in particular. Will it convince a committed atheist, probably not, I dont think any book alone will do that. Should it raise questions, yes. Should it make us all think carefully, yes definitely. A must read, for Christians to think more carefully about our atheist and agnostic peers, our own ideas and for the bibliography !!
16 people found this helpful
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Edward Grabczewski
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
"Man descended from apes, therefore we must love one another"
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 13, 2017
Every age needs to reinterpret God and the Christian message for living generations. The secularists and humanists in modern society assume we are at the highest level of development by freeing ourselves from the belief in God. This book questions all those secular...See more
Every age needs to reinterpret God and the Christian message for living generations. The secularists and humanists in modern society assume we are at the highest level of development by freeing ourselves from the belief in God. This book questions all those secular assumptions and sheds new light of the need for religion and Christianity in modern life. Personally, I think it does an excellent job and is essential reading, especially if you were convinced by Richard Dawkins'' book "The God Delusion". Scientists think they have all the answers but in fact, they know nothing of your individual human needs. This book examines the really important questions that matter to human individuals and that underpin our society.
4 people found this helpful
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Daniel LO
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Compelling, clear arguments and easy to understand
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 23, 2019
I came about this book when I heard that Tim Keller wrote a ''sequel'' after ''The Reason for God'', a book I''ve read couple of times and I though it was brilliant. My feeling is that ''Making Sense of God'' goes a step backwards and addresses questions and dilemas for readers...See more
I came about this book when I heard that Tim Keller wrote a ''sequel'' after ''The Reason for God'', a book I''ve read couple of times and I though it was brilliant. My feeling is that ''Making Sense of God'' goes a step backwards and addresses questions and dilemas for readers whom the idea of God is distant and perhaps have not though much about it and dismissed the idea of God. What I like from this book is: - how clear and ''concise'' the arguments are. - large amounts of resources and quotes from thinkers and scholars. - it generally starts with the argument against. I''ll very much recommend it to anyone really.
One person found this helpful
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S McK
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A book that really makes you question your attitudes, ...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 31, 2018
A book that really makes you question your attitudes, your morality, and gives you an insight into how society can influence our opinions. It''s a book to take your time over & allow the concepts to sink in. It''s given me confidence to defend my faith & coherent arguments to...See more
A book that really makes you question your attitudes, your morality, and gives you an insight into how society can influence our opinions. It''s a book to take your time over & allow the concepts to sink in. It''s given me confidence to defend my faith & coherent arguments to do this.
4 people found this helpful
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Ivor Faulkner
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
God for All Reasons
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 12, 2021
Loved the book. Thought it easily readable. Not too much deep theology. Restored my commitment to continue believing and praying. The author is a very likeable individual and happy in his way of life. I would recommend the book to ‘ doubting Thomases’ everywhere.
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