This year I will read all of the Timothy Keller books I own– five of them, and will complete a goal on my 2013 Manifesto.
The first book up is ‘The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism.” This is a wonderful book. Keller does a great job explaining things I’d never thought about before- and things that I had- and putting forth reasoned ‘clues’ as he calls them as to why we should believe in God.
It is the perfect book for everyone- believers and non-believers alike. Faith is a leap no matter what and it takes faith to believe and even more faith to live one’s life in a relationship with Christ. No one is perfect and everyone will always have some doubts and questions- that’s human nature (and also one of the clues).
In the first half of the book he takes conversations that he has had with multiple people in New York City where he lives and preaches and used their arguments against belief, or doubts that they expressed as the clues toward believing. He covers thoughts about exclusivity, human suffering, freedom, cultural diversity, injustice in the church, hell, judgement, science, and the idea as the entire Bible is a story of legends. Keller takes each of these overarching topics and delves into details and then takes them back to the broader picture. He patiently and succinctly goes over these thoughts and shows how they can be clues toward the existence of God. And the sum of these clues adds up.
In the second half he states he doesn’t want to ‘argue why God may exist’ he wants to show us that we already know God exists. The topic in the second half are more difficult to list, but in general Keller discusses human nature, morality, sin, human hope, forgiveness and the Resurrection. It all culminates into the epilogue where he invites the reader to examine their motives and take inventory. Faith is after all, not a technique we can learn, as he writes- but God given. At the very end of the book he speaks of a woman he met who was frustrated that she still did not believe after having prayed over and over for God to help her find him. A Christian friend recommended that she might change her prayer to, “God, come and find me. After all, you are the Good Shepherd who goes looking for the lost sheep.” She concluded that the only reason that she was able to tell Keller her story was that she had in fact been found.