I wanted to share about an excellent new book released by author and pastor, Dr. Timothy Keller. Matt Smethurst, Managing Editor of The Gospel Coalition, wrote the following about it on Tuesday:
“In Making Sense of God: An Invitation to the Skeptical (Viking) [20 quotes], Keller offers a prequel to his bestselling The Reason for God (2008). Whereas that book assumed interest in a rational case for the faith, Making Sense of God doesn’t. It starts farther back.
“Christianity makes more ‘emotional, cultural, and rational’ sense of our lived experience than any alternative worldview, Keller has long insisted. In The Reason for God, he made the rational case. In this volume, he tackles the other two.”
Author Timothy Keller made these additional points about the new book, and how it is differentiated from The Reason for God:
“My overarching point is that Christianity makes sense emotionally, culturally, and rationally. We come to believe in a universe without God—or with God—by consulting our emotions, relationships, and reason. Making Sense of God is actually a “prequel” to The Reason for God because it argues that Christianity makes sense emotionally and culturally. It shows that secularism has major problems giving people meaning, satisfaction, freedom, identity, and hope; Christianity has better resources for all of them. This does not, of course, prove Christianity is true. But it does make the case that if you really reflect on things, you should grant that it would be great if Christianity were true.
“If after Making Sense of God you’re motivated to explore the rational case for Christianity, you can move on to The Reason for God. In general, I’d say that younger non-believers need to hear why Christianity makes emotional and cultural sense before they’re willing to devote significant time to weighing the more traditional, rational arguments for our faith.”
20 Quotes from Making Sense of God
“Russian philosopher Vladimir Solovyov sarcastically summarized the ethical reasoning of secular humanism like this: ‘Man descended from apes, therefore we must love one another.’ The second clause does not follow from the first. If it was natural for the strong to eat the weak in the past, why aren’t people allowed to do it now? . . . Given the secular view of the universe, the conclusion of love or social justice is no more logical than the conclusion to hate or destroy. These two sets of beliefs—in a thoroughgoing scientific materialism and in a liberal humanism—simply do not fit with one another. Each set of beliefs is evidence against the other. Many would call this a deeply incoherent view of the world.” (42–43)
“All death can now do to Christians is to make their lives infinitely better.” (166)
“If there is no God, then either original matter sprang from nothing, or original matter has always existed without a cause, or there is an infinite regress of causes without a beginning. Each of these answers takes us out of the realm of science and the universe we know. They are nothing short of miracles.” (218)
“Jesus himself is the main argument for why we should believe Christianity.” (228)
“In the whole history of the world, there is only one person who not only claimed to be God himself but also got enormous numbers of people to believe it. Only Jesus combines claims of divinity with the most beautiful life of humanity.” (237)
“[These are] Christianity’s unsurpassed 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.” (216)
“The declaration that science is the only arbiter of truth is not itself a scientific finding. It is a belief.” (35)
“To move from religion to secularism is not so much a loss of faith as a shift into a new set of beliefs and into a new community of faith, one that draws the lines between orthodoxy and heresy in different places.” (31)
“If you say you don’t believe in God but you do believe in the rights of every person and the requirement to care for all the weak and the poor, then you are still holding on to Christian beliefs, whether you will admit it or not. Why, for example, should you look at love and aggression—both parts of life, both rooted in our human nature—and choose one as good and reject one as bad? They are both part of life. Where do you get a standard to do that? If there is no God or supernatural realm, it doesn’t exist.” (47–48)
“Through faith in the cross we get a new foundation for an identity that both humbles us out of our egoism yet is so infallibly secure in love that we are enabled to embrace rather than exclude those who are different.” (147)
“A moral judgment about something can never be made apart from an examination of its given purpose. . . . How, then, can we tell if a human being is good or bad? Only if we know our purpose, what human life is for. If you don’t know the answer to that, then you can never determine ‘good’ and ‘bad’ human behavior.” (186–87)
“Why is freedom so important [today]? Why is that the absolute, unquestioned ‘good’—and who gets to define it as such? Are you not assuming a value-laden standard that you are using to critique all other approaches to life? Are you not, then, actually giving a universal answer to the Meaning question, namely, that the meaning of life is to have the freedom to determine your own meaning? Are you not, then, doing the very thing you say should not be done?” (63–64)
To read more, see this article (also by Matt Smethurst) from The Gospel Coalition blog.