A book by Keller after The Reason for God, described by him as a prequel to it, is Making Sense of God: An Invitation to the Skeptical (2016). Like the focus on individual freedom, this has enabled considerable good, such as preparing American culture for the civil rights movement. Lewis famously put it. 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. Smith’s How (Not) to Be Secular: Reading Charles Taylor. 336 pages. As human beings, we cannot live without meaning, satisfaction, freedom, identity, justice, and hope. I remember thinking at the time that it was good, but probably would only convince those who were already questioning their unbelief. On the other hand christianity offers a reason to believe in moral obligation and a God who can provide a shared ethic. 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. Even if we eschew material success and base our identity on the love of another, if this is lost we will be devastated. To answer that question, Keller offers a concise summary of the arguments presented in The Reason for God. 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. Those looking for “proofs” may feel he offers nothing, but I think his discussion is convincing for three reasons. Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com. God adopts people who are completely unworthy, because He adopts on the basis of His grace. 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. He is arguing that christianity is a more, Scientific (and historical) hypothesis are tested by how much of the evidence they. 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. And this is what the rest of the book is mostly about. 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. Making sense of God by Timothy Keller. But what is that end? By contrast, Christianity claims there is objective, eternal Meaning that can be discovered, and teaches that suffering is a terrible reality that can still have purpose. Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. 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. An insightful commentator and a successful writer of books for christians. Now he’s produced a follow up which in a sense prepares the way for The Reason for God. 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. Making Sense of God by Timothy Keller was published by Hodder in November 2016 and is our 15462nd best seller. 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. Keller, like a lot of Christian apologists I've read, makes the mistakes of either a) making claims to support … Change ), You are commenting using your Google account. Firstly, Keller notes the disdain postmodern culture treats having meaning in life. Suicide rates are climbing in many secular cultures, and polls show that there is declining confidence in the future. 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. In an indifferent universe, the only meaning is that which we make ourselves. But no money back guarantee!! Religion is commonly seen as an even greater enemy of freedom, but while he recognises the harm sometimes done in the name of religion, Keller argues that christianity gives us many freedoms that secularism cannot give. God wrote this event into your life story. 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. I’ll have to give this one a go in light of your recommendation. 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. Change ), Alister McGrath talks with Bret Weinstein, The problem of miscarriage for pro-lifers. 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. Hasn't science disproved God? ( Log Out /  Tim Keller is well known these days. Keller covers a lot of ground, and references many philosophical concepts that some readers may not be familiar with. Making Sense Of God - Timothy Keller. 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. Unfortunately, modern society “adulates winners and despises losers, showing contempt for weakness”, and this makes our self-worth a fragile thing. Creating a True Secular Safe Space for Discussion. "The Reason for God" is divided into two parts. At some point, for most of us, as it was for some biblical writers, God stops making sense. The book concludes with two chapters arguing (briefly) that theism, and christianity in particular, are reasonable. 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. Keller goes on to expose the flaws in the narrative that claims the religious live by blind faith, while non-believers ground their position in evidence and reason. But this is the message of Christianity – that there is hope beyond death, that love will survive. Rather reason, emotions, experiences and intuitions have a role in forming our world views, regardless of which worldview we adopt… These created meanings can serve us well, and we must not tell secular friends their lives have no meaning. It is a fine sentiment, but Keller argues it is insufficient for a whole variety of practical reasons. 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. The end result is the same; Christians are forever part of God’s family. This hope is based in the reality of the resurrection of Jesus, who has defeated death for us. 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. Will Making Sense of God convince secularists to take a deeper look at the arguments for Christianity? Freedom is now understood as the “right of the individual to choose his or her values”, and we can live as we see fit. Keller’s previous bestseller, The Reason for God (2008) was also written for those who aren’t Christians, which “has been helpful to many, [but] does not begin far enough back for many people” (from the blurb). Making Sense of God seeks to address this; In other words, it is the prequel to The Reason for God. 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. As pastor and author Andrew Wilson pointed out in his helpful review, Keller offers answers for questions skeptics ask in The Reason for God. In our day-to-day lives, we often judge something by whether it “works”. ... 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. Finally, Keller examines the problem of moral obligation. By contrast the Christian approach to identity is based on unconditional acceptance by God. Most atheists would argue that there is no “given” meaning to life, we are free to give life whatever meaning we choose. 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. But christianity provides a basis for human rights that secularism cannot provide. But this requires humility, and includes giving up our rights to our freedoms. What about injustice? Synopsis . Keller's main point for both books is to explain how Christianity makes sense emotionally, culturally, and rationally. But this is disingenuous, because the notion of harm is dependent on what a good human life consists of – and that is a matter of our subjective beliefs. In what is probably his strongest chapter, Keller introduces the moral argument for God’s existence, noting that it has influenced many sceptical friends. Secularism struggles to give an account of moral facts or even what comprises “good”, despite secularists having strong moral opinions. An invitation to the sceptical. Both christians and atheists can do moral and immoral things, but only christianity provides a reason for moral obligations.  Now Keller has followed up with what could be called a prequel, Making Sense of God, addressing those sceptics who see Christianity as so implausible that no rational person could even consider it. 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” and our modern, Western identity based on individualism and detachment. 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 … 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. Hence, we must stand in a sense of awe and gratitude to Him. On the individual level, death is the end of all hope. 12 Days. Instead, they contain premises like these: “Whatever begins to exist requires a cause” “Whatever can fail to exist requires a reason for its existence” 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 consider and discuss belief in God. His aim is to show that Christianity is worth investigating. According to Robert Belah, “the health of a society depends on voluntarily unselfish behavior” which involves infringing on our personal freedom. Paradoxically, we also find most happiness in our relationships, where we sacrifice our freedoms for the other. Creating a … Timothy Keller’s The Reason for God, published a few years ago, was an excellent exposition of reasons to believe in God and Christianity. 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. But is it true? But cosmological arguments for the existence of God do not make this claim. 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. God Sense vs Common Sense. carefully. When we seek God’s perspective, we can make decisions based upon their eternal significance rather than selfish interest. If we love anything more than God, it will become the source of our happiness, and will eventually fail us. Keller has done a service to the Church in writing this volume. Making Sense of God addresses skeptics’ objections to faith by attempting to create a true secular “safe space” for those exploring faith and ideas. 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. Keller's main point for both books is to explain how Christianity makes sense emotionally, culturally, and rationally. What if God is just an illusion of the mind? I enjoyed it greatly and was informed by it. Keller draws on Augustine’s insight that dissatisfaction and discontentment is a consequence of our failure to love God first and foremost. The central premise of the book is that no one comes to their core beliefs by reason alone, or by emotion alone. 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. One of the most helpful aspects is the references – 69 pages of them. Christianity provides us with unsurpassed resources to meet these needs. Since God is our master, we must be His … Hi Eva, nice to hear from you. In terms of key facets of human life, meaning, satisfaction, freedom, identity, hope and justice, Christianity makes sense. 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. If you do buy it, I hope you won’t be disappointed. Therefore, everything we use in our daily lives, and all of the essential things that we require to survive, are due to God. And as in all relationships, both parties sacrifice their freedoms, God having done so by Jesus Christ becoming mortal and dying for us. God willed for this thing to happen.” If God willed it, then God actually caused it to happen. Charles Taylor’s A Secular Age is a key reference, and for readers unfamiliar with this work, it would be worth reading James K. A . Our desires are constantly changing and often contradictory, and we can’t base our sense of who we are on them. Each of these chapters begins with quotes from people Keller has spoken to that encapsulate or exemplify the argument being discussed. 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. In fact, secular humanism’s values can be traced back to its Jewish and Christian roots. Again, I don’t think it will convince many people to convert, but I don’t think that is his primary aim. 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. So absolute freedom is not an end in itself, but rather a means to an end. As you’d expect, Keller argues that christian faith provides the sense of satisfaction that secularism struggles to give. 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. 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. 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. We will email you … He has read widely and provides lots of useful quotes and insights. Change ), You are commenting using your Twitter account. 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. 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. What about suffering? Now Keller has followed up with what could be called a prequel, Making Sense of God, addressing those sceptics who see … Keller claims 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. He offers the example of African identity, the core of which is a belief that the world is full of evil and good spirits. Making Sense of God is a prequel to The Reason for God. A second reason why, even in our secular age, religion continues to make sense to people is more existential than intellectual. In Making Sense of God Keller offers questions for skeptics who believe they already have the answers to the big questions of life. 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. Also, an extreme focus on individual freedom and personal fulfilment actually threatens freedom itself, as self-absorbed individuals undermine communities and democratic institutions. He does this by outlining cultural illustrations that … 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. It 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. Do we need God for life to have real meaning? 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. It is part of oneself, but is distinct from other aspects of one’s being, such as the body. 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. 2016 **** This book is considered to be a prequel to Tim Keller’s excellent 2008 book Reason for God.The author wrote the book to bring secular readers to a place where they might find it even sensible and desirable to … It is worth considering. First, he counters arguments that, in the face of reason, faith in God fades in favor of a secular perspective. Now he’s produced a follow up which in a sense prepares the way for The Reason for God. And there is the fact of our own mortality. So, Christians have been born into God’s family (using a Jewish metaphor) and adopted into God’s family (using a Roman metaphor). Wisdom allows us to see life the way God does. In the first, Keller addresses seven of the most prevalent arguments against the existence of the Christian God. It is well-written, well-researched, and on point. Sharon Jaynes July 8, 2009 General Inspiration, Trusting God 5 Comments. Our society places such faith in empirical reason, historical progress, and heartfelt emotion that it’s easy to wonder: What role can Christianity play in our modern lives? 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. When considering religion, this certainly isn’t the only factor to consider, but surely it is one factor – and it is a factor that Keller shows works in christianity’s favour. I will be using this book to provide input to this website for some time. I found eveything he put forwards unconvincing, even though I was hoping to be convinced. Can it have any meaning at all? Meaning is linked to happiness and satisfaction in life, Keller’s next point of comparison. Despite the advances we’ve made in science, technology and medicine, we are not any happier. 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. I have addressed this question in What is the meaning of life? The main section of the book addresses 7 aspects of life where Keller thinks that christianity offers more than secularism, and hence shows itself more likely to be correct. When we choose to make decisions based on wisdom alone, we are exercising common sense. Making Sense of God is a masterpiece. Creating a True Secular Safe … Timothy Keller discusses Making Sense of God in a Mere Fidelity podcast here.Â. A Sense of the Transcendent. ... “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 … It’s not just that Christianity isn’t overwhelmed by the problem of evil, but that it offers help for a universal problem … 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”. Is there reason to believe in God? 🙂. In his final chapters, Keller reviews his comparison of secularism and Christianity, and concludes that Christianity offers a far superior narrative. Change ), You are commenting using your Facebook account. Secularists will find it challenging to their worldview, while Christians will find it intensely rewarding. 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 Reformed pastor who is hip. I heartily recommend this book. If “everything needs a cause” then it does make sense to ask what caused God. I tried to hint at this in my initial comments without being too critical. People have always valued freedom, but in secular societies freedom has become the ultimate good. My hope is that many will read it, … 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.  If they are willing to put serious effort into their reading of Keller, it certainly should. Jeong Park Fair Oaks United Methodist Church We have been learning from a new sermon series, “Why: Making Sense of God’s Will.” If you have experienced that God has answered your prayers, then you have a perfect God for … 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. Instead, people saw no reason to be unselfish, and it was the rare person who could self-sacrifice. Keller’s comparison of secularism and Christianity  is thorough and well-researched, drawing on broad range of scholarly sources. 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. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple” (Psalm 19:7 NIV). Rather, he says he is trying to show that christian belief makes sense and is worthy of further consideration. One example: if we have different belief systems, we will have different views on what constitutes harm. I think the matters he addresses are very important and offer strong reasons in support of the truth of christianity. 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. But where can we find it? We have a universal declaration of human rights, but where do such rights come from? Viking. The Reasons for God: Conversations on Faith and Life is a recording of Timothy Keller meeting with a group of people over six sessions to address their doubts and objections to … 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. DVD. Making Sense of God's Will . ( Log Out /  If we consider that we are created by God, then God has determined our purpose and the constraints we should live by. 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). What is the meaning of life? The desire for instant gratification is the enemy of common sense. Since God created everything that exists, He is the owner and master of everything, including us. Secular reason, all by itself, cannot give us a basis for "sacrifice, redemption, and forgiveness," as Paul Kalanithi concluded in his final months. Instead, we all operate based on a set of tacit assumptions about reality that we are not consciously aware of. 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. Take human thought. Making Sense of God: An Invitation to the Skeptical by Timothy Keller. “Making Sense of God’s Will: Why Love Triumphs” Romans 8:28, 35, 37-39 October 14, 2012 Rev. If human relationships are what makes our life meaningful , death destroys them. Keller then goes on to ask which of secularism or religion provides the better foundation for human rights. 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. I read his first book when it came out, and I was still agnostic looking for persuasive arguments. It is hard to say how you would find this book. You can call us to place an order at 913-544-0240 or order online and choose "Pick Up at The Well." Making Sense of God is not an easy read. ( Log Out /  Keller has already explained the issues with deriving meaning and satisfaction from created things. But at the same time I thought it was well-written, polite, and better than much that passes for christian apologetics. ( Log Out /  Perhaps the most universal value in modern secular societies is individual freedom to make our own choices provided we don’t harm others. No-one can “assume an objective, belief-free, pure openness to objective evidence”. 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. He has gone on record stating that Making Sense of God is a sort of prequel to his best selling The Reason for God. Always valued freedom, but in secular societies freedom has become the ultimate good better foundation them... Of practical reasons “ everything needs a cause ” then it does make sense to is! 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