Top Shelf Book: Making Sense of God

Book: Keller, Timothy. Making Sense of God: An Invitation to the Skeptical. Viking, 2016.

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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: 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.”

Stars: 5 out of 5

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.

Science and Truth

The next time someone dismisses you with the “Only science gives reliable truth” canard, ask if he wants you to take his statement as fact or simply as unsubstantiated opinion. If fact, ask what testable scientific evidence led him to his conclusion. As it turns out, this claim is not a fact of science. It is a philosophical assertion about science that itself cannot be proven by the scientific method and would therefore be unreliable, according to this approach.

– Koukl, Tactics

A terrible burden

In his book, Making Sense of God, Timothy Keller has two excellent chapters on identity. He makes the point that when our identity is received from God we are relieved from finding it in others, in our work, or in our own shifting views. He says:

Your work is still part of your identity, as are your family, your nationality, and so on. But they are all relieved of the terrible burden of being the ultimate source of your self and value. They no longer can distort your life as they do when they are forced into that role. They are, as it were, demoted to being just good things. Work is no longer something you use desperately to feel good about yourself. It becomes just another good gift from God that you can use to serve others.

Making Sense of God: An Invitation to the Skeptical by Timothy Keller

The story of reality

Book: Koukl, Gregory. The Story of Reality: How the World Began, How It Ends, and Everything Important That Happens in Between. Zondervan, 2017.

(for a full review, click the title above) Screen Shot 2017-04-23 at 10.15.00 AM

 

Point: There is a Story of everything. It is a reasonable story and one for everyone, although many have chosen not to believe it. It is a story about God, man, Jesus, cross, and resurrection.

Path: Koukl takes the reader through the Big Story, taking time to address concerns, questions, critiques, and misrepresentations. It is a patient tour of the greatest Story of all time. He addresses each of the five key words he has delineated in order to summarize the story.

 

Favorite Quote: More to the point, what good would it do the disciples to steal Jesus’ remains, then lie about a resurrection? The basic rule with lying is this: Invent a story that benefits you, not one that gets you beaten, whipped, stoned, crucified upside down, or beheaded. My personal view is that any skeptic who is attracted to that explanation is simply not skeptical enough.

Stars:  4.5 out of 5

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

  • Is thoughtfully considering the Christian story
  • Is relatively new to their Christian faith
  • Is interested in sharing the gospel story in a more thoughtful way

Other books along this theme would be:

Keller, Timothy. Making Sense of God: An Invitation to the Skeptical. Viking, 2016.

Lewis, C. S. Mere Christianity. New York: HarperCollins, 2001.

Apes

How do beliefs in individual freedom, human rights, and equality arise from or align with the idea that human beings came to be what they are through the survival of the fittest? They don’t, really. Russian philosopher Vladimir Solovyov sarcastically summarized the ethical reasoning of secular humanism like this: “Man descended from apes, therefore we must love one another.”

Timothy Keller, Making Sense of God

Science and God

“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— . . . world that is self-evidently not the world we live in’.”

Timothy Keller quoting Paul Kalanithi in Making Sense of God, kindle loc 238)