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. But at the same time I thought it was well-written, polite, and better than much that passes for christian apologetics. As you’d expect, Keller argues that christian faith provides the sense of satisfaction that secularism struggles to give. We will email you … If you do buy it, I hope you won’t be disappointed. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple” (Psalm 19:7 NIV). Keller says that in most cultures in the past, people gained their identity from tradition, culture, God and the roles each person played in their society. Viking. 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. But cosmological arguments for the existence of God do not make this claim. Secularism struggles to give an account of moral facts or even what comprises “good”, despite secularists having strong moral opinions. Lewis famously put it. Now Keller has followed up with what could be called a prequel, Making Sense of God, addressing those sceptics who see … Now he’s produced a follow up which in a sense prepares the way for The Reason for God. This hope is based in the reality of the resurrection of Jesus, who has defeated death for us. If we love anything more than God, it will become the source of our happiness, and will eventually fail us. 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. Like the focus on individual freedom, this has enabled considerable good, such as preparing American culture for the civil rights movement. Suicide rates are climbing in many secular cultures, and polls show that there is declining confidence in the future. Creating a True Secular Safe Space for Discussion. 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. Change ), You are commenting using your Google account. 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. 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. God adopts people who are completely unworthy, because He adopts on the basis of His grace. Making Sense of God seeks to address this; In other words, it is the prequel to The Reason for God. 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 … Those looking for “proofs” may feel he offers nothing, but I think his discussion is convincing for three reasons. 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). carefully. 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. No-one can “assume an objective, belief-free, pure openness to objective evidence”. Take human thought. 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). An insightful commentator and a successful writer of books for christians. Yes, there is the danger of becoming the oppressors when confronting oppression, and Christianity has often done so, but this has always contradicted the gospel. 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. Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. He has read widely and provides lots of useful quotes and insights. So absolute freedom is not an end in itself, but rather a means to an end. Even if we eschew material success and base our identity on the love of another, if this is lost we will be devastated. Keller’s approach is to firstly compare the foundations of Christianity and secularism – the latter being the view that denies the existence of a supernatural realm and is concerned with the here-and-now. He begins by challenging the idea that religious belief is inevitably declining, citing statistics that show Christianity is thriving in the non-Western world. 🙂. 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. At some point, for most of us, as it was for some biblical writers, God stops making sense. Keller's main point for both books is to explain how Christianity makes sense emotionally, culturally, and rationally. I have addressed this question in What is the meaning of life? 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. These created meanings can serve us well, and we must not tell secular friends their lives have no meaning. And there is the fact of our own mortality. And as in all relationships, both parties sacrifice their freedoms, God having done so by Jesus Christ becoming mortal and dying for us. What about suffering? 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? 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”. Keller's main point for both books is to explain how Christianity makes sense emotionally, culturally, and rationally. One example: if we have different belief systems, we will have different views on what constitutes harm. Keller covers a lot of ground, and references many philosophical concepts that some readers may not be familiar with. Most atheists would argue that there is no “given” meaning to life, we are free to give life whatever meaning we choose. 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. Timothy Keller’s The Reason for God, published a few years ago, was an excellent exposition of reasons to believe in God and Christianity. The book concludes with two chapters arguing (briefly) that theism, and christianity in particular, are reasonable. Now he’s produced a follow up which in a sense prepares the way for The Reason for God. Our desires are constantly changing and often contradictory, and we can’t base our sense of who we are on them. 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. 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. In the first, Keller addresses seven of the most prevalent arguments against the existence of the Christian God. The central premise of the book is that no one comes to their core beliefs by reason alone, or by emotion alone. He concludes with Langdon Gilkey’s powerful story of selfishness in a Second World War prison camp, where rationality proved insufficient as a basis for moral obligation when resources were scarce. But this requires humility, and includes giving up our rights to our freedoms. His aim is to show that Christianity is worth investigating. 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. It is a fine sentiment, but Keller argues it is insufficient for a whole variety of practical reasons. Rather, he says he is trying to show that christian belief makes sense and is worthy of further consideration. Tim Keller is well known these days. The desire for instant gratification is the enemy of common sense. So, Christians have been born into God’s family (using a Jewish metaphor) and adopted into God’s family (using a Roman metaphor). By contrast the Christian approach to identity is based on unconditional acceptance by God. In case it would ... compare them with your own notes. Timothy Keller’s The Reason for God, published a few years ago, was an excellent exposition of reasons to believe in God and Christianity. Keller draws on Augustine’s insight that dissatisfaction and discontentment is a consequence of our failure to love God first and foremost. Will Making Sense of God convince secularists to take a deeper look at the arguments for Christianity? Has anyone read the book "The Reason for God" by Tim Keller. 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. He has gone on record stating that Making Sense of God is a sort of prequel to his best selling The Reason for God. Having read it, I will read it again. He does this by outlining cultural illustrations that … 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. In Making Sense of God Keller offers questions for skeptics who believe they already have the answers to the big questions of life. 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. Finally, Keller examines the problem of moral obligation. 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. 336 pages. 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. 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. He notes that human rights are far from self-evident, and that Christianity offers the strongest foundation for them. Wisdom allows us to see life the way God does. Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com. 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. But christianity provides a basis for human rights that secularism cannot provide. 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. Today’s Truth “The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul. The end result is the same; Christians are forever part of God’s family. Therefore, everything we use in our daily lives, and all of the essential things that we require to survive, are due to God. 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. Since God is our master, we must be His … 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. 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. 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. Creating a True Secular Safe … Instead, we all operate based on a set of tacit assumptions about reality that we are not consciously aware of. But modern identity is also problematic. 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 … 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. Sharon Jaynes July 8, 2009 General Inspiration, Trusting God 5 Comments. Secular reason, all by itself, cannot give us a basis for "sacrifice, redemption, and forgiveness," as Paul Kalanithi concluded in his final months. Can it have any meaning at all? If human relationships are what makes our life meaningful , death destroys them. But this is the message of Christianity – that there is hope beyond death, that love will survive. 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. Instead, they contain premises like these: “Whatever begins to exist requires a cause” “Whatever can fail to exist requires a reason for its existence” 12 Days. In an indifferent universe, the only meaning is that which we make ourselves. To answer that question, Keller offers a concise summary of the arguments presented in The Reason for God. I enjoyed it greatly and was informed by it. But where can we find it? 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. Keller, like a lot of Christian apologists I've read, makes the mistakes of either a) making claims to support … Making Sense of God by Timothy Keller was published by Hodder in November 2016 and is our 15462nd best seller. Unfortunately, modern society “adulates winners and despises losers, showing contempt for weakness”, and this makes our self-worth a fragile thing. 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 … Keller has done a service to the Church in writing this volume. 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. Instead, people saw no reason to be unselfish, and it was the rare person who could self-sacrifice.  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 fact, secular humanism’s values can be traced back to its Jewish and Christian roots. 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. On the individual level, death is the end of all hope. 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. It is worth considering. God wrote this event into your life story. It’s not just that Christianity isn’t overwhelmed by the problem of evil, but that it offers help for a universal problem … 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. I think the matters he addresses are very important and offer strong reasons in support of the truth of christianity. 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. Making Sense of God is not an easy read. He is arguing that christianity is a more, Scientific (and historical) hypothesis are tested by how much of the evidence they. ( Log Out /  Making Sense of God: An Invitation to the Skeptical by Timothy Keller. Making Sense of God is a prequel to The Reason for God. Change ), You are commenting using your Twitter account. "The Reason for God" is divided into two parts. Keller’s comparison of secularism and Christianity  is thorough and well-researched, drawing on broad range of scholarly sources. 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. When we choose to make decisions based on wisdom alone, we are exercising common sense. People have always valued freedom, but in secular societies freedom has become the ultimate good. Keller then goes on to ask which of secularism or religion provides the better foundation for human rights. Rather reason, emotions, experiences and intuitions have a role in forming our world views, regardless of which worldview we adopt… Keller rightly notes that a focus on individual freedom has in many instances led to a fairer society, but thinks the narrative has gone awry. Making Sense of God is a masterpiece. 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. 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. But is it true? Hence, we must stand in a sense of awe and gratitude to Him. 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. If “everything needs a cause” then it does make sense to ask what caused God. Hi Eva, nice to hear from you. Synopsis . Timothy Keller discusses Making Sense of God in a Mere Fidelity podcast here.Â. I found eveything he put forwards unconvincing, even though I was hoping to be convinced. 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. A Reformed pastor who is hip. Change ), Alister McGrath talks with Bret Weinstein, The problem of miscarriage for pro-lifers. Both christians and atheists can do moral and immoral things, but only christianity provides a reason for moral obligations. “Making Sense of God’s Will: Why Love Triumphs” Romans 8:28, 35, 37-39 October 14, 2012 Rev. 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.  If they are willing to put serious effort into their reading of Keller, it certainly should. DVD. But what is that end? ... 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. In our day-to-day lives, we often judge something by whether it “works”. 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. 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. 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). 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. Also, an extreme focus on individual freedom and personal fulfilment actually threatens freedom itself, as self-absorbed individuals undermine communities and democratic institutions. As pastor and author Andrew Wilson pointed out in his helpful review, Keller offers answers for questions skeptics ask in The Reason for God. You can call us to place an order at 913-544-0240 or order online and choose "Pick Up at The Well." I heartily recommend this book. And this is what the rest of the book is mostly about. We have a universal declaration of human rights, but where do such rights come from? Keller has already explained the issues with deriving meaning and satisfaction from created things. But in modern western societies we are urged to get our identity from our own free choices, running our own race. 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. ( Log Out /  When we seek God’s perspective, we can make decisions based upon their eternal significance rather than selfish interest. It is well-written, well-researched, and on point. One of the most helpful aspects is the references – 69 pages of them. 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. Making Sense Of God - Timothy Keller. But no money back guarantee!! An invitation to the sceptical. Making Sense of God addresses skeptics’ objections to faith by attempting to create a true secular “safe space” for those exploring faith and ideas. Making Sense of God's Will . Is there reason to believe in God? What if God is just an illusion of the mind? Hasn't science disproved God? 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 . I remember thinking at the time that it was good, but probably would only convince those who were already questioning their unbelief. 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 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 … Change ), You are commenting using your Facebook account. It is part of oneself, but is distinct from other aspects of one’s being, such as the body. First, he counters arguments that, in the face of reason, faith in God fades in favor of a secular perspective. In what is probably his strongest chapter, Keller introduces the moral argument for God’s existence, noting that it has influenced many sceptical friends. Each of these chapters begins with quotes from people Keller has spoken to that encapsulate or exemplify the argument being discussed. 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. On the other hand christianity offers a reason to believe in moral obligation and a God who can provide a shared ethic. Keller spends the majority of the remainder of the book performing this comparison. 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. What about injustice? 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 … God willed for this thing to happen.” If God willed it, then God actually caused it to happen. As human beings, we cannot live without meaning, satisfaction, freedom, identity, justice, and hope. This means that instead of asking religious people to prove their beliefs, we need to compare religious and secular beliefs based on their evidence, consistency, and success in accounting for our experiences. Since God created everything that exists, He is the owner and master of everything, including us. 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. A second reason why, even in our secular age, religion continues to make sense to people is more existential than intellectual. Firstly, Keller notes the disdain postmodern culture treats having meaning in life. Perhaps the most universal value in modern secular societies is individual freedom to make our own choices provided we don’t harm others. It is hard to say how you would find this book. Creating a … 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. 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 we consider that we are created by God, then God has determined our purpose and the constraints we should live by. 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. In terms of key facets of human life, meaning, satisfaction, freedom, identity, hope and justice, Christianity makes sense. Do we need God for life to have real meaning? I will be using this book to provide input to this website for some time. God Sense vs Common Sense. 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. 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.