The Sunday school that I normally attend is currently not in session over summer vacation (even for the adults!), but after we wrapped up our discussion of Phyllis Tickle’s The Great Emergence (for an article about this book, click here) back in the month of May the woman that had been leading our classes said that if anyone wanted to do some over-the-summer reading, she suggested Timothy Keller’s The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism. Being the perpetual student that I am, I had to go right to my computer as soon as I had a chance and Google his name.
About the Author
I learned that Timothy Keller has his own Web site, and that there is quite a bit of information out there about The Reason for God. Timothy Keller is from Pennsylvania and was educated at Bucknell University, Gordon-Conwell Seminary, and Westminster Theological Seminary. As a newly ordained pastor, he then led the congregation at West Hopewell Presbyterian Church in the small town of Hopewell, Virginia. After nine years in Virginia, he was called to lead the Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan, New York. Manhattan, no less! People told him he was nuts; that he would not have any success in New York City. But while the Redeemer church is quite traditional, Rev. Keller is absolutely not and manages to appeal to the innermost feelings and beliefs of a lot of hardened New Yorkers. In fact, he has become so successful there that several Redeemer Presbyterian churches have opened in the Big Apple. The Reason for God talks about Rev. Keller’s adventures and experiences in Manhattan and outlines his logic for believing that there is a God.
About the Book
I also found out that my local library had a copy of The Reason for God, so I promptly borrowed it and read the entire thing. I have to say it was a very enjoyable read. The Introduction to The Reason for God is available for download on Timothy Keller’s Web site, and there is also a link that directs you to places where you can purchase the whole text, which is now out in paperback. Anyway, he starts many of the chapters in his book by quoting some of the questions that he recalls getting from people, and then proceeds to methodically look at all sides of the issue and only after that does he conclude that it is only logical to believe in God. Keller is very refreshing to read, because there is no sense that he is preaching at the reader or belittling one’s intelligence. He writes about some very smart people who have some honest and valid questions, and how they just happen to have different beliefs, that’s all.
One chapter that I particularly liked was about Evolutionary Biology, and how he and a Ph. D. scientist had investigated all of the evidence for or against a higher Being. He concludes by saying that if all the beliefs that mankind has are just neuron impulses and memories that are evolutionarily developed in the brains of Homo sapiens, and we can’t therefore trust our own brains, why should the rest of us trust the evolutionary biologists? Aren’t they only humans, too? I thought that was so perfect and funny I laughed right out loud when I read about that.
The Reason for God is a very good read, since Timothy Keller is a skilled writer and he blends in a variety of subject matter to support his claims, so his writing is intellectually stimulating. It may not be the perfect book to take to the beach with you and relax, unless you really enjoy that sort of thing, but don’t worry–the book isn’t very long, either, and is easy to read. Keller has written some other books, some of which have been developed into CD format and are accompanied by study guides. As a matter of fact, there is a .pdf available on the official author and book Web site that is a study guide for those who are interested. (reader’s guide; click here)
My own mind