The Reason For God (Intro/ Chpt 1)

Written by gregdenham on February 15th, 2010

JOIN ME :)

I’d love for you to join in a discussion on the book “The Reason For God” written by Timothy Keller!

I read the book a few month’s ago but I am excited about going through it again and I’d love to read it through with you in the next few months.

As I mentioned Sunday morning, I thought it would be a good idea to read a few chapters each week and open it up for comments and perhaps even some dialogue here on the blog.

If your unable to read through the book at this time, that’s ok – you are still welcome to join in the conversation and it would be great to hear from you!

I’ll be posting some of excerpts from Keller’s book that I have found particularly interesting and insightful that I hope you enjoy (see below the first excerpt from the Introduction to, “The Reason For God”).

Enjoy.

FIRST EXCERPT FROM “INTRODUCTION”

I want to make a proposal that I have seen bear much fruit in the lives of young New Yorkers over the years. I recommend that each side look at doubt in a radically new way.

Let’s begin with believers. A faith without some doubts is like a human body without any antibodies in it. People who blithely go through life too busy or indifferent to ask hard  questions about why they believe as they do will find themselves defenseless against either the experience of tragedy or the probing questions of a smart skeptic. A person’s faith can collapse almost overnight if she has failed over the years to listen patiently to her own doubts, which should only be discarded after long reflection.

Believers should acknowledge and wrestle with doubts—not only their own but their friends’ and neighbors’.  It is no longer sufficient to hold beliefs just because you inherited them.   Only if you struggle long and hard with objections to your faith will you be able to provide grounds for your beliefs to skeptics, including yourself, that are plausible rather than ridiculous or offensive. And, just as important for our current situation, such a process will lead you, even after you come to a position of strong faith, to respect and understand those who doubt.

But even as believers should learn to look for reasons behind their faith, skeptics must learn to look for a type of faith hidden within their reasoning. All doubts, however skeptical and cynical they may seem, are really a set of alternate beliefs. You cannot doubt Belief A except from a position of faith in Belief B. For example, if you doubt Christianity because “There can’t be just one true religion,” you must recognize that this statement is itself an act of faith. No one can prove it empirically, and it is not a universal truth that everyone accepts.  If you went to the Middle East and said, “There can’t be just one true religion,” nearly everyone would say, “Why not?”  The reason you doubt Christianity’s Belief A is because you hold unprovable Belief B. Every doubt therefore, is based on a leap of faith.

The only way to doubt Christianity rightly and fairly is to discern the alternate belief under each of your doubts and then to ask yourself what reason you have for believing it. How do you know your belief is true?”  It would be inconsistent to require more justification for Christian belief than you do for your own, but that is frequently what happens. In fairness you must doubt your doubts. My thesis is that if you come to recognize the beliefs on which your doubts about Christianity are based, and if you seek as much proof for those beliefs as you seek from Christians for theirs—you will discover that your doubts are not as solid as they first appeared. 

2 Comments so far ↓

  1. Bob Sweat says:

    Keller certainly challenges me to stop and think. While thinking about this quote, “A faith without some doubts is like a human body without any antibodies in it.”, I can member the times that I have beat myself up because of my own doubts about certain facets of my faith. I feel badly because I viewed doubt as a lack of faith, but in reality that doubt caused me to exercise my faith which caused it to grow stronger. As Keller points out, we must ask hard questions. We need to know what we believe.

    Great stuff Pastor Greg!

  2. Rebecca says:

    Wonderful read. I am really enjoying it.

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