The Reason for God
by Timothy Keller, Riverhead Books of Penguin Group, © 2009,
310 pages, $16.00 (paperback), ISBN-13: 978-1-59448-349-3
This book was a New York Times Best Seller, and its subtitle tells why — “Belief in an Age of Skepticism.” Keller has been phenomenally successful in attracting cosmopolitan urbanites to the church he started in Manhattan in the late 1980s. These are young professionals, highly skeptical, and pretty much disenchanted with religion. By 2007 the congregation had grown to more than 5,000 attendees and had spawned more than a dozen daughter congregations in the immediate metropolitan area.
Keller, who is not a scientist, was educated at Bucknell University and two seminaries. His material is not primarily from science, but he has an incredible knowledge of the issues that bother young adults in today’s world. In the book he gives multiple examples of the questions and objections he gets from these young adults. They are the same questions and challenges that we hear in our public programs and on our websites. In addition to knowing the issues, Keller has a very broad knowledge of scholars, literary works, and films, and he uses these resources extensively in the book.
The book is divided into two parts. The first part deals with issues that trouble young adults. Issues such as suffering, exclusivism, the reality of hell, why there is injustice, and objections to taking the Bible literally are examples of what is explored in this section. In the second section there is a discussion of reasons for faith. This section does not dwell on scientific evidence, but makes philosophical and theological arguments for the existence of God using sin and the wisdom of the gospel to make the case for the existence of God.
This is the kind of book you can give to a doubting college student or someone who is a professional and is struggling with faith issues. It is well enough written to be a New York Times Best Seller, and it is sensitive to the needs and issues of our day. Although Keller is a Presbyterian, he avoids doctrinal issues and confines his writing to apologetic issues. That makes the book especially useful to people dealing with issues of faith. We recommend this book highly.