The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism

by Timothy Keller

Paperback, 2009



Call number



Riverhead Books (2009), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 310 pages


Although a vocal minority continues to attack religious faith, for most Americans, faith is a large part of their lives: 86% of Americans refer to themselves as religious, and 75% of all Americans consider themselves Christians. So how should they respond to these passionate, learned, and persuasive books that promote science and secularism over religion and faith? For years, Tim Keller has compiled a list of the most frequently voiced "doubts" skeptics bring to his Manhattan church; here, he dismantles each of them. Written with atheists, agnostics, and skeptics in mind, Keller also provides an intelligent platform on which true believers can stand their ground when bombarded by the backlash. This book challenges such ideology at its core and points to the true path and purpose of Christianity.--From publisher description.… (more)

Media reviews

Westminster Theological Journal
I could go on, but I do not want to undermine the good there is in Keller's book. No book apart from Scripture itself is perfect and so I want to commend Reason for God but note my concerns. But I am likely to hear the retort that Keller's way of doing apologetics is better than my way of not doing it. I would prefer to do apologetics in a way consistent with Scripture and my confessional commitment. Be that as it may, perfect book or not, Keller is to be commended for venturing out into the marketplace.

User reviews

LibraryThing member fidchivers
Not so much reasons for God, as rationalizations for believing in God - although some of these are quite well presented. Still, his basic argument for the existence of God boils down to "Deep down, you just know he exists" (paraphrase mine) which I found very unsatisfying.
LibraryThing member gdill
Overall, this is a decent book for skeptics and Christians alike, but seems to lack the facts and substance that can often be found in Lee Strobel's books. I think it also lacks the philosophical angle often found in C.S. Lewis' literature. This doesn't mean I care less for the author, but the approach didn't quite jive with my own personal style for the defense of the Christian faith. Here's why:

I didn't feel Keller answered a lot of the questions he posed. For instance, in chapter two he poses the question, how could a good God allow suffering? He only answers with the presupposition that Christ suffered with us. To say God suffered with us 2,000 years ago still doesn't explain why He allows suffering today. Never mind the fact that atheists don't believe in the deity of Christ. I did find it intriguing that Keller believes in much the same way Rob Bell does concerning hell. In chapter five Keller states, "Hell, then, is the trajectory of a soul, living a self-absorbed, self-centered life, going on and on forever" (page 79); and proceeds to use Jesus' parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man in Luke 16 to support his view. Ironically, I agree with this view, but remain perplexed how Keller escaped the vile attacks Rob Bell received for his similar views on hell in the controversial book, "Love Wins". Is this perhaps because Keller is firmly planted in and guarded by those within the neo-Reformed camp?

Would I recommend this book for seasoned apologists? Probably not. Many of the arguments he uses aren't new. Would I recommend this book for new Christians? Yes indeed. These are questions that you will be asked by skeptics, atheists, and those of other faiths quite often. Would I recommend this book for non-believers? Depends upon your style of reasoning. If you are looking for an intellectual style of reasoning sprinkled with a little bit of Socratic philosophy then this book is perfect for you. Do you need facts? Authors Lee Strobel and Josh McDowell can provide much better answers.
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LibraryThing member rbclibrary
It is obvious that Tim Keller wrote this book real people with real doubt and real barriers to faith. He is not just discussing ideas for the sake of intellectual exercise. And he's given us a useful tool for helping the unbelievers we know overcome their intellectual barriers to Christianity.
LibraryThing member bsanner
Can Christianity survive in the 21st century? Is Christianity still credible? Is it even reasonable? In "The Reason for God," Keller offers a concise yet compelling defense of the Christian faith. In the first part of the book, Keller tackles seven contemporary objections to faith (e.g. "There Can't Be Just One True Religion," "Science Has Disproved Christianity," and "How Can a Loving God Send People to Hell"). While not a thorough treatment of any given doubt, Keller consistently demonstrates that these objections rest on unexamined presuppositions and their own sort of faith beliefs. In the second part of the book, Keller unpacks some of the reasons for faith. Although these reasons don't settle the argument, they are helpful clues as to work and nature of God in the universe. Keller makes some very interesting and forceful arguments here, and then turns his attention to the gospel, offering a clear and compelling telling of the gospel story. An engaging and thoughtful read. A+… (more)
LibraryThing member Steve777
An excellent and winsome defense of the Christian faith for modern young adult cynics and skeptics.
LibraryThing member LudieGrace
This book has a couple of simplistic moments, and its brief chapters can't exhaustively address objections to Christian faith. Yet it's a great discussion-starter for sincere inquirers, and Keller's stance is pastoral, respectful, and inviting. I really like his challenge to committed believers to take skeptics' objections seriously, and to skeptics to dare to "doubt their doubts."… (more)
LibraryThing member elimatta
I came to this book after reading one of the recently published atheist books (Onfray), followed by Bishop Spong's latest. It seemed that this book might give me a mainstream Christian response to those, rounding out the range of views. The publisher's blurb says that it shows "how faith in a Christian God is a soundly rational belief". I'm sorry to say that it does no such thing. Each time I've picked it up I have found myself reading it until I put it down in frustration. I've found lots of non sequiturs, confusion, and unconvincing arguments based on unstated premises. It's taking a long time to read. Two stars rather than one, because it quotes C.S. Lewis so often that I've decided to read his books instead.… (more)
LibraryThing member mels_71
Kellers apologia for the Christian faith is broken into two parts. The first looks at common objections to Christianity and attempts to answer them. The answers are not necessarily new but he does point out that behind every objection there is a corresponding belief that should really be examined to determine whether it is in fact reasonable. He covers seven topics:1. There can't be just one true religion 2. A good God could not allow suffering 3. Christianity is a straitjacket 4. The church is responsible for so much injustice 5. A loving God would not send people to hell 6. Science has disproved Christianity 7. You can't take the Bible literally The second section looks at reasons to believe Christianity. He describes them as clues that piece together to form a cumulative case for Christianity.Keller writes in an engaging manner and shows respect for the skeptic. Much of the book has obviously grown out of his interaction with skeptics and seekers in New York City. This book would be a good choice to give to people investigating Christianity. I plan on getting a copy to give away to one such friend myself.… (more)
LibraryThing member jimocracy
The author doesn't understand atheism, evolution, basic science, the principle of forgiveness, or the bible. This was a really bad book with nothing but a lot of platitudes and bald assertions.
LibraryThing member addunn3
Keller gives some interesting logic to defend the existence of the Christ events. He counters Dawkins' arguments as well provides reasons that God must exist. Without him/her life is meaningless. As usual, I had trouble following the Trinity logic, but, hey, its complicated!
LibraryThing member amimariscal
This is the best book I have ever read and/or listened to on the topic of apologetics. Keller explains concepts in a way that makes them appealing & understandable. I have heard similar explanations for some of the concepts that Keller goes over, but they did not seem nearly as profoundly true as how Keller explains them here. In other words, I still doubted the philosophy when hearing it told by others, but Keller seems to leave no holes.… (more)
LibraryThing member gethin_aj
An excellent book - for sceptics because it engages with their beliefs in an intelligent and a fascinating way; and also for those who believe to rethink through the reasons why they believe and to really own their belief for themselves and understand it better.
LibraryThing member vpfluke
This is a rather polemical book that shows the relevance of conservative Christianity in a large secular city like New York. It is a little too polemical for my taste and uses tricky logic to prove its claim for his Evangelical style.
LibraryThing member bethanie336
This book really spoke to me. Keller's arguements are well reasoned, well presented and logical. He addresses many of the issues that skeptics raise without being dismissive or belittling. I even like the double entendre of the title: reason as in purpose and reason as in intellect.
LibraryThing member richardsugg
Written with the emergent/skeptic in mind, the first part of RFG follows the pattern of taking a difficult question or objection, exposing and evaluating the underlying presupposition, and the answering the question in light of the presupposition.

The second part deals with the Christian worldview and how it best fits with the world as we know it. It's a great book to give to an unbeliever or any one who doubts truth and/or the Christian worldview.… (more)
LibraryThing member deusvitae
A fantastic work detailing the challenges of the unexamined and untested skepticism so prevalent in our society and an explanation and defense of the basics of Christian teaching. I could have done without the sinner's prayer theology, but was overall impressed with the author's ability to provide explanations without significant denominational bias. Many good thoughts to consider for both believers and unbelievers.… (more)
LibraryThing member david__clifford
Wow! What a great apoligetic. Very thoughtful - Keller is logical and answers many difficult questions. Now I know why this book was on the NY Times bestseller list for so long.
LibraryThing member highlander6022
Another fabulous book by Mr. Keller - translating many of the tenets of the Christian faith to easily understood concepts, very convincing.
LibraryThing member aarondesk
First half takes on doubters and atheists, and their arguments against religion. Good, well-thought arguments for god and religion.

Second part makes the case for Christianity. Too mystical, intellectual, and philosophical. Little reference to Bible and 'standard' Christian texts. Makes Christianity appear as a mystical, abstract religion, rather than a down-to-earth faith that it is for so many.… (more)
LibraryThing member homeschoolmimzi
I have not read a lot of books on apologetics, but this has got to be among the best there is. Keller writes with sensitivity, compassion and precision and includes a lot of references I like, such as C.S. Lewis and Flannery O'Connor. The beginning of the book is a little heavy with philosophical terms, ones I haven't seen since college days so I had to go back and refresh a little, but if you can get past that it's quite reasonable and easy to follow.
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LibraryThing member Jonatas.Bakas
Now in paperback, an intelligent, intellectually rigorous examination of why the Christian faith still makes sense in an age of scepticism.
This book has been written for believers and non-believers, sceptics and churchgoers, and charts a brilliantly considered and impassioned path to Christianity - a 'Mere Christianity' for the twenty-first century.
At a time when scientists and critics such as Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens are questioning the validity of religion, this book uses literature, philosophy and reason to explain how faith in a Christian God is a soundly rational belief.
Timothy Keller, pastor of an inner-city New York church, looks at some of the most widespread accusations levelled at Christianity, including Christianity's claim of exclusivity; how a good God could allow suffering; why the Church is responsible for injustice; and if science has disproved religious belief.
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LibraryThing member matthewgray
approaches apologetics in a relevant and contemporary manner. Bit weak on the chapter to do with evolution and origins, but still helpful throughout.
LibraryThing member ACFellowship
It's an apologetic book so it's a little bit deeper in content and not as easy of a read as some other books we've done but it really makes you think about what you believe and why. It poses some good questions for thoughts and you really have to dig deep to get something out of it, but because you are doing the hard work of digging deep, the payoff is that much more rewarding and your level of knowledge is that much deeper.
ACF: Todd Nagel, not currently in ACF's library.
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LibraryThing member delenburg
Highly Recommended
LibraryThing member HGButchWalker
Excellent apologetic discussion of the Christian faith that seeks to establish both the reasonability of belief and that there is reason to doubt unbelief. Though I don't agree with all of Keller's arguments (he comes down for theistic evolution) it does stop him from resoundingly accomplishing his goal. Masterful.
YouTube has a video of Tim Keller discussing this book at Google that is a good intro to this book and worth watching.… (more)


Original publication date


Physical description

310 p.; 5.14 inches


1594483493 / 9781594483493
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