The Reason for God – Part 2

Some of my thoughts on and Keller’s words from Chapter 1 of The Reason for God.

  • Keller notes that he sees the biggest problem with Christianity as exclusivity.
  • In most cases, the Christianity that is growing is not the more secularized, belief-thin versions predicted by the sociologists.  Rather, it is a robust supernaturalist kind of faith, with belief in reason-for-godmiracles, Scriptural authority, and personal conversion (p6).
  • In this chapter, Keller addresses many of the common objections to Christianity:
    • “All major religions are equally valid and basically teach the same thing”
      • Ironically, the insistence that doctrines do not matter is really a doctrine itself.  It holds a specific view of God, which is touted as superior and more enlightened than the beliefs of most major religions.  So the proponents of this view do the very thing they forbid in others (p8).
    • “Each religion sees part of spiritual truth, but non can see the whole truth”
      • How could you possibly know that no religion can see the whole truth unless you yourself have the superior, comprehensive knowledge of spiritual reality you just claimed that none of the religions have? (p9).
    • “Religious belief is too culturally and historically conditioned to be ‘truth'”
      • You can’t say, “All claims about religion are historically conditioned except the one I am making right now.” (p11)
    • “It is arrogant to insist your religion is right and to convert others to it”
      • It is no more narrow to claim that one religion is right than to claim that one way way to think about all religions (namely that all are equal) is right.  We are all exclusive in our beliefs about religion, but in different ways (p13).
  • Christianity has within itself remarkable power to explain and expunge the divisive tendencies within the human heart (p18).
  • Most people in our culture believe that, if there is a God, we can relate to him and go to heaven through leading a good life.  Let’s call this the “moral improvement” view.  Christianity teaches the very opposite.  In the Christian understanding, Jesus does not tell us how to live so we can merit salvation.  Rather, he comes to forgive and save us through his life and death in our place.  God’s grace does not come to people who morally outperform others, but to those who admit their failure to perform and who acknowledge their need for a Savior (p19).
  • We cannot skip lightly over the fact that there have been injustices done by the church in the name of Christ, yet who can deny that the force of Christians’ most fundamental beliefs can be powerful impetus for peace-making in our troubled world (p21)?

~ by toddbumgarner on February 25, 2008 6:03 am.

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