The Reason for God

Belief in an Age of Skepticism

Timothy Keller

Chapter 1: There Can't Be Just One True Religion

Doubt: Christianity's perceived exclusivity is perhaps THE stumbling block

  • All religions can't be right about the nature of God
  • Religious exclusivity is a force for conflict in the world

Civic and cultural leaders invoke three approaches to religion

  • Outlaw it - Russia, China, Cambodia, Nazi Germany
    • The late 19th century believed religion was going to die out anyway
    • But efforts to suppress it have generally made it only that much stronger
  • Condemn it - discredit and discourage it via education and argument
    • All major religions are equally valid and basically teach the same thing
    • Of course the assertion that doctrines don't matter is itself a doctrine!
    • Each religion sees part of spiritual truth, but none can see the whole truth
    • But how could you possibly know that unless you yourself could see the whole truth that you just claimed no one can know?
  • Keep religion completely private.
Religious belief is too culturally and historically conditioned to be "truth" Keller used to hear all religions were equally true - now hears they are equally false! This is a form of relativism, but we now understand that "Relativism relativizes itself!" as in "All claims about religions are historically conditioned except this one!"

p13 "It is no more narrow to claim that one religion is right than to claim that one way to think about all religions ... is right."

p14 Carter of Yale "... leave behind that part of themselves that they may consider most vital."

p15 "What is a religion then? It is a set of beliefs that explain what life is all about, who we are, and the most important things that human beings should spend their time doing."

p15 "Some call this a 'worldview' while others call it a 'narrative identity'. In either case it is a set of faith-assumptions about the nature of things. It is an implicit religion."

p15 "faith in some view of the world and human nature informs everyone's life."

p17 "universally acceptable, 'neutral and objective' arguments" just don't exist.

p17 "all moral arguments are at least implicitly religious."

p17 "When you come out into the public square it is impossible to leave your convictions about ultimate values behind."


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