Five on Friday

This week’s list is a bit different than usual.  I just started reading Tim Keller’s new book Making Sense of God, which is aimed at those who are skeptical about the existence of God and the Christian faith.  Keller is a superb apologist of the Christian faith, so I am looking forward to learning much from this book about how to engage skeptics in a meaningful and empathetic way.

Here are 5 highlighted quotes from the first two chapters…

“Many ask: Why do people feel they need religion?  Perhaps now we see that the way this question is phrased doesn’t explain the persistence of faith.  People believe in God not merely because they feel some emotional need, but because it makes sense of what they see and experience…They embrace religion because they think it is more fully true to the facts of human existence than secularism is.”

“To move from religion to secularism is not so much a loss of faith as a shift into a new set of beliefs and into a new community of faith, one that draws the lines between orthodoxy and heresy in different places.”

“The Christian believer is using reason and faith to get to her beliefs just as her secular neighbor is using reason and faith to get to hers.  They are both looking at the same realities in nature and human life, and both are seeking a way to make the best sense of them through a process that is rational, personal, intuitive, and social.  Reason does not and cannot operate alone…Contemporary secularity, then, is not the absence of faith, but is instead based on a whole set of beliefs, including a number of highly contestable assumptions about the nature of proof and rationality itself.”

“The humanistic beliefs, then, of most secular people should be recognized as exactly that – beliefs.  They cannot be deduced logically or empirically from the natural, material world alone.  If there is no transcendent reality beyond this life, then there is no value or meaning for anything.  To hold that human beings are the product of nothing but the evolutionary process of the strong eating the weak, but then to insist that nonetheless every person has a human dignity to be honored – is an enormous leap of faith against all evidence to the contrary.”

“Rather than unfairly asking only religious people to prove their views, we need to compare and contrast religious beliefs and their evidences with secular beliefs and theirs.  We can and should argue about which beliefs account for what we see and experience in the world.  We can and should debate the inner logical consistency of belief systems, asking whether they support or contradict one another.  We can and should consult our deepest intuitions.”

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