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The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism by Timothy J. Keller
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“If Jesus rose from the dead, then you have to accept all that he said; if he didn't rise from the dead, then why worry about any of what he said? The issue on which everything hangs is not whether or not you like his teaching but whether or not he rose from the dead.”
Timothy Keller, The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism
“We modern people think of miracles as the suspension of the natural order, but Jesus meant them to be the restoration of the natural order. The Bible tells us that God did not originally make the world to have disease, hunger, and death in it. Jesus has come to redeem where it is wrong and heal the world where it is broken. His miracles are not just proofs that he has power but also wonderful foretastes of what he is going to do with that power. Jesus' miracles are not just a challenge to our minds, but a promise to our hearts, that the world we all want is coming.”
Timothy Keller, The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism
“The Christian Gospel is that I am so flawed that Jesus had to die for me, yet I am so loved and valued that Jesus was glad to die for me. This leads to deep humility and deep confidence at the same time. It undermines both swaggering and sniveling. I cannot feel superior to anyone, and yet I have nothing to prove to anyone. I do not think more of myself nor less of myself. Instead, I think of myself less.”
Timothy Keller, The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism
“The church is a hospital for sinners, not a museum for saints.”
Timothy Keller, The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism
“If you wait until your motives are pure and unselfish before you do something, you will wait forever.”
Timothy Keller, The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism
“It is not the strength of your faith but the object of your faith that actually saves you. Strong faith in a weak branch is fatally inferior to weak faith in a strong branch.”
Timothy Keller, The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism
“Those who believe they have pleased God by the quality of their devotion and moral goodness naturally feel that they and their group deserve deference and power over others. The God of Jesus and the prophets, however, saves completely by grace. He cannot be manipulated by religious and moral performance--he can only be reached through repentance, through the giving up of power. If we are saved by sheer grace we can only become grateful, willing servants of God and of everyone around us.”
Timothy Keller, The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism
“When we look at the whole scope of this story line, we see clearly that Christianity is not only about getting one’s individual sins forgiven so we can go to heaven. That is an important means of God’s salvation, but not the final end or purpose of it. The purpose of Jesus’s coming is to put the whole world right, to renew and restore the creation, not to escape it. It is not just to bring personal forgiveness and peace, but also justice and shalom to the world. God created both the body and soul, and the resurrection of Jesus shows that he is going to redeem both body and soul. The work of the Spirit of God is not only to save souls but also to care and cultivate the face of the earth, the material world.”
Timothy Keller, The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism
“Think of people you consider fanatical. They're overbearing, self-righteous, opinionated, insensitive, and harsh. Why? It's not because they are too Christian, it's because they are not Christian enough. They are fanatically zealous and courageous, but they are not fanatically humble, sensitive, loving, emphatic, forgiving, or understanding- as Christ was... What strikes us as overly fanatical is actually a failure to be fully committed to Christ and his gospel.”
Timothy Keller (Author), The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism
“It is no more narrow to claim that one religion is right than to claim that one 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.”
Timothy Keller, The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism
“To stay away from Christianity because part of the Bible's teaching is offensive to you assumes that if there is a God he wouldn't have any views that upset you. Does that belief make sense?”
Timothy Keller, The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism
“Ultimate reality is a community of persons who know and love one another. That is what the universe, God, history, and life is all about. If you favor money, power, and accomplishment over human relationships, you will dash yourself on the rocks of reality [...]
[it is] impossible [...] to stay fully human if you refuse the cost of forgiveness, the substitutional exchange of love, and the confinements of community.
[...] We believe the world was made by a God who is a community of persons who have loved each other for all eternity. You were made for mutually self-giving, other directed love. Self-centeredness destroys the fabric of what God has made.”
Timothy Keller, The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism
“In many areas of life, freedom is not so much the absence of restrictions as finding the right ones, the liberating restrictions. Those that fit with the reality of our nature and the world produce greater power and scope for our abilities and a deeper joy and fulfillment. Experimentation, risk, and making mistakes bring growth only if, over time, they show us our limits as well as our abilities. If we only grow intellectually, vocationally, and physically through judicious constraints–why would it not also be true for spiritual and moral growth? Instead of insisting on freedom to create spiritual reality, shouldn’t we be seeking to discover it and disciplining ourselves to live according to it?”
Timothy Keller, The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism
“...the basic premise of religion—that if you live a good life, things will go well for you—is wrong. Jesus was the most morally upright person who ever lived, yet he had a life filled with the experience of poverty, rejection, injustice, and even torture.”
Timothy Keller, The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism
“Certainly we should be very active in seeking God, and Jesus himself called us to 'ask, seek, knock' in order to find him. Yet those who enter a relationship with God inevitably look back and recognize that God's grace had sought them out, breaking them open to new realities.”
Timothy Keller, The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism
“In the christian view, the ultimate evidence for the existence of God is Jesus Christ. If there is a God, we characters in his play have to hope that he put some information about himself in the play. But Christians believe he did more than give us information. He wrote himself into the play as the main character in history, when Jesus was born in a manger and rose from the dead.”
Timothy Keller, The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism
“If we get our very identity, our sense of worth, from our political position, then politics is not really about, it is about US. Through our cause we are getting a self, our worth. That means we MUST despise and demonize the opposition. If we get our identity from our ethnicity or socioeconomic status, then we HAVE to feel superior to those of other classes and races. If you are profoundly proud of being an open-minded, tolerant soul, you will be extremely indignant toward people you think are bigots. If you are a very moral person, you will feel superior to people you think are licentious. And so on.”
Timothy Keller, The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism
“Each of the divine persons centers upon the others. None demands that the others revolve around him. Each voluntarily circles the other two, pouring love, delight, and adoration into them. Each person of the Trinity loves, adores, defers to, and rejoices in the others. That creates a dynamic, pulsating dance of joy and love. The early leaders of the Greek church had a word for this – perichoresis. Notice our word “choreography” within it. It means literally to “dance or flow around”.”
Timothy Keller, The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism
“The popular concept–that we should each determine our own morality–is based on the belief that the spiritual realm is nothing at all like the rest of the world. Does anyone really believe that? For many years after each of the morning and evening Sunday services I remained in the auditorium for another hour to field questions. Hundreds of people stayed for the give-and-take discussions. One of the most frequent statements I heard was that 'Every person has to define right and wrong for him- or herself.' I always responded to the speakers by asking, 'Is there anyone in the world right now doing things you believe they should stop doing no matter what they personally believe about the correctness of their behavior?' They would invariable say, 'Yes, of course.' Then I would ask, “Doesn’t that mean that you do believe there is some kind of moral reality that is "there" that is not defined by us, that must be abided by regardless of what a person feels or thinks?' Almost always, the response to that question was silence, either a thoughtful or a grumpy one.”
Timothy Keller, The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism
“Churches that are filled with self-righteous, exclusive, insecure, angry, moralistic people are extremely unattractive. Their public pronouncements are often highly judgmental, while internally such churches experience many bitter conflicts, splits, and divisions. When one of their leaders has a moral lapse, the churches either rationalize it and denounce the leader’s critics, or else they scapegoat him. Millions of people raised in or near these kinds of churches reject Christianity at an early age or in college largely because of their experience. For the rest of their lives, then, they are inoculated against Christianity. If you are a person who has been disillusioned by such churches, anytime anyone recommends Christianity to you, you assume they are calling you to adopt “religion.” Pharisees and their unattractive lives leave many people confused about the real nature of Christianity.”
Timothy Keller, The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism
“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.”
Timothy Keller, The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism
“It is not enough for the skeptic, then, to simply dismiss the Christian teaching about the resurrection of Jesus by saying, “It just couldn’t have happened.” He or she must face and answer all these historical questions: Why did Christianity emerge so rapidly, with such power? No other band of messianic followers in that era concluded their leader was raised from the dead—why did this group do so? No group of Jews ever worshipped a human being as God. What led them to do it? Jews did not believe in divine men or individual resurrections. What changed their worldview virtually overnight? How do you account for the hundreds of eyewitnesses to the resurrection who lived on for decades and publicly maintained their testimony, eventually giving their lives for their belief?”
Timothy Keller, The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism
“Think of people you consider fanatical. They’re overbearing, self-righteous, opinionated, insensitive, and harsh. Why? It’s not because they are too Christian but because they are not Christian enough. They are fanatically zealous and courageous, but they are not fanatically humble, sensitive, loving, empathetic, forgiving, or understanding—as Christ was. Because they think of Christianity as a self-improvement program they emulate the Jesus of the whips”
Timothy Keller, The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism
“Older forms of indentured servanthood and the bond-service of biblical times had often been harsh, but Christian abolitionists concluded that race-based, life-long chattel slavery, established through kidnapping, could not be squared with biblical teaching either in the Old Testament or the New.”
Timothy Keller, The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism
“Ironically, the insistence that doctrines do not matter is really a doctrine itself.”
Timothy Keller, The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism
“There is, then, a great gulf between the understanding that God accepts us because of our efforts and the understanding that God accepts us because of what Jesus has done. Religion operates on the principle “I obey—therefore I am accepted by God.” But the operating principle of the gospel is “I am accepted by God through what Christ has done—therefore I obey.”
Timothy Keller, The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism
“Now, what happens if you eliminate anything from the Bible that offends your sensibility and crosses your will? If you pick and choose what you want to believe and reject the rest, how will you ever have a God who can contradict you? You won't! You'll have ...A God, essentially, of your own making, and not a God with whom you can have a relationship and genuine interaction. Only if your God can say things that outrage you and make you struggle (as in a real friendship or marriage!) will you know that you have gotten hold of a real God and not a figment of your imagination. So an authoritative Bible is not the enemy of a personal relationship with God. It is the precondition for it.”
Timothy Keller, The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism
“Whether you consider yourself a believer or a skeptic, I invite you to seek the same kind of honesty and to grow in an understanding of the nature of your own doubts. The result will exceed anything you can imagine.”
Timothy Keller, The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism
“person’s faith can collapse almost overnight if she has failed over the years to listen patiently to her own doubts, which should only be discarded after long reflection.”
Timothy Keller, The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism
“The Hebrew word for this perfect, harmonious interdependence among all parts of creation is called shalom. We translate it as “peace,” but the English word is basically negative, referring to the absence of trouble or hostility. The Hebrew word means much more than that. It means absolute wholeness—full, harmonious, joyful, flourishing life.”
Timothy Keller, The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism

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