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Reviews Theology

The Reason for God (Chapter 1)

I recently finished Tim Keller’s The Reason for God and over the next several weeks, I’ll be reviewing and summarizing each chapter. I know this book is a few years old, so these posts are more intended to help me remember what I read. Most of these posts will simply be direct quotes from the book. If it is my paraphrase, it will marked by an asterisk (*) after the page number.

At the same time, I hope these chapter reviews will 1) benefit Christians to help them form intellectual arguments for their faith and 2) challenge non-Christians to think more deeply about the nature and reality of God, his word, and the world. So let’s get into chapter 1.

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

During my nearly two decades in New York City, I’ve had numerous opportunities to ask people, “What is your biggest problem with Christianity?”…One of the most frequent answers I have heard over the years can be summed up in one word: exclusivity. (p. 3)

Categories
Theology

Atheism Doesn’t Do Much for Beauty, Art, and Love

If there is no God, and everything in this world is the product of (as Bertrand Russell famously put it) “an accidental collocation of atoms,” then there is no actual purpose for which we were made–we are accidents. If we are the product of accidental natural forces, then what we call “beauty” is nothing but a neurological hardwired response to particular data.  You only find certain scenery to be beautiful because you had ancestors who knew you would find food there and they dsurvived because of that neurological feature and now we have it too. In the same way, though music feels significant, that significance is an illusion. Love too must be seen in this light. If we are the result of blind natural forces, then what we call “love” is simply a biochemical response, inherited from ancestors who survived because this trait helped them survive.

– Tim Keller in The Reason for God, p. 138

Categories
Life Theology

Sermon 2: Is Jesus the Only Way to God?

Is Jesus the Only Way to God?
Series: Debated: Answering Hard Questions About Christianity
Pastor Steve Moltumyr

John 14:6; 1 John 4:1-10

  • There are three ways to deal with this most important question:
  1. You can outlaw religion  (such as China and the former Soviet Union).
  2. You can condemn religion through education.
  3. You can keep religion a private matter.
  • What we see so rampant in the world today is what we call postmodernism.  Postmodernism is the belief that everything is relative and there can be no objective reality in the universe.
  • Christianity is not unique in it’s claim to truth.  When it comes to deciphering through all the worldviews, we must sift through three important questions.
  1. Decide which religion is true.
  2. Decide that atheism is true.
  3. Decide that postmodernism is true.
  • When it comes to the first of these options, you need to answer these questions when trying to get to the bottom of whether a religion is true or not:
  1. How did life begin?
  2. What is the meaning of life?
  3. What is the moral code to live by?
  4. What is the primary spiritual need?
  5. How will life end?
  • A postmodernist will usually argue along these lines.
  1. Each person has the right to determine the meaning of what they read.  This means that if I write an email that says, “It’s cold outside,” someone can actually interpret it as, “Steve said it’s warm today!”
  2. Moral and ethical behavior is not a result of any final reality such as God.
  3. All religions are man made and none have a corner on the truth.
  4. “I can create my own faith.  My own generic religion.”  (This “religion” does not confront people with the brokenness of humanity and the need for a Savior.)
  • 1 John 4:1-10.  Jesus has “come in the flesh” (v. 2).  What has Jesus “come” from?  God.  How can Jesus be the only way to God?  He is God.  He was God in the flesh who came to give what no other so-called “deity” ever gave.
Categories
Life

Jesus’ Resurrection Has Implications for Your Life

A few decades ago, a lot of scholarly research was dedicated to finding the answer to the question, “Did Jesus really rise from the dead?”  Now, it seems as if everyone in this postmodern, relative society is not asking, “Did he?” but rather, “So what?”

Let’s answer this practically: If a man died from a brutal execution — so much so that his body and face were hardly recognizable as human — and then rose from the dead with a healed and restored body, then this man must be more than just a man.  “So what?” you ask.  Well, if he is more than a man, then he must be loved, honored, and obeyed for who he is, namely God himself.

What do you love, honor, and obey?  Money?  Sex?  Relationships?  Food?  Praise of man?  Hollywood?  Sports?  Status?  Technology?  Cars?  Children?  Body image?  Knowledge?  Religion?  Yourself?

If these things died, would they rise from the dead like Jesus did?

I doubt it.

Categories
Life

You Can’t Make Science to Mean Something it Doesn’t Mean

I’m not a scientist.  My science classes in college were geology, meteorology, and food science.  The best I did in high school was a B in honors physics at a public school.  And even that grade should be investigated.

So allow my non-scientific mind to think through something with you.

Often in debates about evolution and creation, I hear people argue for evolution (that is, the origin of the universe via big-bang) by saying, “Science proves it.  Science is not faith, it’s fact.”   They do this by talking about carbon dating, fossils, and the fact that Noah couldn’t really have had all those animals in the ark.

Well, science is “fact” if you are talking about how a tree grows, how a car moves, or how my heart works.  You can prove those things.  But science cannot prove the origin of the universe.  “Yes it can!” people tell me.

No.  It can’t.

Why?  When we refer to science, we usually mean “systematic knowledge of the physical or material world gained through observation and experimentation.”  We come to this knowledge of the physical world by using the scientific method, which Merriam-Webster defines as “principles and procedures for the systematic pursuit of knowledge involving the recognition and formulation of a problem, the collection of data through observation and experiment, and the formulation and testing of hypotheses.”

You cannot re-create a universe as vast, complex, organized, and beautiful as ours in a test tube in order to collect data about how it began.  It just can’t happen.

So if you hold that the origin of the universe is due to a randomized explosion of atomic particles, that’s fine by me.  Just don’t call it science.  Call it what it is: faith, belief, and religion.