I’ve not had the time to view these lectures yet, but I’ve been greatly helped by Tim Keller and especially by his work in apologetics. If you have not read his The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism, you certainly should. In the mean time, I hope these messages prove useful to you.
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I occasionally write posts relating to faith and skepticism. I do this because I believe in Jesus, and I want you to believe as well. Atheist Penn Jillette said, “I don’t respect people who don’t proselytize…How much do you have to hate somebody to believe that everlasting life is possible and not tell them that?” I agree.
Proselytizing flows naturally out of true and deep conviction. It is not necessarily meant be antagonistic, though it will certainly be countercultural and controversial. But let us suffer these differences. May we never exclude faith from discussion in the public square. Matters this big should always have a place in the conversation.
A good friend, who is an atheist, once commented to me that religion and politics are the two off-limits topics of society but they are the two topics that most need discussion. I think he’s right. The conversations must continue no matter how uncomfortable they get. There’s just too much at stake to stay quiet.
So let’s keep talking.
I hope my friends across the divide understand and appreciate this tension and necessity I feel. I do not wish to be a bother. I am compelled by what I’ve seen. Indeed, I cannot unsee it. I hope you will not fault me for continuing to point to what seems like empty space to you. Like locating a rare bird on a branch, I am determined that you should see it too.
I plan to keep writing about these topics. Will you keep reading?
The pain and suffering we experience in this world is at times overwhelming. It has caused many people to question the existence of God.
T. Keller summarizes one such argument made by philosopher J. L. Mackie in this way:
“If a good and powerful God exists, he would not allow pointless evil, but because there is much unjustifiable, pointless evil in the world, the traditional good and powerful God could not exist. Some other god or no god may exist, but not the traditional God.” (Keller, p. 23)
This logic seems airtight, but only at first blush. Look a little closer and the imperfections of this reasoning come into focus. As Keller points out:
“Many other philosophers have identified a major flaw in this reasoning. Tucked away within the assertion that the world is filled with pointless evil is a hidden premise, namely, that if evil appears pointless to me, then it must be pointless.
This reasoning is, of course, fallacious. Just because you can’t see or imagine a good reason why God might allow something to happen doesn’t mean there can’t be one.” (Keller, p. 23)
In other words, God may be using pain and suffering in a redemptive way, even though we feel hurt and confused and can make no sense of it. Our lack of understanding does not preclude his existence or limit his goodness.