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.
Timothy Keller, Making Sense of God, page 53
If we feed on the Word of God, it will be easy to speak to others about the Word of God; and not only that, but we will also be growing in grace the entire time, and others will notice the change in our walk and conversation. So few Christians grow, because so few study.
D. L. Moody, How to Study the Bible: Updated Edition, page 4
These new [Christian] views of the importance of the body and the material world laid the foundation for the rise of modern science. The material world was no longer understood as an illusion or simply something to be spiritually transcended. Nor was it just an incomprehensible mystery but, according to the Bible, it was the creation of a personal, rational being. Therefore it could be studied and understood by other personal, rational beings.
Timothy Keller, Making Sense of God, page 45
Why do we never get an answer
When we’re knocking at the door?
Because the truth is hard to swallow
That’s what the war of love is for
I’m looking for someone to change my life
I’m looking for a miracle in my life
And if you could see what it’s done to me
To lose the love I knew
Could safely lead me through
Justin Hayward, The Moody Blues, Question, 1970
I want so badly to believe that “there is truth, that love is real”
The Postal Service, Clark Gable, 2003.
Even if you are not a secular person, the secular age can “thin out” (secularize) faith until it is seen as simply one more choice in life – along with job, recreation, hobbies, politics – rather than as the comprehensive framework that determines all life choices.
Timothy Keller, Making Sense of God, page 3
Christianity provided not merely a general idea of equality but also the resources for an understanding of “natural” human rights. Who ever came up with the idea that a human being had “rights” not granted by the state and that could be appealed to against the state? Where did the thought come from that some things are owed to all persons, regardless of their social status, gifts, or abilities, just by virtue of their being human? While it is popularly thought that human rights were the creation of modern secularism over and against the oppressiveness of religion, the reality is that this concept arose not in the East but in the West, and not after the Enlightenment but within medieval Christendom. As Horkheimer in the 1940s and Martin Luther King Jr, in the 1960s recognized, the idea of human rights was based on the biblical idea of all people being created in God’s image.
Timothy Keller, Making Sense of God, page 44
quoting Brian Tierney
Charles Taylor explains why modern people are far more likely to lose their faith over suffering than those in times past. He says it is because, culturally, our belief and confidence in the powers of our own intellect have changed. Ancient people did not assume that the human mind had enough wisdom to sin in judgment on how an infinite God was disposing of things. In it only in modern times that we get “the certainty that we have all the elements we need to carry out a trial of God.” Only when this background belief in the sufficiency of our own reason shifted did the presence of evil in the world seem to be an argument against the existence of God.
Timothy Keller, Making Sense of God, pages 37.
Some years ago I spoke to a man who had been a minister in a liberal, mainline denomination in Manhattan for four decades. He told me that when he had been trained for ministry in the early 1960s, he was confidently told by his teachers that the only religion that would survive in the future was the most mild, modern kind that did not believe in miracles or the deity of Christ or a literal, bodily resurrection. But when I spoke to him he was nearing retirement, and he observed that most of his generation of ministers presided over empty church sanctuaries and dwindling, aging congregations. “Ironically,” he observed, “they can only keep the doors open by renting them out to growing, vibrant churches that believe all the doctrines they were told would soon be obsolete.”
Timothy Keller, Making Sense of God, pages 24-26.
One writer in the Times of London … concluded that “secularism and milder forms of religion will win in the long run.”
Many people have a great investment in this account of things. Sociologists Peter Berger and Grace Davie report that “most sociologists of religion now agree that the secularization thesis–that religion declines as a society becomes more modern–”has been emphatically shown to be false.”
Timothy Keller, Making Sense of God, p.24