I am posting a study guide for Tim Keller’s The Reason for God that I created to lead my small group through. I hope it is a blessing.
Reason For God – Intermission.
- What was your favorite part of this chapter?
- What made you struggle in this chapter?
- What did you learn about God in this chapter?
- What did you learn about yourself in this chapter?
He is shifting from answering arguments against Christianity to arguing for Christianity.
What is main orthodox Christianity?
Definition: The body of believers who assent to the great ecumenical creeds, trinity, deity of Jesus and his humility, incarnation and passion. They believe in sin, salvation by faith, the return of Christ and the purpose of the church as God’s instrument of hope and change.
- All Christians believe this, but no Christians believe just this. There is variety outside this core.
Skeptics desire Christianity to be proven by “ strong rationalism”.
- They want proof by the “verification principle” that on one should believe in a proposition unless it can be proved rationally by logic or empirically by sense experience.
- Proof that is so strong that no person whose logical faculties are operating properly would have any reason to disbelieve it.
Problem: although many people want Christians to deliver proofs for those beliefs, other philosophers are not required to do so. Even atheistic philosophers are excused from providing “strong proof”.
Strong rationalism is almost impossible to defend philosophically.
- It cant keep its own standards
- How can you empirically prove that no one should believe something without empirical proof? You cant, and that means it is ultimately a belief.
- Strong rationalism assumes that it is possible to achieve “the view from nowhere,” a position of almost complete objectivity. This is impossible to achieve. We all have our biases, and presuppositions.
- Mike’s interpretation: Any position is really a belief and not a provable idea because we can never have enough proof to believe things. All beliefs have bias and agenda. Belief comes from faith.
A solution exists between strong rationalism and relativism, “critical rationality.”
- There are arguments for positions that have value and many people will be convinced by them but others will always have a reason to disbelieve for a variety of reasons. It is pointing to what is probable based on the evidence not what is absolutely provable.
The theory of a God leads us to expect the things we observe. The Theory there is no God does not lead us to expect any of these things. – Richard Swinburne
God the Playwright
If there is a God he wouldn’t be another object in the universe that could be put in a lab and analyzed with empirical methods.
Believed in a God “as I believe the sun has risen not only because I see it but because by it I see everything else.
- Basically believing in God makes everything else make sense.
- What account of the world has the most “explanatory power” to make sense of the world and in ourselves?
God is not a man in an attic, he is a playwright.
- Can only be made known through personal revelation. Written into the story.
How do we then interact with people who don’t share our core beliefs?
How do we distinguish between core beliefs and secondary beliefs?
How do we disagree respectfully on open handed issues?
Download Week 1:
Download Week 2:
Download Week 3 here: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/1370227/Reason%20for%20God/Reason%20for%20God%20%E2%80%93%20Week%203.doc
Download Week 4:
Download Week 5: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/1370227/Reason%20for%20God/Chapter%205%20%20Reason%20for%20God.doc
Download Week 6:
Download Week 7
Download the Intermission: