• Making Sense of God

  • An Invitation to the Skeptical
  • By: Timothy Keller
  • Narrated by: Sean Pratt
  • Length: 9 hrs and 35 mins
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (858 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

We live in an age of skepticism. Our society places such faith in empirical reason, historical progress, and heartfelt emotion that it's easy to wonder: Why should anyone believe in Christianity? What role can faith and religion play in our modern lives?

In this thoughtful and inspiring new book, pastor and New York Times best-selling author Timothy Keller invites skeptics to consider that Christianity is more relevant now than ever. As human beings we cannot live without meaning, satisfaction, freedom, identity, justice, and hope. Christianity provides us with unsurpassed resources to meet these needs.

Written for both the ardent believer and the skeptic, Making Sense of God shines a light on the profound value and importance of Christianity in our lives.

©2016 Timothy Keller (P)2016 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"Writing about philosophy and religion without jargon, condescension, or preaching, Keller produces an intelligent person’s invitation to faith." (Booklist)

"Keller provides a calm and measured invitation to examine convictions and assumptions in a way that both believers and skeptics could use as part of a reasoned dialogue." (Library Journal)

What listeners say about Making Sense of God

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Good for confirming existing beliefs...

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

Christians who want their beliefs confirmed, or those who are on the fence but are more inclined toward being convinced.

Would you ever listen to anything by Timothy Keller again?

Yes. I have also read The Reason for God.

Have you listened to any of Sean Pratt’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I think so. He sounded familiar. He has a very soothing, calm voice.

Any additional comments?

The moral argument comes up over and over in this book, but Keller's arguments do not really address the better thought out counter arguments. Instead, they beg the question.

The best example of this is the final chapter of the book, where Keller basically tries to make the case that morality cannot be defended rationally on the basis of self interest.

But wait... does that mean morality is irrational? He stops short of saying that outright, but it is what this type of argument implies.

Actually, Keller does not really attempt to refute the rational arguments for morality. Instead, what Keller argues is the empirical case that most people will not choose to be moral when given only rational, intellectual arguments for morality. Essentially, that people are too self-interested to be self-interested(!)

But this says nothing about the actual philosophical status of morality or the existence of God. This is just a way of saying that people are short-sighted and not generally insightful enough to grasp that morality actually is in their self interest!

This is something that Keller and I can probably agree on. But it is not a sound argument for God or against a rational understanding of morality. It is merely an argument about human psychology and what drives people.

It is easy to imagine that humans have developed ideas, creeds, and emotional responses that help us cooperate and behave in ways that are rational and mutually beneficial where our intellect and short-sightedness would otherwise fail us. But this does not imply that morality cannot be explained without a god.

12 people found this helpful

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Why doesn't Pastor Keller narrate his books?

I wish Pastor Keller narrated his books. There is something about when an author reads his own work in a book like this. His passion and conviction come through and hold your attention. Timothy Keller is one of the best preachers I have ever heard. It pains me to hear his words competently read, rather than convincingly preached. He narrated The Prodigal God and The Reason for God and I have listened to each multiple times and gained new insights each time. I have bought all his audio books and, despite excellent content, they require many prayers to stay focused on what's being said and get through them even once. The narrators are fine. But they are READING. This book is fine and challenges atheism powerfully. But these words need to be proclaimed or preached. Please, Pastor Keller, narrate your books!

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Good Book

A different narator would be my opinion for Keller's books my suggestions would be T.Keller, Kate Reading, Grove Gardener, William Neenam, Ralph Lister. Any of the above I think would be great!

5 people found this helpful

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Fantastic!

Exactly the sort of apologetic needed in our current cultural malaise. This is a masterwork that is entirely scrutable to any honest seeker.

4 people found this helpful

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A well thought out presentation

An articulate and evidence supported treatise on making sense of God. Deep and Brilliant and gripping.

4 people found this helpful

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Clarity

After Reading "Reason for God", many questions still remained. I feel this book more accurately meets the underlying question skeptics and those struggling to grasp there faith have. Keller addresses concerns that I hear in my personal community and in culture today. I plan to read again.

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Sophistic, manipulative, and overtly offensive

What disappointed you about Making Sense of God?

Where to begin? I started taking notes on the problems with Keller's arguments, and quickly became overwhelmed with sheer volume of logical fallacies and fractured lines of reasoning. He begins by lamenting straw men...and then proceeds to stand one straw man after another, always circling back to one seemingly ineluctable conclusion: Christianity is the only true and proper religion, and the only sensible means for both forming a value system and establishing a relationship with the divine. Two segments in the book deserve special rebuke: the first is at the end of Ch. 3, wherein he describes Christianity as a source of meaning that is "death camp-proof"...apparently implying that if camp inmates had been Christian, they would have been more resilient in the face of their unspeakable experiences. The second has similarly anti-Semitic (and perhaps anti-Islamic) overtones: the suggestion at the end of Chapter 5 that only Christianity, with its Jesus to level the moral playing field between God and man, enables us to have a functioning, non-pathological relationship with God. Mere monotheisms, even related, Abrahamic ones like Judaism and Islam, come up short...because, in Keller's words, they are forms of "exploitation." Exploitation by God. Since Keller obviously doesn't think God is an exploiter, the only possible conclusion is that those religions...and perhaps all other religions...are simply false. Misguided. Sick, in the way people who stay in an exploitative relationship are sick. There is much more. Keller makes much hay out of partial truths - e.g., because personal freedom is held in high value in our culture, it must be true that all secular Americans are, in essence, a members of a liberty cult that has no concerns for balancing freedom and responsibility, no capacity for self-sacrifice or for modulating our desires for money and power and prestige, no basis for cooperation or compassion. Need I cite by name the thousands of non-Christian humanitarians, altruists, philanthropists, and aid workers who give the lie to this proposition? I am, frankly, shocked by the large number of positive reviews this book has received. I can only surmise that this is mainly a function of "preaching to the converted." This is not a book for freethinkers and humanists who want to see if there is some intellectually honest path to belief in a God. This is a book of scarcely-earned self-congratulation for those who begin with the same preformed conclusions as those of the author.

What could Timothy Keller have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

You cannot demonstrate the rationality or epistemic validity of religious faith by reasoning backward from a foregone conclusion. If this book were truly written for the skeptical audience, the entire book would have to be rewritten - practically in conceptual reverse, starting with first principles (much in the manner of that most famous of skeptics, Descartes), and coming to conclusions only when they were justified by rigor and intellectual honesty. And Keller could have used a good, honest, and truly skeptical editor. Or two. Someone willing to call him out on his straw men, his hasty generalizations, and his cherrypicking of philosophical sources. I mean, really...dismissing secular philanthropy on the basis of a Nietzsche quote? Has this man ever thumbed through, say, The Antichrist? Or Twilight of the Idols?

Have you listened to any of Sean Pratt’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No basis for comparison. Pratt does a reasonable job, given the source material. Sometimes, his lines are inflected with a bit of the condescension that is inherent in the writing itself - but I don't think he can be criticized for remaining true to the text.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Anger, disappointment, disgust, even outrage. Behind the kindly, professorial tone of the book lurks an appalling degree of arrogance and self-satisfaction. I wanted to like this book. It was recommended by a Christian friend, and I started it with hope in my heart and an open mind. That hope was dashed by Chapter 3, and buried by Chapter 5. Getting through the rest was an act of sheer, dogged determination. It was actually painful.

Any additional comments?

Please don't waste your time with this. Unless you are already a Christian, and simply looking for college-sophomore-level rationalizations for your extant faith. Even then, it will probably only help you in discussions with...college sophomores. Anyone with a background in philosophy or science would dismantle Keller's arguments with ease.

3 people found this helpful

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life changing

This staggering shift in the "argument for God" is as much for lifetime believers as it must be for lifetime non-believers. It spoke to my intellect, emotion and the historical narrative some of us have adopted that is contrary to the truth we witness and experience in our lives - chiefly, the lies we tell ourselves to cover for unchallenged beliefs instead of putting those beliefs to the test, though our very lives may depend on them.

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Loved it!

Such a positive and earnest appeal to search out and try to comprehend the veracity of the Christian claims in Christ, for who God is and where we fit in life, the universe, and everything.

2 people found this helpful

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  • KC
  • 04-25-22

Powerful and compelling

In this book, Timothy Keller, in a very thoughtful and respectful manner, explains the foundations of western secular culture and contrasts it with that of Christianity.

While the content is at times intellectually/academically dense, it is worth the effort to forge through it as each chapter yields some great insights into the problems with today’s western secular culture and makes a compelling case for how Christianity when fully understood and practiced offers a better way for each of us and our collective society.

If you are struggling to find meaning in your life and troubled with how increasingly ugly and divisive our secular world is becoming, listen to this book.

I also listened to his book titled “Reasons for God” and highly recommend that one as well.

1 person found this helpful

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