The Reason for God was the first book I came across that helped me bridge the gap between the conservative church of my childhood and the liberal, skeptical culture I found myself facing as a young undergraduate student. I wrote about that experience here.
The first half of Keller's book focuses on defending Christianity against seven of the most prevalent arguments currently facing the faith. As I began to have conversations with atheists and agnostics alike, I found myself regularly wrestling with the Christian claims of exclusivity, and my belief in Jesus as the only road to communion with God left me feeling arrogant and narrow-minded at times.
Keller helped me to see that my beliefs were no more narrow-minded than any other beliefs. His clear arguments in The Reason for God rely on his ability to reveal the presuppositions behind all beliefs, whether religious or secular. The first chapter deals with the exclusive claims of Christianity and the way that secularists have attempted to exclude religion from public conversation, whether by outlawing, condemning, or isolating Christian convictions. He notes that these approaches are not tenable because if you attempt to remove religious voices from the conversation, then you are effectively silencing all conversation in general. This is because religion cannot simply be defined as belief in God, but is rather a broad set of beliefs that give meaning and purpose to life, regardless of what those exact beliefs are. An atheist who views Christianity as outdated superstition still approaches the world with a "religious" mindset, basing their lifestyle and values on a materialist view of the world.
Once you recognize that everyone holds some form of religious belief, it becomes impossible to simply ban religion, and the focus should shift to a healthy dialogue between worldviews within both the public and private spheres. If we can convince the world that this type of conversation is valuable and necessary, then it should become evident that Christianity is, at the very least, a reasonable way of understanding the world and our place in it.
With razor sharp insight, Keller tackles six more of the biggest objections to Christianity, including how a good God could allow suffering, how Christianity is sometimes viewed as a moral straightjacket, and whether or not science has disproved Christianity. Each chapter breaks down the arguments and provides thoughtful responses to help articulate the "reason for the hope that you have" (1 Peter 3:15).