Tim Keller, senior pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan, addresses six different objections to Christianity. All six talks were given at the Harvard Club of New York City.
Tim interviewed focus groups of non-Christians in Manhattan, and asked them why they thought that Christianity was implausible or impossible to believe. The focus groups gave six different reasons -- which Tim calls the "defeater beliefs" of our culture.
Tim goes on to explain and answer these six objections in this series of talks:
- In "The Other Religions," Tim analyzes Objection #1 -- "There are lots of different religions, every one of which claims to possess 'the truth.' It's just not plausible that Christianity is completely right, and all those other religions are completely wrong." This objection is very popular today -- but even so, Tim thinks that it's "the weakest of the six objections." Listen to the talk to find out why!
- In "Evil and Suffering," Tim examines Objection #2 -- "Christianity tells us that God is all-powerful and all-loving. But that can't possibly be true, given all the horrendous evil and suffering in the world, both now and in the past! Either God doesn't care (in which case He isn't all-loving), or He cares, but can't do anything (in which case He isn't all-powerful)." Tim answers this objection on three levels -- intellectual, personal, and overall.
- In "The Unreliable Bible," Tim addresses Objection #3 -- "Everyone knows that the Bible is filled with historical inaccuracies, scientific errors, and socially regressive views. So it's impossible to take the Bible literally, or to accept the Bible as having any binding authority over my life and behavior -- it's just irrational to center your life on a collection of myths and legends." Is the Bible filled with errors? Is it just a collection of myths and legends? Or is it more reliable than that?
- In "The Record of Christians," Tim presents Objection #4 -- "If Christianity were true, then the Christian Church, and individual Christians, should be a tremendous force for good. But in fact, the Christian Church -- and individual Christians -- have committed innumerable abuses and atrocities over the centuries, right up until today. It doesn't make sense to believe the truth claims of Christianity, given this negative record." Tim shows that on reflection, this objection is far weaker than it first appears, because it doesn't take into account the complexity of the people and the world around us.
- In "The Christian Straitjacket," Tim explores Objection #5 -- "Christianity prescribes rigid ways of thinking, feeling, and acting -- it gives no real room for individual thought and conscience. Such rigidity is out of place in our modern, pluralistic society, where we should all have the individual freedom to determine what's right for ourselves." Tim explains why this objection is naive -- about how communities work, how meaning works, how human motivation works, and how human identity works.
- In "The Angry God," Tim responds to Objection #6 -- "The Bible shows us a God who's angry and judgmental. He's always punishing people, or sending them to Hell -- He even sends His own Son to the Cross! I can't believe in a God like that -- if God wants to forgive us, why can't He just forgive us?" Tim looks at each part of this objection -- judgment, Hell, and the Cross. He then shows that in all three contexts, the God of the Bible makes sense -- in fact, that He's the only kind of God who really does make sense, and whom it makes sense to worship.