I recently finished reading The Reason for God. This book, while written for those struggling with the ideas of faith and Christianity, had tremendous value for me, as someone who counts themselves as a believer.
There were a number of points that Keller brings up that really resonated with me and I'm sure I'll touch on many of them over time here. One that struck me today was his conversation about what we put at the center of our lives, or how we define ourselves. The typical world view holds that we put something of this world at the center of our lives. Whether that be career or family will differ by person. I was surprised as he spoke about morality and even religion being examples. He explained it in such a way that I was struck by its simplicity.
Whatever it is of this world that we put at the center of our lives will ultimately fail us. If we fail at our career and we defined ourselves by our career, where does that leave us? If we measure our live by our good works, how good is good enough and what does that do to us as we realize it is never enough?
He even made an example of putting religion at the center. He was clear to distinguish between religion and God or the gospel which is a topic for another day. There are many who put the act of being religious at the center of their lives only to use it as a means to put themselves above others who do not. I think too often, the "Christian" that people meet in this world is someone who has a self-centered religion at their center. These things seek only to divide us economically, racially, socially, religiously, and in many other ways.
But, we are creations of God, created in the likeness of God, with, as Keller puts it, "a God shaped hole in our souls". While not a new idea (I think this comes from St. Augustine and Ecclesiastes), if we put God at the center of our lives, we are no longer on a self-centered spiral, but in a loving relationship giving back to he who gives freely to us. Obviously, this preceded this with a great deal more conversation for the skeptical reader struggling with even a belief in God, but it made me think, what worldly things am I shoving into that God shaped hole, trying to fill it up? How much of our world's problems stem from our human desire to put ourselves above all else and failing?