Jason B. Ladd

Ask the Questions. Embrace the Answers. Make the Leap.

Why Jesus? (Part 1) Ravi Zacharias Gives Answers

Author and Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias provides a lucid explanation of Christianity and a critique of the New Spirituality in his book Why Jesus? Rediscovering His Truth in an Age of Mass Marketed Spirituality.

This book is densely packed with truisms that will have you nodding in agreement.  His ability to read the cultural landscape leads to undeniable conclusions about how Eastern spirituality has permeated Western culture and religion.

Every paragraph of the book contains quotable material; however, I have chosen only a few highlights from my first readthrough.

why jesus? ravi zachariasWhat is the New Spirituality?

I would describe the New Spirituality as the unholy marriage of spirituality and pseudoscience.  Dr. Zacharias gives us the following:

“If the person promoting the fantasy is incapable of defending it and wishes to be taken seriously, then it becomes clever to inject into the argument a dose of the final authority— science. What novelists were to existentialism and deconstructionists were to postmodernism, pseudoscience or selective science has become to the postmodern spiritual quest. . . . We are now in the precarious situation where science has given us the tools— and possibly the imperative— to convey fiction, and fiction has the persuasive power of science. This is the New Spirituality.”1 

(Link: Why Jesus? Rediscovering His Truth in an Age of Mass Marketed Spirituality.)

What is the Problem?

Dr. Zacharias  explains what is “in” and what is “out.”

“Just as sin has gone out of vogue and evil has remained a legitimate category, though limited, religion has gone out of vogue while spirituality remains a valid pursuit.”2

Open-mindedness is only a virtue when matters are allowed to be closed by the revelation of truth.  Dr. Zacharias comments on a more prevalent empty-mindedness:

“. . . it is hard to imagine a culture more gullible than that of America today, priding itself on being a culture that is willing to absorb anything indiscriminately.”3

On filling the holes in postmodernism with the quantum-of-the-gaps:

“At its core, postmodernism is a philosophy of inexactitudes. But in an effort to find credence, it goes to the exact sciences. The wiggled-in entry point is generally the branch of science called quantum physics so that it can seem to hold on to the worlds of the empirical and the uncertain at the same time.”4

He refutes the popular claim by the New Spiritualists that you are god:

“We have found a religion that has helped us to revolve around ourselves, and once we have believed that the spiritual imagination needs no boundaries because we are gods, everything becomes plausible and nothing needs justification.”5

(Link: Why Jesus? Rediscovering His Truth in an Age of Mass Marketed Spirituality.)

Linguistic Terrorism

And on the popular childhood chastisement, “you can give it, but you can’t take it,” (including one of my new favorite phrases: linguistic terrorism):

“Giving yourself the privilege of destroying other positions while parking your own position in an unidentifiable location is a form of linguistic terrorism.”6

He continues with the always-poignant hijacker/hostage analogy:

“This form of spiritual communication has unfortunately hijacked reality and holds truth hostage, never to be released until one is willing to pay the price of relativism.”7

Dr. Zacharias take the New Spirituality to its logical conclusion:

“The end result is spirituality without dogma, religion without God, argument without substance, rationalization without rationality, and tranquillity by transfer of funds from the seeker’s bank account to the company that makes the best offer of nirvana, at the same time producing dogmatism about relativism in matters of ultimate meaning.”8

(Link: Why Jesus? Rediscovering His Truth in an Age of Mass Marketed Spirituality.)

Three Tests for Truth

Finally, he reminds us of the three tests for truth:

“A worldview tested by truth will inform imagination and meditation, not the other way around. That is why the rigorous way of testing truth has always been through logical consistency, empirical adequacy, and experiential relevance.”9

Stay tuned for Part 2 in this series. . .

Related Posts

1 Zacharias, Ravi (2012-01-25). Why Jesus?: Rediscovering His Truth in an Age of Mass Marketed Spirituality . Hachette Book Group. Kindle Edition. loc. 224, 253.

2 Ibid., 51.

3 Ibid., 71.

4 Ibid., 226.

5 Ibid., 245.

6 Ibid., 292.

7 Ibid., 306.

8 Ibid., 466.

9 Ibid., 548.

Photo Credit: Ravi Zacharias International Ministires / CC / http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:RaviZachariasatRZIM.jpg

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

About Jason B. Ladd

Jason is an author, speaker, Marine, and father of seven. He has flown the F/A-18 Hornet as a Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron 1 (MAWTS-1) Instructor Pilot and the F-16 as an Instructor Pilot. His award-winning book One of the Few: A Marine Fighter Pilot’s Reconnaissance of the Christian Worldview has been optioned for film adaptation. He is represented by Julie Gwinn of The Seymour Agency.

2 Replies

  1. Sam Hall

    Thanks for bringing this apologetics resource to our attention. Ravi Zacharius might be considered our comtemporary C.S. Lewis. Incisive and challenging.

  2. arkenaten

    Then the gospels fail on all three accounts..logical consistency, empirical adequacy, and experiential relevance.

    And I have never heard or read a christian demonstrate otherwise.