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.
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
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
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
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. . .
- Relativism: How to Ruin Bedtime and the Meaning of Life
- Love: An Amusing Illusion or God’s Greatest Gift
- Hands of Light: Be Careful What You Reach For
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
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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.