Ravi Zacharias - Secularism, Pluralism And Privatization - July 23, 2018
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it's so that you can take me on I said look that's not really what I'm here about he said I'll bring my whole class of philosophy with me and they'll tell you apart after you've finished if you deal with this question I said look I'll make a deal with you I will speak on why I am a Christian and implicit and that will be why I'm not anything else and let your class have a go at me then so he finally compromised and they walked in very conspicuously and found their seats and I spoke on it and one of the things I said is that the pantheistic world views one or two of them in particular can have systemically contradictory affirmations which says to me that the system implodes under the weight of contradiction and I gave some examples after it was over he walked up to me and he said you know you've done the greatest disservice to this worldview I've ever heard any man ever do and he said and and I'm very very upset with you obviously you don't understand Eastern logic I said you know sir I can use a lot of Eastern logic that'll make you quite puzzled right now but let's not do that I said I'm not here to impress your students I really don't care about that I said I want to talk to you and you talked to me let's go out and have lunch you buy the lunch we'll get together and we'll sit down and we'll chat he said can I bring the professor of psychology with me I said are we going to be subjects or objects for him he said no he's a friend of mine I said all right bring him I said but I'm gonna go to talk to him I'm gonna talk to you just you and I and he can listen and he wants to so the three of us went out for lunch he was very gracious pulled out took out all the placemats from the table the moment the man does that you know you're gonna get a long speech the psychologists and I had finished our lunch this man hadn't even begun his it was getting congealed before his eyes and all of the placemats were used up and he was trying to convey one thing the laws of logic and he said this he said you know the law of non-contradiction we're two mutually exclusive affirmations cannot be true at the same time in the same sense and so on he went on to describe it he said that's a Western way of thinking I said no it's not you said yes it is I said no it's not he said yes it is I'm telling you it's not he said I'm telling you it is I said okay continue he said then you've got the dialectical system of logic not the either-or but the both hand not either this or that but both this and that he said Marx uses it in his dialectic you don't get either the employer or the employee you put them together they get a classless society Hegel's which was popularized by victor the popularization of the thesis spawning its antithesis coming together for the synthesis that's the dialectical system all right and he said the Easterners use the dialectical system that's an Eastern we are thinking of Miller's not he said yes it is I said no it isn't he said yes it is he said I'm telling you it is I said ok get to your point he said the Western way either this or that the Eastern way both this and that when you were studying these Eastern worldviews your problem as you were studying it as a westerner finding the either/or contradiction and therefore finding them flawed you should have used the both hand logic and the contradictions wouldn't have bothered you so I looked at him I said are you finished he said yes he picked up his knife and fork I said I have one question are you telling me that when I'm studying the pantheistic system I either use the both hand logic or nothing else is that right I either use the both hand the dialectical or nothing else is that right he put his knife and fork down I said sir I have some news for you even in India we look both ways before we cross the street it's either the bus or me not both of us the psychologist said I think it's time to go now where we've done here but you know what he said what he said amazed me when I finished that little response see what he said to me the either-or does seem to emerge doesn't it of course it emerges the moment you open your mouth to contradict the law of non-contradiction you're actually affirming it now what did he mean by eastern and western what he meant is half right in the Western popularization of pantheism yes they lived that way but it was not so with their founders Shankara was a firm believer in the law of non-contradiction so was Gautama Buddha so was Muhammad all of them firmly submitted to the law of non-contradiction that two opposite affirmations mutually exclusive cannot both be true in an absolute sense unqualified what happens when blurr ization has had its full day what happens is you live with irrationality the death of shame can come with secularization the death of Reason can come with globalization GK Chesterton put this powerfully in his book orthodoxy the new rebel who wants to rebel against everything and immoral laws as a skeptic and will not trust anything he has no loyalty therefore he can never be a true revolutionist and the fact that he doubts everything gets in his way when he wants to denounce thing for all the annunciation implies a moral doctrine of some kind and the modern revolutionist doubts not only the institute denounces but the doctrine by which he denounces it so he writes one book complaining that Imperial oppression and social security of women then he writes another book a novel in which he insults at himself he curses the Sultan because Christian girls lose their virginity then curses mrs. Grundy because they keep it as a politician he cries out that war is a waste of life then as a philosopher that life itself is a waste of time a Russian pessimist will denounce a policeman for killing a peasant then proved by the highest philosophical principles that the peasant ought to have killed himself a man denounces marriages a lie then denounces aristocracy profligates for treating it as a lie the man of this school goes first to a political meeting where he complains that savages are treated as if they were beasts then he takes his hat and umbrella and goes on to a scientific meeting where he proves that they practically are beasts in short the modern revolutionists being an infinite skeptic is always engaged in undermining his own minds in his book on politics he attacks men for trampling on morality in his book on ethics he attacks morality for trampling on men therefore the modern person and revolt has become practically useless for all purposes of revolt by rebelling against everything he's lost his right to rebel against anything pretty powerful stuff realization is a good thing culturally but if it is extrapolated into meaning relativism then I think you've got a problem trying to delve into the deepest issues that could potentially divide us and bring a lot of hurt deeper then secularization risks loss of shame plural ization risk the loss of reason and finally privatization well what happens at the end of the day then is a person with a transcendent perspective you stole to amputate his or her faith take your faith into the private world and what you want to believe privately you can believe don't bring it out into the public arena if you wish to coexist with those of other views take your belief on the deepest questions of life purpose and death and keep it in the private world how does one live that way how does one live that way you know my own personal spiritual journey is a deep struggle of the soul very deep if you'd met me in my teen ages you would have considered me the last person to ever be up here talking about these things or the last person up here to even believe these things but it was on a bed of suicide when I was 17 years old when I had no meaning because my life was fragmented completely fragmented you learned the hard way that both pleasure and pain can ultimately leave you empty if you don't have a transcending reason to be able to face either of those and it was on that bed of suicide for the first time I ever even had a Bible on my lap and I served my lap because I couldn't hold it I was dehydrated with a poison in my system and the reality of that experience with opening the word that was left there I couldn't open it my mother was told to open it and with her struggle with English and the King James language really didn't make for fun reading but I understood the heart of what was going on there part of what was going on there fast forward two years ago the British Broadcasting Corporation land a year on survey on what's the greatest problem facing humanity every year it was either poverty or environment 1 or 2 1 or 2 switching positions poverty environment environment poverty year on end 2010 for the first time they got a different answer they released it in December 2010 you know what the greatest problem the world sees its facing right now corruption corruption the world says it no longer trusts its leaders it no longer trusts those in authority because they see what is destroying the human condition is the condition of the human heart poverty and environment relegated to two and three that what struggles you and I face in our moral choices the exploitation of the poor the exploitation of people in so many different arenas of life and all of the power brokering that goes on as Malcolm Muggeridge used to say the lies stuck like a fishbone in the throat of the microphone he said he said vero two or three are gathered together to far thority he said it's truth that has died not God and it was in my teenage years for the first time I got a glimpse of my own culture systemically corrupted my own heart systemically corrupted and then the one thing I find through the process in the admission of my own heart and the listening to the voice of Christ's in the words saying because I live you also shall live where I'm allowed to be freely speaking on it in the land of my birth now in the land whose very framework was made possible by a transcendent notion very foreign to the land of my birth now where I'm told keep your faith private quite shocking quite shocking I know growing up in India which is 80% Hindu at university or in high school 99% of the speakers were Hindu I don't ever remember going to talk to a principal or a professor say why are you doing this it was the flow of the culture you who you you learned that that transcendent notion the worldview you accepted 10% of india's muslim india was only 2.8 percent Christian that time now this anywhere between 4 to 10% cultures have priorities of transcendent commitments that frame them and you learn to accept it it is a dangerous move in America today to tell those of faith and transcendent commitments keep it in your private room don't bring it out into public that amputation that amputation is ultimately very deadly no I'm not talking about a theocracy that's not what we want that'd be the worst option to go – that's not what I'm talking about but I'm saying in the arena and the public discourse of ideas every notion that claims legitimacy to the truth ought to be given a voice of the table to discuss and defend but this amputation that takes place at the end of the day will lead to a breakdown of meaning I want to close with a couple of very important ideas here you know the search for meaning is the most critical search that any human being has Boris Becker after winning his third Wimbledon said the greatest challenge he was facing was that of suicide think of one of the greatest voices you and I would have ever heard of Whitney Houston what a magnificent voice and as her coffin was being wheeled and the mother walking behind it saying my baby my baby my baby woman who for whatever reason got messed messed up by those controlling her life feeding things into the system that were ultimately destroyer no sensitive human being could have seen those closing moments of that funeral and hearing her voice ringing through the rafters I will always love you see what a tragedy but you know what success fame degrees power wealth don't bring you meaning they become means to express your meaning they never bring your meaning in and of itself the unity and diversity of your life that which unites the diversity of the proclivities of your life that's the one that will ultimately bring meaning and coherence you see there are two thoughts with which I want to end after quoting this for you I began by saying culture as an effort to find a coherent set of answers to the existence all questions that confront all of us in our lives and a cultural revolution takes place when he made a decisive break from the shared meanings of the past particularly ones of purpose and essence and destiny Daniel Yankelovich ended that brilliant article in Atlantic Monthly with this he said we surveyed people in America watching the road down which they are going and amongst those we surveyed was a couple called Abby and Mark and he sends with these words if you feel it is imperative to fill all your needs and if these needs are contradictory or in conflict with those of others are simply unfillable then frustration inevitably follows – a bientot markcaswell self-fulfillment meant having a career and marriage and children and sexual freedom and autonomy and being liberal and having money and choosing nonconformity and insisting on social justice and enjoying city life and Country Living and simplicity and graciousness and reading and good friends and on and on but the individual is not truly fulfilled by becoming ever more autonomous indeed it seems that to move to this far in this direction is to risk psychosis the ultimate form of autonomy and then he ends with these words maybe the injunction that defined oneself one must lose oneself contains the truth any seeker of self-fulfillment needs to grass define oneself one must lose oneself contains the truth and his seeker of self-fulfillment needs to grasp now how does this work in society here's a churchman a religiously minded man who says this and then I'll go to an atheist what he says and then I will close Arthur peacock is director of the Ramsey's Center for interdisciplinary study of religion in relation to science and is a member of the Faculty of theology at Oxford University and former dean of Clare College Cambridge at the time of this writing here's what he says to be truly of angelicum Catholic the Church of the next million will need to millennium will need to have a theology that will necessarily have to be genuinely liberal and even radical particularly in its relationship everywhere shaped by the sciences for Christian theology to have any viability it may well have to be stripped down to a newly conceived list of essentials minimalist in its affirmations only then will it attain that degree of verisimilitude with respect to ultimate realities which science has two natural ones and only then will it command respect there's a vehicle of public truth here's a professor of theology at God that talks whether that time saying look if this is what religion is want then the only way we can let them into the arena if they strip themselves off all essential affirmations and go to a minimalist belief in what they claim are the peacock Matthew Parris is an atheist with a lifestyle to back end he wrote in a powerful article in a leading Indian English newspaper in 2008 please listen he says before Christmas I returned to Malawi the country of my birth after 45 years it was a country I knew as a boy he was colossal and today it is Malawi and the times Christmas appeal here in London included a small British charity working their pump aid helps rural communities to install a single pump letting people keep their village well sealed and clean I decided to go and see this work it inspired me renewed my flagging faith and development charities but travelling in Malawi refreshed another to one I've been trying to banish all my life it blatantly confuse and founds my ideological beliefs and stubbornly refuses to fit my worldview and has embarrassed my growing belief that there is no God now as a confirmed atheist I become convinced of the enormous contribution that Christian evangelism makes in Africa sharply distinct from the secular NGOs education and training alone they will not do in Africa Christianity changes people's hearts it brings a transformation the rebirth is real the change is good there's long been a fashion among our Western academic sociologists for placing tribal value systems within a ring fence beyond critiques founded in quote there's and therefore best for them authentically and intrinsically worthy to I was worthy is ours I simply don't follow this anymore I observed that the tribal belief is no more peaceable than ours and it suppresses individuality people think collectively this feeds into the big man and gangster politics of the African city today the exaggerated respect for the swaggering leader and the literal inability to understand the whole idea of a loyal opposition anxiety fear of spirits of nature and the wild strikes deep into the whole structure of rural African thought a great way it grinds down their spirit but Christianity with its teaching of a direct personal to wailing between the individual and God unmediated by the collective and I'm subordinate to any other human being smashes straight through the philosophical spiritual framework I've just described those who want Africa to walk tall amid 21st century global competition must not kid themselves that providing the material means or even the know-how that accompanied is what we call development we'll end up making the change no a whole belief system force must be supplanted supplanted and I'm afraid it has to be supplanted by another removing Christian evangelism from the African evasion equation leave the continent at the mercy of a malign fusion of Nike the witchdoctor the mobile phone and the machine the Silla Janata peacock the arsy I am Church leaders conference is going to address the most timely challenges Christianity is facing you can attend here in person or you can register to watch by livestream on our zi m dot org we have an incredible lineup of speakers including Ravi Zacharias Louie Giglio John Lennox Crawford larette's Michael ramsden Abdul Murray Sam all Barry and Joe Batali so please join us from October 3rd to the 5th I hope to see you soon people are interested in having a spiritual life but treats faith more like an ala carte menu at a restaurant choosing what they like and dismissing the rest cutting through the hype and seduction is the clear voice of author and apologist Ravi Zacharias in his book why Jesus rediscovering his truths in an age of mass marketed spirituality Ravi answers the attraction known as the new spirituality Billy Graham calls why Jesus a powerful defense of how Jesus Christ brings meaning and hope to an individual life insurance as I'm not acquainted with a brighter mind or a more relevant and devoted defender of the faith than Ravi Zacharias why Jesus is available in bookstores now or online at our Zi mo RG the purpose of our VI M is to engage meaningfully with the questions and heartfelt issues of our culture we do that in areas of business academia politic

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