Christian Theological/Philosophical Book Club discussion

Why Jesus?: Rediscovering His Truth in an Age of  Mass Marketed Spirituality
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The Table - Group Book Reads > Why Jesus? Ravi Zacharias book discussion.

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message 1: by Rod (last edited Sep 26, 2012 02:41PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rod This should be an interesting discussion. Ravi is my favourite apologist: mainly because I enjoy his Eastern insights and philosophy - as well as hearing his Hindu upbringing.

Like all theologians I admire: Ravi believes in Biblical innerrancy. He doesn't discuss Calvinism very much (he's a smart guy!)

So this "Why Jesus?" book deals with New Eastern Spirituality being sold to us as TRUTH. Ravi declares it all false.
Should be fun to discuss.

We don't have any Oprah Winfrey or Deepak Chopra fans amongst us do we? That would be interesting.


message 2: by Lee (new) - rated it 3 stars

Lee Harmon (DubiousDisciple) | 2112 comments I'll be done reading this soon. Rod, I can certainly see why this book appeals to you...and I kinda like it too.


David I haven't started it yet :(

But I will.


message 4: by Rod (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rod Oh good Lee (i'm glad your liking my favourite teacher). I'm mostly interested in the philosophy of religions. Everyone claims to have the same facts...so the thinking is where the fun comes in.

Let us know when you are done the 1st chapter David. I'm gonna read it again.


message 5: by Clark (new)

Clark Goble (CDGoble) I get paid on Friday and will pick up the book then. I'll try to get caught up with everyone then!

Clark


message 6: by Rod (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rod Okay, i'm just gonna read it one chapter at a time. Then chat.
If we agree on everything - then we might not have much to chat about. But I doubt that'll happen.


message 7: by Rod (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rod What's that about Lee? Am i missing a good joke or diss? :D


message 8: by Lee (new) - rated it 3 stars

Lee Harmon (DubiousDisciple) | 2112 comments naw, no diss, it's just that it reads so much like you its scary. No wonder he's your fav.


message 9: by Rod (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rod I was wondering if that's what you meant. It's indeed interesting that a guy who grew up a Hindu in India and I think so much alike.

I've only read 3 or so of his books. I do listen to his podcast everyweek. I learn alot more from John MacArthur and Chuck Swindoll.

Who is your favorite teacher Lee?


David I've read the first few chapters. Anyone ready to discuss the beginning? New thread?

I don't disagree with anything Ravi is saying, but I am not sure I get his writing style. I can't really put my finger on it, I just find his writing style almost too conversational.

A few other random thoughts:

*It is ironic that he is writing a book in seeming opposition to the seduction of a media world. This takes me back to a problem I have with Christian apologetics: we have brilliant people like Ravi (and William Lane Craig...and Rod) who can write really thoughtful books. But the only people who read them are people like us. I mean, is the fact he is writing a book an indication that even if he argues well, he (we?) have already lost? Are Christian apologetics too "ivory tower" to connect with people who, well, who watch Oprah? Overall he seems down on TV.

*He does not use enough footnotes. Sometimes he makes a statement, even a reference to something, absent a footnote. One example is his statement "according to Google" to talk about Jim Baker. I love that statement and often use it (my wife asks me a question, I tell her to ask google). But what does that mean?

*His story about his gay friend was weird. Was he saying that all gay people have horrible lives, abuse alcohol and drugs till they die? That may reinforce the view of many evangelical Christians, but I don't think it is true.

*Personally, I have never met any college student who has read Chopra, nor really any who watch Oprah. Are these two his main opponents? Or do they represent, for him, more of a culture (so even if you haven't read Chopra, Chopra represents your mindset).

He said a lot of good stuff, a few good zingers (to make Romney and Obama proud). I probably agree theologically with him on a good bit. So don't kill me Rod for picking out the parts I found odd...maybe it will get some discussion going.

:)


message 11: by Rod (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rod Yep, I think we can start an Introduction thread and a chapter one thread david. Since I agree with everything I'm not sure what to start discussing. We'll think of something.


message 12: by Rod (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rod David question:
"I mean, is the fact he is writing a book an indication that even if he argues well, he (we?) have already lost? Are Christian apologetics too "ivory tower" to connect with people who, well, who watch Oprah? Overall he seems down on TV."

I think that mostly apologetics loses. Logic and reason do not bring people to God - but they help build up a Christian who has chosen to sustain his faith with God's understanding. Blind faith is blind...

I hope there are people on the fence about Jesus. Maybe God is using Ravi to help push these people. If someone loves Oprah more than Jesus (and millions do!) then this book is useless to them. There's not alot of Godly truth on television - even on the so-called Christian channels.


message 13: by Rod (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rod David quote:
"He does not use enough footnotes."

That's an interesting thing. Some authors overdo it - and others let it slide. Specific things need to be validated. I'll have to look for this as I read it again.
______________________________________________________

David quote:
"...student who has read Chopra, nor really any who watch Oprah. Are these two his main opponents? Or do they represent, for him, more of a culture..."

The problem is not specifically Oprah and Chopra. They are just the most common abuses of Eastern belief running amok in Western society.


David quote:
" So don't kill me Rod for picking out the parts I found odd..."

Go for it David. You might help me to rethink somethings. :D (I will put up a struggle though - just to dig deeper.)


David Since we're already discussing it, and I limited my comments to chs. 1-2, let's just say this is the chapter 1-2 thread.

I agree with you in comment 12. It just seems to me that Christians have become very good at apologetics; there are Christian philosophers (Alvin Plantinga, William Craig) and Bible scholars (NT Wright, Craig Evans and more) who are not just "Christian" but would qualify as evangelical (traditional, conservative).

It almost seems the next step is for Christians to apply that apologetic to real life. For example, if what Ravi is talking about is that high philosophical ideas have trickled down via television and influenced the masses, then countering with other high philosophical ideas is only step one in responding. Or even, as we said, the problem is not Chopra but that his view almost permeates our culture.

What I am trying to say is we (Christians) need to create good art that is influenced by our worldview and can thus influence people who will not read Ravi books. I don't mean movies that end with an altar call or that have such a blatant message only Christians will watch it (Fireproof). I mean, we need serious Christians writing television shows, making music, making movies and so on.

One example, I think Gran Torino basically preaches the gospel. I am not sure what Eastwood's purpose in such a movie was, but if Christians made movies like that: gritty, real life, but clearly illustrating Christian truth...that might be step two (if Ravi's book is step 1).

I think Lord of the Rings is another example - not as blatantly allegorical as Narnia, but influenced by Christian truth.


message 15: by Lee (new) - rated it 3 stars

Lee Harmon (DubiousDisciple) | 2112 comments Sorry, a bunch of personal issues at once have shut me down for a bit. Will get back on topic after the weekend, I hope.


message 16: by Rod (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rod I hope you're okay Lee. Take care. Let us know if we can pray for anything. :)


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