Restoring the soul in a disintegrating cultureOverview
In this compelling volume, Ravi Zacharias examines the mystery of evil. This brilliant writer and gifted teacher traces how secularization has led to a loss of shame, pluralization has led to a loss of reason, and privatization has led to a loss of meaning.Publishers Description
In this compelling volume, Ravi Zacharias examines the mystery of evil. This brilliant writer and gifted teacher traces how secularization has led to a loss of shame, pluralization has led to a loss of reason, and privatization has led to a loss of meaning.
Ravi Zacharias resources
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.4" Width: 5.5" Height: 0.6"
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Release Date Feb 1, 1998
Publisher Thomas Nelson
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|J.M. for W.M. Jan 3, 2007|
|I love anything Ravi Zacharias writes. He brings you to the only conclusion possible in whatever spiritual truth he is presenting, and I love this. But greater still --- there is in Ravi Zacharias a truth that transcends intellect -- he genuinely loves the Lord he writes (or speaks) about. This makes his books or his sermons worth my attention.|
|The Best Book by Ravi Zacharias Oct 20, 2006|
|"When we see our hearts as God sees them, we find His strength, not only to understand good and evil, but to act on it. The one who resists this truth has nowhere to turn." (p. 184)|
Ravi Zacharias is a native of India, but got Saved and converted to Christianity as a young man. He is most famous as a public speaker for explaining and defending Christian concepts in an intellectually thoughtful context, mostly by debunking the faulty viewpoints of the opposition. Where other radio preachers and book authors are heavy on emotionally expounding upon Scripture, Ravi's unique approach focuses on intellectual discourse. He talks and reasons his way as to why Christianity and Bible teachings are correct, without necessarily using Scripture as the sole evidence, but rather by using logic and focused thinking. He teaches Bible truths and values using observations about society, history, and culture.
I personally find that Ravi is most concise and focused on the radio, not in his books, nevertheless, in his autobiography, WALKING FROM EAST TO WEST, Ravi says that DELIVER US FROM EVIL and THE REAL FACE OF ATHEISM are his bestselling books. I have read both, and I think this book, DELIVER US FROM EVIL, is his strongest work.
"It was not the Code of Hammurabi that touched America's conscience. Nor was it the intent or content of the Koran. By no stretch of imagination was it the pantheistic framework of Eastern mysticism. America's soul was indubitably formed in keeping with the basic assumptions and injunctions of this, the moral law of the Hebrews, which gave her a vision of history's linear thrust whereby she was to reconcile liberty with law." (p. 154)
In DELIVER US FROM EVIL, Ravi writes about the state of Western culture, which has largely abandoned Bible-based morality and thus also suffered the consequences which we must now try to redeem. "Freedom can be destroyed, not just by its retraction, but also by its abuse." (p. 86)
The popular concept that there are no absolute truths, and thus anything goes, morally speaking, is at the basis of today's sorry state of affairs, culturally speaking. "An ABSOLUTE is basically an unchanging point of reference by which all other changes are measured...RELATIVISM is, therefore, only another word for ANARCHY, and that is why truth itself becomes elusive when there is no longer a point of reference." (p. 219)
The danger is that without a commonly accepted standard of morality, our culture is constantly under attack from within, by people with unhappy, desperate hearts which know no peace, and who wish to enforce an absence of morality. "Rebellion that sees no sanctity in life's essence is a constant state of mind bespeaking a heart that will never be satisfied." (p. 136)
This can only be done by trying to build a consensus that there is no God, the Bible is not real, and all that exists and may be considered is the material world--ripped away from any spiritual meaning or purpose. "...secularization assumes that this world--the material world-- is all we have...secularism is the philosophy of choice for American intellectual and political life." (p. 23)
In the USA, where the the 1st Amendment has been perverted by religion haters to mean freedom FROM religion, the problem is one that we are living with everyday, and not for the betterment of society, but to its detriment. "Not only has secularization brought us a silent universe with no voice from without, it has also brought us a silence from within as it has redefined the whole role of conscience." (p. 56)
Have you ever been self-righteously confronted by someone defending morally reprehensible things, while condemning the concept of morality itself? "In an unbelievable and shocking turn of events we have moved from speaking out against certain moral choices to being pressured by political enforcement and the so-called tolerant cultural elite not only to accept what was once disapproved of, but to celebrate it. Allowance for people to determine their own moral destinies has been supplanted by the demand that even that which may be repugnant or offensive to one's moral sensitivities must be acclaimed and glorified." (p. 133)
The anti-Christian spirit of this age has increasingly, and secretively, turned to the power of a secular judicial system of government to try to enforce immorality and condemn morality. "...the power to create and enforce moral relativism has been placed into the hands of government. Political power is a strange place to entrust morality because proverbially politics is not synonymous with moral uprightness. The very institution that is distrusted most has now become the shaper of the soul." (p. 78)
These days, we are pretty far along the wrong path in our Western culture, and the good guys are very late in catching onto the game plan of the bad guys, to wit, the public school system has been taken over by secularist believers who get to teach their secular view of life while condemning a Christian worldview because it opposes their immoral behavior. "The whole point of state controlled education is that it gives to the government the power to shape the souls and write on the fresh slates of young hearts... to assume that they accept that responsibility from a posture of neutrality is to live under the most destructive illusion." (p. 138)
By the time I finished this book, I thought that Ravi explained how things got so bad in our culture, and that knowing that much, we are better equipped to understand and deal with the situation, which will basically require an act of God to straighten out, of course, but God will win in the end. Christians know how the Bible ends and the true believing Christians end up in Heaven, while what do the secularist have to look forward to in the end? Nothing, by their own perspective, and worse, eternal damnation from a Biblical viewpoint. You can't beat God in the end. "Throughout history the Word of God has remained firm; it rises up to outlive its pallbearers." (p. 190)
Amen that, Ravi, amen that.
|The rotten fruits of postmodernism Mar 5, 2006|
|This book examines the Zeitgeist or spirit of the age, points out what is wrong with it and how to reverse the destructive trend. The modern era is taken as the period 1789 - 1989 and the Post-modern as the one that followed. The West is currently in the grip of the PoMo mindset, more so in Europe than in the USA. |
Whereas reason was held as the highest value under modernism, it has been ridiculed by postmodernism where truth is considered to be extinct. Purpose and design were emphasized in modernism, but postmodernism emphasizes chance and randomness. The post-modern spirit considers values as relative and celebrates unreason and the loss of meaning. Deconstruction and contradiction are its gods.
Although the modern pursuit was inhospitable towards spiritual truth, debate was still possible because information was subject to induction and deduction. In the post-modern mentality the purpose of debate or dialogue is not to discover truth, since here facts have no legitimacy. Debate is therefore impossible.
The first section of the book is titled The Moods Of The Present; it explores the ideas and circumstances that gave birth to the current cultural struggle. The author rigorously investigates the PoMo mindset in the light of the fruits it has borne. This part contains interesting references to sources as varied as The Great Divorce and The Pilgrim's Regress by CS Lewis, the thoughts of GK Chesterton and even song lyrics by The Moody Blues (Question) and Carly Simon (Playing Possum).
The second section looks at voices from the past, those that have shaped Western culture down the ages. As postmodernism mocks the promise once offered by modernity, religion comes under even greater assault, partly because of the faults of politicised religion. Theocracy is not the answer. The real hope lies in a change of heart in the individual.
This section includes the poem Ozymandias by Percy Bysshe Shelley and an interesting quote by Peggy Noonan, among others. The author discusses the history of Manasseh, son of Hezekiah. Manasseh turned out to be one of the most evil kings in the history of ancient Judah. He was a practitioner of "multiculturalism,' introducing hideous habits like infanticide from the surrounding nations.
Zacharias provides a frightening description of what these sacrifices of children to Moloch must have been like. It shows how one person can lead millions into evil, when a nation ceases to think clearly. After Manasseh, the righteous King Josiah led the kingdom of Judah back to God again.
Section 3 explores the mystery of evil, with reference to the trial of Eichmann and popular culture like the movie Pulp Fiction in which murder is trivialized. The beautiful poem The Coming by R S Thomas is reproduced here, and the grace of God and the invitation to redemption are discussed.
Appendix A: The Ineradicable Word is a defence of the uniqueness and authority of the Bible, a brilliant apologetics for the veracity of the message in our Judeo-Christian scriptures. It deals inter alia with the transcultural nature of truth and the transformation of the soul.
Appendix B: Inextinguishable Light, deals with the structure of reason, certainty and the matter of absolutes. It includes a quote from Malcolm Muggeridge warning of the spiritual plague of relativism. It explains the relationship of logic - reason - truth and the Word as truth in the battleground of the heart.
The book concludes with an Annotated Bibliography of the Bible, Notes by chapter and a Study Guide with questions to use as a workbook. I also recommend Sinisterism by Bruce Walker, While Europe Slept by Bruce Bawer, Menace in Europe by Claire Berlinski, The Dragons Of Expectation by Robert Conquest, The Force Of Reason by Oriana Fallaci, The West's Last Chance by Tony Blankley and Our Culture: What's Left Of It by Theodore Dalrymple.
|a great read for critical thinkers of the Christian faith Jan 14, 2005|
|this book is a great tool for critical thinkers of the Christian faith. Ravi Zacharias delivers a compelling although often wordy description of how pluralism has degraded and made a mockery of absolute truth. |
|I recommend that all Christians read this book Apr 25, 2004|
|In this thought-provoking book, author and Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias looks at the culture of the modern West, and sees it locked in a crisis that is already producing evil before our eyes. The first part of the book looks at the rise of three interlocking principles: 1) militant secularism, 2) moral relativism-based multiculturalism, and 3) the privatization of religion (demanding a separation of religion from public life). With piercing analysis, Dr. Zacharias examines the heart of the West's problems (mainly the United State's problems), how we got to where we are, and what it means. |
This book is definitely one to give you much food for thought. Indeed, some of his statements seem prescient in light of the recent flaps over gay marriage and the Passion movie. I would recommend that all Christians read this book. By the way, when you finish the last chapter of the book, keep reading, the two appendices on the Bible and truth are fascinating and should not be skipped.
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