List price: $17.99|
Average customer rating:
3.5 out of 5
ISBN/ASIN : 0849911737
Manufacturer : W Publishing Group|
Release data : September, 1994
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The reason I have chosen to write this review is that I want express how depraved and offensive I found this book to be.
Zacharias attempts to blame rationalism for immorality. So, therefore if one was to follow this train of thought to natural conclusion any Philosopher who attempts comtemplate human existence rationally and logically is encouraging immorality. Excuse me??? Any thinker who after honestly engaging in serious contemplation reaches the profound realization that they cannot ethically and honestly subscribe to a belief in God lacks a moral centre. Excuse me??? The role of the Philosopher is to search for the truth. It clear, however, that Zachiarias' purpose is to twist the truth to trick people into subscribing to organized religion, specifically Christianity. This is extremely obvious through his constant use of the term "anti-theist". Instead of referring to individuals who have decided that they cannot subscribe to a belief in God as Agnostics, Atheists, or nonbelievers. This is just one method which Zacharias uses to go out of his way to demean and harass such indicauls by any means he can.
The claim that all nonbelievers lack a moral centre is absolutely insaine and repugnant. There are plenty of nonbelievers who live exceptionally moral live i.e. Oskar Schindler. Therefore this is a completely morally bankrupt and dishonest book.
Truth Be Told
The truth of the matter is that although the Word says that "Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God", there are still two main obstacles for a secular world. The hurdle of intellect, and the lack of desire for change. At least in this book, Ravi uses reason and logic to show the differences between "good and bad" or "right and wrong" in the subjective mind, and how these cannot be inherently subjective collectively. There is God, or there is not. As a Christian, I found some refreshing tools for ministry, although this certainly isn't for the light reader. Then again, Ravi is not a Max Lucado-type writer anyway. Different authors bring different gifts to the pages, and this is for the intellectually elite. Perhaps that's why it took me so long to get through. Still, it was worth the long nights.
Incredibly powerful, masterful work of philosophy and logic
Ravi has probably reached the epitome of his philosophical genius with this monumental work. This is by far one of the most valuable resources and introductions to the Christian worldview in my library. Ravi sets a new course in the field of Christian apologetics by viewing and addressing secular worldviews in a way that really only he could pull off well. Instead of writing a book proving the existence of a God, a task that he has already shown he is well up to, he gives this idea very little ground in this book, really relegating that stream of argument to the Appendices. Instead, he seeks to demonstrate to the reader the consequences of their particular worldviews - he does not try to prove or disprove them (though some of that still shows up occasionally), but instead goes through the philosophies of not only atheists and Christians, but other religions as well, showing where each train of thought leads, both through logic and experience.
Here there are more than a few critics that jump in and take issue with Ravi's treatment of the subject. For example, the issue of Stalin, addressed in earlier reviews on this site. However, I note to the reviewers that Ravi never said that Stalin's path was the only path of an atheist. No, in fact, repeatedly he states that in fact many atheists are just the opposite, people who are good, fair, and kind, who view the world with goodwill, not with hatred like Stalin or Hitler. But here is the ultimate question, then: Are the actions of Stalin and Hitler products of their worldview? The answer can only be yes. There is enormous historical evidence supporting this claim. Hitler did not admire Jesus - if for nothing else, he would have hated him for being a Jew! Hitler used false claims of personal faith in Christianity to advance his own ambition and force the Church to stay out of his affairs. Stalin did not even bother with that. Nothing in these men's worldviews were logical outflowings of the teachings of the Bible. Quite the opposite.
On the other hand, though, there is an undeniable link between the philosophy of Nietzsche and the worldviews of these two evil men, a link that Ravi clearly outlines. The issue is not whether Nietzsche was a homicidal maniac obsessed with power or not; the issue is the fact that the philosophy of Nietzsche logically led to the deadly philosophy of Hitler and Stalin. Nietzsche, in effect, did not live his life in accordance with his philosophy on life - Hitler, on the other hand, did.
The point? Ravi makes a brilliant case that the worldview of the atheist is just as ugly in its ramifications as the worldview of Hitler, whether or not its adherents are living according to the philosophy they hold or not.
On this note, then, one can refute the counter-argument used in some of the reviews on this site. What about 'Christian' atrocities? The persecution of Jews in the Middle Ages? The horrific and bloody Crusades? The answer, Ravi states firmly, is that the men who ordered and carried out these acts were not living according to the Christian worldview they professed to hold - they simply used the banner of Christianity to advance their own greed and malice. The Bible does not endorse any of these atrocities, neither does a worldview firmly grounded in the Bible allow for these crimes.
In addition to all of this, Ravi outlines a truly outstanding look at how, practically, the worldview of atheism leaves the man without God as without ultimate meaning, significance, hope, love, truth, or even lasting joy. How can there be any of these things when all we are is simply a bundle of skin, bones, muscles, nerves, and a puny brain that breaks down in a pathetic 120 years at the most, with no life after death, with no reason to live for others in a life where the most we can do is have as much fun as we can before its all over. Sure, we can have a fleeting sensation of joy, a passing stab of love, a misguided hope, but in the end, its all gone, and we are no more. How sad! How pointless an existence! Yet, logically, this is the path of atheism. Any atheist who claims otherwise, if his worldview is correct, is simply living under an illusion.
But Ravi points out the alternative - the Christian worldview. In it, we have a logical and incredibly strong foundation for ultimate knowledge, meaning, love, hope, truth, joy, and so many other benefits!
Again, as Ravi indeed reminds us, this is with the assumption that there is a God. If there is not, then Christians are merely fooling ourselves with an illusion, a fantasy land of happiness, when Hitler and Stalin had the right idea all along - live for yourself, and enjoy it while it lasts.
Thankfully, Ravi gives a short, yet very powerful, list of proofs of the existence of God to back up the foundation of his book. Indeed, I found the Appendices one of the richest parts of the book! Take his recommendations and read the books he lists as further reading. Once one has established the existence of God as overwhelmingly true (and believe me, there are arguments out there that I have yet to hear any atheist refute), then this book has all the more power and punch to its message.
In summary, this is a book to read, whether you are a Christian, Moslem, Jew, or atheist, or any other adherent to a belief system. Ravi is a masterful philosopher, an unmatched apologist, a sympathetic and easy-to-understand author, and a humble man. This is definitely one of the classics in its field.