Home > Apologetics > The sickening apologetics of Ravi Zacharias

The sickening apologetics of Ravi Zacharias

I’ve been collating my references the past week, putting the annotations I’ve attached to the books I’ve read into an excel spreadsheet for easier access when writing blogs or discussing issues and I came across this oldie but a goodie.

Christianity is often sold as this worldview of superior morality, that Christians are and should be humble, fair, harmonic, kind and good (Lewis, Mere Christianity, pg XV,73, 2002. Moreland, The God Question, pg 86, 2009 etc ) yet is this always the case? Well it seems only when they’re talking about their specific “in” crowd. How do apologetical authors discuss those not in their “in“crowd? Let’s let Ravi take us through a tour of just how fair and kind a Christian can be about atheism…

Atheism drove Nietzsche insane:

“Nietzsche wanted to look life squarely in the eye, with no God to obstruct his vision, and the picture he saw was agonizing to his mind. He saw no vast mind behind the framing of this world; he heard no transcending voice giving counsel to this world; he saw no light at the end of the tunnel, and he felt the loneliness of existence in its most desolate form.” (Zacharias, pg 27, 2007)

Atheism is supported by evolution which gave (*ehrm* the Catholic) Hitler his ideas for the Holocaust (not Luther?), which was propelled by an “atheistic worldview“:

“If atheism gains life-sustaining support from atheistic evolution, then it cannot shut the floodgates to the tidal waves of its philosophical implications… the theory of the dominion of the strong over the weak is not the abuse of natural selection; rather it is at the heart of it. Hitler unintentionally exposed atheism and dragged it where it was reluctantly, but logically, forced into it’s consequences.” (Zacharias, pg 63, 2007)

On atheist intellectuals:

“To be an intellectual is a great privilege, but to be an intellectual without God is dangerous.”  (Zacharias, pg 67, 2007)

On atheists self alienation:

“The great struggle for meaning, encompassed with a deep sense of alienation, is a necessary condition of the atheistic worldview.  (Zacharias, pg 73, 2007)”

Atheism is just depressing:

“Atheism walks with its head down, earthbound, which is why it grasps nothing of eternal value. It must admit its predicament: without God, there is no meaning to life.”  (Zacharias, pg 87, 2007)

Atheists have no hope or morals (oh an we’re junkies):

“Having killed God, the atheist is left with no reason for being, no morality to espouse, no meaning to life, and no hope beyond the grave…Those who do not have hope, in an effort to drown their despair, turn to drugs or alcohol or other experiments that they think will break this stranglehold of futility.”  (Zacharias, pg 98, 2007)

Now, what atheists have to do, you think it’s going to be positive?

“… atheists must make sense out of a random first cause, denounce as immoral all moral denunciation, express meaningfully all meaninglessness, and find security in hopelessness.”  (Zacharias, pg 106, 2007)

Atheists are blind (and despots):

The atheist misses this glimpse through larger eyes than his own. Such a person is confronted with a universe that is intelligible and mysterious. But, in the despotism of his naturalistic worldview, such a person attempts to remove the mystery and only succeeds in decimating the intelligence.”  (Zacharias, pg 122, 2007)

Atheists just want to live a life of sin, that’s why we don’t believe in a god or god’s:

“The atheist’s biggest struggle comes here. A man or woman rejects God neither because of intellectual demands nor because of the paucity of evidence. One rejects God because of a moral resistance that refuses to admit one’s need for God.”  (Zacharias, pg 155, 2007)

Ravi has, I’m sure, given us all something to think about, and has indeed shown, that Christianity does contain the highest morality possible, certainly superior to any other type (be it secular, Islamic etc). He’s convinced me, all praise be to Jeebus.

References

Lewis C.S., (2002). Mere Christianity (50th Anniversary Ed.). Hammersmith, London. Harper-Collins Publishers. Pp- XV, 73.

Moreland J.P., (2009). The God Question. Eugene, Oregon. Harvest House Publishers. Pp-86.

Zacharias R., (2007). The Real Face of Atheism. Grand Rapids, MI. Baker Books. Pp- 27,63,67,73,87,98,106,123,155.

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Categories: Apologetics
  1. Matt
    December 23, 2012 at 8:47 pm

    Rob, I see Ravi’s quotes but no refutation of the points he makes. If you read Nietzsche, you’ll soon find Nietzsche just to be the first philospher to take atheistic evolution to it’s logical ends. For example, if you believe in democracy, equality, and objective morality, Nietzsche would say that you are a coward, closet platonist. In Thus Spoke Zerathusta, Nietzsche makes the point that God is dead. He embraces Darwin and atheism honestly (unlike most aethiest) and all the implications of an objective moral law giver. Thus, it is foolish to uphold the weak. It is foolish to protect the helpless. Allowing the weak to die off and allowing the strong to survive is consistant with evolutionary progress, furthers the human race genetically, and, really, becomes an evolutionary morality. Out of this warped framework comes Nietzsche’s central thought of the Ubermensche and the Will to Power. Ravi is only stating fact which you did not refute. Second, Hitler held a nominal religiousity to aid in decieving the masses. Study Hilter and you’ll find his adoration for Darwin. The Für took practiced guided evolution by way of steralizing the weak, handicapped, and mentally disabled. Hitler taughted Nietzsche’s The Will To Power and used much of Nietzsche’s musing in Mein Kampf. For Darwin/Nietzsche conditioned German minds, atheistic evolution rocketed Hitler’s madness to the rhelm of logical consideration and prosseive thought. All this goes without mention of massive Christian persecution by the Soviets who outlawed Christianity.

    • January 2, 2013 at 4:17 am

      Thanks so much for your thoughts Matt, sorry for the late reply, Christmas and New Year celebrations got the best of me.

      As to your points: I put the Nietzsche quote in to demonstrate that Ravi is using fallacious reasoning, an ad hominem to atheists and atheism, essentially “Atheism made Nietzsche feel x, therefore atheism is x”. Atheism is true or not, it matters little what it made Nietzsche feel. Its not at all clear, from Ravi’s interpretation or the very selective group of Nietzsche’s writings that atheism was what Nietzsche had in mind at all, or that his thinking was influenced by atheism (and not say, the problems in philosophy at the time, such as those posited by the growing Continental and phenomenological traditions about truth, subjectivity, ontology etc). Moreover Ravi is speaking to Nietzsche’s intentions in my quote, without arguing extensively for that position, I think I’m right to point out that thinking is flawed. In fact, you have argued more extensively for Ravi’s position, than he did. It is not clear at all that Ravi is stating ‘fact’, and there seems to be good reason to think that instead, he is twisting the arguments and evidence to say frankly derogatory and offensive things about atheists, which supports my original contention that his apologetics are sickening.

      As to Hitler, the entire assumption that atheism has anything to do with evolution, and therefore somehow fed into Hitler’s thinking is ridiculous. Atheism is only the lack of belief in a god or gods it is not given “life-sustaining support” from anything as atheists can still hold any number of ridiculous beliefs, including rejecting evolution. There is no necessary connection between the two. I see no engagement from Ravi with evolution science, on it’s definitions, his Spencerian view of the strong over the weak is itself a bastardization of the theory of evolution taken to serve his purposes. It is telling that he thinks Hitler did exactly what he has done, misunderstand evolution to create negativity.

      You said: “The Für took practiced guided evolution by way of steralizing the weak, handicapped, and mentally disabled. ”

      Reply: What you talk of is eugenics, not the theory of evolution.

      It is clear you have studied Nietzsche, do you have a blog or something I might be able to read further on?

  2. Paul Clemmings
    March 24, 2014 at 11:57 pm

    Ravi’s been making moronic arguments for years.

    • Paul Walker
      July 17, 2014 at 3:44 am

      You have no argument, no insight, just insults…

  3. Paul Walker
    July 17, 2014 at 3:42 am

    You are wrong, Jesus said it, it may be cliche to you, but he said ” I am the truth” secular thinking decries truth and models it to suit it’s own ends, what is truth? What Jesus said, Truth is God, God is truth.

    • July 17, 2014 at 7:15 am

      Hi Paul, welcome! I’m sorry what does your quote have to do with the above?

  4. Tim O
    January 18, 2016 at 3:24 pm

    I stumbled upon this out random curiousity trying to determine why modern evangelical christianity is so anti-intellectualism. This led me down a rabbit hole to Ravi Zacharias and somehow this piece.

    I’m sorry to say but all i got from reading the piece (particularly the last paragraph) was: “Ravi Zacharias doesn’t understand atheism and he keeps insulting us atheists, therefore I am upset with him and all christian apologists and have no interest in listening to any more of their offensive drivel”

    If that depiction is accurate (as I believe it is, but feel free to contest me on that), then you are simply using an emotional response to justify why you reject Christianity.

    Which seems to be a common theme I’ve seen when christian and atheist intellectuals engage in debate. And it happens on both sides. It’s all intellectual, rational, & logical fun and games until someone strikes an emotional nerve, and then either the christian or the atheist clams up and refuses to venture any further in what i consider a fruitful debate.

    Why is that? Why can’t we just be logical reasoning robots devoid of any emotion, I wonder?

    Just curious…..

    • January 18, 2016 at 4:15 pm

      Well you’re not wrong, and I guess my original intention was something along the lines of pointing out how the supposedly righteous, can often be far from such (in his obvious misunderstanding and slandering of atheists).

      Regarding me disregarding all realms of possibilities regarding Christian philosophies based simply on Ravi being a loud mouth (or any religious person for that matter), seems far fetched to me, but allow me to alleviate your concerns. My rejection of God claims has, as much as it is possible to be, been the result of careful, and I dare say thoughtful introspection and research. I could be wrong, sure, I’m open to that possibility, but as yet I remain unconvinced.

      This clear it up any?

  5. Mongrel
    February 11, 2017 at 12:06 am

    It is not whether Ravi’s spoken words are necessarily true or false, it’s whether or not God’s Word pours out His truth into the hearts of man. We all have the choice to either reject or accept that truth.

    John 1:1-5 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

    • February 11, 2017 at 1:34 am

      Mongrel, I worry that your simply proclamations of a choice in regards to either accepting or rejecting the “truth” don’t properly account for the nature of belief (is it a matter of choice?), moreover even if belief is a choice, what if the non believer simply does not feel the evidence for the “truth” is sufficient? Who do we blame?

      I feel preaching here will go on deaf ears, I have no connection emotionally, or intellectually to that material, it sounds insane to me.

      • Mongrel
        February 13, 2017 at 10:43 pm

        Thank you Rob, I appreciate you engaging in discussion with me on this topic.

        I will do my best to not sound preachy, while at the same time providing reasoning and scriptural reference for my argument. If one is presented with an option one can make a choice. Freewill is indeed a reality, even when enslaved or deceived, one can still make ones own choices. Granted some situations make going against the grain of coercion or persuasion or deception challenging, yet there is still freewill. We as individual people are presented with millions of options and make thousands of choices everyday (hyperbole).

        The awesome beauty of the gospel is described in the following passage, I will first quote it and then explain why it has emboldened my belief that the word of God is true.

        1 Corinthians 1:18-25

        18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, And bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.”

        20 Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. 22 For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; 23 but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks[b] foolishness, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

        This passage accurately describes you and me and every other person in this world in relation to the gospel. You are a “Greek” according to this passage; because you seek after wisdom but do not believe the bible is true or accurate. And you therefore believe that it is foolishness. I, who was also a “Greek, am now “called” by God because I believe that what the bible says is true and that the truths within accurately portray the reality that we can and cannot see with our eyes. To me the gospel is the power and wisdom of God.

        Those of us who point to the bible as a source of evidence for our beliefs have often been accused of partaking in the “begging the question” fallacy. Which makes complete and total sense to a “Greek” nonbeliever. But to a Greek believer the bible makes complete and total sense. In some sense, for the believer, the “veil” of ignorance has been removed from their eyes. That we have been living in an upside down and blinded reality all along. Blinded by darkness. Blinded by our inherent sin nature. I do not expect that this anecdotal evidence will convince you. But I would be happy to provide both biblical and external “evidences” that have lead me to my faith.

        Here is one argument.

        All forms of life that we know about arise from DNA (or RNA if you consider some viruses to be life forms). DNA (and/or RNA) is a blueprint or a set of instructions. Instructions are a form of language which convey meaning and direction. Outside of the realm of living organisms, we do not know of any other naturally occurring set of instructions or languages. This line of reasoning of course points towards an intelligent Creator. Which does not necessarily make the God of the bible the creator that this evidence points towards. Yet it is indeed a good start. I next look to the bible which is rife with language that talks about God “speaking” creation into existence. Genesis 1. God said “let there be light.” In John 1 Jesus is referred to as the Word and in him was life, and that life was the light of men. That Word of life is the gospel. The God and Creator of the bible not only claims to be The Creator but has told us that there is evidence of Him found in all of his creation which shows that he is The Creator. Psalm 19:1 The heavens are declaring the glory of God, and their expanse shows the work of his hands.

        I hope I wasn’t too long winded there. I will keep future posts more concise.

  6. February 15, 2017 at 6:29 am

    It’s my pleasure Mongrel 🙂

    I’ll leave aside the argument on whether we actually have free will, particularly libertarian free will (I tend to call myself a compatibalist), and focus instead on the rest.

    You said: “This passage accurately describes you and me and every other person in this world in relation to the gospel. You are a “Greek” according to this passage; because you seek after wisdom but do not believe the bible is true or accurate. And you therefore believe that it is foolishness.”

    I don’t think all of the Bible as “foolishness” I kind of look at it like a Spiderman comic, some accurate things, some historical things, and some, well, not so historical or accurate things.

    You said “I, who was also a “Greek, am now “called” by God because I believe that what the bible says is true and that the truths within accurately portray the reality that we can and cannot see with our eyes. To me the gospel is the power and wisdom of God.

    Those of us who point to the bible as a source of evidence for our beliefs have often been accused of partaking in the “begging the question” fallacy. Which makes complete and total sense to a “Greek” nonbeliever. But to a Greek believer the bible makes complete and total sense. In some sense, for the believer, the “veil” of ignorance has been removed from their eyes. That we have been living in an upside down and blinded reality all along. Blinded by darkness. Blinded by our inherent sin nature. I do not expect that this anecdotal evidence will convince you. But I would be happy to provide both biblical and external “evidences” that have lead me to my faith.”

    The problem with this for me is it all seems so circular, in the sense of “believe and then you will see the truth”. References to god guiding you to find god. Moreover who is doing the blinding? My nature? Well my sinful nature, one might argue, is not my fault (if you’re talking original sin). These are things that happened before my birth, that I have been born into. That is all assuming of course the reliability of such account. I think this is what I was referring to when I suggested we are talking past each other. Your dialect, I don’t live in this worldview. I need evidence for everything you’re asserting: sin, god, the accounts of the Bible etc because I don’t believe any of it.

    Regarding your argument, I’ll attach an article from the Encyclopaedia of Philosophy, who would say it better than me:

    “In all of the contexts in which we legitimately make the design inference in response to an observation of information, we already know that there exist intelligent agents with the right sorts of motivations and abilities to produce information content; after all, we know that human beings exist and are frequently engaged in the production and transmission of information. It is precisely because we have this background knowledge that we can justifiably be confident that intelligent design is a far more probable explanation than chance for any occurrence of information that a human being is capable of producing. In the absence of antecedent reason for thinking there exist intelligent agents capable of creating information content, the occurrence of a pattern of flowers in the shape of “Welcome to Victoria” would not obviously warrant an inference of intelligent design.

    The problem, however, is that it is the very existence of an intelligent Deity that is at issue. In the absence of some antecedent reason for thinking there exists an intelligent Deity capable of creating biological information, the occurrence of sequences of nucleotides that can be described as “representing information” does not obviously warrant an inference of intelligent design—no matter how improbable the chance explanation might be. To justify preferring one explanation as more probable than another, we must have information about the probability of each explanation. The mere fact that certain sequences take a certain shape that we can see meaning or value in, by itself, tells us nothing obvious about the probability that it is the result of intelligent design.”

    http://www.iep.utm.edu/design/#SH2b

    • Mongrel
      February 17, 2017 at 3:03 am

      I understand. What we’re talking about here can not be forcefully persuaded. A case cannot be presented that states that this is undisputable proof which you must believe and if it’s good enough then you’ll believe. It’s the exact opposite. You can only know the truth when or if you seek to know if it’s true. It all seems circular until that moment you realize that it is not.

      “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. Matthew 7:7 NIV

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