Ravi Zacharias – How do you know that Christianity is the one true worldview?

Exclusivity is one of the most popular charges leveled against the Christian faith. Here, author and apologist Ravi Zacharias and RZIM speaker John Njoroge challenge the assumption that Christianity is alone in making exclusive claims.

You look at the other world religions and see how these 4 questions are dealt with:

  1. Origin
  2. Meaning
  3. Morality
  4. Destiny

These 4 questions have to be answered in 2 ways. Every particular answer has to correspond to truth, either through empirical form of measurement or through the logical reasoning process. And when those 4 answers are put together, they must cohere  and not be incoherent. So, the two tests: Correspondence and coherence. I guarantee you, only in the Judaeo Christian world view will you find these 4 questions answered with corresponding truthfulness and with a coherent worldview.

April 12, 2012 Uploaded by Ravi Zacharias International Ministries

2. Is God concerned with our happiness?

A young man asks Ravi Zacharias an interesting question at Columbia University. Uploaded by Ravi Zacharias International Ministries

Reclame

Dallas Willard – The Nature and Necessity of Worldviews at UCLA

The Veritas Forum at University of California at Los Angeles. Dallas Willard:

  • Truth is in trouble, not just religious or moral, but TRUTH!
  • Truth does not accommodate belief; belief has to accommodate truth.
  • No one has ever made a proposition true simply by believing it.
  • Here’s a question of fact or truth and it has incredible bearings on how we approach our life: Am I, fundamentally, a material object that exists or gets organized by DNA and exists for a little while and then I stop existing? Or, am I an unceasing spiritual being with an eternal destiny in God’s Universe?
  • I always tell my students: The burden of proof is always mine because I am the one who wants to know.

The power of the world view. Dallas Willard talks about what it is and how it works in context. Notes:

Nature and Necessity of World View

  • Your „world view” consists of assumptions about the realities and values that govern you and the world in which you live.
  • It is a biological reality, built into your usual actions and responses.

Knowledge

Our ability to represent things as they are, on an appropriate basis of thought and experience
This is what our universities are devoted to.
But knowledge requires TRUTH.

Truth

A thought or statement is true if what it is about is as that thought or statement represents it.

„An institution of higher education is, by definition, dedicated to the search for truth and its dissemination”. Harvard had a little problem with this and they changed their shield several times. Primarily they were troubled about the issue of the unity of truth and that is: Does truth include the religious, the moral and the other dimensions of truth? Gradually through the years there has been a drift in university affairs that relegates truth to just the natural world. And so our ability to represent God, personal character of the human beings, spiritual side, all of that is eliminated from knowledge. But, truth itself does not do that.

Truth does not accommodate belief; belief has to accommodate truth. No one has ever made a proposition true simply by believing it. Now, maybe their belief in it caused them to act and to bring something about, that made the proposition true. But, merely believing doesn’t make propositions true. A group of people believing it doesn’t help get up a movement. It won’t make it true.

The bitterness of truth is its total indifference to human will and desire together with the fact that human desire and will is set on reshaping reality and therefore truth to suit itself. This is the fundamental conflict in human life. It is the conflict between desire and will and truth. And that conflict affects everything we do, including what we do on the university campus.

The Main World view questions 

When it comes to these world view questions the same questions are there. The question: How do we know the truth? still applies to those. Here’s a question of fact or truth and it has incredible bearings on how we approach our life: Am I, fundamentally, a material object that exists or gets organized by DNA and exists for a little while and then I stop existing? Or, am I an unceasing spiritual being with an eternal destiny in God’s Universe? Wow, what a difference. See?

The Main World View Questions:
*The nature of reality
-What counts as knowledge of reality?
*Who is really well-off?
-Blessedness
-The Good Life
*Who is a „really good” person? (one of the deepest questions)

Jesus and his tradition responds to each of these questions… as do Plato, Buddha, Freud, etc. In the university setting the dominating world view is expressed through what is accepted as research and what counts as possible knowledge. You (university students) are in a system that teaches a world view without responsibly defending it. 

How is a world view taught? 

  • Mainly by body language, facial expressions, tones of voice and inflections, „looks”, off hand remarks about people and events
  • By what is permissible
  • By example – how we treat people (in class, out of class, colleagues)
  • By who gets rewarded or punished in various ways  in the academic or other context
  • Rarely (almost never) by explicit statement. Explicit statement is only used to reinforce what is taught indirectly as previously indicated.

What we have to do with is a kind of orthodoxy, a secular orthodoxy. That is a sociological reality, not a rationally supported outlook. I am, more or less, calling attention to this and saying: Look, this is something we have to deal with. UCLA answers these questions in a pretty straightforward way but, they don’t stand on the street corner and argue for it.

How does the University answer the Four Great Questions?

  • Reality is the natural, sense-perceptible world
  • The spiritual is not real and/or not knowable – That’s been developing for a long period of time in our academic culture and although there’s an increase in talk about spirituality, when any serious moral issue arises it will be treated as not for something which will be treated as a subject for knowledge and that’s because it falls in a non physical realm. You cannot make any sense or morality if you stick to your physics. Same thing is true about logic. Logical implication is not something in the physical world. That doesn’t mean it’s not real. But, one of the funny things in philosophy is you watch people/students who go to study logic and they want to know what it’s all about, what are those funny symbols on the board and they very quickly learn and are socialized that you do not ask that question because if you ask that question, you’re too stupid to understand the answer. Logic, like morality is not a part of the physical world. Now that doesn’t mean it’s not real, it doesn’t mean we don’t know it. It means that under the prevailing outlook, we can’t come to grips with it.
  • You are your body
  • Well being is physical/social well-being: success, money, health

These „Answers” are the Assumptions of what we do and do not do

We wouldn’t try to defend them except in some philosophical context, possibly. But they are the assumptions that we live by and we set up our curriculum in those ways and we judge the qualification of people to teach and not to teach, to publish or not to publish, to get grants and not get grants. That’s where the world-view takes hold.

  • …and HOW we do (or do not do) it
  • They are the assumptions of the training, professionalization, socialization of our faculties.
  • They are not the outcome of rational research. No one has DISCOVERED them, found them to be true.
  • They are not knowledge

How does Jesus answer these four questions?

  • Reality is God and his activities, including the natural world (physical, social)
  • The person is well-off who has a life deriving from God and his „kingdom”
  • The good person is the person pervaded with God’s kind of love: AGAPE love
  • You become a good person by becoming an apprentice of Jesus Christ

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I want to stress this fact: A world view, a basically unified world view that is taught by inflection, action, model. You get crosswise of that you will soon find out that you’re not acceptable. It is very powerful, it is a sociological reality.

There is another world view, it is the one that founded the universities, and, intact dominated the universities until about 75 years ago. That change has come very recently. It is a part of a socialization process that is going on in history, a necessary one, in many respects, in which the university had to divorce itself from the implicit institutions of religion and society. (Recommends the book: The making of the modern university). It wasn’t that suddenly, someone found out that Jesus was wrong. Nobody found that out. It was not discovered, it was negotiated over a period of time in which people decided that it would be that way, and was able to set the tone against it. That’s what happened.

Where we now stand

  • The answers of Jesus constituted the world view of the universities well into the 20th century.
  • We have been locked into a sociological, not an intellectual reaction. We like to think of ourselves as engaged in a rational enterprise in the universities and we are apt therefore simply not to miss and understand the sociological realities that determine the world view that is actually taught.
  • See Julie Reuben, The Making of a Modern University (Book)
  • That goes along with the disappearance of logic from the campus. There’s almost no university or college in the world today that requires a course in simple logic, that is a part of the degree program. Your argument is now judged by your conclusion, not your conclusion by your argument.
  • The answers of Jesus have not been shown false and the now prevailing answers true. Until you recover the sense of logic you can never take that issue up.

Where to now?

  • Recognize that our world view assumptions are what govern life
  • Assume the „burden of proof”. Be a rational „skeptic”. I always tell my students: The burden of proof is always mine because I am the one who wants to know. I’m not in this discussion to put you back on your heels. I’m here to determine the truth and the burden of proof is mine. I’m not trying to win an argument. I think that’s one of the most important things that’s especially for Christians to understand. They’re not here trying to „duck and dodge”. If you can find abetter way than what is Jesus Christ’s offers, He would be the first person to tell you to take it and f you don’t believe that about Him, you can’t be His disciple because you can’t trust Him.
  • Thoroughly consider the teachings of the Bible and the record of Jesus’ people on the main world view issues.
  • Put His teachings to the test of life.
  • Do the same for the world view teachings of the current intellectual.
  • Then honestly compare. Don’t just rest in your „intellectually respectable” prejudices.

Question and answer session begins at the 35th minute.

  1. Do you consider Intelligent Design and Creationism a Science? What is and isn’t science shouldn’t be our fundamental question… Science, for me, is just a fancy word for knowledge… To me the fundamental question is, for any of those ideas is: Are they reasonable? Do they have strong support in the evidence? Do they fit together with a coherent world view?
  2. An atheist states: You use the words :knowledge of God”. I would argue that nobody can read or know the Bible or the Koran really well and know the customs and prayers really well and be sincere in their heart that it’s true, but how can one know God if one, can’t know at the same time, that miracles don’t exist? Logically, those are independent issues. You had many people who had standard arguments for the existence of God who had rejected miracles. It depends on whether you’re going to be a deist or a full blown theist. Christian theists tend to depend upon knowledge of miracles for their knowledge of God, at least partly.
  3. Dr. Willard, you had mentioned during the outlining of the secularization of the university that it was necessarily so, and possibly indicating that it was a good thing. How will I, as a person who does research in the sciences and yet, also have faith in Christ, integrate that and is it wrong to do that? And if the segregation of faith and academy is a good thing? In the period right after World War II, colleges and universities were thought not to be training people well for the future of the country. They were concerned particularly about technology, about science, but they were also concerned about international relations and things like that. There was a lot of criticism and what they experienced was this: Nearly all of the colleges and universities were closely aligned with denominations and what they found was that the denominational distinctives were not open to inquiry. That is why there had to be an opening up between institutional religion and inquiry. That is a good thing because the truth claims of religion should be open to scrutiny as any other field. Historically, religion has not been and that’s why there had to be some distance. Let’s open it now. That is what I am complaining about now on the secular side, we don’t have it (inquiry) because the secular side has trained itself to say that religion is not open to inquiry. That’s the change that had to be made.
  4. What steps do you think can be taken to encourage people to have open forums and do you see the university going in a positive direction or a negative direction? In philosophy, things have gotten considerably better in my lifetime.

Ravi Zacharias and Friends

Apologetics Beyond the Pew: A Conversation with Ravi Zacharias and Friends
Source http://tiu.edu/ Carl F.H.Henry’s Center for Theological Understanding on April 12, 2010. This lecture was given before Ravi Zacharias’s trip to  Romania and Armenia (2010).

  • When you look back upon the landscape of  the last 25 years, or 30 years, there were voices, sounding forth at that time,  of the changes that were coming. I remember listening to Everett Coop and Francis Schaeffer in the 1980’s sounding the alarm of what were then being seen as the moral underpinnings from which extensions would be made and decisions would be made. Who would have ever thought that you would hear ethical theories that we now listen to from the voice of Peter Singer and others. Not just liberal in their thinking, but radically so. At the end of a spectrum of thought, where we not only do not know how to define human life, but, we define it in ways that could actually be stunning and shocking. And, once the shock value is gone they become common ideas and carried into ramifications.
  • We no longer can define what life is. We cannot define what sexuality is. We do not know how to define what marriage means. I remember when Chuck Colson had invited me and a few others to New York some months ago, from which emerged the signing of the Manhattan Declaration, I remember phoning my wife from New York and saying, „I never dreamed of the day when you would have a room full of men and women trying to define a thing like life, marriage, sexuality. Things that you thought would be self evident or that would have some input of the sacred…now totally desacrilized and almost defying any kind of definition or any kind of parameter. But people like Schaeffer warned us of this.
  • Zacharias lists 4 changes he believes have come about in the last 25-30 years:
  1. The popularization of the death of God of the atheistic mindset and the willingness (popularizations) to live with its ramifications a la Hitchens and Dawkins and Dennett and Harris who say what Huxley said, „I want this world not to have meaning because a meaningless world frees me to my own exploits of sexual and political freedom. (Hypocrisy is the charge that vice brings to virtue …deep in their own thinking they know some things are wrong)
  2. It is the third world’s attack upon Western ideas with the pantheistic and postmodern underpinnings to it that has actually made the ideas that shaped the West look juvenile and everything else that comes from abroad look very sophisticated. I have a question for people like that. „Why did you come to the West?” Because there were some moral assumptions that were a quest of the Judeo-Christian framework; even if you didn’t want to give credit to the world view  that framed them, you liked what you saw in the outworking. Do you know that the Chinese government has just commissioned writers to rewrite the history of missions in China because the leadership in China recognized that Missions has not been given a good and fair name? They want to acknowledge the benefit that Missions has done in the last century, principally in two arenas: in education and health and well being for the Chinese people. Think of this statement, „We take these truths to be self evident that we are all created equal…with inalienable rights for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Let me ask you this question, „Do you know of any other world view that would have framed that statement, other than the Judeo-Christian faith?” There are ideas in the Gospels that are not presented anywhere else. Take for example that no where else is there an offer of sacrifice, or of forgiveness,  such as the cross of Christ.
  3. The power to inform through the visual. We now take truth through the eye gate not through reason and so it comes through the back door of the imagination. We’re intended to see through the eye with the conscience. Most people see today with the eye, devoid of a conscience. We’ve got a visually conditioned culture. On the movie Avatar- brilliant in cinematography and now English movies are just beginning to resemble Hindi movies. That’s all it is. Bollywood was 30 yrs ahead on this kind of stuff and 30 yrs ago we would have sat and laughed at this kind of stuff and now it is so engaging. Isn’t it interesting? A Hollywood technocrat, who sees the military as the culprit for destroying lives has never bothered to ask how many souls and consciences Hollywood has destroyed.  We’ve got a generation raised with the visual that has never cerebrally addressed these issues of systemic contradiction.
  4. A youth oriented world as a culture molding point, which means the young ought to really be an audience to whom we speak and how we speak to them. The question is how we reach a generation that thinks with its eyes or listens with its eyes and thinks with its feelings? That’s the challenge.
  • I’ll give you 3 simple responses
  1. We are going to need an apologetic that is not merely heard, but is also seen. If the Christian life is not seen, it will become nothing more than theoretical.
  2. An apologetic that is not merely argued but that is also felt. You cannot have a persuasive preacher if the preacher is not coming through as being persuaded. woe be to me if I preach not the Gospel. Passions are very real, therefore the passion for the Gospel will also have to be real, if it is to appeal to a generation that lives so much with the pathos and the reality of the felt word.
  3. It is an approach that rescues not only the ends of bringing them into the knowledge of Christ, but the means where we do not compromise the Word in process. The Word has a lasting, abiding value as a carrier of truth.

The Three Dominant Worldviews in the University and Their Relationship to the Christian Worldview

„Humanism is a utopian view of human nature. You have to disregard almost everything you know about human beings to believe this.” – Mary Poplin. Poplin is professor of graduate education,in this short clip she talks about worldviews in the academy, and how they relate to the Christian worldview. From The Veritas Forum at UCSB, 2011. Watch this and other full-length talks at veritas.org or watch the full length video below this one.

The Three Dominant Worldviews in the University and

Their Relationship to the Christian Worldview

Mary Poplin  UC Santa Barbara 2009 veritas.org

Michael Easley – Don’t let the world teach you theology

Why we believe what we believe 

 Michael Easley

One of the best lectures I have heard a week ago on the radio (WMBI 90.1 Chicago) by one of the former  presidents of Moody Bible Institute Chicago, as he addresses students at Moody. This is a great lecture for students planning to attend college, those already attending and most especially for parents. The lecture  is only 23 minutes long (and is audio only). The complete CD set of this Moody Today in the Word series can be purchased here.

Dr. Michael Easley

Michael Easley is teaching pastor of Fellowship Bible Church in Brentwood, Tenn., and a former president of Moody Bible Institute. He and his wife, Cindy, have four children.

Link to the Outline/Notes in pdf  form Page 1  and Page 2 here.

“But my fear is that most believers in Jesus Christ have no biblical world theology. They have no clue what it means to live in a world with a biblical grid.”
“Why you believe what you believe must govern all that you do.”
“No fact of contemporary western life is more evident than its growing distrust of a final truth and that is implacable questioning of any sure word”. Karl Henry in God Revelation and Authority
“We fight fact, we fight truth is what he‟s saying.”

Click here to Listen Now (mp3 file) Dr. Michael Easley talks about the crucial importance of knowing why we believe what we believe and reminds us about the role daily Bible reading has in forming our biblical worldview. He talks about how every ivy league university in the US started as theology schools with a Biblical world view, and eventually turned liberal due to the presidents they had.

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