Re: [asa] Ravi Z. delivers

From: David Clounch <>
Date: Wed Mar 04 2009 - 22:56:38 EST


My personal position would be number 3. I think its the pragmatic

Because of this I think we should feel delighted that God would hold His
hand out to us to give us a boost up and save us from natural disaster. And
I therefore have very little patience with people who ask the question - at
least until they have recognized that #3 exists and somehow have a reason
for moving beyond it to #4.
I am suspicious of those who fail to think of #3 and move first to #4. I
think they are somehow following what C.S. Lewis calls "Christianity and
Water" which is actually mythology. Popular culture preaches that God is a
harsh condemning ogre who punishes. And it then lies and says this is the
teaching of Christianity. I don't think Ravi or anybody else should have
to defend this myth.


On Thu, Mar 5, 2009 at 7:44 AM, Merv Bitikofer <> wrote:

> Combining a couple quick replies this morning ----wish I had more time at
> the moment.
> Dave, actually Ravi's companion (a British speaker who was also quite good
> --I wish I could remember his name) actually fielded this question with
> supporting comments from Ravi. The main thrust of his answer was to say
> that love doesn't have much meaning apart from justice or truth. He used
> the example of how love means the most when it comes from those who know you
> best --foibles & all (but they love you anyway). So --God must love us in
> truth. They didn't get much beyond this stage of the answer & the fellow
> probably didn't consider his question as answered (& speakers gave
> disclaimer as to their ability to completely answer it in that setting.)
> On a personal note -- I think C.S. Lewis' take on this in "The Great
> Divorce" I think, is captured in this line: At the end there will on be
> two kinds of people. Those who say to God "Thy will be done." And those to
> have God say to them: "Thy will be done." <end paraphrased quote> I
> guess Lewis would fit in your option #3 below. And he would think this way
> in full knowledge of Jesus' teachings about "plucking out your eye" & "the
> worm that does not die." That seems to make the most sense to this armchair
> theologian.
> John, I should add the clarification that my scribbled notes from the
> evening were sketchy & I haven't yet procured a DVD (which I hope to do).
> So when I said he wasn't trying to prove (scientifically) God's existence,
> I think he actually explicitly said that --but it was my impression of his
> message when the evening was over (in other words --my words, not his.)
> In fact, I should have remembered this one tidbit which only came up in the
> Q&A session afterwards --and even then was still an aside to his answer.
> One person asked: "How does God work?" Ravi's co-speaker then
> acknowledged that just because something works doesn't mean it's true. BUT
> if it's true, then it works. And then he proceeded to give personal
> testimony which Ravi added to about how God had transformed theirs & others
> lives in a way that other non believing friends had found undeniable. After
> all this Ravi made a string of comments about seeing God at work in the
> world which included this tidbit: ... and when you see "irreducible
> complexity", then you recognize intelligibility behind it. ---Those are
> pretty close to his actual words used. So I.D. did get a nod from him, but
> that was the only time that evening it came up --and even there he hardly
> leaned on it at all.
> --Merv
> David Clounch wrote:
>> Merv,
>> > I was impressed with how they handled one question of how could a
>> gracious, forgiving, and loving God plan eternal punishment for most of
>> humankind.
>> Makes me curious!
>> I have often wondered at such concerns or questions. I think it is not a
>> serious question.
>> There are only two possibilities:
>> 1) One believes there is no such thing as eternal punishment.
>> In which case the question is nonsense and moot
>> 2) One believes there is an eternal punishment or condition
>> In which there are the following possibilities
>> 3) The punishment is just the natural state of being
>> or
>> 4) The punishment is not the natural outcome but is invoked on purpose by
>> God.
>> Only when one gets to #4 does it make sense to ask the question.
> wrote:
>> That's great news about Ravi. His statement about not trying to prove God
>> probably reveals a lot of wisdom. I'm sure he struggles with all the
>> implications that science apologetics can surface for the faith like do we
>> all so for what he is called to do it is probably best to just avoid it. If
>> he left the audience thinking that they can be intellectually fulfilled
>> Christians and didn't say anything that the atheists could disprove and give
>> them fodder to criticize him scientifically, then that is a major victory. I
>> think that is probably the best we can do because drudging up all the TE
>> stuff and mytholizing Genesis and defending Darwin in a popular Christian
>> audience is probably not going to leave people with the same effect and get
>> you invited back.
>> I have said many times that RTB could share inand be effective in this
>> ministry of "intellectually fulfilling Christianity" like Ravi if they would
>> just remain neutral on evolution and not bash it. People are hungry for what
>> to believe about their faith at the intersection of science thanks to the
>> recent popularity of I D and they are getting tired of the YEC stuff. I have
>> seen several hundreds of people turn out to hear Dr. Ross and Fuz before and
>> that is even at a YEC church. It is a tremendous opportunity now for popular
>> ministries like Ravi and RTB to heal the church of its anti-science
>> prejudice and remove that wedge but they just need to learn how to navigate
>> that tricky landscape. Sounds like Ravi has made a lot of progress on this
>> front and is a contender in this challenge. Thanks for the great report
>> Merv. That was very inspiring.
>> John
>> Merv Bitikofer wrote:
>>> Ravi Zacharias did not disappoint his audience in Manhattan, KS, tonight
>>> in a K-State ballroom (& with overflow areas also full watching it on
>>> screen). He was entertaining ---nay, captivating. But more importantly I
>>> think he connected with this university audience with what I would call a
>>> robust unapologetically Christian world view. He made it clear that he
>>> wasn't there to fight, and he didn't belabor any attempted "proof of God"
>>> apologetics. His message heavily majored on the moral argument quoting
>>> heavily from Nietzsche and other more contemporary atheists who Zacharias
>>> used to press home the point that you cannot get meaningful moral basis from
>>> reason alone. And Ravi seemingly admired Nietzsche for facing this fact
>>> head-on, noting & quoting how Nietzsche seemed to bemoan rather than
>>> celebrate the "death of God". Zacharias didn't, however, pretend that we
>>> will be backing anyone into a corner with a knock-down proof. He instead
>>> gave
>> powerful personal testimony for how Christ had transformed his own life.
>> He gave a defense of Pascal's wager (one of the minor things I would
>> have had fun dickering with him about, given the chance. --But such quibbles
>> are easily overlooked at the periphery of his central message.) The only
>> mention Darwin got was in being lumped together with Freud and Marx as a
>> trio representing ideas that people of modern times have sought out to
>> replace God. I stayed until the Q&A looked to be nearly over afterwards,
>> but since it was still going, I could have missed it if Zacharias or his
>> "co-answerer" were pressed in any areas of science.
>>> One intriguing "aside" comment as near as I can remember it: "If Jesus
>>> had been out to dupe his followers regarding the coming resurrection, he
>>> could/would have told them he will be /spiritually /resurrected --which
>>> would make it conveniently non-falsifiable for all ages. Instead we
>>> get/got the bold claim of a bodily resurrection. Most questioners were
>>> obviously Christian & affirming & one who seemed to be in a "seeker"
>>> category was very courteous. I was impressed with how they handled one
>>> question of how could a gracious, forgiving, and loving God plan eternal
>>> punishment for most of humankind. Even though they couldn't (& said they
>>> couldn't) give a complete or satisfactory answer in the time at hand, they
>>> did do well with what they said, I thought.
>>> I was impressed. R.Z. is obviously highly aware of what all the
>>> high-profile new-atheists are saying these days, and he is engaging those
>>> topics (although not so much in science --at least not this evening.) I
>>> should not have been surprised if some in attendance came or will come to
>>> Christ as a result. & yet I also wonder what percentage of attenders
>>> actually were atheists. Most that I glanced around at were probably like me
>>> --there because we were curious. And in that environment of applause and
>>> laughter in all the right places (which is so easily taken as mockery to the
>>> lonely and silent dissenter in its midst), any atheists present would
>>> certainly have felt their minority status keenly. It would have taken a lot
>>> of chutzpah to show any belligerence at the question microphones.
>>> Nevertheless, if non-believers did not feel welcome, it was not because of
>>> Zacharias' talk which was gracious and inviting. At least from one
>>> university podium this night, our faith was well and articulately
>>> represented.
>>> Thank you to those of you who urged me not to miss this.
>>> --Merv

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Received on Wed Mar 4 22:57:12 2009

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