Re: [asa] Ravi Z. delivers

From: <mrb22667@kansas.net>
Date: Thu Mar 05 2009 - 07:45:35 EST

Quoting David Clounch <david.clounch@gmail.com>:

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

I'm sure you would agree, though, that trumping even the question of whether
it's pragmatic is: "Is it true?". Regarding your comments below, I think we're
in agreement, but couldn't those who dwell on #4 be "forgiven" for thinking the
Bible teaches it? We could appeal to Scripture to show how it is in God's
character to love and be merciful and that He wills that ALL would be saved.
But there are plenty of Scriptures (& from the mouth of Jesus, no less) to
remind us of a wrathful God as well. The #4 people tend to reciprocate our
suspicions by thinking that "wishy washy liberals" want to major on the love of
God and to pretend that His judgment and wrath don't exist. (...or so would run
the counter stereotype.) While I'm not sure yet how to completely reconcile
the two, (where justice and mercy kiss) I can certainly understand how somebody
would come away from casual Bible reading feeling that #4 was the option
looming from Scripture. One thing seems sure, though. God's love is not blind
(at least not at first. --it may precede a deliberate Divine 'forgetfulness',
somehow.) And even our best worldly love, for spouse, family, etc. mirrors the
Divine in being anything BUT blind.

--Merv

> 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.
>
> Thanks,
> Dave
>
> On Thu, Mar 5, 2009 at 7:44 AM, Merv Bitikofer <mrb22667@kansas.net> 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.
> >>
> >
> >
> >
> > john_walley@yahoo.com 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 Thu Mar 5 07:45:55 2009

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