Is God Relevant in Our Time?
Authors: Ravi Zacharias and Vince Vitale
In Jesus Among Secular Gods Ravi Zacharias and Vince Vitale examine the Christian worldview and how it differs from what we hear every day: science disproves God, all truths are valid, God/religion is a nice panacea that makes life palatable to the masses, living is only as valid as the pleasure you can wrestle from it, morality is relative, and so on. Across eight chapters, Ravi and Vitale trade authorship back and forth, looking at each claim: its good points and where it falls short, combining science, philosophy, academic arguments, and personal experience into a holistic and ultimately respectful discussion that shows the truth to be inviolable: there is a God, and He is Jesus.
I discovered Ravi about a year ago on YouTube during a time of deep soul searching and an accompanying bought of paralyzing anxiety. Ravi has an authoritative, yet kind voice. He doesn’t always tell you what you want to hear, but he always tells you the truth as he sees it, backed up by common sense and hard data. Ravi is an intellectual, and his reasoning and explanations go far beyond the simple into deep theological discussions that occasionally left me stymied, whether from his extremely erudite vocabulary or his ease with both heady philosophical and scientific concepts. In Jesus Among Secular Gods, Ravi’s voice is easier to follow, although just as overwhelmingly and inescapably true as always. Ravi starts with the complex and, as usual, ends with a real world application. Here is what the theory says and means in the abstract, he says, and here is where it leads you when employed. Here are real people and here is their hurt. This is what your “nice on paper” philosophy actually means. It’s hard to refute and even more impactful because Ravi weaves it into the hard, gut-punch scientific and philosophical arguments we, as a culture, find so compelling. Science never disproved God, despite the erroneous logic we’ve all been taught to apply.
Vince Vitale follows a similar modus operandi and, traitor that I am, I found that I responded to his voice and reasoning even more so than Ravi’s. Maybe it was the topics he covered: Vitale got a lot of the heavy science chapters after all, but I think a lot of it was in his way of telling. I like to tell myself that I am smart, but I often have to fight to fully understand what Ravi is saying. With Vitale, he never dumbs down the concepts and arguments, but something about his language made it entirely more accessible to me and immediately impactful.
Jesus Among Secular Gods explores a lot of the accepted secular worldviews of our time, namely atheism (Richard Dawkins and Stephen Hawking, respectively, are discussed a lot here as are their assertions), the idea that science is inherently opposed to God (Vitale takes us through the fine-tuning argument specifically), pluralism (i.e. everything is equally as true), relativism (morality and truth all depend on circumstance), humanism (there is no God, yet we can somehow define being good to each other without Him), and hedonism (life has no meaning, so let’s live it up – an option it must be noted that only privileged peoples and nations have). Ravi and Vitale comb through all the arguments in favor and against, from the academic to the intensely personal. In the end, we have a compelling argument for Jesus, who answers all the strictures of science, logic, and the personal knowledge imbedded within each of us. It’s a powerful book that explains a lot about what we hear every day and where it all falls short. Jesus Among Secular Gods is compelling and convincing, a true eye-opener that encourages questioning and studying. This is a book with a beautiful soul, a profound message, and an internal elegance that weaves it all together into an unforgettable look at what life means and who created it.
– Frances Carden
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