Cultural Relativism and the Emasculation of Truth: Ravi Zacharias

By: Gabriela Yareliz

AGE OF REASON

I have been listening to this series by Ravi Zarcharias, Oxford University Scholar and Professor, called Cultural Relativism and the Emasculation of Truth. He starts off mentioning so many different news headlines, like the ones of children killing others, and young people mindlessly killing peers and even family members (his focus on Western culture).

This past weekend my pastor was talking about two children who went out to rob, and when the woman with the stroller they had stopped had nothing to give them, they shot her baby. I don’t mean to sadden you, but I have been vocal about racism, discrimination, rape, violence…It is happening all over the world in increasing proportions. Anyone notice something is really wrong? We have gotten to the point where children are committing atrocious crimes.

As Ravi Zacharias said, “The path of truth is leading us into a malaise here, and into the quicksand of violence and eroticism; where we are entitled to hate our own family members, where young children are slaughtering one another–the age of reason is not doing very well, is it?”

THE MOST CRUCIAL QUESTION

Let us go to Pilate’s court, the Roman Prefect of Judaea:
(John 18)

33 Then Pilate entered the Praetorium again, called Jesus, and said to Him, “Are You the King of the Jews?”

34 Jesus answered him, “Are you speaking for yourself about this, or did others tell you this concerning Me?”

35 Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered You to me. What have You done?”

36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.”

37 Pilate therefore said to Him, “Are You a king then?”

Jesus answered, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”

38 Pilate said to Him, “What is truth?” And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews, and said to them, “I find no fault in Him at all.

We live in an age, where much like Pilate, we ask the most crucial question of all “What is truth,” but we stay not to hear the answer.-Ravi Zacharias

TRUTH
What is Truth? How badly to people want it? Are the willing to shed convenience, preconcieved notions and all else to pursue it?

“When I despair, I remember that all through history the ways of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants, and murderers, and for a time they can seem invincible, but in the end they always fall. Think of it–always.”- M. Gandhi

WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO US
Problems in our society according to Zacharias:
1] Revelation replaced by reason; which leads to a lot of irrationality; rationalism fails, existentialism fails.

2] Truth has been subverted by agnosticism-we pride ourselves in the fact that we don’t know or cannot believe in anything, and skepticism is the hallmark of university education today.

WHAT THIS GENERATION WANTS
George McDonald: “To give truth to him, who loves it not, is but to give him more plentiful material for misinterpretation.”

Are we willing to accept truth with all of its costs?

Jesus answered, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”

“In any interplay between a person and information, the first test is not the veracity of the information, but the truthfulness of the person. Intent is prior to content. The question is, does this generation really want truth?”-Ravi Zacharias

3] The propositional is replaced by the visual-the darkest reality of our time-distortions and images coming into children’s minds. Our society has been buying into the delusion that we see on TV, in music and on our billboards.

THE EYE
We must guard our souls, by what we expose ourselves to. Are we buying into the delusion society is offering to us?

Jesus said, “let your eye be single. The eye is the lamp to the body. We are meant to see through the eye with the conscience, we are taught to see through the eye devoid of a conscience.”-Ravi Zacharias

“This life’s dim windows of the soul
Distorts the heavens from pole to pole
And leads you to believe a lie
When you see with, not through, the eye.”
~ William Blake, from The Rossetti Manuscript (aka MS. Book; c. 1793-1811). The Everlasting Gospel (c. 1810). Section 5, line 101

GOOD v. EVIL
“And in reality, nothing is so beautiful as the good; nothing so monotonous and boring as evil. But in our imagination, it is the other way around, fictional good is boring and flat; fictional evil is very intriguing, attractive and full of charm. The poles have been reversed. Good has become boring, evil has become intriguing.”-Ravi Zacharias

For the complete message:
RZIM.COM
Cultural Relativism and the Emasculation of Truth Part 1

Cultural Relativism and the Emasculation of Truth Part 2

Cultural Relativism and the Emasculation of Truth Part 3

Cultural Relativism and the Emasculation of Truth Part 4

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6 thoughts on “Cultural Relativism and the Emasculation of Truth: Ravi Zacharias

  1. I’m kind of tired of folks trying to be politically correct all of the time. Are we not entitled to our own opinions or our own beliefs any more? Apparently not if you are conservative…It’s a very sad world we live in now.

    • I do agree that political correctness is in a way the curse of our time. As people strive for tolerance they become intolerant to others who do not join the new mainstream effort. Every belief should be respected, but as mentioned here, the truth is not relative. Many in today’s society fail to understand this.
      Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment.

  2. I like your blog. But I must note, your article leads people to believe that Ravi is an Oxford University scholar and Professor, which he is not. He studied there as a student. And the Oxford Apologetics school as an extension of RZIM is not part of the University. It merely has lecturers from the University teach on the course. Faculty like John Lennox. I say all this as a student in Theology and Philosophy at Oxford University. Please don’t mistake me for being pedantic. Some atheists may have a little grumble at your presentation and miss the quality content.

    • Thank you for reading and for taking the time to comment and letting me know about that detail! Good to know. I appreciate it! How do you like Oxford and your program? I am very curious about the Oxford theology program.

  3. The course is excellent, in my humble opinion. And helps to connect (though not through official channels as such) to RZIM and the Oxford apologetics summer school. I’m just finishing 4 years of post-grad work and graduating. Then it’s time to move on to the PhD here. It’s a certain style of non-directive learning, which does not suit everyone however. I have friends doing post-grad study in the USA and the approach is notably different. No big lecture rooms or professor taught study. Roundtable discussions. It’s very open and informal. But you get (with planning) good times of one-to-one with tutors across the University, sat drinking coffee and wrestling with big issues conversationally in rustic venues once frequented by C.S. Lewis and J.R Tolkien. This worked well for me. But it took some adjustment for a person who likes the traditional lecture room didactic format. God bless you with your studies. Not enough people wrestle with this stuff well and show their learning through a process. In contrast there are lot of people who just use the internet for a rant, basing ideas on supposedly self-evident truths and which is little more than circular reasoning. The thought is that the truth will prevail by force of delivery. And one that note, I particularly like the George McDonald quote about “To give him truth that loves it not… multiplied reasons for misinterpretation.” I have heard it many times before but will re-ponder that over the next few days. From my experience, your manner in debate is as important as what you say, if not more important. The plague of the modern world is that people have so many coping mechanisms and layers of defensiveness, they look for any excuse to not listen to you. Gentleness and humility my not be as immediately satisfying when an Atheist is winding you up with nonsense. But in my experience it is the more fruitful of the options. You have the right words and a keen mind. So I pray it bears much fruit.

    Blessings,

    From a co-labourer for the precious gospel.

    • Thank you for your encouraging message. You have spoken much truth here. Method is as important as content, and people these days are looking for excuses not to listen. Everyone is kind of wrapped up in his or her own thing, trying to create a convenient belief system or philosophy. Comfort takes the #1 spot.

      I guess what each Christian can do is share what they know, and more importantly, share what God has done for them. No one can refute how you have seen God’s hand in your own life.

      Your studies and the education approach sounds fantastic. I hold European education in high esteem. I was in a British high school program, and the approach is different. I think it requires a lot more depth of thinking and less regurgitation. It requires more curiosity and vulnerability. When it comes to having discussions and sharing opinion and arguments, it takes humility but also conviction.

      I am a law student, so our classes are done in “Socratic method” mixed with an American style of teaching. It’s an interesting mix.

      Thank you for writing. May God bless you in all of your endeavors.

      Gabriela

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