Jesus Among Secular Gods: The Countercultural Claims of Christ (Read the first chapter for Free with Purchase)
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Challenging society's beliefs in the "secular gods" of atheism, scientism, relativism, and others, Zacharias and Vitale skillfully point out the fallacies in their claims. Presenting compelling evidence for absolute truth as found in the Bible, they help you articulate why Jesus is who he said he is and defend the claims of Christ to others. 224 pages, hardcover from Faithwords.
Number of Pages: 224
Publication Date: 2017
|Dimensions: 9.25 X 6.25 X 1.00 (inches)|
-Tim Keller, Redeemer Presbyterian Church, New York City
Scott Hutson5 Stars Out Of 5A clear and thorough evaluation of how Jesus compares to the common secular beliefs of our day.January 17, 2017Scott HutsonQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5This is a fantastic book, Ravi and Vince have once again shown themselves to be a wealth of knowledge when it comes to evaluating and critiquing other worldviews.They are both very clear and thorough in their assessments of these secular viewpoints and I recommend this book as a valuable asset to have when considering how Jesus matches up against other secular beliefs. As a Chapter Director for Ratio Christi, I look forward to using this book as a source in future talks on Atheism, Scientism, Pluralism, Humanism and so on.
J S5 Stars Out Of 5Thought and Rigorous; Culturally ChallengingJanuary 16, 2017J SQuality: 5Value: 4Meets Expectations: 5Jesus Among Secular Gods has proven to be an excellent read; one that is simultaneously engaging and culturally timely. Throughout this book, Drs. Zacharias and Vitale persistently call to account several of those most pervasive cultural ideations in the West, encouraging a deep reflection and intellectual engagement with what might be considered oft-held and little challenged beliefs. Regardless of the persuasive power that any reader may find in the thoughts expressed in this book, I think that this book would be well worth reading for the manner in which it calls into question many of the fundamental premises that our cultural holds, especially concerning the nature of truth. At the very least, it will help to clarify those beliefs that are held yet not perceived.
Of the entirety of the book, however, I think that the final chapter proved the most challenging and encouraging as Dr. Vitale considered how our disregard for truth and our mishandling of disagreement has contributed toward a culture of hostility for dissimilar ideas. It is remarkable how timely this book has proven given our particular political and religious moment here in the United States. This final chapter challenges its readers to engage with truth (or the lack thereof) and disagreement with the same kind of earnestness, seriousness, and congeniality that was demonstrated in all of the previous chapters.
I cannot recommend this book enough, whether for the reader who would readily disagree with the very premise of the undertaking or for the reader who might find great coherence between thier beliefs and those expressed in this book, for it demonstrates a thoughtful and rigorous engagement with contrary ideas while fully utilizing the greatest of care and sympathy for those who may disagree.
Ladd Wheeler5 Stars Out Of 5Culture Eye-OpenerJanuary 5, 2017Ladd WheelerQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5So far in the beginning of the 21st century, we find ourselves in a cultural milieu that is secular and seemingly growing more and more deeply entrenched therein. There are many voices and cultural pressures at work fueling the drive. The gods of secularism, including the isms of atheism, scientism, pluralism, humanism, relativism, and hedonism permeate the culture, claiming to provide the answers for living. There is another message Christianity that also propounds answers for living. What do the secular gods have to offer? How does Christianity stack up against them? Ravi Zacharias and Vince Vitale address these in the book "Jesus Among Secular Gods".
In the introductory chapter Altars Against God, Ravi surveys the secular landscape and exposes its flaws in multiple dimensions including the moral and intellectual realms. For example, one of his critiques, When you start off with no god, you end up with the strangest of mental manipulations to keep you from the logical arc of reasoning, underscores the intellectual vacuum of the secular isms. In the six chapters following, Ravi and Vince address the topics of atheism, scientism, pluralism, humanism, relativism, and hedonism in separate chapters, some written by Ravi and the others written by Vince. In each chapter, the ism is analyzed and critiqued as well as contrasted with the countering and refreshing message of Christianity. Truth suffers with each of the isms, so in the last chapter, Love the Truth, Vince addresses the ways the secular isms view truth in comparison with Christianity. He states, Jesus makes truth personal, and therefore loveable in the very deepest sense. In Christianity alone, truth is a person who is inviting every other person into a love relationship. In this way, perhaps more than any other, Jesus outshines secular gods.
The book is well-reasoned and well-documented with a wealth of quotes supporting the analyses from both proponents and opponents. There are many illustrations throughout. Although I found some portions somewhat difficult to follow which required a second reading to clear up, the book is highly recommended.
Who should read this book? Christians who want to understand the underpinnings and dynamics of the secular culture will certainly find this book quite helpful. The book is a great resource for apologists who want to learn how to engage the culture and to see the rich answers of Jesus. The book is also recommended for those from a non-Christian stance to evaluate the viability of the clear claims of Jesus in contrast with the secular views.
BradPSr5 Stars Out Of 5Did God SayJanuary 5, 2017BradPSrQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5The pace is set in the first chapter when Ravi Zacharias stated that there are two questions from the beginning of time that "determine the future: 1)Did God say? 2) Do you really think you're going to die or can you become like God, determining good and evil?" The title in itself points to the fact that mankind has tried to kill God and set itself up as god. What ever we believe boils down into a faith of some kind. Ravi Zacharias and Vince Vitale delve into the faiths of humankind.
This is an excellent book. I would recommend it to anyone that wants to understand where secular society meets and diverges from our Christian faith.
Karen5 Stars Out Of 5From the perspective of a Family Medicine PhysicianJanuary 5, 2017KarenQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5I am so grateful that Ravi and Vince have teamed up to write a book that is both easy to understand, and rich in wisdom. As Family Medicine Physicians, my husband and I are often faced with difficult questions regarding life's purpose and meaning. People ask us, "Why pursue anything more than pleasure and happiness? Doesn't science eliminate the need of God? How is the Christian heaven and Christian God different than any others? What is so golden about the golden years?" This book masterfully pairs complex philosophy with simple stories in order to concisely convey deep truths.
I completed the book today and already was able to share stories from it with three different patients. One story I shared with a patient is Vinces analogy of participating in an athletic event without knowledge of the rules or how to win. When asked how to play, the players have different answers. The ref has been dismissed and the coach has nothing to add but vague statements of affirmation. Vince compares this to trying to live a meaningful life without knowing: "Where did I come from? Why am I here? How should I live? Where am I headed?" While this took only a couple minutes to articulate, the young man I was counseling left with a greater appreciation for who God created him to be. I felt better equipped to use my job as my calling.
Author: Vince Vitale
Submitted: December 25, 2016
Tell us a little about yourself. For me, writing is an extension of experiencing life--and in particular engaging with other people--with God as a constant guide and conversation partner.
Last week I met a primary school teacher who told me about how recently one of the children in her class suggested that belief in some gods is better than belief in other gods.
In response, the teacher asked the child what his favorite color is. He said blue. Then the teacher revealed that her favorite color is yellow, and then she asked the child, "Is blue better than yellow?"
The child didn't know what to say. He was made to feel silly for thinking that the difference between gods - the difference between what or whom you choose to follow in life - is anything more than a mere preference, like choosing your favorite ice cream or your favorite color. There is no right answer and there are no wrong answers.
The sad thing is that this teacher I was talking with thought she had responded really helpfully to her student. And the sadder thing is that that child may carry that experience with him for many years, assuming that seeking right answers about the deep questions of life is a stupid thing to do.
What I wish that teacher had said is that the more deeply you look into them, the more you find that the different ways of seeing the world are fundamentally different, and as a result they lead to fundamentally different ways of life.
I wish she had told this child that he had raised a very good question, and that there is nothing more important in life than seeking the answer to that question: Are all gods the same? And, if not, which god is worth following? I believe how you answer those questions will have far greater consequences for your life than anything else.
What was your motivation behind this project? Every one of us will follow something in life, whether a religious God or a secular God. Something will set us on a trajectory that ten, twenty, thirty years from now will determine the person we have become, the life we have lived, the impact we have had on others, and the legacy we will leave. Most people wind up following a way of life not because they ever chose to, but because in a sense they chose not to choose. They got distracted by the pressures and details of life, and they just happened to fall into a way of thinking and a way of life without ever really reasoning it through. Jesus Among Secular Gods is written for anyone desiring to make an informed decision about what or who to follow. Our colleague Os Guinness says that "Contrast is the mother of clarity." Never is the truth more clear that when we set it alongside its alternatives. Another way of putting this is, "Criticism without alternative is empty." Many people have criticized Christianity. Criticized it in favor of what? This book sets Jesus alongside the gods of today: atheism, scientism, naturalism, pluralism, humanism, relativism, hedonism, and more. If Jesus is who he said he was, then a Christian should have no fear in making this comparison. And I hope what people will find is that when the options are laid out beside each other, the differences between them are great, and there is one option that stands far and away above all the rest.
What do you hope folks will gain from this project? Jesus Among Secular Gods is written for the many people who have heard rumors against God, and have had no clear, accessible way of evaluating those rumors. For example, people say that science has disproved God, but they rarely explain exactly how science has disproved God. Ravi and I argue in Jesus Among Secular Gods that far from science disproving God, there has not been a single scientific discovery that has even the least tendency to disprove God. That's a big claim, but we're confident we can defend it, and we go on to discuss four major ways in which science actually points strongly to the existence of God. Are the rumors people have heard about God the result of good reasoning, or are they just rumors? We hope Jesus Among Secular Gods will help many to distinguish rumor from reality, and to make an informed decision about the only God who is trustworthy and the only God who is worth following.
How were you personally impacted by working on this project? Someone once said that there are two ways to choose a coat: You can get out your ruler and evaluate its measurements, or you can pick it up and try it on. Jesus Among Secular Gods offers many reasons for thinking that the Christian worldview outshines the other secular worldviews on offer. But it also offers an opportunity to try on the coat. Ravi and I have poured a lot of our own experiences into this book, as well as the experiences of many others that we have met and journeyed with in many different places of the world. We want you to come away from reading this book with a coherent theory based on strong evidence. But, equally, we hope what you will find in this book is an invitation into a way of life that is most strongly recommended by actually stepping into it and seeing that at the heart of Christianity are not just ideas and isms but a life-giving relationship that will make the most practical and invaluable difference in your day to day. That is what we have found in Jesus, and we are praying that God will grant that incomparably great gift to every person who reads this book.
Who are your influences, sources of inspiration or favorite authors / artists? Increasingly, the gods of this age are atheism, scientism, naturalism, pluralism, humanism, relativism, hedonism - the list goes on. The gods of this age are theories that we create rather than a God who created us. And the reason these theories ultimately don't satisfy is because we were created to be lovers of truth. But it is very hard to love a theory. A theory is too abstract to be loved in the deepest sense. To love the truth deeply, truth needs to be not a theory, but a person. Only Jesus makes truth personal. Jesus is the only truth that is a person, and therefore the only truth that we can truly be in relationship with, and therefore the only truth that we can truly love. Jesus Among Secular Gods is for everyone who deep down in inspired to be a lover of truth. And it suggests that that truth is not an ism or a theory, but the person of Jesus.
Anything else you'd like readers / listeners to know: Perhaps never before has it been more difficult to seek the Truth about the deepest questions of life. First, because there are so many options on the table that it is overwhelming and paralyzing. It's like when you go to a restaurant and the menu is so big that you don't even know where to start and you've lost your appetite by the time you're ready to order. Second, we live in a society where to even gesture in the direction of thinking that one answer to these questions might be better than another is immediately branded offensive, narrow-minded, and intolerant. Jesus Among Secular Gods is intended to be a guide that will clearly map out how various ways of seeing the world are importantly different, and will help people to make an informed decision about the most important of all questions: What or who will set the trajectory of your life? Our prayer is that this book will help many people to set the trajectory for life that they were intended for and that they will find true meaning and peace and joy in. This starts by getting to know the truth about the God who created them, and who loves them, and who has proven that he is absolutely committed to them. We hope you will enjoy the book, and we hope you will share the book with those who are seeking answers to the deepest questions of life.