Ravi and Vince succinctly argue how six of the major isms of our time Atheism, scientism, pluralism, humanism, relativism and hedonism have fundamental pitfalls. That each of these isms takes a partial truth and tries to turn it into universal truth. This book helps the reader to understand how these belief systems often fail to deliver what they promise. Dealing with the idea of truth and the questions of origin, meaning, morality and destiny, Ravi and Vince propose that Jesus teachings on these subjects provide the most solid foundation for hope and meaning in life. The book is structured such that, each chapter can be read independently apart from the first and last that respectively sets the scene and pulls them together.
I have enjoyed reading this book. It has informed and challenged me. I have been informed by the clear presentation of these belief systems and have been challenged by the idea that disagreeing with someone can be a way of actually valuing them. I had never thought of this before. It made me reflect on how and why I express disagreement with people; if I honestly do it out of love and as an act of valuing them or out of my own desire to be right, driven by my sinful ego.
In our modern Post-truth society, the timing of this book could not be better.
A clear and thorough evaluation of how Jesus compares to the common secular beliefs of our day.
January 17, 2017
This 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.
Jesus 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.
So 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.