Let's share our questions about Jesus Among Secular Gods

Are there any parts of Jesus Among Secular Gods that you struggle to understand? Are you like me, getting to the end of a section and thinking, “I understood the sentences, but I know I missed the point”?

If you have a question that you’d like us to discuss deeply, please start a separate thread for it so that it gets more attention. I’m starting this topic to give us a place for the little questions along the way. Let’s support each other as we move forward in this amazing book!

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Thanks for a great podcast. In S3 E3 you guys discuss the Walt Disney conversation on page 41. On page 42 Ravi notes that the child’s laughter symbolizes freedom and that the young teen cutting herself represents true determinism. Why couldn’t both laughter and cutting represent determinism? Wouldn’t the atheist posit that the laughter is as determined as the cutting?

Also, what is the purpose of the Walt Disney conversation? Is it to realize that there there are different paradigms and that the different paradigms have different consequences? I get that part, but I don’t see the connection to the Walt Disney conversation. Is the purpose of the Walt Disney conversation to show that there is only one reality?

I hope the question makes sense,
Thanks

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@Petrus, thanks for prompting me to listen to this again. It blessed me the second time through just like it did the first time.

I opened my book to see if I could help with your question, and I discovered I had drawn a question mark on page 41. Uh-oh. I’m starting to get it figured out now, so I’ll share my thoughts, and maybe someone else can add to this.

Ravi called the Disney World story an analogy. I think he was capturing two different things with this story. He was picturing the fact that most of us think the material world is the real world when the spiritual realm with God is actually the real world, and it’s filled with delight.

He was also illustrating Romans 1, which he covered in the section about determinism on pages 38-39. He explained that the atheist worldview results in the belief that everything we do is determined. If atheism were true, the children’s laughter and the girl’s cutting would both be determined just like you said.

However, Ravi offered the stories to help us understand the Christian worldview. Romans 1:16-32 teaches that God created us to know Him, but men rejected God and chose to resist the truth, so God released them to believe the lie that they wanted to believe.

The laughter of the children in Disney World illustrates the joy we were designed to have in knowing God. But the girl who was addicted to cutting helps us understand how people can make a choice in their lives that leads them to be trapped in something miserable. The girl was trapped in cutting. People who reject God are trapped in lies that deprive them of the freedom and joy they could have in God.

Does that answer your question? If not, let me know. This is helping me work through the questions I had in the passage.

Thank you very much. Your explanation is clear and I now understand why he included the particular example.

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@Jennifer_Wilkinson, I had a really tough time understanding humanism. Shawn and Ivy’s talk did a lot to help, but it really took weeks to get the concept through my head. I thought probably this was because I had a lot of humanist thinking going on in my own head, and just needed to let the Holy Spirit show me my thinking. But discussions in my church community and in my neighborhood dog-walkers gave me clear examples of humanism in all its deceit. And then came hedonism! Okay, the good news is that I wasn’t really given a dictionary definition of humanism, but I got to see it work its deceptions in my world. I consider this to be an answer from the Holy Spirit. Anyway, now at the end of the book, I want to especially thank Ivy and Shawn, not for the weekly ‘take-away’ but for the on-going change in my thinking and behavior. Specifically, I started back in Saving Truth with a passive evangelism style (if people asked me, I told them the truth about Jesus) and saw how I need to be intentional. And Shawn’s “I am unoffendable” took a long time for me to want to bring to my life, but this morning when one of the dog-walkers asked if he could ask a question without me getting mad, I actually said “I’m trying to be unoffendable.” I don’t have the philosophical education or background that Vince or Ravi have, but rereading and in desperation asking God to help worked wonderfully.
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@carolsong88, I agree that the most beautiful part of the podcast is the way it’s changing my thinking and behavior. There have been areas of my life where I longed to grow, but I was struggling to connect what I knew in my head with what happened in my heart and my life. But now, bit by bit, I’m seeing that change. I’m so thankful.

And, yes, Shawn’s “I am unoffendable” line was one of the highlights of Season 3. I just started the topic Your One Thing from Jesus Among Secular Gods. When I get around to answering my own question, “unoffendable” will definitely land in my answer. :smiley: