Ravi Zacharias' Interview on the Rubin Report

This following video is Ravi Zacharias’ interview on the Rubin Report:

Notes from the interview:

When asked about the state of technology and its power to spread ideas, Ravi responds that he is not sure whether or not it will be a good thing because “good is naturally attractive, but evil is naturally seducing.” It is easier to be destructive than constructive, and technology only amplifies that power.

The single greatest pursuit of every young person today, according to Ravi, it the pursuit of meaning. This is what he says he was searching for when he came to know Christ. When he found Christ, it didn’t just change what he did, it changed what he wanted to do.

Rubin asks if people can live a meaningful life without God. Ravi says that he thinks they can but that it will not “have ultimate grounding in a rationally compelling way.” This way would not come with an existential transformation.

Is what you believe ultimately true or only individualistically true? If it is individualistically true, then you cannot absolutize it. You can only recommend it as pragmatically workable. How then do we dissuade someone who, through the same means you have come to your conclusions, has come to the opposite conclusions?

The Wexner Center of the arts is described as the world’s first post-modernist building. It was designed with no purpose in mind, the question arises, was the same attitude taken with the foundation? Ravi says, “You cannot fool with the foundation, you can fool with the infrastructure.”

The question then comes, if we are all coming to the same conclusions, is that enough? Do our starting points really matter? Ravi responds that the foundations are indispensable. What you build your theory on matters.

There is a struggle going on right now between two words: egalitarianism and elitism. We are meant to be equal as people, but not all ideas are equal. We have reversed it in today’s society. We have made an elitism of people, and an egalitarianism of ideas. We should respect all human beings, regardless of what their view is. We are witnessing the destruction of sensible dialogue.

Our only hope, without coercion, is to put the ideas out there and hope that hearts will change.

Secularism has led us to a bankruptcy of values and an impoverished way of conversing with one another.

Secularization is the process by which religious ideas, institutions, and interpretations have lost their social significance.

Today we put faces to beliefs, and if we don’t like that face, we attack the person.

The personalization and embodiment of ideas have led to this spirit of negativism. Today we are dealing with a cult of personality and personal assassination.

If we want to see a change, we must first see a change in the academic world. What we are teaching our students is brining itself out into the open. The academy has failed America.

The process is bottom-up in that that foundations matter, but it is top-down in that the transcendent transforms our foundations.

Rubin then asks the profound question of how does this approach deal with modernity? How does this worldview keep up with scientific and technological advancements? Ravi responds, our instruments are getting more sophisticated. But, if our character doesn’t keep up with it, we will simply have a more sophisticated way of self-immolation and self-destruction.

If we don’t answer the question of what it means to be human, the rest is footnotes without the substance of the body.

The cost of truth is huge. But, conviction with compassion is indispensable.

Mirrors are useful for detecting what needs to be cleaned, but they are ineffective for doing the cleaning.

It seems in today’s politics, we are following the money trail, rather than the trail of conscience and culture.

To move forward as a society, it is going to take a dramatic reordering of priorities.

Happiness is treated as a thing to be pursued. Ravi says he believes it is a byproduct. He mentions an old Hebrew parable. God is like the light, happiness and prosperity is like the shadow. Walk towards the light and the shadow will follow you. If you turn your back on the light and chase the shadow, you will never ever catch up to it. It will run away from you as fast as you run towards it.

Happiness pursued is seldom obtained. Good pursued produces the peaceful heart.

Thomas Merton said that man is not at peace with each other because he is not at peace with himself. He is not at peace with himself because he is not at peace with God.

Without peace in our own heart, we are only distributing more displeasure and unhappiness. Unhappiness is also not gained; it is a symptom of what is going on inside the person’s life. Happiness and peace can be found in God.

Questions:

  1. How can we as Christians participate in civil discourse in our daily life?

  2. How can share the peace that is in our hearts with others?

  3. What priorities should we as a society be focusing on?

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