Born Again Dreamer

Friday, October 16, 2009

Excerpt from "The Case for Faith" Lee Strobel

Strobel: "Forgive me for being blunt, but isn't it arrogant for Christians to claim Jesus is the one and only way to God?"

Zacharias: "First thing I do is try to deal with the misinformation that is inherent in this."

Strobel: "Misinformation?", "Like what?"

Zacharias: "First, it's important to understand that Christianity is not the only religion that claims exclusivity. For instance, Muslims radically claim exclusivity--not just theologically, but also linguistically. Muslims believe the sole, sufficient, and consummate miracle of Islam is the Koran. They say, however, it's only recognizable in Arabic, and that any translation desacralizes it."
"As for Buddhism, it was born when Gautama Buddha rejected two fundamental assertions of Hinduism--the ultimate authority of the Vedas, which are their scriptures, and the caste system. Hinduism itself is absolutely uncompromising on two or three issues: the law of karma, which is the law of moral cause and effect, so that every birth is a rebirth that makes recompense for the previous life; the authority of the Vedas; and reincarnation."

Strobel: "But I've heard Hindus say quite nobly that Hinduism is a very tolerant faith."

Zacharias: He smiled, "Whenever you hear that statement, don't take it at face value," he said. "What it really means is that Hinduism allows you to practice your religion so long as it buys into their notion of truth which is syncretistic." "Syncretism is the attempt to blend together different or even opposing beliefs."
"As for Sikhism, it came as a challenge to both Hinduism and Buddhism. Then there are atheists--they reject the viewpoints of those who believe in God. And even the Baha'ism, which claims to be a cosmic embrace of all religions, ends up excluding the exclusivists! Therefore, the statement that Christians are arrogant by claiming exclusivity ignores the reality that every other major religion does as well. So when people talk of arrogance, this cannot be a logical attack they are making."
"...all truth is by definition, exclusive."

Strobel: " is one thing for Christians to believe that, it's another thing to communicate it without sounding smug or superior. But Christians often come off that way."

Zacharias sighed. It was a charge he had heard all too often.
"Yes, if truth is not undergirded by love, it makes the possessor of that truth obnoxious and the truth repulsive." "Having been raised in India and having all Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, and Sikh friends growing up, I can appreciate some of their criticisms of Christians." "...In India we have a proverb that says once you cut off a person's nose, there's no point in giving him a rose to smell." "...Mahatma Gandhi said, 'I like their Christ, I don't like their Christians.' Friedrich Nietzsche said, 'I will believe in the Redeemer when the Christian looks a little more redeemed.' Their points need to be taken."
"However, it is possible to lovingly claim exclusive truth...".

The Case for Faith, Lee Strobel pgs. 148-150

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