What is destroying the moral and spiritual foundations of today’s society?

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By Ravi Zacharias

A convergence of many factors has taken place. Much of education in the 1960s came unhinged from any moral absolutes and ethical values, to wit the book, Excellence Without a Soul, by Harry R. Lewis. We have seen this happening the last 40 years. There have been many voices alerting us to this. But more than just a philosophy took over; a mood took over.

First, secularization generally held that religious ideas, institutions, and interpretations have lost their social significance. People liked the idea of a secular society and a secular government. But in terms of moral values and ethics, they never checked into the internal assumptions of secularization that made it wide open to almost any view on any subject. Beginning in the 1960s, the moods of secularization ultimately led to society’s loss of shame.

Next is pluralization, which sounds like a practical and worthy idea; and in many ways, it is. In pluralism you have a competing number of worldviews that are available, and no worldview is dominant. But smuggled in with pluralization was the absolutization of relativism. The only thing we could be sure of was that all moral choices were relative and there was no point of reference to right and wrong. This resulted in the death of reason.

Last is privatization, which is an accommodation to the religiously minded. If secularization and pluralization were going to hold sway, what does society do with the large number of people who are spiritually minded?

Being spiritually minded was okay as long as people kept their spiritual beliefs private and did not bring them into the public arena. The irony of this was the fact secularization — which had its assumptions on absolutes and anything of the metaphysical nature — was allowed into the public place. In fact, its very trust was to bring it into the public place. But anyone who believed in a spiritual Essence, an Ultimate Reality, and the fact there were transcendent absolutes that needed to be adhered to was told to keep those beliefs private. That ultimately paved the way for the loss of meaning.

These three moods — secularization, pluralization, and privatization — brought about loss of shame, loss of reason, and loss of meaning. How was this authoritatively pontificated in the social strain? This is when philosophy stepped in, the moralizers against morality came in, and political correctness came in. These gave society some parameters that allowed it to expel the moralizing from outside the secular realm.

As a result, everything became pragmatic. Philosophers and naturalists stepped in. In this new century, we have lost all definitions of what it means to be human, and what sexuality, life, and the home are all about. We are on the high seas, battling the storms of conflicting worldviews without a compass.

–Ravi Zacharias
http://enrichmentjournal.ag.org/200804/200804_020_Defend_Christian.cfm

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Rethinking diversity

Thomas SowellCan you cite one speck of hard evidence of the benefits of “diversity” that we have heard gushed about for years? Evidence of its harm can be seen — written in blood — from Iraq to India, from Serbia to Sudan, from Fiji to the Philippines. It is scary how easily so many people can be brainwashed by sheer repetition of a word.

― Thomas Sowell

Religious pluralism: a philosophical impossibility

Ravi Zacharias 4 copy 2Religious pluralism is a belief system that sounds good, but does disservice to all religions. All religions are exclusive. Even naturalism, which poses as irreligion, is exclusive. Every religion has its starting points and its deductions, and those starting points exclude. For example, Hinduism has two non-negotiable beliefs: karma and reincarnation. No Hindu will trade these away.

In Buddhism, there is the denial of the essential notion of the self. Buddhists believe that the self as we understand it does not exist, and our ceasing to desire will be the cause of the end of all suffering. If we deny these premises, we deny Buddhism.

Naturalism teaches that anything supernatural or metaphysical is outside the realm of evidence and purely an opinion, not a matter of fact. Islam believes that Mohammad is the last and final prophet, and the Quran is the perfect revelation. If we deny those two premises, we have denied Islam.

In the Christian faith, we believe Jesus is the consummate experience of God in the person of His Son, and is the Savior and Redeemer of the world. We cannot deny these premises and continue to be Christians.

The question is not whether these are mutually exclusive. The question is which one of these will we deny as being reasonable and consistent? Which one of these will we be able to sustain by argument and by evidence? We can have pluralism in cuisine, clothing styles, accents, and other things. But if pluralism means ideational relativism and the destruction of the law of noncontradiction, it is absolutely unliveable and unthinkable.

–Ravi Zacharias
http://enrichmentjournal.ag.org/200804/200804_020_Defend_Christian.cfm

The danger of pluralism

Frederick-Buechner-QuotesHARVARD DIVINITY School was proud, and justly so, of what it called its pluralism—feminists, humanists, theists, liberation theologians all pursuing truth together—but the price that pluralism can cost was dramatized one day in a way that I have never forgotten. I had been speaking as candidly and personally as I knew how about my own faith and how I had tried over the years to express it in language. At the same time I had been trying to get the class to respond in kind. For the most part none of them were responding at all but just sitting there taking it in without saying a word. Finally I had to tell them what I thought. I said they reminded me of a lot of dead fish lying on cracked ice in a fish store window with their round blank eyes. There I was, making a fool of myself spilling out to them the secrets of my heart, and there they were, not telling me what they believed about anything beneath the level of their various causes. It was at that point that a black African student got up and spoke. “The reason I do not say anything about what I believe,” he said in his stately African English, “is that I’m afraid it will be shot down.”

At least for a moment we all saw, I think, that the danger of pluralism is that it becomes factionalism, and that if factions grind their separate axes too vociferously, something mutual, precious, and human is in danger of being drowned out and lost. I had good times as well as bad ones that winter term . . . but if there was anything like a community to draw strength and comfort from there at Harvard as years before there had been at Union, I for one was not lucky enough to discover it.

  –Frederick Buechner

The arrogant dogma of pluralism

Philip Graham Ryken(Philosophical pluralism) is the ideology that refuses to allow any single religion or worldview to claim an exclusive hold on the truth. It denies that there are any absolutes. It insists that all religions and worldviews must be seen as equally valid…To suggest otherwise is to be arrogant and intolerant. No religion can claim to be superior to any other. You may practice your faith as long as you realize it is only one of many true faiths. If what you believe is true at all, it is only relatively true…(But-) at the same time that philosophical pluralism denies other religions the right to lay claim to the truth, it presents its own worldview as the absolute truth… In the end philosophical pluralism’s dismissal of dogma turns out to be just another dogma.

–Philip Graham Ryken
Is Jesus the Only Way?