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Globalization's Impact on Evangelism, Part 2

Let My People Think / Ravi Zacharias
The Truth Network Radio
June 27, 2020 1:00 am

Globalization's Impact on Evangelism, Part 2

Let My People Think / Ravi Zacharias

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June 27, 2020 1:00 am

How do you think globalization and the increase of technology has affected evangelism? What does a globalized society mean for the spreading of the Gospel? On this week's Let My People Think, Ravi Zacharias dives into what evangelism looks like in light of globalization.


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You can find out more about Ravi Zacharias and the team at You don't know the difference between what nature has meant for nourishment and what nature has meant for refuse. You're telling me we're not there right now? Where we don't know the difference between what is nourishing and what is sheer refuse? One of the side effects of globalization is confusion, and with confusion comes a tendency towards relativism. Hello and welcome to Let My People Think with author and apologist Ravi Zacharias. When cultures clash, one of the easiest solutions to the tension is to say everyone's right and no one's wrong.

The notion of relativity sounds great until two worldviews collide. Then the unresolved tension returns with a vengeance. While some folks are content to live in the chaos, Ravi explains how the turmoil negatively impacts our hearts.

Here he is with the conclusion of his message, globalization's impact on evangelism. How did this happen? What brought all of this about? There were three moods that I think took place starting in the early part of the 1900s. You could see it coming.

You could not see the unintended consequences of whether this was headed. So the three ideas that shaped the middle of the 20th century and have brought us in now, and you as young men and women studying in the academic world will understand very readily when I bring to you the logical outworking of all of this. So please bear with me if it sounds a bit academic. You will bring it down to exactly where you are, and you'll understand how it brought about this kind of an impact. Secularization is the process by which religious ideas, institutions, and interpretations have lost their social significance.

Let me redefine it because every word matters. Secularization is a process by which religious ideas, institutions, and interpretations have lost their social significance. Secularization, religious ideas, institutions, and interpretations have lost their social significance. Now what happens to the gospel when something like this has taken hold?

But you know, the thought that really came to my mind was what C.S. Lewis had said, both in his abolition of man and in his Pilgrim's Regress. In Pilgrim's Regress, it is an allegorical writing of his conversion. Surprised by joy is a straightforward narrative. In Pilgrim's Regress, it's allegorical.

I think it's one of the most brilliant books he wrote. And in that allegorical journey, the reason he calls it regress rather than progress is because Lewis, as you know, struggled with many world views and many options. And he kept turning away from many of them all along in his journey. He just didn't know why.

Intuitively, he was rejecting it. And then when he found Christ as his personal savior, he took a regressive journey because now he had the answers to why he had said no to everything else. So he calls it a Pilgrim's Regress. And in that regressive journey, he tells you how when he was journeying along looking for answers, he came to the mountain called the Spirit of the Age. The Spirit of the Age, the hedonistic spirit by which he lived. And the interesting thing he said was, I was bound in chains sitting in the Spirit of the Age. What an incredible insight that though he was in a place of total hedonism, his actual sensation was a bondage.

Enslavement. He was not free. We've just had a fine young man who's an actor from another country come and spend three or four days with us.

I spent an hour and a half with him today. Strapping, handsome looking guy, very successful, an icon in his country. New, well known billboards of his pictures all over the place.

A dozen different fragrances named after him. But his private life was totally debauched. Totally destroyed in his private life.

And as we were talking again today, he flew in from that country where I spoke some time ago and said, I really need to talk to you. He's turned his life to Christ now. But he said, as we were talking and the tears were running down his face, he said, you know, when I think of all that I went into and all the money that I spent and how I was used, I still find it very difficult to understand how I was so destructive to my own being, to my own self. Spirit of the age, you're bound in chains.

You actually think you're free like a slave, like a dog going back to the vomit. He would go back to the things that left him emptier and emptier. And so here is Lewis naming himself John bound in the spirit of the age till the waiter comes and serves him his breakfast and unchains him to enjoy the breakfast. And when he is enjoying the breakfast, he comments on how delicious the milk is. And the man representing the spirit of the age says, you only call it nutritious, delicious milk.

What is it? It's the secretion of the cow. Urine is a secretion.

Milk is a secretion. You call this delicious, nutritious. And John didn't know what to say. He said, now I made a terrible mistake of calling how nutritious and delicious the eggs were.

And you should have seen the comparison he made for what the egg was. I can't even repeat it for you here. And he said he was revulsed by it, but he didn't know what to say.

And after the meal was gone and he was handcuffed again, here's what he says. Reason came riding on a horse and rescued me and said to the spirit of the age, you lie. You lie. You don't know the difference between what nature has meant for nourishment and what nature has meant for garbage. You don't know the difference between what nature has meant for nourishment and what nature has meant for refuse. You're telling me we are not there right now? Where we don't know the difference between what is nourishing and what is sheer refuse?

And Reason rescued him and he was gone. I would look at the lawyer and I would say to him, you know sir, at least one would have to say about the artist. Suppose he is doing it in the pure moral soil of art. The image that he portrays is somehow to convey the glory of the human body or the beauty of the human body. You're telling me that the pornographer who gets a person to undress, to titillate the fancies and the baser instincts of the viewer to get them hooked and trapped in this seduction so that the very brain is affected and no one person can satisfy the desires of this person anymore? You're telling me there's no difference? See the woman in front of the lens of the camera, the man in front of the lens of the camera doing this purely for the provocative baser instincts of an individual ought to at some point want to cover themselves and say, don't do this to me.

But here's the deduction. When secularization has completely finished with your mind and mine, it wants to produce a generation devoid of shame. No sense of shame. You know, psychiatrists are getting close to a drug to take away post-traumatic stress disorder.

You know what they're afraid of? That the same person who comes from military skirmish and is struggling with the memory, using this drug to get rid of the nightmares and all of all that happened, the same thing can be used by a malicious rapist who breaks into a home, rapes a woman, tortures the woman, murders the woman, goes back home and pops a pill. What do you do then when you have no sense of remorse and no sense of shame? When medicine is starting to wrestle and struggle with these questions, you know secularization has no answers for humanity. How do you preach sin to a society without a sense of shame? In an interview on the media today, the only word they want you to use so that they can kick you off the set after that is if you use the word sin. Use anything else, but if you use the word sin, it's a ha ha ha ha.

We got him to say it. Secularization ends up with no shame. Secondly, you come in with pluralization. Pluralization is where there's a competing number of worldviews available to its members and no one worldview is dominant. A competing number of worldviews available to its members and no one worldview is dominant. This is true of many parts of the world.

Today, although in some parts it is not so, and the fact of the matter is America is a willfully pluralistic society, but very cleverly now, marginalizing one worldview if not evicting that one worldview. You know, Richard Dawkins, the atheist, came to Washington and did an open arena with thousands attending and somebody asked the question, what do you do with people who believe in God then? He said, mock them, ridicule them, make fun of them. So somebody said to me, what do you think of that? I said, I think it's a great idea and let him start in Saudi Arabia and I'll buy him his ticket.

I said, I'll only have to pay for one way. And at least he will find out that all worldviews are not created equal. Very easy, isn't it, to mock somebody. Even as a Christian, a worldview we don't believe in, be cruel to mock it. You divide, you wrestle with it, you interact with it, to encourage the followers to go and mock something that somebody else is calling sacred.

Is that really the way to reach somebody? Religion has many, many valuable things, but if pluralization or pluralism is extrapolated into meaning philosophical relativism, then you are on a path to systemic contradiction. Then you're on a path to systemic contradiction.

And if culture is an effort to find a coherent set of answers, what happens when you start living with systemic cultural contradiction? Now, let me give you a little illustration here. It happened in California. A lot of things happened in California. So I was in California and I was delivering a series of lectures on the uniqueness of Christ. And a professor from one of the universities came one day and sat with some of his students and I could tell he was not at all happy with me.

And I tried to think my looks or whatever, but he sat there like this. He says, you have done the greatest damage to the pantheistic worldview that I've ever heard any man ever do. And it's because you don't understand it. So nice to hear a Westerner telling me that I didn't understand pantheism, that he did. And my ancestors came from the highest caste of the Hindu priesthood, Nambudiris, but it's okay.

You know, you just earned that. So I started to talk to him. I said, he said, and he started to rail at me. I said, let me stop you right here. I said, let's go out for lunch.

You pay. I'll pray and we'll meet. I said, we'll talk there. Then he said, can I bring a professor of psychology with me? I wanted to ask, why does he want you want him to study both of us? I said, bring, let's do it. So they came and we sat down and their lunch started.

The professor of psychology and I finished mine. This boy hadn't even started eating. His food was getting congealed on his plate. He was arguing and writing out his argument on every placemat.

He'd use his placemat mind, the other guys, next table writing out. And the bottom line was this. He was trying to tell me there were actually two types of logic.

He started off his opening line. There are two types of logic is actually wrong. There are more than that, but you don't stop a person that soon. He said, there are two types of logic. He said, there is the law of non-contradiction, either this or that.

That is what the either or logic is about. He said, that is a Western way of thinking either this or that. And he started to define it. I said, no, it is not. He said, yes, it is. I said, no, it's not. He said, yes, it is. I said, no, it's not. He said, yes, it is.

I said, all right, move on. So he moved to his next argument. He said, there's a different kind of logic called the both hand kind of logic, not either this or that, but both this and that. He said, so if you're looking at a systemic contradiction within the pantheistic worldview, because two opposite statements are being made that seemingly contradict each other, you shouldn't say, therefore, it can't be true. You could see how it could be both this and its opposite and that as well and a unqualified not either or, but both this and that.

And he started to give me the illustration of Hegel. The thesis spawns its antithesis and the thesis and antithesis blend together. You form the synthesis and that synthesis becomes a thesis that spawns an antithesis.

And he said, this is the way it goes. Or in Marxism, you don't have the employer or the employee. You put them together to find a classless society.

Nobody ever shows you a classless society, but they like to argue about it. He said, you see, Mrs. Zacharias, the mistake you're making, when you're studying the pantheistic worldview, you are studying it like a Westerner with the, and he said, both hand is Eastern. I said, no, it's not. He said, yes, it is. I said, no, it's not. He said, yes, it is.

I said, move on. So he said, when you're studying pantheism, you're studying it like a Westerner looking at it from the either or point of view, when you should really be studying it with the dialectical position of both and, and then when you find the contradiction, you will not be bothered by it. So the psychologist is looking at me and I said, sir, I just have one question for you. So you're telling me when I study this worldview, I either use the both hand system or nothing else. Is that right?

I either use the both hand system or nothing else. Is that right? He had just picked up his knife and fork and he put it down and he looks and says, the either or does seem to emerge. Doesn't it? I said, yes, sir.

As a matter of fact, I've got some shocking news for you. Even in India, we look both ways before we cross the street. It is either the bus or me, not both of us. Do you know what the psychologist said? He said, I think we need to go now. Do you see what he was doing? Do you see what he was doing? As a professor of philosophy, he was using the either or with which to prove the both hand and not realizing that he was debunking a system, which was at the core of his own test for truth.

And I said, you got it wrong. I said, sir, if you study Shankara or Gautama Buddha, Eastern thinkers, they both use the law of non-contradiction to make their final choices. Gautama Buddha was born a Hindu.

He renounced to the cardinal doctrines of Hinduism and founded his own four noble truths and eightfold path. Shankara, the monist, did not agree with theism and applied the law of non-contradiction to it. When it comes down to the crux at the bottom, the law of non-contradiction applies to reality. Now, try and tell a pluralistic culture that truth by definition is exclusive.

How do you do that? I don't know how many universities I'll have somebody stand up and saying to me, how can you really believe in the exclusivity of truth? Well, if truth is all inclusive, what is the meaning of false? You have to think very carefully here where we are headed. Secularization leads to no shame.

Pluralization leads to no reason. And ultimately we get to privatization. Privatization is where there's a cleavage between your public and your private life and the fulfillment of meaning you are told has to be found in private. There's a cleavage between your public and private life and the fulfillment of your meaning has to be found in your private. And so what we are really told, you can be a Christian if you want to be a Christian out in the West here, but don't bring your faith into the marketplace and the public arena.

Keep it private for yourself. What is this doing to the Christian? The same thing it is already doing to somebody who's a total materialist.

It is rendering your life meaningless. When you sever the most sacred and park it at home, that happens. You see, the most important thing about who I am is what I think about in private, but that private sacred trust, if it is not carried into the public arena, creates a schizoid personality within me. My vows to my wife mean something because they have to be taken into the public arena as well. My vows to God mean something because they have to be taken into the public arena as well. Your values are ultimately dictated by what is the most sacred to you. Everybody is a worshipper.

The only difference is what or who do they worship. And if meaninglessness is the end game, then the globalization situation in our world today has produced a generation of empty people. I just want you to know that the hallmark of Western culture today is emptiness. It's emptiness.

I don't know how many kids I meet who tell me they're empty. You know why? They are experiencing earlier and earlier that which they thought would deliver the ultimate and it has let them down. They're experiencing earlier and earlier what they thought would deliver the ultimate until there's no mystery and no surprise and no delight left for which to look forward.

It's a heartbreaking reality. And so I say to you, the globalization that started the whole idea of a global culture that started in the West is now being exported and we are seeing the same thing happen. When you go to India today, I'm speaking in October to a gathering of movie stars and cricketers, India's cricket team players, you know. They are the icons.

I've spoken three times to the Bollywood group. These are the ones who are seen as gods in the eyes of society. Same predicament now in their families that you see in the West. The breakup, the travesty, the loneliness, the emptiness, the mood has spread and the carrier between the university, the carrier between the media and the carrier in the arts. These three carriers of secularization, pluralization and privatization have left the world living in incoherence and there is no longer a coherent set of answers to the existential questions that confront all of us in the passage of our lives.

And the cultural revolution has made a break from the shared meaning of the past so that today there's no common shared value or meaning anymore. The situation is ripe for evangelism. Absolutely ripe.

I tell you what, the last two to three years I have seen the largest crowds in every part of the world and the highest percentage of the audience is the young. Students are hungry for answers. They want to find out how to connect the dots. So as dark as it seems, it's the ripest moment for evangelism and missions properly done today. On that positive note, I bring it to a close. No shame, no reason and no meaning.

When that breakdown has exacted all that it has, how wonderful to show the boundaries of where shame must be felt. The reasonableness that there is in belief in God and the meaning that it brings when your life and all of its dots are connected by the sacred. The gospel is a beautiful message for a very, very coarse time. You can become a carrier of that gospel and go with power, conviction and hope.

You will help change the world and make it a better place. The move to a more secular society has cost us some of our most sacred beliefs. A thought provoking conclusion to Ravi's message. We hope this episode has encouraged you and if you'd like to purchase a complete copy, be sure to call us at 1-800-448-6766. You can also order online at or if you're listening in Canada, that website is If you're interested in looking at current events through the lens of the gospel, you might want to listen to the Thinking Out Loud podcast. This podcast engages directly with the trends and headlines that are capturing the public imagination and sparking conversations around the country.

Nathan Rittenhouse and Cameron McAllister discuss timely issues happening in our culture and draw from their experience as frontline apologists to show how scripture addresses all of our most pressing cultural concerns. You can listen to episodes of Thinking Out Loud by visiting our website and clicking on the Listen tab. This is Ivy Tyson, senior facilitator for the RZIM Academy. Some of the best content in the RZIM Academy comes in the elective courses. You can focus in on particular interests or subjects you're really passionate about. Some of our electives include the intersection between faith and science, the essentials of Christian doctrine, objections to the Bible, and even a nine week course on Islam.

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Whisper: medium.en / 2024-03-10 10:58:11 / 2024-03-10 11:07:26 / 9

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