Friday, November 24, 2006
Ravi Debates a Buddhist
One of my favorite Christian apologists is Ravi Zacharias. His ministry is to thinking people (but I like him anyway :-)
But he also speaks to the heart.
He tells the story of an informal debate he once had with a professor of Eastern Philosophy. Over a dinner table, the professor made the case that Ravi's belief in the exclusive claims of Jesus Christ showed that his thinking was too western. If only Ravi would adopt eastern thinking, he might come to better conclusions, his Indian birth and upbringing not withstanding.
The professor explained that westerners are stuck in the rut of "either-or" thinking, where everything is either this way or that way and contradictions are not acceptable. Easterners, on the other hand, follow the superior "both-and" philosophy, where differing points of view can be accepted, even contradictory ones.
After the professor had gone on for some time, Ravi turned to him and said, “So you’re telling me I must use either the 'both-and' philosophy or nothing at all?” No answer. Ravi repeated his question. "I must use either the 'both-and' philosophy or nothing at all?” The professor finally answered, “The 'either-or' does seem to emerge doesn’t it?”
In Bedford, Massachusetts, there is a Unitarian Universalist church which I pass every day on my way to work. On the side of the building is a sign that says something like, "We are a place where differing beliefs are welcome, including yours." I feel like stopping by and asking them, "Would you welcome the beliefs of a person who doesn't welcome differing beliefs?" Sounds like "both-and" thinking to me.
The point is that truth is exclusive. It is impossible for two contradictory beliefs to be correct. This is the Law of non-contradiction. And it applies to everyone, everywhere, all the time. Christians are often accused of being arrogant because we believe Jesus is the only way. But, if it's true, it has to be the only way. It's the law.