Jesus Among Other Gods: The Absolute Claims of the Christian Message

Ravi K. Zacharias, Author W Publishing Group $19.99 (240p) ISBN 978-0-8499-1437-9
When Pope John Paul II called for a massive ""new evangelization"" of Asia during a November 1999 visit to India, his comments sparked protest from Hindus for whom proselytizing is a form of oppression. The debate underscored the sharp difference between Western creeds such as Christianity and Islam, which tend to be exclusive, and Eastern religions that stress pluralism. This collision forms a fascinating story line, and on that basis Zacharias's new work is superficially intriguing. Zacharias, a Christian apologist who grew up in India, does offer the occasional insight into Eastern religions. He claims that despite the current Hollywood romance with Buddhism as a simple faith of compassion, in most forms Buddhism is actually a complex system, featuring 227 disciplinary rules for men and 311 for women. Yet for the most part, Zacharias is in dialogue here not with Eastern religions but with Western skeptics. He seeks to settle old scores with Darwin and Hume, resurrecting tired debates over the nature of evil and the argument from design without adding anything new to the discussion. His theodicy will be convincing only to committed Christians, and his use of scripture is entirely uncritical (he points out grammatical and textual difficulties in the Koran without even mentioning analogous difficulties in the Bible). There are touching flashes of humanity as Zacharias describes suffering people he has encountered, but on the whole he does little to advance inter-religious conversation. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 07/31/2000
Release date: 08/01/2000
Prebound-Sewn - 978-0-613-88947-6
Analog Audio Cassette - 240 pages - 978-0-8499-3700-2
Microsoft Reader Desktop - 208 pages - 978-0-8499-9017-5
Video, VHS Format - 978-0-8499-8843-1
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