Tag Archives: ravi zacharias

A Bookish Hodgepodge

I don’t have a fully fleshed out book review for today, but I do have some book-related musings. Below are a handful of the titles I’ve recently finished reading, together with my thoughts in brief.


933114-MFirst up is Persuasions by Douglas Wilson. This pithy little volume (with a tip of the hat to Pilgrim’s Progress) introduces presuppositional apologetics through a series of dialogues between the “Evangelist” and unbelievers of all stripes. Agnosticism, feminism, Roman Catholicism, and pantheism are just a few of the subjects addressed here.

The brevity of the book is a strength, but it’s also a weakness, since some of the conversations are concluded with frustrating abruptness; there’s so much more to be said. Of course, I realize that may be part of the point: Wilson is only giving an introduction, not an exhaustive treatment, which should inspire you to explore further material on your own. So… anyone up for Greg Bahnsen?

Many think that the law of God is like a frame full of small window panes. They think that if they can get through life without breaking most of them, they will be alright… [Scripture] indicates that the law of God is more like one large plate glass window. And it doesn’t matter if the hole is in the upper left hand corner, the lower right hand corner, or right in the middle. The window is still broken.

9780849945281_p0_v1_s260x420Can Man Live Without God is the first book I’ve read by Ravi Zacharias. It garnered the Gold Medallion for best book in the category of doctrine and theology in 1994, and it’s not hard to see why. Zacharias is not only an eloquent writer, but also a skilled, logical, and passionate defender of the faith. His writing plunges into rough waters as he studies the implications of antitheistic thinking, as well as the the answers Christianity gives to the problems of pain, meaninglessness, and drifting morality.

Any philosophy that has built its social structure assuming an innate goodness finds its optimism ever disappointed.

imagesNext up is Deathworld by Harry Harrison, which has something of a cult following in the sci-fi community. Just… why? I didn’t approach the book with any expectation of soaring prose, six-dimensional characters, or Shakespearean plot devices. But I was expecting some decently-written pulp science fiction. Alas, it was not to be. Poor writing, poorer characters, and generally abysmal storytelling are the most notable aspects of Harrison’s work. The time I spent reading it is time I will never get back.

I’d share a quote, except there’s nothing in this book worth quoting. Surprise, surprise.

paradise-lost-john-milton-paperback-cover-artLast but not least, we have John Milton’s Paradise Lost. Which is quite simply one of the most beautifully epic things I’ve read in…. forever. I do have a few theological nitpicks, and I’m still trying to decide about certain artistic liberties taken with the Genesis account; these issues aside, there’s no doubt in my mind that the classic, highly-revered status of this work is well-deserved. I’ll be reading it again.

Of man’s first disobedience, and the fruit
Of that forbidden tree, whose mortal taste
Brought death into the world, and all our woe,
With loss of Eden, till one greater Man
Restore us, and regain the blissful seat,
Sing, Heavenly Muse…

Do You Have Any Preference?

“I reminded him of the debate between philosopher Frederick Copleston and the atheist Betrand Russell. At one point in the debate, Copleston said, “Mr. Russell, you do believe in good and bad, don’t you?” Russell answered, “Yes, I do.” “How do you differentiate between them?” challenged Copleston. Russell shrugged his shoulders as he was wont to do in philosophical dead ends for him and said, “The same way I differentiate between yellow and blue.” Copleston graciously responded and said, “But Mr. Russell, you differentiate between yellow and blue by seeing, don’t you? How do you differentiate between good and bad?” Russell, with all of his genius still within reach, gave the most vapid answer he could have given: “On the basis of feeling – what else?” I must confess, Mr. Copleston was a kindlier gentleman than many others. The appropriate ‘logical kill’ for the moment would have been, “Mr. Russell, in some cultures they love their neighbors; in other cultures they eat them, both on the basis of feeling. Do you have any preference?”

– Ravi Zacharias, Can Man Live Without God (p. 182)