Monday, May 18, 2009

One More Quixotic Believer

Ravi Zacharias, former Hindu turned Christian apologist, has written several books in his attempt promote the Christian religion as the one, true faith of this planet. Bang off it is disturbing to read that Zacharias converted to Christianity following a suicide attempt at the age of 17 while in college. Red flags flutter in the breeze. Yet, it is not at all surprising that religion attracts the mentally unstable as well as the social outcast. From his hospital bed, he claimed that the suicide attempt was not the result of a trauma or depression. 'It was just the fact that life lacked meaning.'

How many 17-year-old students attempt and/or successfully commit suicide just because 'life lacked meaning?' Not many mentally healthy ones, I'd bet. He also made this vow shortly afterwards, while lying in his hospital bed: "I will leave no stone unturned in my pursuit of truth."

Is that so? Why do I find this scenario odd? And why would all of this lead to one becoming an apologist for Christianity? Not only that, but Zacharias rose to battle atheists on his quixotic quest in pursuit of truth.

I find it all oddly familiar and sad. Were he merely a devout and caring Christian one might praise him for his efforts in stabilizing his mental condition [not curing it, but stabilizing it from personal harm] through faith and ritual. Yet, in his new-found zeal, he believed that he must take up the sword and slay the evil atheists which he finds at every turn in his zigzag path through life.

His story is so common, so unremarkable in its simplistic approach to theism because he is just one more religious zealot raising his sword of truth, riding the horse of belief onto the battle fields, lopping off heads for god's honor and glory.

In his 1997 book, A Shattered Visage: The Real Face of Atheism, Zacharias charges into battle, already slapping the atheist on the face with righteous indignation. Such a pompous title, such grand assumptions before the reader even opens the book. The author's assumptions and dripping righteousness at the outset alone would tend to cast this book atop others in the dustbin of foolishness.

I return to the vow of the 17-year old, post-suicidal student lying in his hospital bed: "I will leave no stone unturned in my pursuit of truth."

The truth. Ah- there's the rub. Or rubbish.

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