The Pilgrim’s Pensieve #7

Learning from Ravi

In previous posts I discussed the importance of questions. It isn’t just any old question that we should ask. We need to be bold enough to ask the hard questions. Any follower of my blog would know that I like to do just that. One of my heroes who challenged me to ask them is Ravi Zacharias.

He is a well-known, seasoned Christian apologist and evangelist of over 30 years. He is also the founder of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries. The motto of his ministry is particularly interesting. It is helping the thinker believe and helping the believer think.

He taught me the questions matter because they are asked by people. It is humans who wonder about themselves and the world around them and try to make sense of it. As such every person has a philosophy, a way of addressing these questions. This general philosophy or worldview becomes the unspoken grid for our lives. Listening to hundreds of his broadcast messages gave me an informal education in Christian philosophy. Learning how to not only grapple with the philosophical issues but identify them in the first place as they lie behind the words and actions of people, was very helpful. I learned the importance of philosophy by realising at heart all people are philosophers, seeking the wisdom to live by.

Wresting philosophy from the halls of academia, bringing it to the living rooms of families figuring out the right thing to do was pivotal for me. As I said real people ask questions. It isn’t surprising that a real Jesus asked them too. What is curious about Jesus asking questions is that it was his favourite way of answering them. Why did he do such a Ghanaian thing?

His questions were not rhetorical restatements of the problem. Neither was he just trying to be enigmatic (or annoying depending on how you look at it.) He answered with questions, as Mr. Zacharias explained, to open up the questioner in their assumptions. There is always an unspoken ideology or worldview that generates the kinds of questions we ask. When we begin to address things at that level, we are addressing the person because that is how they practically view and live in the world. Jesus was interested in the people he came to save.

The problem with a lot of apologetics or answers in general is that they answer the question and not the questioner. The right answer becomes the wrong answer when it does not satisfy the human heart. The pursuit of the questions I had was not to prove however clever I was or how dumb people were. It was because my own heart longed for understanding and meaning.

Migratory birds are able to travel thousands of kilometres to reach their destination relying on nothing but their God-given instincts. I think questions are the God-given navigation system in the human soul that help guide us to the truth no matter how far we are from it. The journey to the truth is paved with questions. I have discovered that the truly challenging questions tend to be the most fundamental. The basic things are closer to the building blocks of our world. Since they are largely not our design they tend to to be more puzzling to us. Asking such questions has not diminished my faith as some people fear. It rather has better grounded me in its foundations.

It has been my experience that if you hunger to know the truth, God leads you to it. His spirit after all is the Spirit of Truth. So when something just does not sit right with you and you just got to know, it could be the Spirit at work, nudging and prodding you towards the truth.


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