Book Review: Jesus Among Other Gods by Ravi Zacharias
Jesus Among Other Gods by Ravi Zacharias addresses the uniqueness of Jesus Christ among the world religions. Its subtitle: The Absolute Claims of the Christian Message. Zacharias gives the reader a complete picture of what his goal is in the introduction, namely, the testing of the truth claims of Christianity over and against world religions: “The reality is that if religion is to be treated with intellectual respect, then it must stand the test of truth, regardless of the mood of the day. This book is a defense of the uniqueness of the Christian message.” (Intro) The author’s goal is clear, as is his approach: “The route I have followed is to present a clear difference between Jesus and any other claimant to divinity or prophetic status. I have taken six questions that Jesus answered in a way that none other would have answered.” (Intro)
Readers who are familiar with both the lectures and the writings of Ravi Zacharias will find here more of his same style, and most would say that is a good thing. Zacharias weaves together stories, examples, anecdotes, and profound insights into a flowing and easy-to-read book. So what should the potential reader expect from the book?
In the opening chapter Zacharias tells his own story – a journey to faith in the midst of his own life struggles – which underscores the existential importance of the subject matter. This is a topic with real implications for real people in the real world. But Zacharias doesn’t dwell on personal experiences to make his case. He transitions the core issue after his opening chapter.
Zacharias examines the uniqueness of Christ through his own self-identity. He discusses Christ’s transcendent character, his sinless life, and his bold claims and actions. The author would emphasize that “truth cannot be sacrificed at the altar of a pretended tolerance. All religions, plainly and simply, cannot be true.” (4) With this in mind, he compares the claims of Christ to the claims of other religions: “One can go down the line and see that every claim that Jesus made of Himself challenged my culture’s most basic assumptions about life and meaning.” (5) Through the chapters that follow, Zacharias explores such issues as meaning, existence, suffering, design, and the cross. The author argues throughout that:
…faith in Jesus Christ is a cognitive, passionate, and moral commitment to that which stands up under the scrutiny of the mind, the heart, and the conscience. It is not an escapist grasp that comes to the rescue when life is out of control. It is recasting every threat and possibility that life presents into the design of God.(66)
For those who are searching for meaningful answers in a world of many spiritual alternatives, Jesus Among Other Gods by Ravi Zacharias is an excellent choice, both for its quality content and its readability.