Sunday, May 01, 2005

Messengers of an Impersonal God?

I watched Greg Koukl and Deepak Chopra discuss the future of faith on Lee Strobel's Faith Under Fire last night. Dr. Chopra has written numerous books on New Age spirituality that have sold millions of copies. Greg did a superb job of representing the gospel in content and character, modeling the qualities of an ambassador that he and the folks at Stand to Reason seek to instill in others. He repeatedly demonstrated the problems with religious relativism and exposed the fact that, contrary to his denial that he is dogmatic, Dr. Chopra adheres to a theological position of which he seeks to persuade others.

As a sign of respect for Jesus, Dr. Chopra said that his teaching in the Sermon on the Mount is among his favorites and that he carries a copy of it with him. However, he considers Jesus only one among a number of God's messengers. Not only is this a contradiction of the biblical witness to Jesus' uniqueness, it's also unintelligible given Dr. Chopra's own concept of the nature of God. You see, Dr. Chopra emphatically denies that God is a personal being.

The concept of messenger presupposes two activities, both of which can only be performed by persons. The first is that of sending or commissioning. The summer before I went to college I worked as a messenger for a law firm in Manhattan. They sent me and my co-workers on various assignments to deliver important documents to other firms and businesses. I didn't decide what my destination was to be. Nor did I decide at what times I would go on these errands. All of that was dictated to me by my employer. A messenger is one who is sent by someone not something.

The second activity presupposed by the concept of messenger is communication. A messenger is one who conveys a what? That's right - a message. The task of a messenger is to convey some kind of communication from the one who sent him or her to the recipient. If I were to tell you that my toaster wanted me to tell you something, you'd think that I was either joking or something was seriously wrong with me. That's because we know that toasters and other impersonal entities don't communicate. So, how Dr. Chopra explains the concept of an impersonal God having messengers, I don't know. I don't think he can.

I wouldn't be surprised if Greg offers some more detailed analysis of the exchange at STR's blog so keep an eye out for it.


Anonymous said...

I thought Greg Koukl did a superb job on Chopra. Koukl countered every argument with grace and ease.


Frank Walton

open minded said...

Greg Koukl did nothing but expose his narrow minded view on religious tolerence. Deepak Chopra in no way was trying to say that Greg was wrong. He was trying to explain that there are so many religions out there and no single one is proven to be the "right" one. I assume most people including christians were brought into there religion by there parents. Without exploring other answers by themselves. So its very difficult for Greg to speak when he is out of his element. He made that apperent when he tried to speak of other religions which he had the clifs notes version of. Just keep that in mind.

KP said...

In other words, open minded, Greg was wrong?

BC said...

Thanks for sharing your assumption, open minded. (just curious if you believe your statement about "most people" is actually true?) Even if it were accurate, it's completely irrelevant to the question of a religion's Truth. It's interesting that Greg Koukl himself contradicts your view, having been an athiest before he examined the claims of Christ more closely, who then "brought in" his parents, years later.

Presenting Cliffs Notes versions of other religions in the time allotted doesn't mean Koukl exhausted his knowledge on them. It wasn't a discussion of the details of any particular religion, but of the nature of faith and truth.

Actually, Christianity has been proven to be the "right" religion, you're just apparently unaware of the proofs. Of course, if you start with the idea that Truth doesn't exist, or can't be known (self-defeating), you're not likely to arrive at any. I'd encourage you to examine the full case for Christianity with an open mind.

nm said...


I watched the video of the debate between Mr. Koukl and Mr. Chopra (which I found posted on the Google Video section) and I found it very interesting. I found it very interesting because it represents exactly the two choices that we as humanity have to make in order to move on as civilization or cease to exist. Mr. Koukl's comments were valuable and well presented, Mr. Chopra comments were as valuable and well presented. The point here is not who wins but what choice we will make based on what was said.

My view on the issue is that Mr. Koukl's beliefs are ones of separation and divisiveness. People that think on the "one true religion" they reject other paths as mistaken (or even evil) which they will not take you there. These beliefs have brought the world in the state it is right now... we can just look around... wars, environmental devastation, poverty... and we are on the brink of extinction... and all these because organized religion has failed us. Organized religion has failed to teach the most important message of all: Unity. And why unity is the most important concept today especially? Because without it we can't survive... without seeking and finding the things that unite us we can't work on the crucial issues we face today as humanity and we can't evolve ... and unity does not mean uniformity, we can still be different and united at the same time... yes that is possible!... have our cake and eat it too... the religions with their message of love should have taught us that, why didn't they?

As about Jesus... I don't believe Jesus talked about sin and sinners, Jesus Christ said he is the truth and the way just because we, back then, didn't believe in ourselves, (do we believe in ourselves today?, hmmm...) so his message was "if you can't believe in yourselves then at least look at me and believe in me". And so, I believe that he demonstrated not what he is but what we are. Jesus with the crucifixion demonstrated that life is eternal by resurrecting and we distorted that by saying that he died for our sins. Personally, I can't comprehend how I could have committed a sin before I was even born. And who are the people that made the distortions? Mostly the distortions were made (and are made today) from the people in power that didn't want to lose it, and by distorting the words and actions of Jesus they wanted to keep controlling the rest of the people. And these people did what they did because they were acting according to their poverty consciousness which says that there is not enough power (or anything else) and so it cannot be shared ... That of course happened in almost every other religion for the same reasons ...

However, we must evolve and we shall ...

Nick Markogiannakis