RZIM sexual misconduct scandal

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RZIM sexual misconduct scandal

Post #1

Post by otseng »

Zacharias, a widely popular author and speaker, died of cancer in May at age 74. One measure of his stature in Christian circles: Vice President Mike Pence spoke at his memorial service, lauding him as a great evangelist “armed with intellect, girded with truth and love.”

Zacharias founded his international ministry, known as RZIM, in 1984, with a mission to engage in “Christian apologetics” — defending Christianity with powerful intellectual arguments. Based in suburban Atlanta, RZIM has operations in about 20 countries and a roster of scores of traveling speakers.

In recent months, the organization has been plunged into crisis, precipitated by a Sept. 29 article in the evangelical publication Christianity Today asserting that over a period of about five years, Zacharias sexually harassed three women who worked as massage therapists at two day spas he co-owned in an Atlanta suburb.
https://apnews.com/article/ravi-zachari ... d12a5bc3de
RZIM’s December 23 statement, summarizing preliminary findings from an outside investigation, marked the first time the ministry acknowledged sexual misconduct by its founder, who died in May at the age of 74. Over five decades of ministry, he grew to become arguably the most famous Christian apologist in the world.
https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/ ... ation.html

For debate and discussion:
How should RZIM handle the situation?
How will this impact the legacy of Ravi Zacharias and RZIM?

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Re: RZIM sexual misconduct scandal

Post #11

Post by Dimmesdale »

Overcomer wrote: Sat Mar 13, 2021 3:57 pm
I agree that Christianity is not a good enough cure for sin. However, Jesus is.
Yes, I've heard that line of thought before. The institution of Christianity versus the Person of Christ. I get it, more or less.

My thought would then be: how do you know where one ends and the other begins? Or differentiate them sufficiently to say "Christ did that" whereas "theological ideas" only did that. This doesn't seem very quantifiable in other words. You can say you were transformed by prayer to the Living God, but how do you know it was because of that, instead of a charismatic Baptist insight that watered itself sufficiently in your soul?

I am not so sure you can make a clear distinction between them. I do think more highly of Christ the person, even though I am not a Christian. I don't care to prove to you how I came to that conclusion, though perhaps another time.

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Re: RZIM sexual misconduct scandal

Post #12

Post by Dimmesdale »

Purple Knight wrote: Sat Mar 13, 2021 5:34 pm
Dimmesdale wrote: Sat Mar 13, 2021 12:04 pmBut there is a sense in which I understand people's disillusionment, and I feel such a thing as this speaks to Christianity's validity.
The one thing they need to work on is not being such easy prey. When taught to be sheep, they attract wolves.

A wolf amongst sheep looks charismatic, bold, confident, ambitious, and prodigiously talented. Naturally they're picked to lead over sheep that have been taught to be humble. Christian beliefs are very good for the community that actually follows them because they minimise hypercompetitive, energy-wasting behaviours such as deception and self-promotion.

However, a serious consequence that needs to be taken very seriously is that when someone is in that community and ignores those beliefs, instead doubling down on ambition, confidence, deception, and self-promotion, they look a hundred times better in comparison to people who practice humility.

Christians need to start shooting the wolves and exalting other sheep instead.
I have a different criticism: the emphasis in Christianity on perfect holiness, it being far removed from the basic human condition.

Honor kills in a sense. Make one wrong move when you are a high-ranking clergyman, and your reputation goes to hell. I have a feeling RZ didn't start out as a wolf, but perhaps gradually succumbed to vice due to a hectic and lonesome way of life doing speaking gigs. Maybe it started out making one wrong move: seeing a prostitute. Instead of coming clean and repenting, his reputation was on the line, fomented by the idea of "perfect holiness" - such that he couldn't (or wouldn't) come clean. And then things just snowballed from there.

There is a lack of honesty in Christianity in my opinion that kills. A lack of being "real" as they say. If we are taught from an early age to be flawless, that is, I think, in a sense an attack on human nature: because temptations are a part of the game. We shouldn't be all that ashamed about it. But in Christianity this sense of shame is exacerbated. And with that sense of shame, the need to sin, to fill the gaping hole that exists, because of a lack of unconditional love, in my view.

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Re: RZIM sexual misconduct scandal

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Post by Purple Knight »

Dimmesdale wrote: Sat Mar 13, 2021 5:50 pmIf we are taught from an early age to be flawless, that is, I think, in a sense an attack on human nature: because temptations are a part of the game. We shouldn't be all that ashamed about it.
This is of particular truth with Catholics. The clergy can't have sex at all, so they turn to pederasty, which is worse than it would be if they were just allowed to have sex (...with adults...) in the first place.

Nevertheless, there are people who are celibate, as in, actually celibate, not pederasts. Why do they not become the leaders? Well, they would never be promoted to those positions because they're not ambitious enough.

You're either ambitious or good, not both. You're either good at following rules or good at making others follow rules. Not both. If you're ambitious, it means you put your want for that leadership position ahead of that other guy's want for it. In other words, ambition is by its nature selfish. And if your wants come first, they come before the rules, too. Want to rape a little boy's bum? If you're ambitious, you do it, because your want for that sexual pleasure comes before that little boy's want not to have that experience. And the converse is true: If you would put that little boy's comfort before your own, you would also be the type of person who would rather someone else have the fulfillment to be gained from attaining that high position than yourself to have it.

It would nonetheless be a very good idea to allow people to have their natural desires so they aren't forced to make that choice.

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Re: RZIM sexual misconduct scandal

Post #14

Post by Dimmesdale »

Purple Knight wrote: Sat Mar 13, 2021 6:28 pm
This is of particular truth with Catholics. The clergy can't have sex at all, so they turn to pederasty, which is worse than it would be if they were just allowed to have sex (...with adults...) in the first place.

Nevertheless, there are people who are celibate, as in, actually celibate, not pederasts. Why do they not become the leaders? Well, they would never be promoted to those positions because they're not ambitious enough.
Why not be an ambitious celibate? Why relegate celibacy to something pusillanimous and weak? I think that's the biggest problem in Western culture. Celibates are made out to be meek, pathetic milquetoasts, as opposed to confident, gung ho "players" who are actually "making it" in life. That's not a good image to have, for either. Celibacy is supposed to be something empowering. You are giving up sex, only to sublimate that energy and become exalted. I immediately think of the Dancing Shiva, or other exalted yogis who are burning in their intensity, not because they are horny but because they have conquered lust and are enjoying inner bliss.

On the other hand, those playboys who indulge in sex are only "on top" for a season. And the rest is more or less misery.

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Re: RZIM sexual misconduct scandal

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Post by Purple Knight »

Dimmesdale wrote: Sun Mar 14, 2021 11:37 amWhy not be an ambitious celibate? Why relegate celibacy to something pusillanimous and weak? I think that's the biggest problem in Western culture. Celibates are made out to be meek, pathetic milquetoasts, as opposed to confident, gung ho "players" who are actually "making it" in life.
In a way this is true. The ambitious will put their desires over the wants of others, so they'll do whatever is necessary to fulfill them, even if it hurts someone else. This is player culture. Lie, lie hard, lie harder and better than the last guy she slept with. Hurt her. She doesn't matter. You got pleasure. You matter, you matter more than others.

To the pusillanimous and weak person, others matter more than himself. He's the opposite of the player. He even sometimes lets others hurt him.

But the facts are thus: If you let the first person lead, you'll have scandal after scandal after scandal lied out upon a wake of raped prepubescent anuses and ripped dresses. But if you let the second person lead, you won't have that.

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Re: RZIM sexual misconduct scandal

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Post by Dimmesdale »

Purple Knight wrote: Sun Mar 14, 2021 10:55 pm
Dimmesdale wrote: Sun Mar 14, 2021 11:37 amWhy not be an ambitious celibate? Why relegate celibacy to something pusillanimous and weak? I think that's the biggest problem in Western culture. Celibates are made out to be meek, pathetic milquetoasts, as opposed to confident, gung ho "players" who are actually "making it" in life.
In a way this is true. The ambitious will put their desires over the wants of others, so they'll do whatever is necessary to fulfill them, even if it hurts someone else. This is player culture. Lie, lie hard, lie harder and better than the last guy she slept with. Hurt her. She doesn't matter. You got pleasure. You matter, you matter more than others.

To the pusillanimous and weak person, others matter more than himself. He's the opposite of the player. He even sometimes lets others hurt him.

But the facts are thus: If you let the first person lead, you'll have scandal after scandal after scandal lied out upon a wake of raped prepubescent anuses and ripped dresses. But if you let the second person lead, you won't have that.
Well, what I'm saying is that in reality the truly strong people ought to be empathetic and sensitive to the needs of others. There shouldn't be this bifurcation between the strong and the weak; that the weak are good and the strong are wicked. Actually, the wicked should be seen as the innately weak ones. A strong person on the other hand is both compassionate and firm in resolve, etc.

That is how reality should be seen, in proper perspective.

I really hate what has happened with masculinity in modern culture. It effected me for the longest time, and almost pulled me down to wanting to be a jerk because I thought jerks were the only strong ones. I never recognized my own innate strength. I realize I never had to "prove" myself in the way the media liars painted it. Liars.

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Re: RZIM sexual misconduct scandal

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Dimmesdale wrote: Sat Apr 03, 2021 4:50 pmWell, what I'm saying is that in reality the truly strong people ought to be empathetic and sensitive to the needs of others. There shouldn't be this bifurcation between the strong and the weak; that the weak are good and the strong are wicked. Actually, the wicked should be seen as the innately weak ones. A strong person on the other hand is both compassionate and firm in resolve, etc.

That is how reality should be seen, in proper perspective.

I really hate what has happened with masculinity in modern culture. It effected me for the longest time, and almost pulled me down to wanting to be a jerk because I thought jerks were the only strong ones. I never recognized my own innate strength. I realize I never had to "prove" myself in the way the media liars painted it. Liars.
What you actually want is for society to respect the selfless person over the selfish one.

Yes, you can be compassionate and firm in resolve. What you can't be is selfless and selfish. Something has to give, and when put on the spot, a person will either put himself first, or put others first. Very occasionally you'll have someone who puts others first, but only his closest friends and/or family. The vast, vast majority of people are one or the other.

And the selfless person simply won't get the respect in a hypercompetitive society. The winner gets that respect. Who is the winner? The trampler of others. The one who puts winning first.

The reason society is this way is because people are lazy and let things alone. You know who gets more life rafts if you let things alone? The selfish people who push others off them. A society of people who won't punish selfishness is a breeding grounds for selfishness. So you know that 400lb guy who pushed four other people off the life raft so he could live? He needs to be ostracised. He needs to be ostracised so hard that he starts growing feathers. And the guy who willingly gave up his place on the life raft? He needs to be elevated. Rewards for his family if not himself.

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Re: RZIM sexual misconduct scandal

Post #18

Post by Dimmesdale »

Purple Knight wrote: Sat Apr 03, 2021 5:10 pm Yes, you can be compassionate and firm in resolve. What you can't be is selfless and selfish.
Actually, I think you can. But not in the same sense.

Yes, you can't be a player and a saint. But you can be a saint, while also keeping your best interests in mind.

What are human beings' best true interests? I do not think they are opposed to ethical selflessness. Take vegetarianism. You are being selfless in the sense that you are not consuming animals and contributing to their torture and death. But you are also serving yourself in so many ways by not eating that disease causing flesh -- and replacing it with healthy alternatives. Want to be a great saintly guy or gal or third gender? Well, a plus to that is you are going to become a lot more popular, in some circles at least, by having good character and serving people who will therefore look up to you.

The point is, there are many self-serving advantages to living a selfless life, that come as an effluence or byproduct, of virtuous living. Virtue is also said to be its own reward.

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