Ravi Zacharias -- one of the foremost living Christian apologists who Glenn Beck believes may be "the C.S. Lewis of our day" -- said Monday that Ivy League campuses are becoming more hostile to Christians than the Middle East.
"If you had asked me [which is more hostile, the Middle East or an Ivy League campus] even last year, I would have probably said, 'Clearly the tension is greater in those parts of the world, because one wrong word and you don't know whether you'd be boxed and sent back or what,'" Zacharias said on Glenn Beck's radio program Monday. "But you know, our university campuses are getting pretty hostile, too. I was at an Ivy League school earlier this year and had to walk with security. Unbelievable."
Zacharias expressed shock that there is such hostility towards Christians in America at a time when "tolerance is the buzz word."
The Indian-born Christian thinker added that the risks are certainly different in both places, but that doesn't mean there is not intense hostility at college campuses.
"In the west I would say ridicule and mocking is more the norm when they don't agree with what you're saying," Zacharias remarked. "In those parts of the world, it could be a violent streak that could interrupt what it is, so they have their own tensions."
Beck stated: "This is your calling, to go into places where you're not necessarily agreed with, and you try to just state the case. You're not trying to change anybody's mind. You openly say, 'I'm not here to change you.' Right?"
"Right. Because I can't and don't wish to," Zacharias responded. "I always follow that up with the statement, 'But I to know somebody who can change your heart and your mind. And only God is big enough to do that.'
Zacharias said America has reached an "incredible state of affairs" where we are uprooting the very freedoms we were founded upon, yet we expect the tree of the nation to continue standing.
"'We believe these truths to be self-evident.' Where does that come from?" he asked. "That we're all created equal with inalienable rights, in pursuit of life, liberty, happiness and so on. ... Tell me any other world view that would have given birth to that statement. Naturalism wouldn't have given birth to it, because they don't believe we're endowed by our creator. Pantheism wouldn't, because they don't believe we're all created equal -- we are born with our different karmic backgrounds. The Islamic world wouldn't subscribe to that; it does not give you the freedom to disbelieve in true Islamic states."
"Only the Judeo-Christian world view would have given us that bequest," he remarked. "We are taking the worldview that made it possible to coexist, and we are uprooting that. We are severing the roots of that, and thinking the bark and tree can still stand. Impossible."
Beck said said critics will point to Christianity's history of oppression as a way of proving it is no better than any other set of beliefs, and said it is true that many Christians need to learn to be more humble.
"Christendom has a lot to apologize for, because the whole issue of an enforced belief system is in violation of what Jesus Christ actually taught," Zacharias agreed. "When they wanted to make him king he said 'No, my kingdom is not of this world.' Fascinatingly, even Napoleon recognized how unique was the message of Jesus Christ, that it gave the individual the sovereignty over their will, and the freedom to believe or disbelieve."
Having humility in the face of power, Zacharias said, is a human problem, and it is true that "absolute power corrupts absolutely."
"Unfortunately, that's the line that the new atheists have taken with their worldview now," he said. "You know, 'You either come my way or you're out of universities. We won't give you professorships. We won't even give you scholarships and so on.' So that autocracy has shifted camps."
More from the interview, below.
Ravi Zacharias will be on Glenn Beck's television program Monday at 5:00 p.m. ET, where Beck discusses a personal "pivot point" he has never before shared with his audience. Find out how to watch the two-hour special for FREE here.