I am one of many who owe the harmony between my faith and reason to Ravi Zacharias.
I picked up Jesus Among other Gods in my junior year of high school. Couldn’t get past the first few chapters. It was way over my head.
My senior year of college I returned to Ravi. I’d just read, Letter to a Christian Nation. Each page hurt my heart. Where was the brilliant communicator who could answer Sam Harris’ challenges? I picked up Ravi’s Can Man Live without God, because Harris said we’d be better off without him. I laid in the sun, outside the halls of my philosophy department and took his words in.
Page by page, argument by argument, he loosened the hold that Sam’s smug words had on my heart. He pushed back my fears and taught me to think about faith deeper than I ever had before.
He showed me what Francis Bacon once said,
“A little philosophy inclineth man’s mind to atheism; but depth in philosophy, bringeth men’s minds about to religion.” -Francis Bacon
Sans snobbery, sans rhetoric, he took no cheap shots but artfully laid out the case against atheism. Turns out man cannot live without God. Jesus is unique among the founders of world religions. Christianity offers something our hearts desperately want, our minds need and that our world can’t flourish without.
“Can man live without God? Of course he can, in a physical sense. Can he live without God in a reasonable way? The answer to that is No! because such a person is compelled to deny a moral law, to abandon hope, to forfeit meaning, and to risk no recovery if he is wrong. Life just offers too much evidence to the contrary.” -Ravi Zacharias in Can Man Live without God?
His was the first breath on my wearied soul. I’d been taught to question, I’d dismantled what was wrong and incomplete about my faith. But he began to rebuild it.
I owe the reasonableness of my faith in part to the ministry of Ravi Zacharias. The world is darker because of his absence and it reminds me that death wasn’t in the garden. But we don’t mourn as those without hope. One of my dear hopes is that his passing will allow us to reengage his thinking.
He showed me how to think deeply, feel deeply, and bring the two together in a tapestry of logic and love. He was the epitome of “always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15b).
To those who carry on his legacy of great apologetics, your hero is fallen. His legacy lives on. In you, in me.
Keep on thinking. Keep on feeling. Keep on sharing.
The world needs more like Ravi Zacharias.
“I, for one, believe that this generation longs to think again and that we do it a disservice by not providing that opportunity.” -Ravi Zacharias in Can Man Live without God?