Bronze-level articleRavi Zacharias

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Ravi Zacharias (born 1946; full name Frederick Antony Ravi Kumar Zacharias) is an Indian-born Christian evangelical apologist. He is the the founder and chairman of the board of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries as well as an author of many books. Zacharias grew up in a Anglican home, but claims he was an atheist until age 17 when he became a Christian after a failed attempted suicide. Zacharias earned an undergraduate degree from Ontario Bible College in 1972 (now Tyndale University College and Seminary) and his M. Div. from Trinity International University. Although he frequently uses the title "Dr. Zacharias," he holds no academic doctorate degree.

Contents

[edit] Beliefs

Ravi Zacharias holds the Christian worldview because he believes it is unique for answering the following questions sought by man: that of origin, meaning of life, morality, and destiny. Zacharias holds that there must be a Creator and all morality comes from him. He uses such logic as: if there is a moral law, then there is a law giver. He has made claims such as "naturalists have no explanation for humanity's moral framework."

Zacharias does not accept the theory of evolution. He believes that it is incompatible with the second law of thermodynamics, and he expresses skepticism of the fossil record. As well as being a scientific ignoramus, Ravi has often taken to breaking the 9th Commandment in order to discredit his opponents. Tragically he flew under the radar of potholer54 and was never nominated for a coveted Golden Crocoduck award. He is also guilty of being oblivious to the Dunning-Kruger effect. Whether he enjoys pretending to be an expert on subjects outside of theology is not known. It is also not known if Ravi deliberately realizes he is misrepresenting new atheism, science, and human sexuality, or if he hasn't learned the arduous complicated task of doing a Google search. In his seminars, Ravi is a huge fan of using anecdotal evidence, to the point that he mysteriously forgets to use any other evidence. His incredible talent for quote mining has also left the mining industry baffled as to how one can dig so deep when fueled by the desire to dig up out of context diamonds. In November 2009, Zacharias signed an ecumenical statement known as the Manhattan Declaration calling on Evangelicals, Catholics and Orthodox to engage in civil disobedience with regard to laws which the declaration claims would force them to accept abortion, same-sex marriage or other matters that go against their religious consciences. His followers are still waiting for the moment when he will tie himself to a christian flagpole to protest gay marriage. [1] [2]

[edit] Allegations of academic dishonesty

[edit] Visiting scholar at Cambridge University

For many years Zacharias claimed to have been "a visiting scholar at Cambridge University." In 2015 this claim was investigated and found to be false. In response to a Freedom of Information request, the University of Cambridge indicated:[3]

“We can confirm that Mr. Zacharias spent a sabbatical at Ridley Hall in Cambridge.”

“Attending lectures and classes at the University of Cambridge whilst on sabbatical at Ridley Hall would not confer University of Cambridge Visiting Scholar status on a student. Ridley Hall is not a constituent part of the University of Cambridge and has different criteria for granting Visiting Scholar status.”

It is undisputed that Zacharias spent several months on a sabbatical at Ridley Hall, a religious training school in the town of Cambridge in 1990. The concern is that this did not make him a "visiting scholar at Cambridge University."

Zacharias' ministry immediately removed the claim from his website after the investigator indicated an intent to go public with the Cambridge statement.

[edit] "Dr. Zacharias"

Zacharias refers to himself as "Dr. Zacharias" in press materials, in his official bio and on the jacket of some of his books. However, he has never earned an academic doctorate degree. His doctorates are only honorary. His highest degree is a non-academic Master of Divinity degree.

Zacharias has received numerous honorary doctorates, but it was a matter of concern that he failed to note in his publicity materials and website bio that these are only honorary. Of great concern is that at his website Zacharias claims to hold a Doctor of Sacred Theology degree, one of the highest academic degrees conferred by Catholic universities. http://www.anglicanritecatholicchurch.org/pgc/std.html

In the summer of 2015, after public criticism, Zacharias reduced the number of references to himself as "Dr. Zacharias" at his website. After continued public criticism by Christians, Muslims and Atheists on YouTube and elsewhere, in late 2016 Zacharias added the word "honorary" to his official bio, but removed it several weeks later.

As of April 2017, Zacharias' website bio fails to disclose that his doctorates are "honorary." http://rzim.org/bio/ravi-zacharias/

These allegations were documented in part in a Press Release issued by two atheists and a Christian in August of 2015.[3] and in YouTube videos releasing information acquired by Freedom of Information requests to Cambridge and Oxford.[4]

[edit] Senior research fellow at Oxford University

Zacharias has claimed frequently to have been a "senior research fellow" at Oxford University. In 2013 he told a Christian journalist that he uses this credential "in the academy." http://www.apologetics315.com/2013/02/ravi-zacharias-interview-transcript.html

Freedom of Information requests, however, revealed that the title was merely honorary and conferred by Wycliffe Hall, an "affiliated institution" of Oxford University. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I0tbgF7U1iw&lc=z125jzigtuufydrvh22azfcwzv3oft5gc04.1493132388313713 After being advised that his credentials were under investigation, Zacharias removed the Oxford research fellow claim from his website.[4]

[edit] Studied quantum physics at Cambridge University

In his autobiography, Waking From East to West, at page 205, and in numerous lectures, Ravi Zacharias claims that he studied "quantum physics" at Cambridge in 1990. He refers to renowned physicist, John Polkinghorne, as "my professor in quantum physics." However, it appears that Dr. Polkinghorne retired from teaching physics at Cambridge in 1979 to become a priest. [5]

Of considerable concern is the fact that a Freedom of Information request to Cambridge revealed that Dr. Polkinghorne taught two courses at Cambridge in 1990, one on Buddhism and the other on the Science/Theology dialogue. While it is not impossible that Zacharias studied with Dr. Polkinghorne in 1990 in some informal or non-Cambridge capacity, available information raises a serious concern about Zacharias' claim that he studied quantum physics at Cambridge under Dr. Polkinghorne in 1990.[4]

[edit] Response to allegations of academic deceit

As of February 2017, Zacharias has issued no written public statement about these allegations. His ministry has responded privately to concerned inquirers.[4]

[edit] Response from the Christian community

These allegations of deceit have begun to raise concern in some Christian circles, such as the Christian Research Network.[6]

Nevertheless, the allegations seem to have done little to harm Zacharias in the wider Christian community, even among academics who are aware of the allegations.

[edit] Publications

  • Can Man Live Without God? (1994, 1996) ISBN 0849939437
  • Deliver Us From Evil (1996, 1998) ISBN 084993950X
  • Jesus Among Other Gods (2000, 2002) ISBN 0849943272
  • The Lotus and the Cross: Jesus Talks with Buddha (2001) ISBN 157673854X
  • Sense and Sensuality: Jesus Talks with Oscar Wilde (2002) ISBN 1590520149
  • Light in the Shadow of Jihad: The Struggle For Truth (2002) ISBN 1576739899
  • Is Your Church Ready?: Motivating Leaders to Live an Apologetic Life (2003) (Editor, with Norman Geisler) ISBN 0310250617
  • Who Made God? And Answers to Over 100 Other Tough Questions of Faith (2003) (General Editor, with Norman Geisler) ISBN 0310247101
  • The Kingdom of the Cults (2003) (Editor) ISBN 0764228218
  • The Prince and the Prophet: Jesus Talks With Mohammed (Copyright 2004, to be released posthumously) ISBN 1590523199
  • The Lamb and the Führer: Jesus Talks with Hitler (2005) ISBN 1590523946
  • Walking From East to West: God in the Shadows (With R.S.B. Sawyer) (2006) ISBN 0310259150
  • The Grand Weaver: How God Shapes Us Through the Events of Our Lives (2007) ISBN 0310269520
  • Beyond Opinion: Living the Faith We Defend (2008) ISBN 0849919681
  • The End of Reason: A Response to the New Atheists (2008) ISBN 0310282519
  • Is There Not a Cause (2008) (National Day of Prayer Feature Book)
  • New Birth or Rebirth: Jesus Talks with Krishna (2008) ISBN 1590527259
  • There is a Plan (2009) (excerpts from The Grand Weaver) ISBN 0310318491
  • Has Christianity Failed You? (2010) ISBN 0310269555

[edit] External links

[edit] References


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