The Gospel Truth

Why the Apologetics of Ravi Zacharias is So Important

Darwinism used to principally attract me with its seeming boldness in addressing some of the most fundamental questions concerning life and purpose. Questions such as, “Why are men universally attracted to women with waist to hip ratios of 0.7?” and “Why are birds and humans attracted to mates that demonstrate symmetry in physical features?” Or “Why did sex (which in the field of biology denotes genetic recombination) evolve as a reproductive strategy?” And one of the most interesting: “What are the origins of humans?”

Now, coursing the answer to these questions through the materialist’s sieve, there is no place for purpose or meaning, since the function of any trait or character (evolutionists call these homologs1) is to confer enhanced reproductive fitness on the organism expressing it. This simple rubric for life provided for me a powerful means for evaluating the function of everything.

Having amassed an impressive evolution library, I became quite well versed in my defense of materialism. I was informed by Dawkins, Gould, Frans deWaal, Sarah Bleffer Hrdy and others. Sadly, other Christians in my acquaintance usually gave no better arguments in the faith’s favor than “evolution is evilution.” Having offered no satisfactory answers during a time of crisis of faith, St. Peter might have been disappointed in my shamers.2

Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias recognized the errant naturalistic framework I embraced, summarizing it accordingly, “Time plus matter plus change brought you and me into being; there is no transcendent perspective; no absolutes as points of reference by which and for which we must live.”3 Having identified and nailing this framework, to his credit, he spent a lifetime rebutting it with arguments informed by philosophy, history, science, culture, and theology. Leaving no stone unturned, he was both tenacious and fearless in his pursuit of communicating Christian truth, wherever it was challenged.

For Zacharias, Christian apologetics was not restricted to merely giving answers. For him, “It involves clarifying truth claims to make the claims you are asserting [as a believer] clearer within the context of the listener’s question.”3 Apologetics then, is about connecting with the listener on their turf, in meaningful dialogue, meeting their questions with truth. Solely by effective apologetics and God’s mercy, was I enabled to close the book on Darwinism.

For Christians wanting to run to the hills for cover at the materialist’s arguments, take heart: Zacharias, having done his homework, offers many specific, pointed answers in The End of Reason: A Response to the New Atheists. In this work, materialists are not met merely with scripture (remember, materialists place no authority in scriptures claims), verse and tropes, but with powerful and well-researched arguments that are intellectually difficult to refute. These are arguments that challenge the veracity of the atheists claims, point by point. In this work, Zacharias invades the atheists turf, going toe-to-toe, speaking in a language they can respect.

Speaking of running to the hills for cover, considering the prolonged pandemic, many young people around me have asked why. Why the suffering? Why the death? Why the economic fallout? What is the purpose of all this? For these kids, they want more than a quipped scripture. Thankfully, for any of us wanting to step down from that hiding place and address these questions, we can read Why Suffering? Finding Meaning and Comfort When Life Doesn’t Make Sense.

On May 19, 2020, Ravi Zacharias succumbed to cancer. While he was certainly a brilliant man, demonstrating scholarship in so many academic domains, he was first and foremost a man of faith. In reading his books, and watching him speak at conferences and interviews, what is clear is that it was his love for God, his care for souls, and concern for the lost human condition that animated him in speech, research, and writing.

In my own descent into meaningless materialism, I wonder “what if” I had encountered a Christian informed by the very relevant apologetics of Ravi Zacharias? Two decades of futile wandering and the countless poor decisions that resulted from a materialist worldview could have been prevented. Verily, arming up with apologetic arguments is an act of love, as it facilitates Biblical relevance with the contemporary culture, and enables Christians to emerge from the cloistered holy hills to engage with a suffering world, as Zacharias himself did.


[1] Denton, M. (2016). Evolution: Still a theory in crisis. Seattle, WA: Discovery Institute Press

[2] 1 Peter 3:15: but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.

[3] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8WOHS-OGAlY

Emily has had a lifelong appreciation for science, teaching, and research. She graduated summa cum laude from California State University, Fresno with a BS degree in molecular biology and a minor in cognitive psychology. As an undergraduate, she conducted summer research in immunology, microbiology, behavioral and cognitive psychology, scanning tunneling microscopy and genetics; she also published research in the Journal of Experimental Psychology, and co-authored a chapter on scanning tunneling microscopy. She is currently completing a Master’s degree in Instructional Design and Technology at University of Cincinnati and a Certificate in Apologetics with the Talbot School of Theology at Biola University. Emily has had the joy of teaching high school chemistry, organic chemistry, physics, anatomy & physiology, and pre-engineering classes over the last thirteen years. As a former Darwinian evolutionist, Emily enjoys stating the case for intellectual agency, considering the arguments posited by the intelligent design movement as much more credible than those proffered by Darwinists.

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