Were Ravi Zacharias’ Accusers Lying?… (Were the Apostles Lying About the Resurrection?)

About a week ago I wrote a blog post about the Ravi Zacharias scandal. Most reactions to the news about Ravi have been understandable: a mix of shock, anger, dismay, empathy for the victims, and a call to self-reflection and greater accountability. However, some reactions have been in the extreme.

On one side are those who will use the Zacharias scandal as yet another reason why Christianity can not be true, and Christians can not be trusted. There will always be people in this category, it seems.

On the other side are those who profess to be Christians, but who have come with a variety of reasons why one should be dismissive or skeptical about the findings of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM)’s internal report. Here are the most common reactions I have seen:

  1. We are all sinners. Why all of this focus on what Ravi did?
  2. Why bring all of this up after Ravi has died?  The man can not defend himself.
  3. Why did these women witnesses not come forward until after he died? How trustworthy are they? Ravi was a great man of God!”

What am I going to do with my Ravi Zacharias books?  Read my answer here.

I want to briefly address each one of these responses/reactions, before I get to my parenthetical question: “Were the Apostles Lying About the Resurrection?

The first reaction has definitely truth to it. But while it recognizes a particular Scriptural truth, that all of us fall short of the glory of God, the tendency here is to forget that Ravi’s sin went far beyond your “average sin.”

We are not talking about a pornography addiction here, that vacillates between shame and repentance, that may or may not have a direct impact on others. What we are talking about is a repeated pattern of behavior, over many years, with no evidence of repentance, that subjected harm and deception upon multiple, vulnerable women. These women were taken advantage of by a stronger, more powerful man, a man claimed to be the “greatest Christian apologist of [the 21st] century,” who further abused them spiritually.  But the objection is right to protest the focus upon Ravi. Instead, we should be remembering his victims, and pray for them.

The second reaction is peculiar, as though it assumes some sort of statute of limitations. Perhaps this reaction is made, as a way of defending Ravi’s family, so there might be some understandable motive here. But as apologist David Wood argues, if he were to die tomorrow, and then someone found 20 bodies buried beneath his house, would you not want to know how those 20 bodies got there?

Ravi Zacharias is in many ways like Amnon, David’s most favored, first-born son, a man of great “integrity”, who in 2 Samuel 13 abused his sister Tamar. Amnon has been dead long ago, but God saw fit to preserve this story in our Bibles. I believe, part of the reason, for preserving the story, is to help us all to remember the Tamars of the world. Even though Ravi is dead, the Tamars in the Ravi story are still living.

The third reaction is meant to test the credibility of the female witnesses. If you have the time, you might want to view the YouTube video below, an interview conducted on the Capturing Christianity YouTube channel, with female Christian apologists Alisa Childers and Dr. Liz Jackson, who tackle this reaction in more detail.

What I want to highlight here is the nature of cognitive bias, and how it can so easily trick us into believing something that lacks evidential support. As I mentioned in my earlier reports about Ravi, I really did not want the negative stories about Ravi to be true. Ravi was not my most favorite Christian apologist…but he still seemed like a genuine, reputable guy, with the most winsome, popular appeal, having a positively great impact on many of my Christian friends. I really wanted to believe that there was some good explanation for what had happened. Sadly, the evidence points to the reality that the situation with Ravi was far, far worse than anyone could have imagined (see apologist Mike Winger’s video).

I had some serious doubts about Ravi, when the first set of allegations about him came forward THREE YEARS AGO. But after having talked with someone at RZIM, I was given assurances that RZIM was serious about the matter and that everyone in RZIM’s top leadership was being held accountable, and that everything would be OK.

But the funny thing about evidence, is that when you begin to take a serious look at the available evidence, it can have a serious impact on how much you trust your previous assumptions. It can challenge your wishful thinking. If substantial evidence is analyzed, that refutes your wishful thinking, then you have to make a choice. Either you revise your cognitive bias, and rethink your wishful thinking, and follow the evidence wherever it leads….. OR you will choose to continue believing what you want to believe, and simply ignore the evidence that contradicts your beliefs.

So, were Ravi Zacharias’ accusers lying? The problem with assuming that these women were lying is that they all gave the same type of testimony, despite being independent of one another. First, we have the Canadian supporter of Ravi’s ministry, who first challenged Ravi, in the 2017 sexting controversy, Lori Anne Thompson. She is the only named witness, but prior to RZIM’s internal investigation, there were at least three other witnesses, involved in Ravi’s spa business. RZIM’s internal investigation revealed five other witnesses to Ravi’s behavior. Then there are about 200 women, with photos solicited by Ravi Zacharias, on the phones that he had, over the past 7 years or so, which in some of those photos, the women where naked. With such independent, multiple witnesses (8 thus far, by my count), along with the evidence from the cell phones, this makes for a substantial case against Ravi (None of this even touches on the academic credentials controversy, or the report that while Ravi was a younger preacher, he pressured his brother’s girlfriend to get an abortion).

Is it possible that all of these women just happened to give very similar stories that were all fabricated? Were all of these electronic photos on Ravi’s phones fakes? Possibly. But how plausible is that? Even more so, how probable is that?

Compare all of that to the evidence we have for the Bodily Resurrection of Jesus. The Apostle Paul reports some 500, unnamed witnesses to the Risen Lord. We have four, different Gospel testimonies, that all feature the Empty Tomb. The New Testament tells us numerous stories of those who saw the Risen Jesus. Interestingly, the first witnesses to the Resurrection were those who were most suspect in terms of giving an accurate testimony: they were women.

Consider this: We have more substantial evidence that demonstrates that Ravi Zacharias was a sexual predator than we have for the Resurrection of Jesus.

Think about that for a moment.

Nevertheless, there are many Christians out there, apparently, who still believe Ravi to be completely innocent, and who buy into Ravi’s own rhetoric, which calls the critics of Ravi to be “demonic,” or otherwise, “tools of Satan,” or other sayings like that.

It really makes me wonder why so many Christians call themselves Christians. If the evidence against Ravi can not be believed, why do such people believe that Jesus really rose from the dead?  What type of cognitive bias is in play here? What type of wishful thinking keeps folks from accepting evidence that runs counter to what is believed?

The same can be said for non-believers, who reject the Resurrection of Jesus. Though the evidence for the Resurrection is not as clear-cut as the case against Ravi, the evidence for the Resurrection is still very, very good. So, if you easily accept the verdict against Ravi, as a “no-brainer”, what is it that is preventing you from accepting Jesus as the Risen Lord? What type of cognitive bias is in play here? What type of wishful thinking keeps folks from accepting evidence that runs counter to what is believed?

Something to think about.

Oh, one more thing, before I close out: REMEMBER THE VICTIMS AND PRAY FOR THEM.

About Clarke Morledge

Clarke Morledge -- Computer Network Engineer, College of William and Mary... I hiked the Mount of the Holy Cross, one of the famous Colorado Fourteeners, with some friends in July, 2012. My buddy, Mike Scott, snapped this photo of me on the summit. View all posts by Clarke Morledge

12 responses to “Were Ravi Zacharias’ Accusers Lying?… (Were the Apostles Lying About the Resurrection?)

  • Clarke Morledge

    Hi, Boris. I would agree that if there were no apostles, then the whole Christian story would be ridiculous. So, here is my question for you:

    According to the Jesus Mythicist view, there must be some transition between the fictionality of the New Testament to the actual historical record of Christians existing. I am not aware of any Jesus Mythicists who question the historicity of people like Augustine and Jerome, by the 4th century. So, where did the fictional history of Christianity start to give way to the actual historical record? In other words, when did Christianity (and Christians) start to appear? Or to put it yet another way, if neither Jesus nor Paul were the founders of Christianity, who was?


    • Clarke Morledge

      Boris, I will just keep this focused on the question I posed to you, to see if I can clarify your argument. If I understand what you are saying, according to the Jesus Mythicist view, Constantine was the first Christian, correct? And so he was the one who fashioned what we know as Christianity together?

      If that is the case, in your view, what are we to make of other persons who have been claimed to have existed and promoted the Christian faith prior to the 4th century Constantine? Tertullian (2nd-3rd c.)? Ireneaus (2nd c.)? Hippolytus (2nd-3rd)? Clement, bishop of Rome (1st)? Polycarp (1st-2nd)? Ignatius of Antioch (1st-early2nd)? So, are you saying that all of the historical evidence we have for these people, and the writings associated with them that claim an historical Jesus, have been purely concocted by apologists for Christianity; i.e. that these are purely made up, fictional people?


  • Clarke Morledge

    I’ll make a small correction here in the comments, that I think that WORLD Christian magazine found another female witness, another worker at the Atlanta spa, who reported abuse, a report that was independent of the Christianity Today article from earlier in the fall of 2020. So, that might make 9 female witnesses, and not just 8. But anyone can go back and verify that in the WORLD magazine archives.

    Also, to clarify: There appears to be too strands of Ravi’s “defenders”: (1) first there are those who still do not believe any of the eyewitness reports, and believe that Ravi is totally innocent of any and all accusations, and (2) those who admit that Ravi “cheated” on his wife, but do not believe that he “abused” any women, or should be classified as a sexual predator.


    • Clarke Morledge

      For a deep dive into the arguments of at least one critic, who dismisses the apostolic evidence for the Resurrection (some Internet connection issues, as Dr. Andrew Loke is in Hong Kong, and Capturing Christianity is in Houston — I think!):


  • Clarke Morledge

    Thanks, Boris, for your detailed answer.

    By your use of scare quotes regarding “evidence,” it is clear that you are highly skeptical of what others regard as historical evidence, not only for an historical Jesus, but also for the apostles and other writers of the NT, as well as prominent figures in the early church.

    In the previous exchange we had in this other blog post….


    …. you said that your confidence that your view is correct is at about a 11, on a scale of 1 to 10, which of course, on this scale where 1 is “low confidence” and 10 is “high confidence”, is quite high.

    If someone were to present to you claims for having evidence, regarding the historicity of, let’s say for the sake of this discussion, some of the early church fathers I named above, what type of evidence would this have to be for you to consider it to be valid? In other words, what type of evidence would you need to see regarding the historical claims made about such persons, in order for you to revise your level of confidence to be somewhere between 1 and 10?

    I look forward to knowing your answer.


  • Clarke Morledge

    Here is the problem, Boris. Perhaps I was not clear enough in posing my question to you, but it really was about what *type* of evidence you would need to see, that might alter your confidence level in the Jesus Mythicist viewpoint that you hold.

    Regarding the historicity of Clement of Rome, I could cite Irenaeus or Tertullian, knowing full well that we know little about many particular details of Clement’s life, but I get the impression that you would dismiss the historicity of these figures as well, as they predate Constantine. I could cite Eusebius of Caesarea, despite the number of problems that scholars have cited with his work, due to his polemics, but then you would probably dismiss him at another level, as being perhaps one of Constantine’s “henchmen,” and therefore, entirely untrustworthy, etc.

    I would not even bother citing current evangelical Christian scholars, such as an Edwin Yamauchi, Ben Witherington, the late Larry Hurtado, etc., or a Roman Catholic like Brant Pitre, because you would have no regard for them, as being “in on the con” as well.

    I’ve tried to cite current scholarly work associated with Bart Ehrman and Tim O’Neill before, despite the fact these authorities do not profess Christian faith, and therefore, appear to have no axe to grind aimed at reinforcing any Christian apologetic against their own skepticism, but you’ve already dismissed such scholarly tradition in an ad hominem fashion.

    Furthermore, you have already stated that even if Clement of Rome’s historical existence could be established, it would have no bearing on the apostolic witness recorded in the New Testament… purely fictional, in your mind, if I understand your position correctly.

    I wrote this blog post post pointing out that we all carry presuppositions that can easily shield us from evidence that might cause us to revise our presuppositions. Ravi Zacharias had convinced so many so well for so long that it was inconceivable for the most loyal of his followers to allow for other evidence to come along that might cause them to revise their confidence level in Ravi’s narrative, of him being absolutely above reproach.

    There are the Ravi Zacharias’, the Carl Lentz’s , the Benny Hinn’s, etc. that spoil the Christian witness. It is disappointing to me as a believer in Jesus, but it is not unexpected. Nevertheless, there are still diehard Lentz and Hinn, etc. supporters as well who can not be shaken.

    One could easily claim that such a firm confirmation bias exists in the minds of many Christians, when it comes to examining the claims of the New Testament at a fundamental level, many refusing to do even rudimentary research in this area. Sadly, there are a lot of Christians like this. But not everyone. Some of us have sought to examine the evidence fairly, and have arrived at a different conclusion, from which you have adopted.

    So, when it comes right down to it, I am really at a loss to know where to begin to try to bring “evidence” forward supporting the historicity of Clement, that might potentially lead the conversation down a more productive road.


  • Clarke Morledge

    For those having trouble following the dialogue I have been having with Boris, a Jesus Mythicist, I commend the just released video of Tim O’Neill talking about why Jesus most probably did exist in history.

    O’Neill himself is an atheist, who does not subscribe to Christian beliefs. But he represents the vast scholarly consensus that affirms the historicity of Jesus, as being most probably, against the contrarian view of the Jesus Mythicists.

    As an evangelical Christian, I do not share the anti-supernaturalism inherent with O’Neill’s arguments, norI do I think that the narratives of Luke and Matthew, regarding the birth of Jesus, are inherently contradictory, as O’Neill claims. But I readily concede that O’Neill’s position is the dominant scholarly view that evangelicals like me must contend with:


  • Pete

    I believe that if you read the leaked RZIM report, it suggests
    that three of the women that accused Ravi had ‘chequered pasts’. ‘According to Malhotra, Murray told the group he’d spoken to Brian Kelly, Zacharias’s attorney in the RICO lawsuit against Thompson, and Murray indicated that private investigators had been hired to look into the spa accusers and said “there are a lot of checkered things in their pasts.”’ A quote from The Dispatch The French Press

    There was also only one nude photo. Perhaps this was unsolicited? Furthermore none of the accusations have been proven in a court of law. Lori tried to sue for $5 million, yet signed a NDA and settle for a lot less. Let Ravi RIP, even if people will deny him natural justice.


    • Clarke Morledge

      Hello, Pete. I am wondering if you would be willing to engage with me on this.

      From what I gather from your comment, I am assuming that you believe that the women in the case of Ravi were lying, due to the suspicions about their credibility? Is that correct? Have you read Lori’s side of the story, and still come to that conclusion?

      Regarding the insiders at RZIM, who now believe the women accusers, do you believe that they were/are lying, too?


  • Clarke Morledge

    UPDATE on the Ravi Zacharias story, mostly about failures in the RZIM leadership, aside from Ravi:



  • John Paine

    Wow, how sickening. I am shocked at the duplicity and deceit, particularly involving Nabeel Quereshi. What a complete lack of regard for morality. It breaks my heart.


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