Ravi Zacharias’ wife Margie’s letter: What is missing?

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     Defender’s Voice is about answering your questions from a Biblical view point. Last night someone sent me this question: What is missing in Margie’ s letter? And I will answer this question in today’s episode. 

    Margie Zacharias wrote a letter defending her late husband Ravi Zacharias. We should support her efforts to tell the truth to the world. But truth is what is important in these conversations. In Acts chapter 5, we read about a Christian couple – Ananias and Sapphira. They sold land, kept a portion of the proceeds and took the remaining money as the donation to Apostle Peter. They gave the impression that they gave everything to the Lord. Apostle Peter looks through their phony philanthropy and says, ‘Why is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit?’. When we tell lies, we fill our hearts with Satan. We become like Satan because Satan is the father of lies. Ananias could have said, ‘I sold my land. I kept 50 % of the proceedings. I gave 50% as a donation’. Peter would have gladly accepted it. But Ananias subverted the truth. He received a swift judgment from God. He fell to the ground and lost his life in the presence of the Apostle. Unbeknownst to her, his wife Sapphira went to the church. Her husband had already been dead. She did not know that. Peter asked her the same question. She had an opportunity to confess her sin and her husband’s sin. But she too lied to the Holy Spirit and lost her life immediately. 

     There is nothing wrong to support your spouse but if you tell lies to the church, it is like lying to the Holy Spirit of God, which is a very serious sin. So, let us hope Margie has told us the truth in her letter. 

As I told before, everyone deserves a fair trial. Charging someone with sex crimes is a serious matter. We should carefully evaluate all evidence before we declare that person committed those crimes. We should consider the evidence from both sides: people who defend Ravi and people who prosecute Ravi. 

     Coming to Margie’s letter, even if everything she told in her letter is true, that does not exonerate Ravi, because if you look carefully into her arguments, they are logically flawed. I found two logical flaws in her letter: Denying the Antecedent and Affirming the Consequent. 

First, Denying the Antecedent. Margie says, I went through Ravi’s belongings. Every bag, every room, every drawer, every letter, every photo, every email, every text message and found no evidence to doubt his character. She wrote, “I want you to know beyond a shadow of doubt that I found not one suspicious receipt, letter, card, expenditure…absolutely nothing to support the claims being made or the charges against him.” 

So, her argument goes like this: 

‘if I found evidence, that would make Ravi guilty’ 

‘I did not find evidence, so Ravi is not guilty’ 

If P, then Q 

If not P, then not Q

That’s a logical fallacy. 

For example, ‘if you jump off Eiffel tower in Paris, you should be dead’ 

‘You did not jump off Eiffel tower in Paris, so you should not be dead’ 

    That is an invalid argument. The first statement is true, if you jump off Eiffel Tower, you should be dead. But the second statement is not true, because jumping off Eiffel Tower is not the only way to die. There are a million other ways to die. You don’t have to go to Paris or jump off Eiffel Tower. In logic, we call his Denying the Antecedent fallacy.

Margie says, If I found any evidence, that would make Ravi guilty. That is a true statement. But the second statement is not true. 

  I did not find any evidence, so Ravi is not guilty. 

There are other women who claim that they have the evidence. There are other ways to be dead beside jumping off Eiffel Tower. Likewise, there are other women claiming they have evidence. So, we have to look into their evidence to make up our minds. 

The second logical fallacy in her argument is Affirming the Consequent. 

She wrote, 

“I would also like to tell you that both Naomi and I have had frequent text messages from the therapist that treated his back most often in recent years, affirming the love and respect for him and for us”

so, this therapist who treated Ravi in recent years has only good things to say about Ravi. So, I don’t believe what other therapists say about him. 

This is also a logical fallacy:

 if P, then Q, 

Q, so it must be P 

‘If Ravi was a bad guy, his therapist would say so.’

‘His therapist did not say so, so Ravi must not be a bad guy.’

 But remember, 

All of Ravi’s  accusers are his therapists, but all his therapists are not his accusers. 

  Let us say, you were charged with robbing a bank, a bank named Citizens Bank. You were arrested and put on trial. The prosecutor brought the manager of Citizens Bank who said, ‘this guy robbed our bank. We have evidence’.  Then your defense attorney brought the manager of another bank, the Bank of America to defend your character. He said, ‘He is the best customer we ever had. He would never rob a bank. I would not believe it for a second’. 

   That argument is not going to work, because you could be a great customer at many banks and could still choose one bank for your burglary. You could be a great customer at the Bank of America and could still carry out your heist at the Citizens Bank. In the same way, Ravi could have been a great customer for many therapists and could still abuse a few vulnerable therapists. 

All of Ravi’s accusers are his therapists. But not all his therapists are his accusers. So, I saw those two invalid arguments in her letter. 

Denying the Antecedent and Affirming the Consequent. 

    She also said nothing about Ravi exaggerating his academic credentials. His claims of being a professor at Oxford and Cambridge. So, sadly, even if everything she wrote is true, what she wrote in her letter is not sufficient to declare that Ravi was innocent. We need more evidence. We need to talk to more people. Margie should write another letter explaining why she was silent when Ravi was visiting spas and starting his own spas in Atlanta. Did he inform her when he was starting spas in Atlanta? If he did, what did she tell him? So, I have so many questions. 
That’s all for today.  Please don’t forget to like this video,share your comment and subscribe to our channel. Please go to our website www.doctorpaul.org and make a tax-deductible donation for Covid victims in India. Thank you, God bless you.

4 thoughts

  1. Yo. Your first claim about what HER claim is is invalid. Why? Because the argument you attacked wasn’t the one she actually made. She doesn’t claim that “Because I found no evidence in this search; he must be innocent.” Her claim would be more appropriately stated as: “I searched his things and found nothing of suspicion, nothing that would lend support to the claims against him.” Absolutely nothing illogical about that statement.

    Your second theme is similarly inaccurate. She doesn’t make any claim that ‘Because this one person admired Ravi all others must be lying.’ Her claim is very simple; you mustn’t read into things when they simply are not there (sadly; this is something SO many do when speaking about the Bible, too!): She said, quite clearly, that the therapist who treated Ravi MOST often always found him to be worthy of admiration. It is ludicrous to add anything else to that statement. She presented two facts. I don’t see anywhere that she claims that because of those two facts it means all other claims must be false.

    Before you speak about logic, you need to make sure you understand the original claims and don’t assume the person has made conclusions when they haven’t mentioned that.

    Here are some questions I would consider:

    1) Was this a legal trial (you referenced ‘a right to a fair trial’ here). So, was this more of a legal trial or a witchhunt? To me the latter seems more likely when viewing the spirit and character of all the attackers (and many of the professed Christian ‘leaders.’) Very few mention anything of the wonderful influence Ravi had on people; that makes me suspicious straight off. Secondly, you have BIZARRE ‘conclusions’ made from people like Josh McDowell’s son, Sean, who stated something to the effect that he can’t trust Ravi’s books now…Which is absurd. By that logic (namely: Someone is alleged or shown to have done something sinful; therefore we cannot trust things they said. I am not sure how that could be anything other than ad hominem’), we could not even read the Bible, as we know that (not sure how, if we don’t know it from reading) the authors of the Bible all sinned, so we can’t trust what they wrote either. Then you have absurd claims from people in his organization such as Vince Vitale and Abdu Murray (and I think the blonde woman, Anne—I can’t remember her name off the top of my head) that they ‘regret placing trust in Ravi). Silly! Why did they place it in him to begin with? I would suggest because he had shown good character to them. So why would they ever regret that when there was only evidence to that effect?

    2) If I were defending Ravi, I’d look at the motives of some of the people who wished to see his downfall (I don’t trust for a moment the intentions of Baugham and self-proclaimed journalist Julie Roys is were honorable. From all I have seen of them so far they seem vindictive, hateful, resentful, and have some dark and empty hearts to pursue the argument the sin Ravi may have had (Which is ironic considering Baugham claims to be an atheist; where there isn’t such a thing as sin, and no logical basis even for stating something as morally wrong). I think I read a few comments from one or two of the accusers and they, too, didn’t seem like people of sterling character or anything close to it. So, would I put it past Baugham or Roys to tamper with evidence? No. Could I see them innocently reaching wrong conclusions based on facts? Definitely (As “Sherlock Holmes” once said, “The problem is not the facts; but the conclusions reached based on those facts”). Could I see them paying people to claim Ravi acted inappropriately? Yes. I don’t agree with some people that have said Baugham is a nice man. We clearly have differing views on what is nice; however, we could say that most everyone seems nice until we find something we don’t like about them, or if we have a major disagreement. The style and manner with which each of those two people write comes across as nasty and malicious to me. I don’t care if it doesn’t come across as tender and caring (which it, most certainly, does NOT) in this instance, but it doesn’t even come across as anything CLOSE to being impartial; as you’d home for from a judge or anyone else focused on truth.

    3) Going back up to some claims about people saying we shouldn’t even read what Ravi said, and pull down all his works, etc. Do we apply that to all other authors and speakers who have sinned? Why or why not? And if we don’t trust Ravi because he “willfully sinned” then why do we trust Lori Thompson’s story, or Julie Roys, or Baugham? They have all willfully sinned, too. So should we not trust them, too? It’s a major double-standard that we trust their stories, but immediately discount the witnesses such as Ravi’s wife and son, and those who found his character to be commendable (such as the therapist his wife mentions). If I were in a court of law, I’d certainly attack Lori Thompson’s credibility as a witness, and Baugham as an accuser (I couldn’t handle reading much of the reading and ‘thought’ processes of Miss Roy so I can’t comment on her as much). The latter is obviously hostile and an extremely biased witness while the former is admittedly weak of character. People attack Ravi so vociferously and put him under a microscope; but why not put these others under the microscope?

    4) As his son pointed out, why are there no testimonies from people at the scene that witnessed anything untoward? Why not even seek possible witnesses to misdeeds in Asia? If I were seeking truth that’s what I would do as a lawyer or detective. If there were nothing untoward in Asia, where he was alleged to be alone and away from family and friends to write and study…That would be an easy place to ‘get away with things.’

    5) While it is tough if the people are honest, and I can understand why people would want to remain anonymous. How can we justly accuse Ravi when we don’t even hear from people first hand? If the anonymous people and their testimonies reflect the hatred and nastiness of Baugham, Roy, Thompson, and more, I would think that would make us even LESS likely to trust the claims against Ravi.

    6) Related in this, the report failed to point out where certain things came from and how they were found. So, you have the report claiming that there were 200 pictures of women that were not related to Ravi on his phones. But were they from the deleted files? Were they sent by blocked contacts and never viewed? Were they asked for by Ravi? If so, where is the evidence of that? Can emails be doctored? Definitely. Can text messages? Definitely. Getting back on track, Nathan (Ravi’s son) makes the claim that he nor any of their IT staff ever found anything odd on Ravi’s phones. Why wouldn’t THAT be one of the first things whomever these ‘detectives’ were looked into and questioned? Yes, they may not have knowledge of how to access deleted files, etc, but it’s quite relevant to the case. As Nathan points out, the verdict in the minds of all these people is, “He’s guilty; go and find out how.” If you want to impress your readers with your knowledge of logic and fallacies and baises and such; dive into that one! 🙂

    7) Why are there no reports about interviews of people vouching for Ravi’s character over the years? I don’t think of seen even one! That’s a fair point Nathan makes, and his mother alludes to a bit, at least by referencing the therapist who saw Ravi most often. But, why bother looking for the counters if someone if they are in the mood for a lynching? What happens if you want to lynch someone? You turn a blind eye to anything that may even HINT at them being innocent, and you refuse to even listen (honestly listen) to anything that may contradict your conclusion. REGARDLESS of whether the allegations are indeed true, and not fabricated or misconstrued, I’d certainly side with those who think Ravi was “Sentenced and hung.” It was clearly a case of ‘guilty until proven innocent.’ And I pray that Baugham and Roy and Thompson and professed Christian leaders like MacArthur, Acorn, Chou (sp?), Vitale, Murray, McDowell, and others don’t have people railroad them ever.

    8) Regardless of what the truth may be, the principles and methodology have been, by and large, shocking. I was never impressed with the thoughtfulness or depth, and wisdom, presented by the speakers and preachers above (perhaps there is some jealousy and resentment in there? So much of what they said sounded like little jealous gossipers on a middle-school playground, or the athlete who is 2nd string who smiles with glee when the 1st stringer is injured; even though it’s bad for the team as a whole). Regardless of what turns out to be the truth (we’ll likely never know for sure since it won’t even go to a proper trial), I’ll be actively encouraging people to steer clear of Macarthur, Acorn, etc. Before I simply wouldn’t point people TO them as there are far better resources for all subjects they deal with (again, stemming from my view to find them largely wanting in thoughtfulness and wisdom). But now I’ll actively discourage people from them. How uncharitable, how merciless and unforgiving all of them sound; even when saying it as ‘sweetly’ as they could imagine. I thought of the comments from Eowyn to Wormtongue in Lord of the Rings, “Your words are like poison.” I hope, if it ever happens to my own family or friends, I do not so easily throw them under the bus, trusting the words of known reprobates and people I don’t know over a life-time’s worth of evidence for well-placed faith.

    9) I think it is odd so many people call the accusing women, ‘victims.’ If they are going to judge Ravi as an adult; why don’t they judge the women as adults? If they judge Him as wrong for succumbing to temptation and sinning; wouldn’t it be fair to similarly judge them as wrong for succumbing to temptation and sinning? Did they have no choice to say, “No?” Did they have no choice to avoid sin? I treat them with more respect than anyone who calls them a ‘victim.’ They HAD the power to say, ‘no.’ THese were not little children who are unware of such things. These people (allegedly) willfully committed sin. How utterly weak of anyone to claim another ‘made them sin.’ As if we excuse Adam because of what Eve did…

    In conclusion, I don’t trust, for a moment, the testimonies of people with such detestable character as Bauham, Roys, Lori Ann Thompson. Does that mean their conclusions that Ravi sinned for a number of years is false? No. What is my statement? Merely that I find them untrustworthy. From what I’ve seen of law, that’s the first thing a decent defense attorney would do; determine if the testimony of the accusers and witnesses is actually credible and worth listening to. If you met a man on the street, and he was nasty in character, would you trust him the instant he sat in a trial? I would think not. Would it mean what he says is not actually true? No. But it would likely make a huge difference in the mind of the jurors.

    For now, similar to an article or two of yours. I’d want a lot more evidence than there currently is, and justification of the sources. Witnesses from BOTH sides. Clear, documented evidence and support that there was no tampering of evidence, that Ravi solicited pictures, etc. I’m far more likely to listen to someone who demonstrated great character from all I have seen (even from afar) while dealing with, many times, very nasty and antagonistic people (Consider how Ravi would speak to Baugham, and then the other way ’round…If you’re familiar at all with Ravi (and an honest man), you’ll likely be very impressed with how he responds to rude questioners, etc. The only other well-known (-ish) Christian speaker I’ve ever seen come close (and he does great, too!!) to how Ravi treated those who disagreed with him (and were incredibly disagreABLE) is John Lennox of Oxford and (to be fair to Os Guinness, I’ve not seen him in similar contexts, but I imagine he’d be one of the few I could have in this list). So, I’m far more likely to listen to someone who demonstrated great character than to people who demonstrated poor. Just to be clear, that doesn’t mean the former can never do something wrong and neither does it mean people with poor and weak character are never truthful in their claims. I’ve not seen anything untoward from Ravi (or heard of it). but I’ve certainly seen it from a couple of the accusers (other people use the misnomer of ‘victim’, Baugham and Roy. Would you give more credence to the testimony of a Cain or an Abel? For me? I choose to stand by Abel.

    Best wishes to you, and to all of us who truly seek for the truth with all our hearts, souls, and minds, and honor God’s commands and designs for love as seen, in particular, 1 Corinthians, “You can have all the truth in the world…but if you have not love, you are as a clanging gong.”

  2. By the way! If Nathan or his mother ever sees this, I’d love to get in touch with them! 🙂

      1. It’s okay! You don’t have to (I’ll probably not view anything as I must move on to other things; especially those I can control and influence more! 🙂 ). I was typing all this more for Nathan’s benefit as there isn’t a way to contact him through his site, and I wanted him to know that not everyone is quick to believe such things and not persuaded by the evidence as it currently stands. So, thank you for having a place where someone can share their voice (all the others were entirely one-sided and full of, as I said, people that I wouldn’t trust). I hope I didn’t come across harshly by stating your claims about her conclusions weren’t accurate! I didn’t find an option to edit my post to make it have a ‘softer tone’ and fix some of the more glaring typos. 🙂 When I reread it I thought, “Oh…Whoops…That reads a bit harsh. :/” So, my apologies if you read received it in that tone. I meant it more as a matter-of-fact claim rather than to ‘blast’ you. 🙂

        Regarding Ravi, I was thinking a bit more about it. Even if it turns out that he did such things for some time, he was still a blessing to many, as each one of us can be, even if we have sinned greatly before, or will in the future. It is awful to see the treatment from professed Christian leaders and staff; in some cases taking God’s role of judging the human heart to Hell (or to Heaven, as C.S. Lewis spoke of…). As I mentioned above: like gossiping, envious little school boys seeking a way to get the attention of others; and glad that the ‘popular boy’ has fallen from grace.

        If these folks were truly sad and caring for Ravi (which CAN still be done even while caring for others who are involved), I’d have expected a much more thoughtful and caring reply than any I have yet seen given (there may be some I have simply not seen).

        Assuming the allegations to be true, I would have hoped to hear more talk about how God knows what was going on in Ravi’s heart in his last months and days, if there was repentance.

        I would have expected to hear more talk about Jesus’s words of forgiveness and how temptation to sin plagues us all and that we, as the Bible says, must be careful to “Work out (our) salvation with fear and trembling” and we are reminded thus: “Let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.”

        I would have expected to hear more talk about how we have all sinned and, perhaps at least more talk about the wonderful things Ravi did do and say. But it seems more like a witch-hunt, as I say above; the 2nd stringers smile in glee while finding out the 1st stringer has picked up an injury.

        Based on the words Ravi wrote for treating others as Christ did, I think it is safe to say that Ravi would have dealt with those same leaders much differently had the shoe been on the other foot.

        A tragic thing from all of this, is that Ravi was one of few professed Christian leaders that pointed me to Christ by what he said, wrote, and what I observed of his conduct when possible. But the responses from his former friends and other well known leaders does not leave me with the same desire. I’d love to share more with Nathan or someone else in his family, so if they ever contact you and are interested, I’d love to connect with them, if anything to be one voice of encouragement amidst a hailstorm of hatred, maliciousness, and betrayal. It’s absurd to argue that Ravi didn’t have a grand influence on many, in helping point them to Christ. How humbling it is that God can use ANYone and anything to draw them to Him…In fact, I have a friend from England whose friend committed his life to Christ at a Benny Hinn gathering! He said that as he read the Bible and obeyed it, he found (rather early on) that there were many contradictions between the Bible and what Hinn taught, and so he promptly rejected Hinn’s teaching.

        Thank you, Paul, for being open to considering other viewpoints and not simply falling in line with the stampede. My hope is that the allegations were lies and fabrications; something we, who seek more to persuade us, may never know unless there is a fair investigation done (without the outside influences and biases brought from some of the people above), something more in line with an actual court of law. In a word, something more thorough, and with someone who actually acts as a defender. Ironic that I count Ravi as one of the greatest defenders of the faith, and now it is he who is in need of a great defender. If he were guilty, and assuming he repented, it is great to know that he won’t need to stand on his own defense, but he’ll have the Grand Defender by him. The one who promised to never leave us or forsake us. Sad to see people who claimed to love Ravi forsake him so quickly.

        I’d close by adding that the truth of those allegations and reports would make no ultimate difference to me (as in how it affects me personally). Our faith and trust in someone is evidence based, not based in the works of men. There is a lot of evidence that Ravi lived many faithful years of service, regardless of what may have transpired in a certain period or at the end (as can be the case with any of us who are saved!),. But there is even more evidence to show that Christ is who He claimed to be.

        To paraphrase something Ravi once said himself (I think from “Can Man Live Without God”): “Do yourselves a favor…Take your eyes and criticisms off of those who claim to be Christians and stumble or prove false and, instead, direct your eyes and attention to the person of Jesus Christ, and on whether or not what HE said and did was true.”

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