The Struggle for Truth


Ravi Zacharias

Multnomah, 2002, 121 pp.



Zacharias was born in India and emigrated to the US at age 20.  He is an internationally known apologist.  This book was written in response to the 9/11 attack on America.  Ravi examines good vs. evil, truth vs. falsehood, prophecy, where was God, and how we should respond.


In democracies, many believe that morality is purely a private matter.  “On the other hand, demagogues such as Osama bin Laden believe that morality is a totally public matter, interwoven with religion, and that their followers are doing the world a favor by ridding it of any culture that privatizes religion and morality.”  (18)


So how do we recognize right and wrong?


“The relativist who argues for the absence of absolutes smuggles absolutes into his arguments all the time…” (19)  “Hidden somewhere in the words of everyone who argues for complete relativism is a belief [an intuitive certainty] that there are, indeed, some acts that are wrong.”  (20)


“Evil, plainly stated, is the destruction of what life was essentially meant to be.” (23)


“Reason alone cannot help us sort things out.”  “Reason cannot lead you to morality.”  “One cannot call upon sheer rationality to argue for an ‘ought’ in life.”  (24) 


“Knowledge without morality is deadly.” (26)  “There is only one hope.” 


“One sentence sets America apart from most nations of earth. 

‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.’ 

“Take away the Creator, and we are at the mercy of the powers of the moment.” (27)


“It is only on the character of God that morality is based.” (28)  “Life is intrinsically sacred because God created it.” (30)  “Sacredness of life and the protection of God are woven into the fabric of our national existence.  Without that recognition the words of freedom ring hollow.”  (32)


“The fight ahead cannot be won by might alone, but by the strength of America’s soul.” (32)


“Are terrorist acts part and parcel of Islam or the distortion of it?  “We must know the truth and respond in courteous and peaceable ways.” (36) 


“Poverty only provides the context.  The beliefs drilled into the minds of the masses in this movement orchestrated by bin Laden provide the soil and the impetus.  The religious foundation is key.  If there is intransigence in the religious aspect, it does not matter what other factors change; religion will still shape the mind-set of a horde of people.” (37)


“The radicals’ hostility is often the most severe toward their own dissenters or those within the faith who go ‘astray.’” (42)


“If we are going to keep this from becoming a struggle of ‘Us versus Them,’ I believe firmly that the following question has to be broached without fear in the Islamic community: Does the moderate Muslim have the courage to speak up against the evil of violence threatened upon anyone, anywhere in the world?” 


“The world needs to hear from the moderate Islamic communities.  When the blasphemy laws are applied in countries such as Pakistan and non-Muslims are killed, are those keepers of the law being good Muslims or bad ones?  The world needs to hear.”  (48)


“The freedom to believe—or not—is one of the most sacred privileges of the human mind.  That freedom is taken away in the name of Islam.  Is that good or bad?  There is no religious freedom in most Islamic countries.  Statistics that indicate that Islam is growing are not an accurate reflection of the hearts of the people, because they really have no choice.”  (49)


“Some soul searching needs to be done in the Islamic world, and two questions need to be answered:

·       What do they really believe Islam teaches?

·       Do they believe that what Islam teaches is really true?”  (50)


“Are the belligerent ones belligerent because their religion calls for such reprisals, or are they belligerent because that is what their spiritual leaders teach them?  It is time to ask what is being taught in the mosques on such matters.”  (51)


Mr. Muqtedar Khan, a devout Muslim scholar wrote some of his thoughts in response to 9/11 as follows:

“Muslims love to live in the US but also love to hate it.  Many openly claim that the US is a terrorist state but they continue to live in it.  Their decision to live here is testimony that they would rather live here than anywhere else.”  (53)


“The dignity demonstrated in the American response to the terrorist attacks would not have been seen in any other country, not even in other democracies.  I would like to suggest that the reason America responded the way it did goes beyond a political philosophy.  It is the by-product of a Christian worldview.” (55)


“The history of the world has been shaped by the struggle between these two brothers, both claiming to be Abraham’s legitimate heir.”  (64)  “The ensuing context between Isaac and Ishmael to gain the upper hand, this ‘jihad’ of individual and national proportions, is the story of the Middle East.” (65)  “The truth is that this family feud goes back for over four-thousand years as God in His foreknowledge described the temperaments, dispositions, and entailments of this conflict.” (67)


“Was God near or far?  Any time a catastrophic event happens, numerous human-interest stories give God glory, while others give Him blame.”  “Theologians …call it ‘the hiddenness of God’ or ‘divine hiding.’” (84)


We complain that God does not make Himself present to us at the moment we need him, but what about all the time he is knocking and we don’t answer?  (92)


“Even the Koran recognizes that Jesus had the power to raise the dead; a power that it does not attribute to Muhammad.” (98)


“The ability to think critically and logically or to draw a distinction between worldviews is a casualty of our time.  We will never come to the truth on serious matters of faith and belief if we do not know how to think our way through those beliefs.” (100) 


“To view all religion in the same light and stigmatize beliefs with broad and equivocating statements, necessitates a serious castigation of the truth.”  “It is pivotal that people learn to sift out the difference between good reasoning and a philosophical prejudice that selectively undermines whole systems of thought.” (101)


“It is true, by the way, that in the past century more people were killed under the banner of irreligion than by religious fanatics.”  (101)


“It is interesting to note how difficult Islamic countries make it for those of other faiths living among them, but how demanding Islam can be of the American culture to provide it unlimited freedom.  One is entitled to freedom, but one is not free from the responsibility to protect the nation’s right to exist on the terms that made it great in the first place.  Culture is dangerous when it is used to hijack the basic ethos of a nation.”  (104)


“In America no one need fear preaching the gospel and inviting men and women to trust in Jesus Christ.  The same cannot be said in many Islamic nations today.  It is a fundamental difference in our commitment to freedom.  The message of the gospel is not compulsion, but freedom.” (115)


 “This may be America’s moment.  We as a nation—and every individual in search of the truth—will find security in the rubble of our lives only as we place ourselves in His hands.”  (110)