Thinking about life’s biggest questions was the heart and passion of the late Ravi Zacharias, who passed away last month. As a tribute to Ravi, we explore how to find meaning and hope in a difficult world on this episode, ‘Why Think?’ of the Bigger Questions podcast.
Our guest is Michael Ramsden, president of RZIM, an organisation founded by the late Ravi Zachariaswho, who died of cancer on May 19 at the age of 74, to engage thinkers with the big questions of life. Michael has been engaging with people of all backgrounds and cultures about questions of faith for over 20 years and has been invited to lecture in various settings including the White House, in Washington DC, and NATO HQ in Brussels.
- Watch: a memorial service for Ravi Zacharias
- Listen: ‘Why Think? A Tribute to Ravi Zacharias’ on Facebook Premiere
The Bigger Questions Asked
- Being invited to speak in places like the White House and NATO — they are impressive spaces to speak — how do you, Michael, approach an invitation like that?
Life and Passing of Ravi
- As president of RZIM, how are you feeling after the recent passing of Ravi? It must be a challenging season for you?
- Tell us about Ravi, how did you first encounter him and his work?
- How do you now feel now being the president of an organisation which bears his name?
Thinking: What Drove Him?
- Ravi loved thinking and asking questions — indeed the tagline of RZIM is “helping the thinker believe and the believer think”. Why was thinking at the heart of what drove him?
- Isn’t thinking contrary to the Christian message? American atheist author Ernest Hemmingway once said, “All thinking men are atheists”, so isn’t thinking dangerous for a Christian believer?
- In the Gospel of John, which is one of the four biographies of Jesus we have, Jesus himself makes a profound statement, which was deeply significant for him, Jesus says in John 14:19, “because I live, you also will live”. Why was this verse so important for Ravi?
Final Days and Hope to Come
- In Ravi’s last days, when it became clear his condition was terminal, he shared a number of Bible verses and a hymn on Twitter. Maybe it’s a sign of modern life that a perhaps a way to remember someone these days is to recall their famous last tweet. On 15 May 2020, four days before his death, Ravi tweeted from the Bible, from 2 Corinthians 4:16-18:
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
- Is it surprising for a man, who devoted so much of his life to thinking, that his final reflections are more on fixing eyes on what is unseen? It is more of an experience and of hope than of intellectual reflection and insight?
Ravi also quoted a hymn from Isaac Watts (1674-1748):
“O God, our help in ages past,
Our hope for years to come,
Be Thou our guard while life shall last,
And our eternal home.”
- How did hope impact the way Ravi led his final days?
- You also got to spend time with him in his last days, how was that experience?
The Big Question
- What do you think Ravi would say to today’s big question — why think?
Article and podcast supplied with thanks to City Bible Forum. City Bible Forum serves the business community, and is committed to making the discussion of life’s challenges and of the Bible as convenient and accessible as possible.
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