Talk:Ravi Zacharias

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Ravi Zacharias has been listed as one of the Philosophy and religion good articles under the good article criteria. If you can improve it further, please do so. If it no longer meets these criteria, you can reassess it.
Article milestones
March 24, 2008Good article nomineeListed
July 20, 2008Peer reviewReviewed
A news item involving this article was featured on Wikipedia's Main Page in the "In the news" column on May 22, 2020.
Current status: Good article

BLP issuesEdit

The edit warring IP that most recently reverted me here needs to be reverted in turn. The IP seems fixated on adding claims made by Zacharias because it finds them to be "bizarre". Listing claims made by living people in their BLPs simply because one finds them "bizarre" is a good example of unacceptable behaviour that leads to blocks. FreeKnowledgeCreator (talk) 01:50, 25 February 2015 (UTC)

The article claims that Ravi Z is of Nambudiri descent. This claim without adequate context is bizarre because by Ravi Z's own account in the source cited only one of his great great great grandparents was Nambudiri Brahmin, who converted and married a Christian man. Saying he is of Nambudiri descent without this context is indeed bizarre and misleading. (talk) 02:06, 25 February 2015 (UTC)

The "context" you are adding seems intended to make Zacharias look ridiculous. If that is indeed the purpose of your edits here, responsible editors will have no choice but to revert you. Please read WP:BLP. FreeKnowledgeCreator (talk) 02:18, 25 February 2015 (UTC)

I have no intent to make RZ look ridiculous. I added the information from the original source because without it the article would be factually wrong on the point made and misleading and that section of the article would be ridiculous. (talk) 00:14, 1 March 2015 (UTC)

Your actions speak louder than your words. If you were acting in good faith, then you could easily remove any demonstrably incorrect information without adding undue and inappropriate details. The material you want to add seems clearly intended to reflect poorly on Zacharias. It is never going to become part of the article if I have anything to say about it. Your changes need consensus; as you don't have it, it is unacceptable for you to continue to make them. See WP:BRD. FreeKnowledgeCreator (talk) 09:08, 1 March 2015 (UTC)

Obviously a consensus will not be achieved if someone adamantly refuses reason and fact and opposes factual insertions because they don't like it. Your changes have no consensus either, btw.

The question as far as I am concerned is what has RZ said about his ancestry and to represent it properly. RZ does in his talks, his books and his speeches refer to his Brahmin heritage. It is a relevant piece of biographical information because it is something he identifies with strongly as evidenced from the source material.

He has also makes it clear that his heritage was through a distant relation in the source cited. There can be no dispute the additions I made are factual. They are relevant because without it the section about his Brahmin roots would become misleading and incorrect. The details I added were hence not undue nor inappropriate.

Asserting something as undue or inappropriate doesn't make it so, nor do your ad hominem attacks contribute to this discussion. (talk) 13:37, 1 March 2015 (UTC)

You apparently do not understand how things work here. If there is no consensus to change an article, the article stays as it was before someone tried to change it. That is the point of WP:BRD. You had no excuse to keep making the same changes after they were once reverted. I see in your latest edit summary that you complained that I was edit warring. Does the expression, "the pot calling the kettle black" mean anything to you? Since you have been edit warring, what makes you suppose that you are in a position to complain that I am edit warring? So much for the issue of your behavior. As for the substance of your edits, you want the article to say that "Zacharias was born in Madras, India. Zacharias claims descent from the Nambudiri Brahmin caste, by means of one very distant relative, his great great great grandmother who married a Christian man of the Boatman caste." Everything after "Brhamin caste" is in violation of WP:UNDUE. It is trivia that is totally inappropriate to a biographical article. it also amounts to unacceptable editorializing, since it introduces a note of amazement, a gosh-wow tone that does not belong in a neutrally written encyclopedia. It's tripe that would never find its way into a competently written encyclopedia, or any other work of reference. You have not shown that it would be in any way incorrect to not include that one bizarre detail that you keep trying to push into the article. Also, why insist on the words, "by means of one very distant relative"? Are you worried that readers might not recognize that a "great great great grandmother" is a distant relative, and therefore feel a need to point that out for them? FreeKnowledgeCreator (talk) 06:32, 2 March 2015 (UTC)
(Comment from uninvolved editor) I removed this from the third opinion noticeboard because it appears to be a dispute between more than two editors. If the 81 IP and the 5 IP are indeed the same user, I suggest s/he actually create an account to avoid further confusion. Erpert blah, blah, blah... 07:37, 2 March 2015 (UTC)
Erpert, respectfully, I am not sure that was justified. Yes, there were multiple IPs, but the behavior clearly indicates a single person - a single person using multiple IP addresses. The second IP continued with the exact same pattern of behavior as the first. Could you please reconsider the matter? FreeKnowledgeCreator (talk) 07:49, 2 March 2015 (UTC)
Fair enough; I relisted it. Erpert blah, blah, blah... 04:05, 3 March 2015 (UTC)

I can confirm I am one person- my IP changes. I have as advised created an account. I have a few responses, and yes I would invite external more experienced editors to review this 'edit warring' engaged by FreeKnowledgeCreator who insists on keeping factually incorrect material and misleading content on a page about a living person.

I would like to make the following points:

1. FreeKnowledgeCreator argument is mainly ad hominem. He refuses factual content from the cited source and wants to remove it in favour of incorrect content.

2. He has not engaged in any attempt at a compromise.

3. His argument that non-consensus means factually incorrect should be retained in the article is principally flawed. The existence of one rogue editor with certain motives to keep factual content away from the article and keep misleading claims in an article does not mean an article about a living person should be kept factually wrong.

4. He does not dispute the veracity of the edits, but 'the relevance' and the 'intention' of content.

5. I have explained the relevance of my edit, which he ignores:

5.1 The first edit is to insert information that RZ's lone Nambudiri Brahmin ancestor was his great great great grandmother. The reasons why this is relevant and necessary are as follows:

5.1.1 The original version claims RZ to be of Nambudiri Brahmin descent. This is not technically incorrect since RZ's great great great grandmother was according to RZ a Nambudiri Brahmin as per the source cited. However to say that RZ is of Nambudiri Brahmin descent when 1 out of 32 of his great great great grandparents was one, is I believe misleading.

5.1.2 However from the source cited it is clear that RZ identifies strongly with Nambudiri Brahmin identity, hence while ordinarily the caste or community background of 1 in 32 of his great great great grand-parents is usually not particularly relevant, it is here because of the way he self-identifies with that particular aspect of his family history and background.

5.1.3 RZ in many talks and interviews when asked about his family background talk about his Nambudiri Brhamin heritage, showing clearly that his claim of Nambudiri descent is a relevant when describing his family background. Therefore keeping this aspect of his family background in the article is relevant.

5.2. In the second edit, I clarified that it was his great great great grandmother that was converted by Swiss-German missionaries, not the branch of the entire family. This is a factual error corrected.

6. I do not speculate FreeKnowledgeCreator's motives. However I concede that I can see why a supporter (I don't speculate that FreeKnowledgeCreator is one) of RZ may not like the insertion of factual context regarding his Brahmin heritage claims. This is because RZ in many talks and speeches, not cited in wikipedia, emphasizes his family background as being of Brahmin heritage. Therefore it is possible, some of his misguided supporters may resent the insertion of factual context regarding his Brahmin heritage claims because they feel it seems to make RZ look less credible. However, RZ, as seen in the source cited, has described his family history comprehensively and is the very source of the factual insertions made.

7. FreeKnowledgeCreator's claims that stating that great great great grandparent as 'a distant relative' is unnecessary. This I can compromise on. I don't think it matters much either way. I don't however see why he should object it.

8. I have all respect for RZ and his skills as a scholar and preacher. I made the corrections so that a proper factual context is made regarding this particularly claim, as made by RZ in the cited source.Jabramse (talk) 03:02, 3 March 2015 (UTC)

  Response to third opinion request:
It appears that nobody disputes that that Zacharias is of Brahmin descent, or the fact that the ancestor in question was several generation removed. The only dispute seem to to be whether it is appropriate to include information on how this descent is traced. I can't see any valid reason not to include it, since it seems ot be an important part of Zacharias' identity, provided we can find a reliable source. Since this is a source of some contention, we should probably keep as closely as possible to the wording used by the sources of the claim. Can somebody please quote for me the the wording used in whatever source this genealogy comes from? Mark Marathon (talk) 04:57, 3 March 2015 (UTC)

To respond to Jabramse. You complain that I refuse "factual content from the cited source and wants to remove it in favour of incorrect content." The fact that that content may be factual does not mean that it needs to go in the article: see WP:UNDUE. There are endless facts that do not belong in articles because they are trivial or otherwise inappropriate. You have never shown that the content you removed was incorrect. You actually admit that it is not "technically" incorrect. You claim that this bizarre detail is relevant because, "RZ in many talks and interviews when asked about his family background talk about his Nambudiri Brhamin heritage, showing clearly that his claim of Nambudiri descent is a relevant when describing his family background." But the importance of that particular detail depends on what reliable sources say about Zacharias, not so much what he says about himself. Unless reliable independent sources indicate that it's important, there's no reason to place it in the article. Mark Marathon, who offered the third opinion, seems to have absolutely no idea what he is talking about. Frankly, how would you know that this bizarre detail about precisely how Zacharias traces his descent from the Nambudiri Brhamin caste is "an important part" of his identity? The give away here is your concession that we need to "find a reliable source" to show that it is actually an important part of Zacharias's identity. The whole point is that there is no such source. Just a particularly persistent and disruptive editor who decided himself that it was important. FreeKnowledgeCreator (talk) 05:40, 3 March 2015 (UTC)

FreeKnowledgeCreator, please do not misinterpret me. I never said that we need to find a RS to show that it is an important part of his identity. I didn't realise that was even under dispute. If the basis of your objection is that it isn't important, then any reference to Zacharias' Brahmin descent will need to be removed if we can't find a reliable source. And of course if we can find a reliable source, then the issue of how far removed the ancestor is becomes inherently notable. But I am getting the opinion that I am wasting my time providing an outsider's perspective on this issue.Mark Marathon (talk) 05:44, 3 March 2015 (UTC)
Then you should have made it clearer exactly what you were saying, Mark Marathon. Am I correct in assuming that you believe that the precise details of how Zacharias traces his descent from the Brahmin class are so important that they must be in the article? Do you also believe that the article should point out explicitly that a "great great great grandmother" is a distant relative, perhaps because readers are unable to work out for themselves that a "great great great grandmother" is a distant relative? My position remains that Zacharias's claims about the precise details of his descent are inappropriate, undue detail. Neither what he has said about himself, nor what independent sources have said about him, indicate to me that they belong in this article, despite the cluster of IPs and the brand new account insisting on their inclusion (the "very distant relative" part is inappropriate editorializing, of course). I apologize if I come across as rude; I would just like a response. FreeKnowledgeCreator (talk) 06:10, 3 March 2015 (UTC)
One thing at a time. First, we need t establish Zacharias' ancestry is noteworthy, a point that you now seem to be disputing. If Zacharias has thought to mention his ancestry multiple times, which seems to be the case, then it would seem to be inherently notable. If we can establish that Zacharias' ancestry is noteworthy then, yes, of course the nature of that ancestry is notable. The exact wording used to do that should, as I already noted, reflect the wording used by the sources. Mark Marathon (talk) 06:48, 3 March 2015 (UTC)
The question is level of detail. Wikipedia needs to state the basic facts in an article about a person, but that doesn't mean that we go into esoteric details. I cannot see any objection to including the basic fact that Zacharias claims descent from the Nambudiri Brahmin caste. Yet I also cannot see any case for including the precise way he claims descent from it - it seems bizarre to note that he claims descent via a single "great great great grandmother". You seem to be implying that "of course" the detail is important. Sorry, but I just don't see it. There is no "of course" here, there is a dispute about the amount of detail the article should include. You have to say exactly what your conclusion is based upon: specifically why should this specific detail be included? FreeKnowledgeCreator (talk) 07:08, 3 March 2015 (UTC)
I was asked to provide third opinion, which I have: If we accept that Brahmin heritage is important, and if a RS can be found on the degree of removal, then it should be included. I invite you to look at biographies such as Ben Kingsley, Ray Martin (television presenter), Jimi Hendrix or Dean Cain as an example of how this exact situation is normally handled in Wikipedia articles. The standard procedure in biographies is that where ancestry is deemed important and occurs at some remove, the precise level of that ancestry is always noted: ("and Japanese (from his paternal grandfather)", "Kingsley's paternal grandfather was a spice trader who had moved from India", "His paternal great-great-grandmother was a full-blooded Cherokee" "his great, great grandmother was an Indigenous Australian woman"). My opinion is that there is absolutely no reason why similar wording should not be applied to Zacharias' biography. The specific detail to be included, as I have already noted twice, should closely paraphrase, if not directly quote, the source used to avoid any contention. If you do not agree with this opinion then the pair of you will need to take this to the next level of dispute resolution.Mark Marathon (talk) 07:46, 3 March 2015 (UTC)
Thank you for providing links to those articles; it's the most helpful thing you have done to date. To me, the level of detail about Ben Kingsley's ancestry seems very strange. I would not undertake to remove any of it, but I certainly wouldn't want to see anyone add material of that kind to biographical articles. I also have to note that those details, which are in a section called "early life", actually have nothing to do directly with his early life, they are about his ancestors' lives. This does not increase my confidence in it as an example to follow. Similarly, the article Ray Martin (television presenter) contains details that I find of dubious importance, though once again, I wouldn't rush to remove them. The Dean Cain article is not comparable to the other two, and hardly an appropriate point of comparison. You will forgive me if I am a little skeptical that any of those articles are typical of how Wikipedia biographies handle such information, and one does have to remember WP:OTHERSTUFF. Nevertheless, I am prepared to reconsider my position, to some degree. FreeKnowledgeCreator (talk) 08:05, 3 March 2015 (UTC)

Behaviorial issuesEdit

At this time, it is a matter of confusion as to whether I am arguing with one person using multiple IP addresses ( and, and now a user account (Jabramse) as well, or whether there are two or three different people. All the relevant IP addresses and the user account need to explain how they are related. If there is a perception that multiple accounts are being used, that may be actionable behavior. FreeKnowledgeCreator (talk) 05:43, 3 March 2015 (UTC)

FreeKnowledgeCreator: I'm parachuting into this controversy because I keep an eye on a different facet of this subject's work. I know almost nothing about the genealogical issues here, or what the ancestral claim might mean for the subject or for his followers. What is clear here is that there's a lot of heat here, and that heat may not in fact be necessary or helpful. In particular, it's entirely possible that one person legitimately used an IP account, and wound up with different dynamic IP addresses; nothing wrong with that! Then, when asked to do so, they created a user account: nothing wrong with that!
What might best serve you here is to take a deep breath, start a new section, and concisely explain the issue at hand for readers who know almost nothing about caste and Christian apologetics. Treat the opposing opinion as generously as you can. Explain to us what's in question here; we may well find a good formulation and, if not, your position is more likely to prevail (in my opinion) on content merits than on behavioral issues. MarkBernstein (talk) 17:28, 3 March 2015 (UTC)
You are perfectly correct; there may well be an entirely innocent explanation for the issue mentioned above. That does not mean that it's unreasonable to ask the IPs and the account to explain how they are connected. If you look at the article's revision history carefully, you will see that I have changed my position somewhat and restored some of the changes made by the IP addresses. I'm still in the process of reconsidering my views on the remaining content issues. FreeKnowledgeCreator (talk) 04:40, 4 March 2015 (UTC)


TMDrew removed the mention of Zacharias's views on homosexuality because they are "irrelevant to Zacharias' career and reason for notability." I find that argument to be nonsense. The views Zacharias has expressed on moral views (whether about homosexuality or anything else) clearly are relevant to his career. His moral views are based on his Christian beliefs, and his career has been based on promoting Christian beliefs. The material should be restored promptly. FreeKnowledgeCreator (talk) 03:57, 14 September 2015 (UTC)

The question here is whether this specific view is one for which Zacharias is notable or one which he has built his career. Many people who have moral views based on Christian beliefs are not primarily known for their views on homosexuality; I don’t recall that Augustine touches on the subject specifically, for example, or Ralph Waldo Emerson, or Elias Hicks. MarkBernstein (talk) 20:52, 14 September 2015 (UTC)
No, that's an absurd argument. Even Rick Santorum isn't notable mainly because of his views about homosexuality, but the article about him does discus them. I find the idea that someone has to be known mainly for their views about homosexuality for those views to be mentioned in their articles ridiculous; it has no basis at all in policy. So, as I said, there's no basis for excluding the information; it needs to be restored promptly. FreeKnowledgeCreator (talk) 22:41, 14 September 2015 (UTC)
Far from being absurd, WP:UNDUE says that we shouldn't highlight every possible aspect of a subject, even if that aspect is personally interesting to some editors. WP:COATRACK warns of the temptation to add subsidiary and tangential interests and events. Should the biography of every philosopher have a paragraph about their views of homosexuality? Surely not. (Is Ravi Zacharias a lot like Rick Santorum? How?) MarkBernstein (talk) 23:16, 14 September 2015 (UTC)
WP:UNDUE doesn't say what you says it does - that someone has to be known mainly for their views about homosexuality for those views to be so much as mentioned. Of course it's not necessary to "highlight every possible aspect of a subject", but that doesn't mean that Zacharias's views about homosexuality cannot be at least briefly mentioned. Your philosopher example is pointless since many or most philosophers have never even mentioned homosexuality. FreeKnowledgeCreator (talk) 23:23, 14 September 2015 (UTC)
Have many or most Christian apologists mentioned homosexuality? I ask for instruction, though I did cite a few above. 03:32, 15 September 2015 (UTC)
Your comment is not a relevant response to my arguments. There is nothing in WP:UNDUE that suggests someone has to be known mainly for their views on homosexuality for those views to be mentioned in an article about them - that would be a totally baseless interpretation of the policy. Why waste my time and yours with irrelevant, diversionary waffle and nonsense? Why can't you discuss this issue properly? FreeKnowledgeCreator (talk) 03:51, 15 September 2015 (UTC)
I believe you will find on deeper reflection that my question was not irrelevant nor nonsensical, and since it follows directly from the your previous claim, it's hardly diversionary. No one is waffling, though one of us is pretty free with the disparaging adjectives. Zacharias may hold many views on various subjects -- the virtues of maple syrup, whether waffles require butter -- but WP:UNDUE suggests that we limit his biography to notable and significant views, views for which he is generally known, and views that are broadly discussed in reliable sources. Do you know of two or three independent reliable sources that discuss Zacharias' views of homosexuality? Are Zacharias' views on homosexuality more significant than his views on the eucharist, on Manicheanism, on caste, on contraception, or on the nature of the trinity? MarkBernstein (talk) 15:22, 15 September 2015 (UTC)

Zacharias is not known for his views on homosexuality. Like the vast majority of Evangelical Christian ministers, he opposes it. He also holds all sorts of other theological views and views on controversial issues. The question as to whether we include his views on these issues is whether his views are in any way notable. As far as I know, his ministry makes almost no mention of homosexuality, and information about his views on this subject are no more than trivia. We also need to be extra careful (per WP:NPF for example) of material that may adversely affect a person's reputation. Louie Giglio, for example, was disinvited from President Obama's swearing-in ceremony because of some comments he made about homosexuality 20 years beforehand. Since this is a WP:BLP we need to err on the side of not including such information on Wikipedia.--TMD Talk Page. 02:36, 16 September 2015 (UTC)
MarkBernstein, you wrote, "WP:UNDUE suggests that we limit his biography to notable and significant views, views for which he is generally known, and views that are broadly discussed in reliable sources". No, it doesn't suggest that. Notability concerns which topics may have articles created about them, which is not the issue here. It matters what is significant, but what is significant is a matter of judgement. I see the material as significant. Your final question about contraception and other matters is, again, irrelevant and diversionary. TMDrew, you are correct in commenting that Zacharias is not known for his views on homosexuality, but the point is irrelevant: it is simply untrue that someone has to be known specifically for his views about homosexuality for it to be appropriate to mention those views. To suggest that Zacharias's reputation might be damaged by mentioning his views on homosexuality is simply bizarre, as he has never made any secret of his views. WP:BLP is here only an excuse for keeping out material that you appear to be uncomfortable with for whatever reason.

FreeKnowledgeCreator (talk) 02:55, 16 September 2015 (UTC)

I just gave an example where Louie Giglio's view on homosexuality DID damage his reputation, to the point of damaging his career! It's not bizarre. It's a fact. I have talked to others in the Christian apologetics movement who said that they would prefer that their views on homosexuality and same-sex marriage not be displayed on Wikipedia for fear that they would be disinvited by public universities. This is one reason I would prefer that Evangelical ministers and apologists not have their unpopular views mentioned on Wikipedia unless they are very outspoken about them.--TMD Talk Page. 03:33, 16 September 2015 (UTC)
Your example is bizarre, and shows that you have failed to understand the purpose of BLP. If a man's comments about homosexuality damage his reputation, it would be Wikipedia's job to report that fact, so long as the man is notable and there is an article about him. BLP is designed to prevent Wikipedia itself from damaging people's reputations, not to prevent themselves from damaging their reputations. Since Zacharias has never hidden his views about homosexuality but has openly announced them, it is preposterous to suggest that Wikipedia would somehow be damaging him by reporting them. With all respect, you seem to be emotionally over-involved in this topic and should probably find a different area of Wikipedia to edit. FreeKnowledgeCreator (talk) 04:28, 16 September 2015 (UTC)
Again, I don't think it's bizarre at all. An offhanded comment about homosexuality does not make it notable. If you could find something like a lecture series by Zacharias about homosexuality, I would change my mind about this. Otherwise, I am sticking with my position on this.--TMD Talk Page. 15:41, 16 September 2015 (UTC)
Notability does not just concern what topics may have articles about them, as the criterian in WP:UNDUE are part of NPOV, which is in turn part of BLP. The examples in UNDUE are listed based on topic, but their inclusion by BLP means that the same things apply. On a more general note, I don't know how anyone's views of someone else's sexuality is somehow considered part of the mission of an encyclopedia unless they themselves have made it a big deal. He probably also has an opinion on the age of consent. He probably also has an opinion on masturbation. He would probably give them if asked. But if he is not known for these issues, why would they be listed in an encyclopedia entry about him, unless someone is trying to over-emphasize some aspect of his ideas to discredit him (which would violate NPOV on several areas)?johnnyb (talk) 01:08, 17 September 2015 (UTC)

WP:BLP says: "Articles should document in a non-partisan manner what reliable secondary sources have published about the subjects." What secondary sources discuss Zacharias’ views on homosexuality? More than a lecture by the subject, we need secondary sources reporting and responding to that lecture. If such sources exist, are those sources as numerous as those that discuss other views he has expressed? BP:UNDUE says, "Undue weight can be given in several ways, including but not limited to depth of detail, quantity of text, prominence...". Giving weight to the subject’s opinions on waffles because one is interested in waffles is against policy: opinions on waffles belong in articles about waffle experts. I note that you just called a second editor "emotionally over-involved", called his example "bizarre", and you have previously termed my own observations "absurd" and "diversionary waffle and nonsense". If you believe this to be the case, AN/I is thataway ⇒ MarkBernstein (talk) 15:42, 16 September 2015 (UTC)

I'm confused. Ravi spends considerably more time talking about evolution and thermodynamics than he does about homosexuality, yet there is no reference to his views on the main page. While homosexuality is certainly topical at the moment, it's hardly central to Ravi's work or history. It seems like a lot more information on his specific opinions and works should be added before this does.. ThealityBites (talk) 00:41, 17 September 2015 (UTC)

MarkBenstein, I think you are misreading BLP if you think it means that primary sources can never be used in an article. The policy states, "Exercise extreme caution in using primary sources. Do not use trial transcripts and other court records, or other public documents, to support assertions about a living person. Do not use public records that include personal details, such as date of birth, home value, traffic citations, vehicle registrations, and home or business addresses." Saying that Zacharias opposes homosexuality, based on what he has said about the subject, seems a perfectly reasonable use of a primary source. I can see why an entire section on Zacharias's view of homosexuality would be undue weight, but it doesn't violate the policy to simply mention his views briefly. FreeKnowledgeCreator (talk) 01:21, 17 September 2015 (UTC)

But, again, why would anybody care? Is Zacharias plodding new ground? Does he have new arguments? The topics section of WP:UNDUE points out that an author shouldn't use what he finds interesting as a source of material, because that violates NPOV. It seems that you want to keep this in there because of...what, exactly? Does every biography on WP get a section on homosexuality? Every Christian? By what standard would his views on the topic be of public interest? Expressing an opinion on something, somewhere, noes not raise the notability of something, even if it were said by someone famous. WP is not a catalog of everything anyone anywhere ever said. It is meant to help introduce people to ideas. Instead, it seems that this edit is focused on some pet interest of someone. If I have an interest in UFOs, should I go to every WP page and say what every person on WP ever said about UFO's? If someone made UFOs a heavy part of their public pursuits, then by all means add it. But if I found some quote by Jennifer Aniston about whether or not she believes in UFOs, does that qualify as WP material? I don't think so.johnnyb (talk) 02:41, 17 September 2015 (UTC)
That's a totally spurious argument. Anyone could remove anything they want to from an article by saying, "I don't care about that", or "I don't think anyone cares." Again, we aren't talking about a whole section on homosexuality, just a brief mention of Zacharias's views. FreeKnowledgeCreator (talk) 02:48, 17 September 2015 (UTC)
Spurious? It's hardly a fake or misleading argument. The point of the argument is that there's nothing of note or importance regarding Ravi's views on homosexuality, not that any references to Ravi's views on homosexuality should be removed because some editor doesn't purposely care about them. As I mentioned earlier, I'm more confused about why so much of Ravi's work and arguments aren't here (presumably because they're not important?), but his views on homosexuality, which see, to make up so little of his work or focus, should have a mention. There is no reference to views on homosexuality on JP Moreland's page, nor on Alvin Plantinga's, or Gary Habermas', nor Bruce Metzger. All of these people are known in the apologetics circles, all are evangelical Christians, and I believe almost all of them have commented at some point or other about homosexuality. So why is Ravi an exception? ThealityBites (talk) 03:26, 17 September 2015 (UTC)
Zacharias's comments about homosexuality are important inasmuch as mentioning them helps provide a better picture of his views. Not everyone who considers himself a Christian opposes homosexuality. The issue is a subject of some controversy, as you probably know. The rest of your comments are diversionary in nature - so what if other views that he holds aren't mentioned? No one is stopping you from adding material about them. FreeKnowledgeCreator (talk) 08:43, 17 September 2015 (UTC)
CurtisNaito, do you have any comment? FreeKnowledgeCreator (talk) 09:34, 17 September 2015 (UTC)
No more than a page on Gordon Ramsey once cooking a hotdog provides a better picture of his cooking habits. Simply put, RZIM does not have a focus on homosexuality, has not devoted any time or resources to homosexuality or same sex marriage, and it seems odd to single out this particular issue over the other areas of his work that have not been published in this article. Additionally, I'm not sure why you suggest the rest of my post is 'diversionary', as though I'm being intentionally disingenuous. You accused Johnnyb of being 'spurious', and I see further up the page where you referred to someone else's response as 'diversionary woffle'. Please consider that accusing people who disagree with you of being dishonest is probably not going to help you reach some kind of resolution or consensus on the best way forward. Is this par for the course on talk pages on Wikipedia? ThealityBites (talk) 12:11, 17 September 2015 (UTC)
"The issue is a subject of some controversy, as you probably know." I agree. And those who have made a contribution to the conversation should be cited. However, there is a difference between making a contribution to the conversation, and responding to a question. Because it is "a subject of some controversy" does that mean every person's WP page should have their position listed? Is every person's every word on a controversial subject worth noting on WP? Mentioning it on WP gives someone the impression that this is a major topic of his. This is misleading. WP isn't a comprehensive biography, it is an introduction. Therefore, inclusion should be based on whether or not it is an important theme in his work. Christians, as a whole, have a lot of views about a lot of things, many of them controversial. There's a big book (called the Bible) that contains all sorts of scandalous material, which Christians normally assent to. Is listing each one on each Christian's page worthwhile? That would be ridiculous. Nor should Muslims be cited for every thing listed in the Quran, even if they have answered a question on it in public. It should only contain the ones which they have made actual contributions to the conversations for. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Johnnyb 61820 (talkcontribs) 14:50, 17 September 2015 (UTC)

This information should be maintained in the article. The article has cited both primary and secondary sources for this information, and the secondary source even mentions public controversy and protest surrounding Zacharias' views on the matter. Zacharias' frequent public statements on this issue, in combination with the public controversy his statements have provoked (as noted in secondary sources), make this information notable for inclusion in at least a sentence or two.CurtisNaito (talk) 16:38, 17 September 2015 (UTC)

I believe that the removed passage cited only one secondary source -- a college newspaper that mentioned in passing that Zaccharias declined to answer a question about homosexuality after a lecture on other topics. MarkBernstein (talk) 16:45, 17 September 2015 (UTC)
ThealityBites you wrote, "RZIM does not have a focus on homosexuality, has not devoted any time or resources to homosexuality or same sex marriage, and it seems odd to single out this particular issue over the other areas of his work that have not been published in this article". Your argument is specious. To give a brief mention of his views on homosexuality is not to "single out this particular issue", since it does not stop you or other editors from adding material about his other views. Despite what Johnnyb 61820 wrote, simply mentioning it does not "give someone the impression that this is a major topic of his"; why should a single sentence or so suggest that? FreeKnowledgeCreator (talk) 04:50, 18 September 2015 (UTC)
If the removed passage only cites such a newspaper, then I'm definitely going to be against any inclusion of it in this article. A claim that controversial needs multiple secondary sources to substantiate it.--TMD Talk Page. 14:14, 18 September 2015 (UTC)
  • Conditional support of reinstating the material. TMDrew's claim that he is not known for his views on homosexuality is clearly contradicted by the cited source. However, it most certainly is a violation of WP:WEIGHT to cite his views on homosexuality, but not atheism or abortion, when the source says his views on "homosexuality, abortion and atheism" are a source of controversy. The article only mentions atheism in a category name, the title of one of his books (with no discussion of the content of the book) and what he claims was his former theological view; abortion is not mentioned anywhere. Include discussion of his views on atheism and abortion, or don't include discussion of his views on homosexuality -- we can't pick and choose. Furthermore, I think it's probably a misrepresentation of the sources to cite a secondary source inline but only include material gleaned from primary sources. What the reliable secondary source actually says is During the question and answer session, one audience member asked Zacharias about his opinion on homosexuality. Zacharias did not give a direct answer. “I am not your judge, God is your judge,” he said. In his books, Zacharias says that he does not support homosexuality. So I think his actual statement in the cited source should be included, or the article should not be citing that source and should say that in his books he has given those quotes. Hijiri 88 (やや) 00:09, 19 September 2015 (UTC)
I'd certainly be happy with something like "When questioned publicly on his views on homosexuality, Ravi declined to make a definitive statement, instead saying 'I am not your judge, God is your judge'." If we can reach a consensus on that part, we could then talk about any inclusions of the references to his books. What do you guys think? ThealityBites (talk) 08:02, 19 September 2015 (UTC)


The text reports that Zaccharias spoke at a Veritas Forum at Harvard in 1993. The Veritas web site reports only one Veritas Forum appearance, at Johns Hopkins, in 2013. MarkBernstein (talk) 21:26, 2 November 2015 (UTC)

1992 This CD series contains two lectures and a question and answer session presented to packed audiences at the Harvard Law School. In the first message, Ravi examines the questions "Is Atheism Dead? Is God Alive?," after which he fields questions from the audience. Message two moves to the topic of "Getting to Truth" by addressing the questions "Who is Jesus? (And Why Does it Matter?)." The third message is a question and answer session where Ravi and a select number of Harvard scholars answer tough and thoughtful questions from the audience about the Christian faith. Some have heralded this forum as one of the most significant dialogues on truth on the Harvard campus in the past fifty years. (over 180 minutes) Thistledowne (talk) 17:01, 15 March 2018 (UTC)

Together 16 and criticism of its ecumenismEdit

I have added a reference to planned participation in the Together 16 meetings. Cpsoper (talk) 13:30, 12 June 2016 (UTC)

I've removed it. It's a large event with presumably a large number of Evangelical participants. However, I can't read the text of the source to verify that, the content is blocked out. If he were the only Evangelical participant, or one of a very few, then that would be noteworthy. - BilCat (talk) 13:47, 12 June 2016 (UTC)
I was able read the article using this link. (Click on "Read the full story".) The article does list a number of Evangelical groups and individuals, but neither Zacharias nor his RZIM ministry are listed, so obviously no criticism is directed towards him specifically. As such, it also fails BLP. - BilCat (talk) 13:54, 12 June 2016 (UTC)
I've removed it again, as it fails WP:BLP. Please do not re-add this content until reliable sources verifying his participation, and directly criticizing him, are presented, and a consensus is reached here that the content is relevant and passes BLP. Thanks. - BilCat (talk) 14:04, 12 June 2016 (UTC)
It is indeed a large event, national, one of the most prominent speakers is the subject of this page [1]. He identifies with the event being held and is happy to be a principal participant [2]. The event as a whole is being charged with bringing together parties that are 'diametrically opposed'. Can you indicate what specific aspect of WP:BLP you then think this reference has violated? Can you also indicate why specific criticism of him personally for participating should be necessary for inclusion of reference to the event or to criticism of the event itself? Cpsoper (talk) 14:46, 12 June 2016 (UTC)
The only source you cited in the article was from Christianity Today, which does not mention him at all, and I removed it on that basis. Other organizations are listed, but you haven't been adding the participation or criticism to those articles, so that is curious. As to specific criticism, it just needs to name him, and direct criticism at him, whatever the criticism is. Otherwise, it sounds like guilt by association. You also have to be aware of WP:SYNTHESIS, which taking two or more sources, and stating or implying something not in any of the sources. The Mormon Tabernacle invitation is different in that Evangelical speakers are rarely invited, so that was a unique event, and criticism was specifically directed at him for speaking there. Together 16 is an event held in public place for a specific purpose (praying for the nation), and similar events have been held before, though perhaps not on this scale. - BilCat (talk) 15:02, 12 June 2016 (UTC)
An earlier paragraph has this statement: "Zacharias has represented the evangelical community at occasions such as the National Day of Prayer in Washington, DC...", and lists a several other such notable events. This event is similar, and could also be listed there. However, I wouldn't recommend adding the criticism of the event, as such general criticism has probably been leveled at these events by the same or similar critics. On the event itself, an article can be created for it if it meets WP's notability requirements, and linked to from this section. Criticism would probably be appropriate in that article. - BilCat (talk) 15:19, 12 June 2016 (UTC)
I have added a reference under the list as suggested and not here mentioned the specific criticisms. Cpsoper (talk) 19:59, 12 June 2016 (UTC)
Ok, good. I'm glad we could reach a consensus. - BilCat (talk) 22:00, 12 June 2016 (UTC)
Have added an update since the event, trust acceptable, BilCat. Cpsoper (talk) 19:52, 12 August 2016 (UTC)

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Ministry -- early trip to Vietnam relevant?Edit

The ministry trip to Vietnam was flagged twice for clarification needed. Why not remove it, as a minor episode in his ministry anyway? Marfinan (talk) 12:32, 25 June 2017 (UTC)

While there are questions regarding the wording, no one has disputed the veracity of the episode. Also, it figures somewhat prominently in his preaching, and seems to be a crucial period in his life. The solution is to consult the sources, determine if the questions can be answered, and if not, to rewrite the sentence to remove the ambiguity. - BilCat (talk) 12:38, 25 June 2017 (UTC)
If it was a crucial period in his life or he frequently mentions it, that should be added to the article.

Marfinan (talk) 09:37, 26 June 2017 (UTC)

It's OR on my part, but if we find a reliable source for it, sure. - BilCat (talk) 12:33, 26 June 2017 (UTC)
Checked (google books so limited access) and rewritten. No one apparently invited him though it seems it was suggested he go by another (retired?) missionary to Vietnam who also found the funding to support him. I suspect a lot of "he was invited to" could be changed to "he went to" unless it is clear who invited. --Erp (talk) 14:45, 25 June 2017 (UTC)


Some web sites have reported a lawsuit involving the subject and other parties. As best I can find, no reliable source has yet covered the lawsuit, and the counterparties are clearly not notable. We should not cover this or publicize the lawsuit until and unless it is discussed in reliable sources — not merely in court filings. MarkBernstein (talk) 00:05, 22 August 2017 (UTC)

Concur. In addition, appears to be a non-neutral attack site, so it's not a reliable source either. - BilCat (talk) 00:15, 22 August 2017 (UTC)
Well blogs in general are not usually considered reliable sources with a few exceptions. I did take a look for a news source but only found blog posts (none of which fell within the exception list as a reliable source), if FriendlyBanjoAtheist (talk · contribs) or someone can find a reliable source then the court filing info could be added back in. --Erp (talk) 02:45, 22 August 2017 (UTC)
I just want to say two things. 1) I feel the ministry watch's position/conclusion is misrepresented in this article. 2) they rely heavily on Ravi Watch for their information in the cited piece. 2601:243:C500:8DDB:85F9:8546:592F:A83 (talk) 15:41, 24 May 2018 (UTC)

Since this started it seems Christianity Today covered this and also Ministry Watch (not sure whether this counts as a reliable source). RZIM has also made a statement on the use of "Dr.". An IP address added some stuff that mingles allowable and unallowable sources. I've filled in (partially) the cites that are reliable (or possibly allowable) and removed the others. The remaining statements I think are supported by the CT article, RZIM's statement, and Ministry Watch--Erp (talk) 20:57, 24 February 2018 (UTC)

I've been in contact with Steve Baughman FriendlyBanjoAtheist (talk · contribs) for the last couple of months and most recently (March 1) he mailed his supporters (and people like me who think he's more interested in character assassination of a prominent Apologist which many atheists would very much like to see silenced in disgrace) trying to drum up support to get this article protected because his and another's (I assume the anonymous IP) edits were being altered/reverted. I informed him that he had to meet WP:Guidelines and such and that until he did, his changes would be reverted and he was in danger of getting the article protected as he wanted, only it would be against himself and others like him. I promised him that I would advocate for him on Talk if he provided cites that met guidelines for others to review for inclusion. I tried to explain that an edit-war would do nothing for his cause. He has provided this recent: He says that there are others he can provide so I've requested them but have not yet received them. If he does, I'll append for your consideration of whether or not he is able to provide enough to warrant some type of section inclusion on this topic... enough that he could create trouble for this article (protection and the like) if not included. Thistledowne (talk) 17:25, 15 March 2018 (UTC)

Disagree. Mr. Baughman's claims are all thoroughly documented on his site and he's certainly not alone in raising flags about Mr. Zacharias's behavior and habits of inflating his credentials. (See for example,, etc.) Wikipedia cannot ignore these critiques and I propose that we add a section that covers them in overview. (NB: I am not affiliated with Mr. Baughman nor am I on his mailing list. I've just become aware of the critiques of Mr. Zacharias from an unrelated source and was surprised / disappointed to see these concerns suppressed on wikipedia.) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Metanoia2019 (talkcontribs) 03:48, 20 January 2020 (UTC) Addendum: I see that the lawsuit and inflated claims are covered in the article. The language could probably be even stronger - it's difficult to argue when the University of Oxford indicates that Mr. Zacharias was never employed by the university. I also disagree with the claim of "character assassination" as Mr. Baughman seems to have given Mr. Zacharias a great number of chances to explain himself, including in real time over a dinner. (Again, I am not related to Mr. Baughman nor am I on his mailing list. I'm just surprised to see a wikipedia editor suppress his researchs.)

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Alliance Theological SeminaryEdit

I noted that the reference on Zacharias's web site for the sentence "Zacharias held the chair in Evangelism and Contemporary Thought at Alliance Theological Seminary from 1981 to 1984" no longer listed the connection (removed around December 2017). It was alleged that the "Department of Evangelism and Contemporary Thought" never existed thereby making it difficult for him to have been the chair. Given that the response was to remove the claim from Zacharias's web site I think we need a strong third party source to support putting the claim back in the article. --Erp (talk) 02:54, 11 August 2018 (UTC)

Disruptive editingEdit

@Metanoia2019:, would you please stop editing the article disruptively? You have made edits that are dubious under WP:BLP; you need to stop doing that. As for your comments here: no, it is not appropriate to refer to Zacharias as "Mr. Zacharias". It is unnecessary, and indeed completely inappropriate. Please review MOS:HONORIFIC: "In general, honorific prefixes—styles and honorifics in front of a name—in Wikipedia's own voice should not be included, but may be discussed in the article." I am going to continue to remove the unnecessary and inappropriate "Mr". You need to stop restoring it. Freeknowledgecreator (talk) 02:55, 9 April 2020 (UTC)

Still on the subject of disruptive editing, your removal of my comments from this talk page appears to be deliberate vandalism. Do not repeat it. It is something for which you can potentially be blocked. Your edit here also appears to be deliberate vandalism. You added a comment of your own, and placed my username after it, thereby making it look as though I made a comment I certainly did not make. If you continue to vandalize the talk page, I will report it. Freeknowledgecreator (talk) 03:09, 9 April 2020 (UTC)

@Freeknowledgecreator: without putting too fine a point on it, you seem to be wishing to advance a particular POV in contravention of Wikipedia's NPOV guidelines. And the honorific guidelines you mention here do rather seem to say that honorifics may be included an article. You need to assume good faith. Would you please do so?

Hi, I think Freeknowledgecreator meant to link MOS:Surname which specifically states quote: "After the initial mention, a person should generally be referred to by surname only, without an honorific prefix such as "Mr.", "Mrs.", "Ms.", "Miss", "Mx" (this includes academic or professional prefixes like "Dr.", "Prof.", "Rev.", etc.)". Also, please sign your comments on the Talk page using the button above the Edit Summary. Apoorva Iyer (talk) 17:25, 9 April 2020 (UTC)

Pulpit and PenEdit

@Metanoia2019: There is absolutely no way that Pulpit and Pen is a reliable source. It might be right but it is certainly not reliable. Also you seem to be extremely reluctant to bring up a serious discussion here and are skirting very close to the 3-revert rule if not over. Admittedly I found it somewhat amusing though annoying that you reverted my link to an Wikipedia entry that explained exactly why Zacharias's use of 'doctor' is considered inappropriate --Erp (talk) 04:44, 9 April 2020 (UTC)

@Erp: Glad you're amused. Some other dude is editing too and it all got jumbled - feel free to restore, be my guest. Pulpit and Pen is not exactly the only source, but never mind that.
Can you present the other sources here to be evaluated. Since Zacharias is a living person, sources about his life especially those that present negative information must be very reliable. See Wikipedia:Biographies_of_living_persons for guidelines. P&P has a tendency to see anyone they oppose as the antichrist (e.g., Pope Francis) or devilish in some way. Also please remember to sign your comments to avoid confusing who wrote what (two dashes followed by 4 tildes or hit the signature shortcut in the edit window). --Erp (talk) 23:41, 9 April 2020 (UTC)

Death section needs clean upEdit

The illness and death section is way to detailed. Can anyone explain why there should be so much detail? Thinks like: "Sarah Zacharias Davis, Zacharias' daughter and CEO of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM) announced Zacharias would be returning to his home in Atlanta, Georgia for "whatever time the Lord gives us." " This is way to much information and makes it sound more like a personal note to some grieving friends, not an encyclopedia article. Mateck (talk) 20:00, 19 May 2020 (UTC)

Fixed. SpencerT•C 13:24, 22 May 2020 (UTC)
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