Battling corruption and entrenched poverty, Vishal Mangalwadi turned down an attractive job offer in America and faced jail time in an effort to help his people find truth
Vishal's story of persecution and struggle began with his own search for truth as an adolescent growing up in India amidst a culture wrought by a multitude of religious perspectives.
At a young age he developed some bad habits and found himself trying to justify an uncontrollable addiction to stealing and lying.
"My father tried to really help me confess the truth," he says.
"I felt he should respect my truth but I found he wasn't interested in my truth. He wanted the truth. But I wouldn't confess the truth."
Vishal says he was not concerned about the stealing as much as his habit of lying.
"I saw it as a lack of willpower," he says.
"I would hate myself because in the morning I would decide not to lie but by the evening I'd lied to everybody."
Things only began to change after he heard about how God came down in human form as Jesus Christ to take the penalty for all the wrong things he had done by dying on the cross.
He says he realised that the truth of his addictions were: "not a problem of willpower, this was a problem of being a slave to sin and Jesus could deliver me from my slavery."
Vishal prayed for God's forgiveness for the wrong things he had been doing and asked Him to help break his addictions.
"He changed me to the point that I was able to go back to these shops and offer to pay them back for what I had stolen," he says.
After he allowed Jesus to come and be Lord over his life in his teen years, Vishal says his university studies in philosophy, political science, and English literature made it difficult to believe the Bible was true.
"I decided to believe what the best philosophers and scientists knew to be true. So, I began reviewing my course in philosophy," he says.
"Before long, I knew that my professors knew, that the philosophers knew, that they did not know and that they could not know truth."
All of his reasoning and studies lead him to find that four hundred years of Modern philosophy only resulted in the conclusion that human reason alone cannot know truth.
"I found that for centuries they had gone around in circles like blind men in a dark room trying to find the door – that wasn't there to begin with," he reasons.
"I returned to the Bible, which I had already read, to see if it actually was God's revelation. I discovered far more than I anticipated."
After completing his Masters in Philosophy, Vishal followed his passion for truth to America where he earned a Masters in Theology.
Turning down a comfortable position in America, he returned to India to help his own people through ministry among disadvantaged communities in rural India.
After a massive hailstorm caused devastation in the local area Vishal organised a Christian meeting to pray for the victims' relief.
"The local authorities were unnerved by the people's enthusiasm for the prayer meeting," he recalls.
"The superintendent of police told me to cancel it, or he would kill me."
Vishal was thrown in jail for going through with the meeting and says the question he continued to ponder was: "What is a just and free society, and how do we build one?"
After his release he decided to research this question which led to the publication of his best-seller titled: The Book That Made Your World.
"My book discusses how literature, medicine, science, technology, the notion of human dignity and the emancipation of women came from the Bible," he says.
"Without the Bible, Western society will collapse. None of the values and ideas that created Western civilisation can be sustained without the Bible."
Since then, Vishal's passion for truth, as revealed by the Bible, has led him to travel around the world sharing his rich life experiences and research with others.
In August 2013, Vishal will tour Australia to speak about how Christianity has shaped Western Culture.
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