Part of a Series: 7 Biggest Objections Millennials have to the Christian Faith
Presented by Vin Sparks
This argument says that, once we come to realize that there are many intelligent, good and thoughtful people around the world that do not believe as we do, to continue to attempt to change their mind is arrogant.
Timothy Keller, in his book, The Reason for God, shares the fact that non-Western cultures have no problem thinking their religion, belief structure and world view are true and correct. The idea that it is wrong to do so is purely a Western idea. It’s rooted in our embrace of individualism and independence – once again, the “I’m okay, you’re okay” mindset.
The contradiction: To believe that our Western idea of individual thought is superior to that of all those thoughtful people in the world who believe that their faith is the true religion would, itself, be arrogant, would it not? This objection to Christian thought fails it’s own test.
Other arguments in this same vein include:
All Major Religions are Equally Valid
This view says that the differences between the teachings of Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism are insignificant and superficial. All believe, for instance, in the same God – a universal loving Spirit. It insists that doctrine is not important.
First of all, it’s just not so. None of these major traditions of the world believe and teach the same thing on the very basic and most important tenet of any religion – the person, essence and being of God.
Only Christianity, Judaism and Islam serve a personal God who requires accountability but none of those agree on who He is – Jesus, Jehovah or Allah. This axiom collapses under the weight of the facts.
What is more, insisting that the teaching of major religions are insignificant and don’t matter is, in itself, a teaching. This is a doctrinal stand made by a group of believers in an impersonal God or in no God at all. They believe that their view of things is superior – that they have “the truth”.
Those who hold this view do the same thing they criticize other religions for doing.
Each Religion Sees Part of the Truth but No One Religion has all of “The Truth”
One of the ways this idea has traditionally been illustrated is through the old story about the four blind men describing an elephant from different vantage points. The man at its side says it’s like a wall while the man in front holding the elephant’s trunk says it’s like a large hose. The man holding the elephant’s tail says it’s like a rope and the man with his arms around a leg describes it as a large tree.
An interesting question regarding this illustration is, “Who is telling the story?” It has to be coming from an individual with perfect sight in a position that would allow a clear vision of all four men around the elephant. Those who take this point of view, that no one religion can have all “the truth”, must position themselves as the only one in the story that can see and they put themselves in a lofty place as the only ones that can discern what is truth and what is not.
That’s pretty arrogant is it not? Not only that, there is a healthy dose of hypocrisy as well. How can one know that no religion has all the truth unless that one puts themselves in a place of knowing all the truth? This argument fails under the weight of it’s own demands.
Religious Belief is too Culturally and Historically Conditioned to be “Truth”
The social conditioning of our belief is a fact, but that doesn’t mean that the religious faith of hundreds of millions of people can just be brushed aside as irrelevant and in error. To argue against all religious truth on the grounds that it is culturally influenced is an example of not thinking an argument through to a logical and obvious conclusion.
If someone argues that no belief can be held as universally true for everyone because our faith is the product of our social and historical conditioning, then the arguer must exempt his own argument from this universal “law”. His argument is the product of social conditions as well, – so it cannot be true. It fails under the weigh of it’s own demands.
Four attempts to argue against Christian exclusivity fail under the weight of the facts and the demands of their own argument.
I relied heavily on Keller, Timothy J. The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism, New York, Penguin Group, 2007