How to answer tough questions

It's Arrogant to Think Yours is the Only True Religion

Conversation Stopper

Today’s students often see themselves as globally aware, culturally sensitive, and tolerant of alternative views. In light of this, it can seem arrogant, intolerant, and close-minded to suggest that Jesus is the only way to God, or that Christianity is the true religion. Students might be okay with each person finding their own truth, but they are suspicious of any one truth trumping all others.

Assumptions

  • All religions are true.
  • No religions are true.
  • Everyone determines truth for himself or herself.
  • Sincerity or goodness of the believer determines the reality or truth of a religion.
  • The universe is so huge and diverse that no one religion can possibly be the ultimate.
  • Christians don’t have to believe in the uniqueness of Jesus to be sincere Christians.
  • Jesus is one of many great enlightened people, but not the only pathway to God.

Talking Points

  • Not all religions are equally valid. (Mother Theresa is not the same as Osama bin Laden.) If we are honest, there are some religions that we think are totally wrong.
  • Not all parts of every religion are necessarily false. (Giving to the poor is almost universal.)
  • Not all religions can be true at the same time. And it is intolerant to insist on this. You are imposing a new supra-religion on everyone, and are not respectful of the clear differences of all the religions.
  • Believing in something and/or sincerity does not make something true. One can be sincerely wrong….Hitler was wrong about Aryanism. Religions that sincerely practice female genital mutilation are wrong. Terrorists who blow up buildings in the name of God are wrong.
  • Figuring out the truth does not make one arrogant. You could be wise. It is not arrogant to tell others that you have discovered the cure for AIDS; it would be negligent not to share that information.
  • If someone has an arrogant attitude, God is in the business of transforming arrogance to humility.
  • Three things you find in Jesus that you cannot find elsewhere:
    1. God in human form.
    2. Forgiveness based on grace not forms of work.
    3. Resurrection. This is validation, but also a sign about what will happen to us, and the evidence that Jesus is alive right now.

Additional Resources

What are some other things that people can agree to disagree, yet still can have a relationship?

Share your thoughts in a comment below.

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