is it arrogant to say you have the truth

“It’s arrogant to say you have the truth”

A typical skeptic objection to Christianity goes something like this:

“There are so many religions and beliefs in the world.  It’s arrogant to say that YOU have the truth”

 

At first glance, it looks like a good point.  If by this statement it is suggested that the truth I hold to originates from me, as if I made it up myself, then you would be correct in accusing me of arrogance.  However, no Christian is claiming to have come up with their beliefs on their own, therefore it’s not arrogant because it’s not technically our truth – it’s Jesus’ truth.  We’re claiming to believe that His truth is the only correct truth.  It’s not arrogant to believe someone else’s claims.  

 

There are a few things I believe are important to point out regarding this objection:

First, it’s important to point out the fact that even though there may be thousands of different religions and beliefs in the world, it doesn’t therefore mean that none of them are true; and it most certainly doesn’t mean that all of them are true.  Think about it.  If there were 100 different beliefs in the world (for example), and only one of them were true, then it would automatically mean that the other 99 were false.  It’s not arrogance on the part of those who believe the one.  If there was a table with 1000 different types of food, and all of them contained poison except for one, then it would mean that the other 999 are deadly, no matter how good they may taste.

 

Second, Christianity is exclusive – meaning it doesn’t leave wiggle room for other beliefs to be mingled together with it.  It doesn’t allow for the notion that “all roads lead to God”.  In John 14:6, Jesus said “I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me“.  That’s a very exclusive statement!  He didn’t say “I am a way…”; He said “I am the way”.  He was either correct when He said that, or He was wrong.  If He was correct, then what does that automatically mean for the other thousands of beliefs that claim to have the truth, or the right way to God?  It makes them wrong!  Why is it arrogant to say that, if it’s true?

 

One might ask, “well how are you so sure that Christianity is true, and all the other thousands of religions and beliefs are false?”  Well, if you’re asking that, then now you’re ready to have a dialogue.  We can actually talk and have a reasonable conversation without either one of us accusing the other of arrogance or pride for believing what we do.  One of the greatest proofs of the validity of Christianity is the bible. (<Follow the link to see why)

 

Third, I believe that this objection stems from a false view of religion in the Christian sense.  Many skeptics see religion as something you believe and practice because it makes you feel good, or makes you a better person, or because it makes you happy, or just because you were raised with it and it’s your tradition.  In other words, it’s something you choose to believe because it fulfills some felt need that you have.  However to the Christian, our religion has nothing to do with our felt needs.  It doesn’t matter if it makes us happy, or feel good, or peaceful, or act moral; it only matters if it’s true.  The Apostle Paul  told the church in Corinth that “if Christ has not been raised then our preaching is useless, and so is your faith.  More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised.  For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either.  And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.”  1 Corinthians 15:14-19

 

What Paul is saying, in other words, is that it doesn’t matter how Christianity makes you feel if it’s false!  If it’s not true, then don’t waste your time believing it or practicing it.  Find out the real truth and believe that.  However, if Jesus’ claims are true, then it has huge implications for how we live.  For those who believe Jesus’ truth claims, it will inevitably show up in the way they live – including the strong desire to share His truth claims with people who either don’t know them, or don’t believe them.  If Jesus’ claims are true, then those who believe them would be very unloving to keep it to themselves.  If John 3:18 is correct in saying that “whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son…” then the most unloving, selfish, and hateful thing for believers of that statement to do would be to keep silent and not try to convince non-believers.

 

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