Surely it's arrogant to say your religion is the only right one?
I think this is quite a popular view, and one that’s particularly popular in multi-faith, multi-cultural societies.
There’s a story which is quite old, which I find quite helpful just to think through some of the issues. It’s about some blind men and an elephant.
And each of the blind men encounters the elephant at different points, and then has a different idea about what the elephant is like. So the man who’s holding the trunk says: “The elephant’s like a snake.” And the guy holding the leg says: “No, the elephant’s not like a snake, elephants are like trees.” And the guy who’s holding the tusk says: “Well you’re both wrong, because an elephant is like a spear.”
And so it goes on, everyone holding a different part, whether it’s the ear or the side or the tail— everyone’s coming up with a different view.
And the idea is that this story shows us that no one can actually know the whole truth about God. When it comes to the question about the truth, we’re just like blind men touching an elephant.
Now therefore anyone who says: “I know the truth about God, and you don’t” or: “I’ve got the right answer and you’ve got the worng answer,” well, we’d just call them arrogant.
But imagine if someone said he wasn’t describing the elephant, he wasn’t touching the elephant, but actually he was the elephant. Imagine if someone said: “You don’t need to guess, you don’t need to grope around, I’ll tell you what I’m like—because I’m the elephant!”
Well that’s what the Bible says about Jesus—not that Jesus was an elephant, I don’t think anyone actually believes that!—but that Jesus was God, that Jesus is God.
And Jesus did some amazing things to back up that claim. He healed the sick, he controlled the weather, he raised the dead. Jesus wasn’t just a teacher or a philosopher or a religious guy trying to guess about God—the Bible says that Jesus was God.
So Jesus was able to explain the truth about God. He was able to explain how to be in a relationship with God. He’s able to explain how to enjoy perfect life with God forever.
When he says: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me,” if he’s God he’s not being arrogant—he’s telling the truth.
Now if those blind men, having heard the elephant, had carried on arguing, they’d have been pretty arrogant. And anyone who said: “We still can’t know the whole truth about the elephant” would also be pretty arrogant.
You see, the right thing to do in that situation would be to sit down, and listen to the elephant. That’s the way you’re going to get the truth.
And I suppose when it comes to God, the way we’re going to find the truth is if we listen to him—and Jesus says that you do that by listening to him.
These are big and controversial issues, and this is a short bit of writing! It may well be that you have more questions, and objections. Great things to do next would be to:
COME ON a Christianity Explored course, where you can listen to more of what Jesus said about who he was and why he came: and you can ask any and every question (go to Find a Course
to get info on courses being held near you).
LISTEN to a really helpful Bible talk on this issue by a New York pastor, Tim Keller—http://www.bethinking.org/other-religions/intermediate/exclusivity-how-can-there-be-just-one-true-religion.htm
(be warned, it’s 40 minutes long, but if you’ve got the time, it’s well worth it).