I was sitting in church this week, and I asked myself how I would answer this question: “Is Christianity arrogant because it claims to be the only way to God?” In our modern culture, most people would say that such a claim is arrogant. How can we believe to have the only way to God when there are so many people who are genuinely trying to find their own path?
Does Truth Matter?
I believe most of the outrage towards this question comes from the high value which our society places on individual autonomy as well as the moral relativism which pervades our culture. There’s no singular right way to do anything. What’s good for you is good for you, and no one ought to be able to tell you otherwise.
In reality, when people accept something as true or fact, then personal autonomy becomes irrelevant. If 2 + 2 = 4, you don’t claim the math teacher to be arrogant for claiming that this equation is true. Similarly, if a chemist tells you that you have to go through a certain procedure of mixing chemicals, heating the mixture, adding other compounds in order to achieve a desired result, you don’t claim the chemist is arrogant if he tells you if that’s the only way to get that result.
Thus if something/someone claims to be the “only way,” such a statement is only arrogant if it’s not true. So, instead of asking whether it is arrogant to claim to know the only way to God, we really ought to ask whether Christianity’s claim of exclusivity is true.
Jesus Claimed Exclusivity
In John 14:6, Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Jesus made the most exclusive claim possible. Outside of him, no one can come to the Father. If he’s right, then there’s no arrogance in Christianity’s exclusive claims. It’s just a simple truth, and I believe that the life, death, and resurrection of Christ provide the necessary evidence to back up his claim.
All worldviews claim exclusivity at some point, even the “all-inclusive” religions, as they would exclude claims of exclusivity. There’s no way to live a rational life without drawing a boundary somewhere. The better question to ask is whether such a claim is true.