[Discussion: What potential issues do you see with this objection?]
This objection is itself a very narrow and exclusive religious belief. Furthermore, it makes many assumptions that are taken out of “thing air”. It assumes God is unknowable, or that God is loving but not wrathful, or that God is an impersonal force rather than a person who speaks through the Bible. All of these are unprovable faith assumptions. In addition, whoever makes the claim “What matters is to believe in God and to be a loving person”, believes that they themselves have a superior way to view things. They believe the world would be a better place if everyone dropped the traditional religions’ views of God and truth and adopted theirs. Therefore, their view is also an “exclusive” claim about the nature of spiritual reality. If all such views are to be discouraged, this one should be as well. In the end, if it is not narrow or arrogant to hold this view, then there is nothing inherently narrow or arrogant about holding to traditional religious beliefs.
Sometimes this point is illustrated with the story of the blind men and the elephant.
Several blind men were walking along and came upon an elephant that allowed them to touch and feel it. “This creature is long and flexible like a snake” said the first blind man, holding the elephant’s trunk. “Not at all—it is thick and round like a tree trunk,” said the second blind man, feeling the elephant’s leg. “No, it is large and flat,” said the third blind man, touching the elephant’s side. Each blind man could feel only part of the elephant—none could envision the entire elephant.
In the same way, it is argued, the religions of the world each have a grasp on part of the truth about spiritual reality, but none can see the whole elephant or claim to have a comprehensive vision of the truth.
[Discussion: Do you see any self-defeating inconsistency with this viewpoint?]
This illustration backfires on its users. The story is told from the point of view of someone who is not blind. How could you know that each blind man only sees part of the elephant unless you claim to be able to see the whole elephant? There is an appearance of humility in the protestation that the truth is much greater than any one of us can grasp, but if this is used to invalidate all claims to discern the truth it is in fact an arrogant claim to a kind of knowledge which is superior to all others. In other words, how could you possibly know that no religion can see the whole truth unless you yourself have the superior, comprehensive knowledge of spiritual reality you just claimed that none of the religions have?
By now the fatal flaw should be obvious in all the 5 objections to Christianity, which we have analyzed. A skeptic may believe that any exclusive claims to superior knowledge of spiritual realities cannot be true. But this objection is itself a religious belief, which claims superior knowledge of spiritual realities. It claims that it is true and all other religions are false.
To put it differently, if you doubt religion, be it Christianity, because you can’t accept the belief that there can be only “one true religion”, you must ask yourself: What is your alternate belief? Your alternate belief is that there must be more than one true religion. Now ask yourself, what evidence do you have to support your belief? Do you have any other evidence besides your internal hope of how you wish things were? If not, then you’ve just created a personal religion for which you have no evidence and is simply based on your hopes and dreams. Indeed, once you realize the beliefs upon which your doubts about Christianity are based on, and if you demand as much proof to support your doubts as you demand from people who believe in Christianity, you will see that your doubts are not as solid as they first appeared to be.
[Discussion: Why do you think that people would want to make all religions equal and the same and/or claim that all religions have a partial truth? Why are people seemingly scared of absolute truths?]
Potential Answers. People are tempted to say all religions are the same and there is on truth because:
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