Summary: Christains are so often accused of being arrogant when they claim that Jesus is the only way. If you know someting to be the truth, is it arrogant to claim that?!
Isn’t Christianity Arrogant?
I’m sure we all understand the word ‘blasphemy’ – “using the Lord’s name in an inappropriate way” – perhaps as a swear word or a curse, or even just thoughtlessly. But have you ever noticed that it’s only the names of God and Jesus that get used like that?
I mean, you don’t hear a Muslim saying “Oh Allah!” or “Mohammed!” You don’t hear someone kick their toe on a rock and say “Oh Buddha!”, or drop their book and say “Hare Krishna!” The Jews don’t say “Abraham and Isaac!” It’s always “Jesus Christ”, “Oh God”. Have you noticed that?
Christian singer, Barry McGuire, says that there’s a very good reason for that – because the Devil knows who his real enemy is (and it’s not Krishna or Mohammed or Buddha) and he wants to get that name so abused, turned into a swear word, that it loses its power. The name of Jesus, the only name in the universe able to change lives and set people free.
And immediately some people will say: “But isn’t it ARROGANT to say that?”, “How can Christians say that they Christianity is the ONLY WAY?”, “Surely that’s offensive to other faiths?”, “Aren’t all religions EQUAL?” … Have you heard people say that sort of thing? So, ARE we arrogant (… or just … right, perhaps!)? IS Jesus the ONLY way? Are all ways equal? What’s the answer?
Our first approach to this question must be that Jesus himself claimed to be the only way! We didn’t invent the claim! The first time it was made wasn’t by you or me, but by Jesus. It was Jesus who said: “I am the way and the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father but by me” (Jn 14.6). Jesus said: “If you do not believe that I AM [God] you will surely die in your sins” (Jn 8.24). We simply repeat the claim that was made by Jesus and the NT writers.
It’s HIS claim! Our role is to test it! > to ask: Is the claim true? If it is true, then it’s not arrogant to make it, but truthful. If it isn’t true, that would be arrogance (or delusion!) The Christian philosopher, CS Lewis, in his book Mere Christianity wrote:
A man who was merely a man and said the sort of thing that Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic – on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg – or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God; or else a madman or something worse …
Liar, Lunatic or Lord? That’s the question. Now, there are all sorts of ways for us to test that claim:
o We could check how much of his teaching came true;
o We could look at the result of his works – the healings, miracles, raising people form the dead and so on;
o We could look at the historical record – the crucifixion and the empty tomb, for instance;
o We could look at the outcome of the lives of millions of his followers over the last 2 000 years (according to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, there are over 1.7 Billion Christians alive today – that’s about 1/3 of the entire world’s population);
o But probably the most important test of all is YOU! Most of you are here today BECAUSE you believe! We don’t NEED history or other peoples’ experiences or anything else to KNOW that Jesus is God’s son and that he is NEITHER a liar NOR a lunatic and that HE IS LORD … we know it because we have EXPERIENCED that. And that’s the test!
If he’s not a liar or a lunatic and he is the Lord then could he conceivably be right when he says “I am the way and the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father but by me’?
How can Christians say that Jesus is ‘the only way’? Because he claimed that first!
Another way of looking at this is to turn to logic.
One of the simplest arguments of logical thought is expressed by philosophers like this: “A cannot equal Not-A”. Let’s use an example: the opposite of life is death. If ‘A’ means ‘life’ then ‘Not A’ means ‘not life’ - death. You cannot be ‘alive’ and ‘not alive’ at the same time. You are either alive or dead. ‘Alive’ does not equal ‘dead’. They mean the opposite thing. A cannot equal Not-A. Does that make sense?
When we consider Judaism, Christianity and Islam, they all believe that there is one God. Hinduism and some other faiths believe in many gods. Buddhism doesn’t believe in a god at all. If there is only one God then he/she/it cannot be many gods or no gods. A cannot equal Not-A.