It is arrogant to insist your religion is right and to convert others to it The

It is arrogant to insist your religion is right and

  • Notes
  • psa451
  • 20
  • 100% (1) 1 out of 1 people found this document helpful

This preview shows page 4 - 6 out of 20 pages.

“It is arrogant to insist your religion is right and to convert others to it.” The noted religion scholar John Hick has written that once you become aware that there are many other equally intelligent and good people in the world who hold different beliefs from you and that you will not be able to convince them otherwise, then it is arrogant for you to continue to try to convert them or to hold your view to be the superior truth. 12 Once again there is an inherent contradiction. Most people in the world don’t hold to John Hick’s view that all religions are equally valid, and many of them are equally as good and intelligent as he is, and unlikely to change their views. That would make the statement “all religious claims to have a better view of things are arrogant and wrong” to be, on its own terms, arrogant and wrong. Many say that it is ethnocentric to claim that our religion is superior to others. Yet isn’t that very statement ethnocentric? Most non-Western cultures have no problem saying that their culture and religion is best. The idea that it is wrong to do so is deeply rooted in Western traditions of self-criticism and individualism. To charge others with the “sin” of ethnocentrism is really a way of saying, “Our culture’s approach to other cultures is superior to yours.” We are then doing the very thing we forbid others to do. 13 The historian C. John Sommerville has pointed out that “a religion can be judged only on the basis of another religion.” You can’t evaluate a religion except on the basis of some ethical criteria that in the end amounts to your own religious stance. 14 By now the fatal flaw in this approach to religion in general and to Christianity in particular should be obvious. Skeptics believe that any exclusive claims to a superior knowledge of spiritual reality cannot be true. But this objection is itself a religious belief. 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 in Scripture. All of these are unprovable faith assumptions. In addition, their proponents believe they 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. If it is not narrow to hold this view, then there is nothing inherently narrow about holding to traditional religious beliefs.
Image of page 4

Subscribe to view the full document.

Mark Lilla, a professor at the University of Chicago, spoke to a bright young student at Wharton Business School who, to Lilla’s bafflement, had gone forward at a Billy Graham crusade to give his life to Christ. Lilla writes: I wanted to cast doubt on the step he was about to take, to help him see there are other ways to live, other ways to seek knowledge, love… even self-transformation. I wanted to convince him his dignity depended on
Image of page 5
Image of page 6

What students are saying

  • Left Quote Icon

    As a current student on this bumpy collegiate pathway, I stumbled upon Course Hero, where I can find study resources for nearly all my courses, get online help from tutors 24/7, and even share my old projects, papers, and lecture notes with other students.

    Student Picture

    Kiran Temple University Fox School of Business ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    I cannot even describe how much Course Hero helped me this summer. It’s truly become something I can always rely on and help me. In the end, I was not only able to survive summer classes, but I was able to thrive thanks to Course Hero.

    Student Picture

    Dana University of Pennsylvania ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    The ability to access any university’s resources through Course Hero proved invaluable in my case. I was behind on Tulane coursework and actually used UCLA’s materials to help me move forward and get everything together on time.

    Student Picture

    Jill Tulane University ‘16, Course Hero Intern

Ask Expert Tutors You can ask 0 bonus questions You can ask 0 questions (0 expire soon) You can ask 0 questions (will expire )
Answers in as fast as 15 minutes