Friday, April 13, 2012

Are Christians Automatically Arrogant?

            It’s a simple formula:
  • Step 1: It is arrogant to think that you are right and everyone else is wrong. 
  • Step 2: Christians think that they are right and everyone else is wrong. 
  • Step 3: Therefore Christians are arrogant.

            What more is there to say?
            In our culture it is okay to be a Christian, but it is not okay to be a dogmatic Christian. You can embrace Jesus as long as you don’t hold too closely to his exclusive claims. Unfortunately, this is not possible. Jesus claimed to be the Son of God. He claimed to be the way to God. He claimed to be the light of the world. It is not possible to embrace Jesus without embracing his exclusivity. You can’t be a Christian without being a dogmatic Christian.
            So then, is it just a conceded point that the arrogance shoe fits? Do we simply say, “It may be arrogant, but it’s still right”? Do we say, “It’s not arrogant because it is right”? Do we say nothing?
            I think that there are a few proper responses to this whole idea that certainty and dogmatism automatically equals arrogance, but I would like to focus on one:

        It is not arrogant to think that someone else is right.

            Imagine that seven groups of car experts set out on the mission to create the perfect car. For a full decade each group works tirelessly on this project. At the end of the decade, the seven groups present their “perfect” cars to two normal men who are not car experts. Both men closely examine the cars, ask questions from the experts, and take test drives. Finally, they present their judgments.
            The first man chooses car number 4. He says that this car truly is the perfect car because of its combination of safety, appearance, comfort, and MPG.
            The second man chooses none of the cars. He says, “None of these cars are perfect. None of these experts have it right. Instead of choosing one of these cars, I would be better served to take what I see here and make my own perfect car. It would turn out better than any of these.”
            In this scenario, which of the two men might be accused of being arrogant? Would it be the one who said to one of the seven groups, “I am convinced that you’re right”? Or would it be the one who says to all of the seven groups, “None of you is right”? Surely it would be the second man who would be more likely to be viewed as arrogant.
            A dogmatic person is someone who looks at the worldviews out there, the explanations for the world and mankind and God, and says, “I think this one is right.”
            A non-dogmatic person is someone who looks at the worldviews out there and says, “None of these are right. I can come up with a better one.”
            If we are honest then we will see that anti-dogmatism has an arrogance that is far beyond any that can be attributed to those who simply think that someone else is right.

1 comment:

  1. Different take than what I've read on the topic and certainly not where I thought it was going to go - but in a good way. I had to think through it a couple times for the full impact, but I can appreciate the bottom line. It almost seems like it's asking for a follow-up post... :-)

    What about the non-dogmatic person's claims of "I can come up with a better one" where often times the "better one" is a simple rejection of the options without any alternatives?