I’m Always Right, and So Are You…But Not Really

April 7, 2010

I love a friendly debate about faith.  Or a friendly debate about anything, really.

There are people who believe differently than I do, and can debate faith fairly.  I always leave those conversations energized and hopeful.  This post is not about them.

But whenever I start talking faith I can almost guarantee there will be some poser standing around who will have this to say: 

“Christians think they are the only ones who have the path to God.”

Or, “Christians think they are the only ones who are right.”

That’s supposed to be an insult, like being called a racist, and it’s played about as often.  People who accuse Christians of believing they have the one true religion usually claim that all “spiritual” paths are equally awesome, as long as the people who practice them are sincere. 

Christians especially are caught in an awkward place.  Many of us believe we know the truth.  But in a world of political correctness, it’s easy to be afraid of others thinking we’re narrow minded. 

Well, it’s time I made a tidy little response.

Four responses to “Christians think they’re the only ones who are right.”

Of course I’m right.  I’m always right.
If you want to be right about everything, 24/7, just do what I would do.  That’s a pretty safe bet. 

Okay, I don’t really have all the answers figured out.  I’m humble enough to listen to others, change my mind occassionally, and to admit there are many things I don’t know.  But the way I live my life I do think is right.  When it comes to my faith, at least the parts I have figured out, I think I’m right on the money.  If you fall somewhere outside my faith, I still respect you, and would probably still be your friend.  But I think my religious beliefs are better than yours.

I actually feel politically incorrect by saying that. 

This leads me to my second point.

Of course you believe you’re right too!
If you’re anything like me, (which you should be striving for,) you generally do and believe things you think are right too.  You probably think and do things you believe are best.  I don’t even know how you would believe things you would think are wrong, inaccurate, or stupid.  How would you knowingly make stupid decisions?  How would you purposely do things the hard way, or the wrong way?  No one does that.  You think what you think and you’re not about to change your mind. 

So this leads me to think…

No one really believes everyone is right.
Curiously, a lot of people who say that all paths to God are equal are saying that in defiance of Christians.  But by saying that, they are usually implying that Christianity is the one path that isn’t valid (somehow it’s disqualified just because it claims to be the only path.)

But you know what?  I’ve never seen anyone with enough attention-deficit-disorder to actually follow every spritual path, no matter how awesome they think they all are.  Everyone picks the path they think is best, no matter how “spiritual” and “not religious” they think they are.  Everyone thinks their way is right, not just Christians.  It’s kind of an integral part of every religion (or non-religion.)

No one has ever been a racist, and not-a-racist.  No one is a vegan and not-a-vegan.  Wives, you don’t bark at your husbands for the hundreth time to pick up his gat-dang socks off the floor because it’s you’re okay whether he does it or not.  You want him to because you’re right and he’s wrong!

Deep down, everyone believes their beliefs are better than everyone else’s.  People who say all beliefs are equal are full of it, as you can see here:

Open Minded Person:  “You Christians think you’re the only ones that have it right.”

Christian:  “That’s right.  I believe Jesus is the one true path.”

Open Minded Person:  “Well, I think all faiths lead to God.  There can’t just be one path.  Anyone who thinks theirs is the only way is narrow-minded.”

Christian:  “Interesting.  You believe in all faiths.  But my faith does claim to be the one true faith.  You just said you don’t believe a religion can claim itself to be the one true path, so you really can’t believe in my faith.  And I’m pretty sure every religion claims to be the one truth, so being the open-minded person you are, you actually can’t believe any of them, can you?”

Open Minded Person: (head explodes, open mindedness sprays everywhere)

It’s rather important for any religion to believe it is the best.  Believing all religions are equal is probably the one religious belief that’s actually logically impossible.  And being “open minded” is something lots of people love to pretend to be, but hardly ever live up to.

That being said…

Watch it, Christians…
Don’t do what everyone else does just because you know you’re right.  Don’t demean others’ beliefs you think are questionable.  Just show them why your beliefs are great, and don’t go in trying to “win.”  Chances are, whatever “win” is, it won’t happen.  Having better beliefs doesn’t make you a better person.  Don’t make yourself the cause of someone hating on Christianity.

And another thing.  Don’t get into a conversation and mix up the things you are sure about with things you aren’t sure about…or worse, things that don’t matter all that much.  That’s kind of a problem lately.

Man, sometimes I get tired of being right all the time. 

Just kidding.  It rules.

What are you absolutely sure of?  What are you right about, and everyone else is wrong about?  Don’t be ashamed.  We all do it!  Are your parenting methods, or politics, or religious beliefs, or hygiene, or methods of folding your underwear better than everyone else’s?

One response to I’m Always Right, and So Are You…But Not Really

  1. You seem to be engaged in the fallacy of equivocation.

    (That was my “I’m not sure about.” Next paragraph is my “I am CERTAIN that this is correct”)

    Thinking is NOT the same thing as believing is NOT the same as knowing. Although the concepts are related (and are often erroneously used synonymously), they are distinct.

    To pick an arbitrary passage from the middle of your piece: “Everyone picks the path they think is best, no matter how “spiritual” and ”not religious” they think they are. Everyone thinks their way is right, not just Christians.”

    Everyone picks the path they think is best? Even allowing quite liberal room for the humor quotient, brother, you’ve just got that wrong.

    No, they don’t. Some do seriously consider that paths that seem available to them and then seriously engage in active thought about which is the best for them to pick; most, however, unquestioningly walk the broad and easy path that their parents/grandparents seemed to walk.

    “How would you purposely do things the hard way, or the wrong way? No one does that.”

    I beg to differ. Those from legalistic faith traditions (my background is “independent fundamentalist baptist”) often do things the hard/wrong way. Purely personal and anecdotal, but my investigations have led me to believe (ha!) that the yokes of guilt, fear, and shame are often the shackles that tie people to doing things the wrong/hard way. (“Religion,” after-all, does come from the Latin for “binding obligations”.)

    Again, purely personal and anecdotal, but what I see are people who ‘think’ that [A] is true, but ‘believe’ that [B] is true, so they ‘know’ that [A] ‘must be wrong’.

    Here’s my transliteration: “People fear that [A] might be true, since this would imply that those who told them [B] is true were misinformed/misled. Ashamed and guilty at even considering this prospect, they loudly and proudly assert that they ‘know’ that [B]>[A].”

    If faith is the substance of things hoped, not seen (Hebrews 11:1) and hope that is seen is not hope (Romans 8:24), “faith” and “knowing” simply cannot be the same thing.

    If my touch of Asperger’s and ADD has led me once again into the pitfall of “internet irony,” mea culpa. If not… I’d like it if you took your last paragraph and flipped it upside down.

    What *were* you absolutely sure of? What were you wrong about, something you “knew” everyone else had wrong? For me, it was “rock music.” I used to get cold-sweats of fear and guilt when I heard anything “rock” even (gulp!) the Everly Brothers (or some other 1950s syrupy saccharine muzak™) piped out of the supermarket overhead speakers.

    What did you have wrong? Don’t be ashamed, we all do it. 😉