Christians Are Narrow Minded?

Dear Editor:

I read the article “Why Christians Are Narrow Minded” and would like to have an opportunity to respond. As you are probably well aware this objection to the Christian faith is nothing new and is far from controversial. In fact most Christians wouldn’t even argue with two of pieces main premises. First, Christians do believe that Jesus is the only way to salvation exclusively; this is not debated. And the second, that this claim has been the focus of opponents to the faith since it’s beginnings and, as your article proves, still flourishes today.[1] Also discussed in “Why Christians Are Narrow Minded” the real issue isn’t whether or not people think that Christian particularism is narrow minded, but whether Christian particularism is in fact narrow minded. And going a step further, even if it is does that justify the rejection of it altogether? Below we will explore both of these as well as their implications.

Prior to exploring the author’s primary assertion of whether Christianity is narrow minded we should explore why it even matters. For even if Christianity is narrow minded, what logically follows and can that serve as a solid rejection of Christianity all together? In response, and contrary to your publication, I would say this is not a solid objection and in fact it doesn’t hold any weight at all. Christianity makes truth claims and in order to pose a logical and good objection one would have to address those truth claims directly. In other words a good objection to the Christian faith should try to show that the claims of Christianity are false directly. For example, showing that the resurrection did not happen because of curtain witness account or the like. You see, your argument of narrow mindedness does not attempt to do this. Even if the claims of Christianity are narrow minded it does not follow that they are false. Narrow mindedness and truth have nothing to do with each other; there is no logical inference moving from one to the other.[2] It should also be noted that as an editor of a major publication you have an intellectual responsibility to accept or reject a view based not on emotional grounds but on its truth or falsity. And it’s here that the objection to Christianity on the assertion that it is narrow minded fails.

At this point I would like to address the primary claim of “Why Christians Are Narrow Minded” directly. Is Christianity narrow minded? One issue with this question has to do with the term “narrow minded.” It would seem that term is being confused with exclusivity. This is an important distinction because truth by definition is exclusive, but not necessarily narrow minded. With this distinction it becomes clear that any view which claims to be true at the same time claims all contrary views to be false. Therefore that view is exclusive. For the interest of the topic at hand, it would make no sense for one person to claim that Jesus is the only way to salvation and another the say that Jesus is not the only way and say that they are both true. At least one of these people is making a false claim. Both of these views are exclusive.[3]

In light of this, it is fair to say that “Why Christians Are Narrow Minded” is making an exclusive claim. Is it therefore a narrow minded view? You see, your view is just as exclusive as the Christians view. So, by your logic both views should be considered narrow minded because both oppose anything making contrary claims. And this brings us full circle. The author of the article seems to be confusing the term “exclusive” with the term “narrow minded.” This is a very important distinction of terms. Just because someone is making an exclusive claim does not mean that they are narrow minded. They very well could be but it does not necessarily follow. The term “narrow minded” has nothing to do with what it is that you believe. It deals with how you believe it.[4] The author of this article is not narrow minded because his views differ from mine (what he believes). But an attitude of unwillingness to consider another view would make him narrow minded (the how). Briefly, it should also be pointed out that the argument itself is self refuting, which could be the biggest problem of all. By arguing that the Christian is narrow minded because the make exclusive claims one because “trapped” in their own reasoning.[5]

Now let’s take a second look at the main premise of the article in question in light of what we’ve discovered. I think we would both agree that the main motive for exploring topics such as this one is to find the truth and expose falsities. So, it would seem that using the correct definition of narrow minded, the Christian claim to salvation is not that. I would like to note that as a Christian I in fact consciously try to be as open-minded as possible while considering evidences, trying to discern the truth of differing world views.

On a personal note it should also be said that I wish salvation was offered to everyone no matter what their beliefs. I would love to believe that all roads lead to heaven and ultimately to God, but that just is not where the evidence, reason and logic lead. And in light of this it seems to me that the author of “Why Christians Are Narrow Minded”, in expressing a pluralistic view of religion, is in fact the one expressing a narrow minded view because he is rejecting the claim of salvation through Jesus alone on emotional grounds. Instead of reviewing the evidences available he is uncompromisingly defending the view he already holds regardless of whether that view is true or not. He then goes on to present a case with the objective of labeling a group of people holding a certain belief. Is this not a classic example of being narrow minded?

In sum, I think it is fair to say that to object to Christianity on the basis of it being narrow minded is not a valid argument. It ignores facts and ultimately the truth, while dieing to itself as self-refuting. My main purpose for writing this to you is to clarify this old objection in the hopes of allowing for a more open minded approach in the future. It’s my strong belief that if you are willing to approach this issue in the future by focusing on the facts and have your ultimate goal being truth you and your staff may be surprised where you end up. Thank you for your time.

Always,

JRN


[1] Lewis, Kevin, “Responding to the Cults” Defending the Faith Lecture Series, (Biola University, La Mirada, CA, 2010)

[2] Koukl, Greg, “What About Those Who Have Never Heard the Gospel” Defending the Faith Lecture Series, (Biola University, La Mirada, CA, 2010)

[3] Koukl, Greg, “What About Those Who Have Never Heard the Gospel”

[4] Koukl, “What About Those Who Have Never Heard the Gospel”

[5] Koukl, “What About Those Who Have Never Heard the Gospel”

 

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