Is it Arrogant to Believe Christianity Is the Only True Religion?


When is tolerance a virtue and when is tolerance no virtue? What is tolerance? Traditionally tolerance has meant respecting other people’s right to hold different views than we hold and do things we don’t approve. Recently some have used tolerance to mean that all views are equally true and all practices are acceptable. Tolerance in the traditional sense is a virtue. Tolerance in the new meaning is no virtue.

One of the most frequent objections to Christianity is that Christians are arrogant to claim that Christianity is the only true religion. Blair, a twenty-something woman from New York City, expresses this objection, “How could there be just one true faith? It’s arrogant to say your religion is superior and try to convert everyone else to it. Surely all the religions are equally good and valid for meeting the needs of their particular followers.”[1]

David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons in Unchristian cite evidence that today’s Christians are widely viewed as hypocritical, insensitive, arrogant, and judgmental.[2] I do not defend Christians who do not practice what they profess, who are harsh, unkind, and unloving, who are self-centered and egotistical, and who self-righteously condemn any who do not agree will them. But does the mere fact that we believe Christianity is the only true religion make us insensitive, arrogant, and judgmental?

Pluralism believes that all major religions are equally valid and basically teach the same thing. However, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism all reject Jesus as God in the flesh and that he is the only Savior of the world. They can’t all be true. If they are all true, then they are all false because they contradict each other.

Is it arrogant to say one religion is true and the others are false. “It is no more narrow to claim that one religion is right than to claim that one way to think about all religions (namely that all are equal) is right.”[3] Is it narrow minded or arrogant to say 2 + 2 = 4 and not 3 or 5? Truth is narrow. Truth excludes falsehood.

The biblical view is that Jesus Christ is the only savior and faith in him is necessary to salvation. There is no other Savior or way to be saved.

John 3:16-18: One can be saved by believing in Jesus, those who do not are condemned.

John 14:6: Jesus is the way, the truth, the life, no one comes to the Father but by Jesus.

Acts 4:12:  No one will be saved except through the name of Jesus.

Rom 10:9-10: Only those who accept the lordship and resurrection of Jesus will be saved.

1 Tim 2:5: Jesus is the only mediator between the one God and men.

If Jesus is God in the flesh and died for our sins and rose from the dead than he is the only true Savior.

[1] Timothy Keller, The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism (New York: Dutton, 2008), 3.

[2] David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons, UnChristian: What a New Generation Really Thinks about Christianity and Why it Matters (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2007), 81.

[3] Keller, 13.

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One thought on “Is it Arrogant to Believe Christianity Is the Only True Religion?

  1. There are two different issues here:
    1) Cultural relativism, the refusal to accept any view as final or superior, especially in areas of ethics and faith.
    2) But I think the other issue that bothers a lot of people is the question of the ultimate fate of those who do not have an adequate opportunity to believe in Jesus Christ. I think C.S. Lewis cautioned that we should not be dogmatic about such matters.

    By the way, I just finished reading Atheist Delusions by David Bentley Hart. The main case he makes is that Christianity’s moral vision–that belief that each human individual is created in the image of God and is of infinite worth–provides a foundation for genuine moral life and genuine freedom that secularism undermines, which accounted for more than 100 million murders in the 20th century. I have also been reading Rodney Stark’s works on the historical benefits of Christian influence.