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.

Classics of the Christian Faith

Five Classics

These five books are classics of Christian literature. They speak to the heart issues of Christianity in a forceful and dynamic way. They lead readers into a deeper understanding of the Christian faith. Here is food and guidance to help you grow in spiritual maturity and discipleship. Why not read several of these books as a project this summer? Why not fast from TV, videos, movies, the Internet and feed your soul?

Lewis, C. S. Mere Christianity. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 2001. Perhaps the most widely read apologetic for Christianity written in English in the twentieth century. Sold millions of copies. Logical reasoning in defense of the Christian faith by a former atheist.

Stott, John R. W. Basic Christianity, 50th anniversary edition. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2008.

Clear and easy-to-read introduction to the Christian faith. Over 2.5 million sold.

Packer, J. I. Knowing God, 20th anniversary edition. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1993.

Believing ignorance of God is the source of weakness in churches, Packer helps the reader gain a personal relationship with God through the knowledge of the living God from the Word of God.

Stott, John R. W. The Cross of Christ, 20th anniversary edition. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006.

Powerful book stating the doctrinal meaning of the cross, answering misunderstandings, and making personal application of the cross to our lives. Many consider this the best book on the cross.

Foster, Richard J. Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth, 25th anniversary edition. New York: Harper and Collins, Publishers, 1998.

Practical guidance for one seeking a closer devotional walk with God and growth in spiritual maturity.

Three Potential Classics

Strobel, Lee. The Case for Christ: A Journalist’s Personal Investigation of the Evidence for Jesus. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1998.

A relentless search for the evidence answering the question “Who is Jesus.” Worthy of serious attention from every believer and skeptic.

Keller, Timothy. The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism. New York: Dutton, 2008.

A refreshing and intellectually stimulating case for the reality of God. Contemporary and relevant as the author draws illustrations from his encounters with skeptics and seekers in his New York ministry.

Willard, Dallas. Renovation of the Heart: Putting on the Character of Christ. Colorado Springs: Nav Press, 2002.

Challenging instruction for growing in our spiritual walk, shedding sinful habits, and progressively taking on the character of Christ. Practical guidance for being transformed in heart and life into Christlikeness.