Friday, May 01, 2009


I came accross the following on the Stand to Reason website:

My niece, Kirsten, has a friend named Aiman who accused her of being close-minded simply because she believed Jesus’ claim that He was the only way of salvation. If you have encountered this yourself, you might be interested in what I told her.

Notice that the complaint here is not that Kirsten was wrong about Jesus. Aiman conveniently side-stepped that issue. Instead, she was wrong—“close-minded”—simply for thinking she was right. Apparently Aiman was not aware that he cannot refute a view by attacking something else—in this case Kirsten’s character.

First, it is completely proper to think that if your view is true, opposing views must be mistaken. How could it be different? For example, if it is true that all religions lead to God, then it is false that only one religion leads to God. It is nonsense to affirm both that there are many ways to God and that there is only one way to God.

I think you can see very quickly that regardless of whoever is correct on the theological point, the other person must be mistaken. Both people must be “narrow” at this juncture. There is no way of escaping it without sounding silly. This is elementary.

In fact, this observation is so basic it would be trivial if it were not that so many people seem to miss it. Ironically, Aiman affirms as much. He thinks himself correct on his pluralism and faults Kirsten for her opposing view. Nothing odd here except, perhaps, that he doesn’t consider himself equally close-minded for doing the same as she.

This leads to a second point. “Narrow-mindedness” is not a proper criticism of what you believe, but of how you believe it. Here’s what I mean.

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