Apologetics Pt 2
Objection One – There Can’t Be Just One True Religion
This is a huge objection in our society today, hence why we’re beginning here. Educational systems today tend to lead people to think that truth is relative – that truth is what you make it; what’s true for you isn’t necessarily true for me – and we are seeing a rise in the number of people who claim to hold on to this view. This is widely called post-modernism and the objection usually goes like this:
“How can you say there is only one true faith? Isn’t that arrogant, isn’t that exclusive?
What makes you think you have a monopoly on absolute truth?’
There are several problems with this way of thinking. Let’s look at some of them and discuss how you could respond appropriately to someone who holds this objection.
- The statement “there is no absolute truth” is self-refuting. An absolute truth is one that is true for everyone and every time. But, by stating “there is no absolute truth”, you contradict yourself; you are yourself stating an absolute truth, that you have the absolute authority on the fact there is no absolute truth!
- No one actually lives like this. For example, everybody believes in absolute truth when it comes to reading the label on a medicine bottle and they duly follow it’s instruction. Everybody holds to some absolute truth in life. People may like the idea of post-modernism, of creating your own truth, but ultimately nobody lives this way.
- Just because someone doesn’t particularly like the solution in no way means that the solution isn’t the right one. For example, if someone is suffering with cancer and the only course of treatment is chemotherapy, they may not like the fact they need to undergo such treatment, but that does nothing to undermine the truth that chemotherapy is an effective treatment of cancer. The idea of there being an absolute truth can be uncomfortable for some people, but this does not deny its validity.
So if someone brings this up in conversation, how do you respond? Often, just barking out a three-point response like I have above is the quickest way to win the argument but lose the person! So we want to present our argument in a gentle, respectful way (1 Pt 3:15).
Perhaps the following approach would be a good one. Start with agreeing on some of the things that are preventing your friend from believing Christianity. Many times, underneath an intellectual objection lies an emotional one. I would admit thatreligion is dangerous, that religion does cause a lot of problems and that when religion claims to have exclusivity it can be extremely damaging. Then try and show how religion is different to Christianity; share how Jesus despised the religious of the day and spent His time instead with sinners and tax collectors. Christianity was never meant to be a religion that lorded power over people – it’s not a message of ‘turn or burn’! Then lead them to this place – it’s not absolute truth itself that is dangerous or exclusive, it’s which specific claims of absolute truth are dangerous and exclusive. The truth claims of Christianity are hugely inclusive – that God wants all people to come to faith (2 Pt 3:9), that Jesus died for the whole world (Jn 3:16). You can share the gospel at this point – point out the fact that yes, we do believe Jesus is the only way to God (Jn 14:6), but that Jesus Himself understood that there was one way to fix the situation we had gotten ourselves in. If God was going to save humanity, He had to die in order to bring us back to the Father (Mt 17:22-23).
Finally, remember that we do not win people with wise or persuasive words, but with demonstrations of the Spirit’s power (1 Co 2:4-5). During conversations like these at school, college, work or wherever you find yourself, always be asking the Holy Spirit to soften the heart of your friends and to reveal the truth of Jesus Christ to them. It is God who saves!