Ever had someone tell you that your Christian beliefs are exclusive and narrow-minded? I know I often see comments like this:
"Christians are so narrow-minded. They believe there is only one way to heaven and that's through Jesus. If someone does not believe in their Jesus, they are damned for eternity."
Other comments include things like:
"So you think that you are right and everyone else is wrong?"
Such accusations rear their ugly heads often in comment sections. Here is the simple rebuttal for these attacks.
A Video I Made on This Subject
Is Christianity Exclusive?
Let's start with the foundational question: is Christianity exclusive?
The answer is - absolutely! Christianity is exclusive. If Christianity is true, then any belief that contradicts it is false. For example, the Bible says God exists, this means atheism is false. The Bible also teaches there is only one God of the universe, therefore, pantheism is false. The Bible says that the only way to heaven is through faith in Jesus Christ; therefore, the belief that good works can get you to heaven, is false. And on and on it goes.
"Ha! I thought so," the skeptic says, "I'm sure glad I'm not part of such a narrow-minded group like that."
But hold on. It's true that Christianity is exclusive but so is every other religion or belief system!
When the skeptic says the Bible is false, he is being exclusive. He is saying that he is right and everyone who believes the Bible is wrong. When the skeptic says 'there is no God,' this means that everyone who believes in God is wrong. Many skeptics say there is no such thing as the supernatural and that this material world is everything; this leaves out everyone who believes in God, miracles and the supernatural. Skeptics are very exclusive!
This goes for every other religion as, well.
Hindus teach we are reincarnated after we die. Therefore, anyone who believes in heaven or hell is wrong. Hinduism is exclusive.
Islam teaches that Jesus Christ was just a prophet. This leaves out all who believe He was the Son of God, and even the skeptics who say Jesus did not exist!
Every time you open your mouth to say what you believe, you are being exclusive. Every time you say something is "true," it means everything opposed to what you just said is false. You are being exclusive.
But someone may say, "Wait a minute, wait a minute. I believe that all paths lead to heaven. Therefore, I'm not exclusive at all. I include everyone."
Actually, no. By saying all paths lead to heaven, you are opposing everyone who says there is only one path to heaven, as well as the atheists who say there is no heaven at all.
But someone may say, "Well, I'm an agnostic - I'm not sure if there is a God, therefore I'm not exclusive! I'm as open-minded as you can get."
Actually, agnosticism is just as exclusive as anything else. I recently had an agnostic tell me that "no one can prove anything one way or the other" concerning God, and that it is impossible to know.
But by saying this, she was leaving out everyone who says you can know and prove things concerning God. She was also leaving out atheists who say they know God does not exist!
So the next time a skeptic asks, "So what you are saying is that everyone who believes differently from you is wrong?"
Say to them, "Yes, I am. Are you saying that everyone who believes differently from you is wrong?"
It is really that simple. Expose the hypocrisy of their thinking.
Norman Geisler on Exclusivism
The Christian apologist, Norman Geisler, tells a funny story about exclusivism in his book I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be An Atheist. Dr. Geisler was debating religious humanist Michael Constantine Kolenda. During the debate, Dr. Kolenda held up Geisler's book Christian Apologetics and declared to the audience: "These Christians are very narrow-minded people. I read Dr. Geisler's book. Do you know what he believes? He believes that Christianity is true and everything opposed to it is false! These Christians are very narrow-minded people!"
When the time came for Dr. Geisler to speak, he held up Dr. Kolenda's book called Religion Without God and declared: "These humanists are very narrow-minded people. I read Dr. Kolenda's book. Do you know what he believes? He believes that humanism is true and everything opposed to it is false! These humanists are very narrow-minded people!"
The audience laughed because they could see his point. Every belief - no matter what it is - is exclusive to everything else that contradicts it.
Why Pick on Christianity?
So, it is clear that all beliefs are exclusive. Why then, is this accusation almost exclusively leveled at Christianity and not other beliefs? Why are people always labeling Christians as narrow-minded and not Muslims or Hindus? When was the last time you heard a skeptic complain about how exclusive Islam or Buddhism or Mormonism was?
I believe it is because skeptics want to silence Christians. The Bible says that in our heart of hearts, all of us know God exists (Romans 1:18-20), but we "suppress the truth in unrighteousness." The skeptic knows perfectly well that God exists, but he does not want to hear it, so he tells you your beliefs are narrow-minded and exclusive. If you believe him and keep quiet because you feel ashamed, then he has made great strides in "suppressing the truth."
Don't be ashamed of your Christianity. It is no more exclusive than atheism or any other belief. The apostle Paul gives us an example to follow when he says he destroys false arguments that keep people from knowing God:
We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do. We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. (2. Corinthians 10:3-5)
Keep fighting for the truth.
not true on May 19, 2018:
Christianity (and specifically only Evangelism) is the only exclusivist religion when it comes to salvation. Every other faith recognizes that there are multiple paths to truth and salvation. Only Christianity claims a monopoly on salvation.
Hinduism/Buddhism: All paths lead to one truth, eventually with enough reincarnation, everyone will be saved.
Judaism: The Jews have their own law and other people who follow the Noahide commandments have a good standing in the life to come.
Islam: Multiple verses say that Jews, Christians, Sabians, Zoroastrians can be saved. Also has verses that say messengers were sent to all nations, and all people have a way to God.
Indigenous Religions: Many paths to truth.
Catholicism: Pope recently proclaimed that Christ died for everyone's sins, even the sins of atheists.
Eastern Orthodoxy: Much more open-minded towards other faiths and work on many interfaith projects.
Evangelism: Only Christianity is true.
Banned cause of PISSANTS Promisem and Dean Traylor on December 28, 2016:
Sanxuary, you said "The penalty of believing in nothing is you get nothing."
Not true, the penalty of believing in nothing is you that you risk being in denial of the truth, which you have been told and chose to reject so that you can believe in nothing. So believing in nothing, if not the truth, doesn't get you nothing but in reality, and if God does not lie, forfeits your eternal life with God your creator and gets you Hell.
Not exactly the same as getting nothing now is it. Think about it, if there is no purpose to life, no creator with a purpose but we are just the result of random chemical reactions where does the idea of purpose come from? Why would a being who is purely material and exists for a short time even strive to have purpose in it's living? Atheists certainly search and exercise purpose for their lives but if what they believe is true there is no purpose for their life. Here one moment and gone the next and that is the end?
Sanxuary on December 17, 2016:
To believe in nothing is still a belief. Why would you need to call yourself an Atheist and defend the belief in Nothing? The only way you defend nothing is to attack those who believe in something, what a weird Bible they have. The biggest mistake is to defend your own belief against nothing believers. What is the penalty of believing? You might get to go to a better place or something? The penalty of believing in nothing is you get nothing. You can only hope you become potting soil and not firewood in Hell. Regardless of my belief in God reading it makes me a better person. It teaches me how to avoid evil and not to make bad choices. It litterally keeps me from killing you because if I did not care about my own soul then I would not care about anyone else but me. What would be the point of me practicing to be a good person? I see nothing but evil everyday and it has taught me to avoid evil people. It even taught me that when wicked people abuse you that I must stand up and defend you regardless of consequence. The only consequence is Earthly and my soul is planning on going to Heaven and so I have no concerns even if you should betray me. God does not have to judge us because we judge ourselves. We will condemn ourselves or by our relationship with God be saved. I have not been to a church in years and I am doing just fine. In fact I am getting better so believing has no obligations to anything or anyone on Earth. There is no excuses for being an Atheist so stop blaming everyone who has a reason to believe. I tried to read the Atheist Bible but there was nothing to read. Good Hub Religion might be exclusive but simply believing is not.
LoliHey on November 27, 2015:
I read an excellent book about evangelism (Bringing the Gospel Home), and the author (Randy Newman), says that Christians should learn how to tell the difference between when skeptics are asking real questions, and just baiting them. If something starts in with "Are you saying that I am going to hell because I don't believe...?" that is not a real question. You may want to ask if they believe in any sort of afterlife to begin with. Ask them what they believe, and why they believe it, and go from there. Don't fall into the trap of trying to answer the first question, because most likely, they are not looking for a real conversation, they just want to argue. This is just what I have learned throughout the years. I also want to know the being called narrow-minded is annoying, especially from those atheists who have never read the gospel. Everyone has heard that God is all loving, that is true, but He also judges us and punishes sin. If I got off topic, I apologize.
Asa Schneidermann (author) from Boise on November 10, 2015:
Wow, thanks TSADJATKO!
The Logician from now on on November 09, 2015:
Asa, I took a poll on this hubpage asking "Is ASA telling it like it is?"