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Are Christians Narrow-Minded?

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“It is not narrow-minded if you’ve looked into it and found that Christianity proves itself trustworthy in ways that other religions and viewpoints do not.”

Paul Copan

“You Christians are so narrow-minded.” Sound familiar? I’m sure it does. And who wants to be thought of in such gloomy terms? I’d like to think of myself as broadminded, reasonable, willing to hear the opinions of others, thoughtful and considerate. And I’m guessing you would too. So, how can we answer the objection that Christians are narrow-minded?

First, ask the other person what they mean by “narrow-minded.”

This will unearth a lot and help focus the conversation. And it’ll also provide an opportunity to apologize for a possible wrong committed by the church or even to concede a valid point. But be prepared to admit that Christians are narrow-minded if believing that Jesus is the only way to heaven is being narrow-minded. Those aren’t my words. They originated with Jesus Himself. He said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). The way to heaven is exclusive—through Jesus. Heaven is a universal offer through an exclusive person—Jesus Christ. Therefore, I admit I’m narrow-minded about who can save me, but I’m wide-minded about who can be saved.

Second, demonstrate how everyone is narrow-minded.

For example, Muslims believe Allah is the only true God, and if you disagree, they will say you’re wrong. But isn’t that equally narrow-minded? Or what about the relativist? They believe truth is relative, but if you disagree and say that truth is absolute, they’ll fault you. Isn’t that narrow-minded? Atheists believe there is no God, and if you believe in God, they will say you are wrong. Isn’t that narrow-minded? Polytheists believe there are many gods, but if you believe in only one God or reject all gods, they’ll say you’re wrong. Isn’t that narrow-minded?

Or consider one final example—surely the religious pluralists, who believe all roads lead to heaven, can’t be narrow-minded. But not so fast. They too find themselves in the same predicament. They believe there are many ways to heaven, but if you believe there is only one way to heaven or no way to heaven, they will say that you’re wrong. Isn’t that narrow-minded too?

Of course.

Everyone is narrow-minded.

Even the view that says there is no such thing as right believes they are right about their claim that there is no such thing as right. Even the person who thinks you can’t know what truth is believing it’s true that you can’t know what truth is. Make sense?

Truth by its very nature has a narrow feature to it. For example, 6 x 6 = 36. There are no married bachelors. Neither is there such a thing as square circles. Are you narrow-minded to believe that? Of course not. It is what it is. And let’s be honest. Don’t we all want a little narrow-mindedness from time to time? When I visit the doctor, I want him to be narrow-minded about the treatment he recommends for my condition. I don’t want him to think he can prescribe whatever he feels like. I want him to give me what he believes to be right. I also want the driver on the opposite side of the road to remain narrow-minded about staying in his lane. I don’t want him to broaden his path. If he does, we both may die.

So the next time someone accuses you of being narrow-minded, remind him in a gracious way that you are not alone. While I don’t like the term narrow-minded and don’t want to be considered narrow-minded in the pejorative sense, I’m thankful there’s an easy explanation for the often-repeated claim that Christians are narrow-minded.

OMA Blog #31