snake, tree, wall or pachyderm?

Recently, while in India, I saw an Elephant. Now, I’m not a zoologist but one thing I can say with a high degree of scientific accuracy is – Elephants are BIG.

Seeing them reminded me of how some people today use the Elephant to suggest that no one religion can know the fullness of spiritual truth, therefore all religions are valid. While it’s always good to acknowledge our human limitations, such an assertion actually reveals an interesting fact about the nature of spiritual truth. 

No -- I'm not on one of these

Here’s where the Elephant comes in. A popular analogy is often used to push the relativistic point. The story is told of several blind men trying to describe an elephant. One feels the tail and reports that an elephant is thin like a snake. Another feels a leg and claims it is thick like a tree. Another touches its side and reports the elephant is a wall. Supposedly this proves how various religions only understand part of God, while no one can truly see the whole picture. To claim full knowledge of God, some contend, is arrogant.

But as Pastor Tim Keller points out…

the second someone suggests, ‘All religions only see part of the truth,’ you are claiming the very knowledge you say no one else has. And they are demonstrating the same spiritual arrogance they so often accuse Christians of. In other words, to say all is relative, is itself a truth statement but dangerous because it uses smoke and mirrors to make itself sound more tolerant than the rest. Most folks who hold this view think they are more enlightened than those who hold to absolutes when in fact they are really just as strong in their belief system as everyone else. I do not think most of these folks are purposefully using trickery or bad motives. This is because they seem to have even convinced themselves of the “truth” of their position, even though they claim “truth” does not exist or at least can’t be known. Ironic isn’t it? The position is intellectually inconsistent.

One other thing sticks in my mind — to suggest one religion is more valid than all others is only arrogant if it is not true.

“Smelling isn’t everything,” said the Elephant.  “Why,” said the Bulldog, “if a fellow can’t trust his nose, what can he trust?”  “Well, his brains perhaps,” she replied mildly.   C.S. Lewis

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re: the random-ness

Husband. Father. Senior Pastor of Parkview Community Church in Glen Ellyn, IL.

Ok...so you've located the place where I put down my random thoughts. The key word here is random: music, sports, art, food, books, news, spiritual musings, weird stories, etc. I'm especially interested in how everyday experiences of life intersect with the ancient stories of Scripture. Thanks for reading.
March 2010
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Thoughts gone by

"No problem can withstand the assault of substantial thinking." Voltaire



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