Sunday, 11 November 2007

Christian Arrogance? 2

Aren't Christians arrogant to claim to know the truth?
[Lunchbar from Warwick CU - 2nd instalment]

To claim to know some truth we want to share: it’s not that we know everything. But we can know some things truly. We look at the evidence and match up the best explanation. That’s how we all live, isn’t it? We don’t any of us claim to know the whole truth about life, the universe, and everything (unless it’s 42) – but we know some things truly enough to operate, to live our lives. That’s not arrogance: that’s just reality. We know some truths of history, by examining source material. (Our historian friends will tell us it's complicated: but we do know some truths of history in the end.) We know some truths of biology, by examining the body. Actually, most of us know those things on the basis of others telling us – testimony (whether a friend, a textbook, a lecturer or because it was mentioned on CSI!).

So while we don’t know everything, we know some things truly: we know some truths, and can trust them enough to live by them – enough biology to know what to eat and what meds to take, enough history to know never to start a land war in Asia, enough maths to be amused at Birmingham Uni’s engineering dept, who designed a carpark, which when built, proved not to be able to bear the weight of cars on the 2nd level. [NB to Birmingham students - sorry: but we are all amused by it, aren't we?] It’s hardly arrogant to claim to know some truth – we all do it and live by it.

To claim to know truth about Jesus isn’t any different. It’s not that we’re saying “We made up a nice system we know isn’t true but we’re going to impose it on you because we think it’s best and then we’re in control.” Not a bit of it! Not a bit of it. We’re saying, Look: there was a man Jesus who lived 2000 years ago who showed such authority in teaching, in healing, in making storms stop at a word, in raising the dead: this was no ordinary man. People concluded that he revealed God. That was the best-fit explanation! He died and came back to life himself, and he claimed on that basis to have authority over everything. We’ve looked at the evidence and we’re sure enough to trust him and wait for him to rescue us when he comes back to judge – and that transforms our lives. Here, take a look at the accounts for yourself, see what you make of him.” It isn’t arrogant to want to share that. But it would seem foolish not to consider it, or dismiss it out of hand.

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