A friend was telling me a while back about a conversation that she had had with her brother in which he had quipped, "the problem with you Christians is that you think you're right!" to which she had shot back, "that's because we are right!" I chuckle recounting that verbal transaction, knowing the individuals and their mutual ability to hold their own in an argument. But seriously, yes Christians think they/we are right, but so does everyone if you take a moment to think about it. Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, secular atheists, Jews, heck even agnostics think they are right that they cannot possibly know, and if they didn't think that, then the reality is that they would think something else and then they would think they were right about the alternative. To think we are right about what we believe is the nature of belief itself is it not? The thing that is interesting to me is that it often seems that it is secular minded people that I see accusing Christians of thinking we are right, and of proselytizing, while at the same time insisting that a banner of human rights and "western values" be carried around the world, often at at the end of a gun. Interesting isn't it? The question I would have to ask is why does it appear that it is historically Christian, now secular countries proclaiming human rights? I would go further. Where does that exclusive belief in human rights come from if not from the belief that human beings are created in the image of God? My point being that while secular folks are accusing Christians of exclusivity and proselytizing that they are doing the same thing without realizing that arguably the foundation of their own belief in the unique value of human beings is historically Judeo-Christian. The only difference as I see it, dare I suggest, is that informed Christians have a broader understanding of the foundations of their own worldview which leads them to proclaim many of the same principles with added depth. In other words, the worth of the individual, human rights and human dignity, which is grounded in a loving personal God.
Having said all this, I think I understand why people are uncomfortable with exclusive belief systems, because they divide. Yes they divide, atheism divides from agnosticism, Buddhism divides from Hinduism, and Jesus, well Jesus-divides. And if we think that getting rid of traditional religions would solve the problem, rest assured that innumerable ideological and political divisions would have no problem taking their place. My point being is that we cannot escape ideological division. Difference is part of life, and no one is neutral in all this. The solution, I believe is a free society that allows people to engage themselves and others in thoughtful respectful dialogue and inquiry, rather than controlling that discussion with an intellectually limiting political correctness which ultimately asserts it's own exclusive truth claims. I hope for a culture that allows me the freedom to believe and profess that belief, while allowing you the freedom to agree or disagree. Thanks for listening.