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July 14, 2015


I find it petty and dangerous to say that water is the only way to hydrate. If you want to hydrate with gin, then honestly, who am I to judge? That sort of thing smacks of Carrie Nation breaking into bars and smashing them up with hatchets. It just seems contrary to the general moral character of least the way they seem on TV. They just want to help people in a non-judgmental way, and I can't imagine such kind people saying with any vehemence that you absolutely need water.

Exclusivity cannot be avoided if we mean to claim the the Final Reality, the end of all things, finds us factually within love's immutable contours, factually amid love's ceaseless reciprocity.

It is unmistakable: both Pantheism and Philosophical Naturalism ultimately leave such contours in the unintelligible.


It is unmistakable: Pantheism, Philosophical Naturalism, and Universalism all leave such contours in the unintelligible.

My first reaction to the claim "It's offensive to claim that Jesus is the only way to God" is "you're right!". It is offensive. Paul tells us that the cross is a stumbling block to unbelievers.

But Jesus claimed to be the only way to God 100 times. The other issue is the idea of exclusivity being dangerous. Truth by it's very nature is exclusive. When we examine the core tenets of each religion, they are vastly different from one another. Logic tells us that they can't all be true. So the claim that there is something wrong with exclusivity is a claim that there is something wrong with truth. And that in itself is an exclusive claim. So this objection, to me, commits suicide.

>> Is preaching Jesus as the only way “contrary to the moral character of Christ”?

Is the "moral character of Christ" the essential feature of Jesus' three-year ministry, or is it a sidebar? Much the same as the miracles of Christ. He did these to prove His credentials as the Son of God, as well as show His love for the suffering among us. But if we emphasize the addressing of suffering as the chief aspect of Christ's mercy for mankind, we may become blind to the understanding of "Christ crucified."

In Paul's estimate, "Christ crucified" has far greater importance than "Christ wonder-worker."

It turns much on how you value the issue of "Christ crucified." If you suppose that this was caused by political forces to remove a social pest, which the early Christians made nice with ideas of resurrection, then you've lost much of what makes Christianity.

Oops, take that back. You've lost Christianity and is substituting some mockery of faith.

It's how "Christ crucified" (and risen)that gives His "Way-Truth-Life" exclusivity real legs.

Inclusivity, it turns out, is the only correct view, and if you don't accept it, you are petty and dangerous. Sounds pretty harsh and judgmental to me.

What seems "petty sand dangerous" is the given simplistic argument.

"...Jews, Muslims and Christians have been slaughtering each other in Palestine for centuries."

Mostly is been just one of those groups slaughtering the other two, but it's true that Jews have taken measures to defend themselves.

I do not understand the challenge, and would like some clarification. The opening statement is that "exclusivity is petty and dangerous" so one would think it is fairly straightforward. However, the next statement is "Many people do get upset when told their religion is not as good as the next guy's." I don't understand the connection between the two. It is not apparent that the reaction one might get for a particular statement or class of statements is indicative of the quality of the statement itself.

A follow up statement is that "exclusivity runs contrary to the general moral character of Christ" but this still doesn't seem to have been established given the issue above. I quite agree that "Jews, Muslims and Christians... slaughtering each other" is contrary to the moral character of Christ, but there is insufficient link between that and exclusivism.

The challenge ends with the statement "I can't imagine him being particularly happy with his followers preaching it with such vehemence." This appears to undermine the opening statement. Is it exclusivity that is "dangerous" or preaching with vehemence? If it is the latter, then the first sentence is in error. If it is the former, then the last sentence is redundant.

There is of course a number of underlying questions that would also need to be addressed. What do you mean by dangerous? What is the source of information about the "moral character of Christ"? Do any of those same sources hold that Christ preached exclusivity? (And taken together, then, how do they rectify the two if exclusivity is opposed to that moral nature?) When does preaching become "vehement"? What is meant by "as good as the next guy's"? To what extent does accurate description of reality play into whether a religion is "better"?

I think it's interesting that the challenger functionally thinks that his view is similarly exclusive. The challenger goes on to say that people get upset when told their religion is not as good as the next guys. We may define religion according to a system of practices over and against a system of beliefs. Most atheists that I know refer to the beliefs themselves as "religion". If that's the case here, then the challenger is telling all religious people that their religion is not at good as his belief that all religion is bunk. So in this way the challenger makes himself guilty of what he accuses religious groups. He is saying, "Believe the same thing I believe and there won't be any religious strife anymore." So he's being just as exclusive as anyone else.

So what is the solution? Does it matter what we believe as long as we all believe the same thing? No. It matters that we believe what is true. The challenger coyly admits that Christ has a particular moral character and that that character can be disagreed with. What the challenger fails to see is that he disagrees with the moral character of Christ by not believing in Christ to begin with, for faith itself is a moral characteristic of Christ. The challenger's contention that the exclusivity of Christians is against the morality of Christ fails to recognize this simple fact that Christ himself was exclusive when he taught here. He was so exclusive that he harshly rebuked the religious leaders in Israel, and preached a difficult message for the express purpose of making the unfaithful who were following him go away.

The challenger therefore thinks that he has the truth and fails to recognize that everyone else thinks they have the truth too. So the attempted reductio ad absurdum fails because it would be absurd for the same reason. The better argument is to reason through why your belief is true. That's the course that Paul took and it's effective for us today as Christians who strive to implement apologetics into our public conversation.

First, everyone thinks they are right but not everyone can be right if they have different views. Isn't it fair to ask why the person questioning the exclusive people is the only one who is right?
Second, Jesus preached exclusivity regularly so if you don't like it, your problem isn't with me the messenger but with him. This helps to get emotions out of the equation.
Third, just because someone doesn't agree with you doesn't mean you need to act like a jerk towards them. That includes you inclusive people who need to ask yourselves "am I being inclusive towards those people who think they are right???" It is a poor witness to go around being a jerk. Christ calls us to humility and an appreciation for others made in the image of God. Disagree, by all means, but play nice.
Fourth, while it is true that people get upset when they are told that their religion is false, this happens less if that person knows why they believe what they do. Anger often comes from suspicion and doubt - from ignorance. If you know why you are right, and have good reasons to believe the hope that is within you, then you can feel comfortable having a discussion with others who think differently.
Last, many Christians people who are inclusive are probably seeing God as loving but not just. I confess these people are probably the most trying to deal with...because they should know better. Take special care when faced with them because they often have dear hearts that very much lack good biblical teaching. This is often a result of bad churches, bible ignorance, and lack of sound theology. Have some pity but stand up for truth.

Truth will always exclude lies

The stated argument is petty and dangerous if exclustivity is true, because their statement wants to exclude people who have an alternate world view. The statement is not inclusive of the views of Jews, Muslims, and Christians which makes the hypothesis exclusive in its structure. They certainly have built a straw man with their over simplistic view of religion. I wonder what the purveyor of this hypothesis criterior would be for me to meet their view of inclustivity? I guess if I didn't agree with the proposed view of "exclustivity"; My views would need to be added to their list of things needed to be labeled as "petty and dangerous".
Jesus was very exclusive about who He was and the purpose for which he was born and died, the redemption and forgiveness man (male and female He created them). Those who preached after His proclaimed resurrection didn't shy away from exclustivity when they preached the gospel (the power of God for salvation). 
Act 4:12  And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved."
God is in favor of INCLUSITIVITY to all who come to Him through His Son.

Is preaching Jesus as the only way “contrary to the moral character of Christ”?

It would be "contrary to the moral character of Jesus" to not preach Himself as the only way. As Paul said, in Galatians (1:8) to preach "another gospel" is no gospel at all, and that person is accursed by God. Jesus, on several occasions claimed "exclusivity" to the Father. In the gospel of Matthew (7:14) Jesus said that both "the way is narrow" and "the gate is narrow that leads to life" and few find it. Jesus also claims that He is the only "way" to the Father in John (14:6). In fact He states that all who came before Him were "thieves and liars" in John (10:8). For Jesus to claim anything different would make Him a liar. John (8:55) People "tend" to portray Jesus as "exclusive" because He Himself claimed as such. And therefore would be "displeased" to say otherwise.

Jesus saith unto him I am THE way, THE truth and THE life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.

-- John 14.6 KJV

Pretty simple, eh...

Christ cannot be anything - but - exclusive! From birth, to resurrection, to ascension, to return - ALL - exclusive!

To reduce Him and His teachings to anything else is an aberration and refraction of truth.

Please don't let philosophy and intellectual hijinks cloud the clear teacing of the Word of God.

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