Friday, July 29, 2005

I'm right and you're wrong.

It's funny that people are so repulsed by that statement. Yet we live with that assumption in many areas of life. What is school? It's a series of people who know more about a certain subject telling you that they are right, and you agree with them. How do we teach our children to be moral? We tell them that when they lie, cheat, and steal that they are wrong to do so. I am right and you are wrong. Such a basic principal. If we go to driving school and insist that we should be able to drive through red lights, what would our instructor say to us? That's right. We are wrong and they are right.

Now I could ask why this is fine for most people in those spheres of life, but when we make the claim about spiritual things we are horrible people. But instead I'm going to turn it around and ask this… Why don't you apply your insistence that no one knows the truth, and that everyone is right, to the real world? Why don't you tell the IRS that? Why don't you tell your teacher that? Why don't you let your kids do whatever they want because their viewpoint is just as valid as yours? Well there is a big difference, I hear you say. Why? Because if our kids eat as much candy as they want and stay up all night playing video games and making crank calls, then steal our wallet and drive our car off a cliff that won't be good for them, will it? Does that mean that when we tell our kids 'NO' we are asserting some kind of superiority over them? Are we saying that we are better than them, and that's why we are right and they are wrong? What about the police… Are they better people because they caught you going 50 in a 35 zone? No. The authority of parents and police are backed up by fact and law. There can be any amount of love, or lack thereof in the statements they make, but that does not change the fact that they are right. "It's not good for you to spit on your brother." is a true statement. I don't need to apologize when I tell that to my son.

Yes, I do have a point. If you are upset that any particular religion offers a truth-claim that excludes other viewpoints, please understand that it is not a judgment about your worth as a human being. It's very possible that the person delivering the message does not realize this, and is in fact a jerk. But the idea that one thing is right, and another is wrong, is not in itself biased in any direction. It's simple logic. Religions and philosophies have competing and contradictory claims. They can not all be true. Though it is possible that they are all false. So please don't think that because I think that I am right about what God has revealed to me, and that people who disagree are wrong, that gives me any sense of power, pride, or even dignity. There is one Truth that we all must submit to. My submission to it does not make me any better or worse than those who don't. I'm a leprous beggar who was shown where the healing water is. When I point it out to others, it's from love, not pride, that I do so.

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