The new arrogance?

I remember a time–because I am very old, and almost out of my twenties–when the word “arrogant” used to mean someone who behaved in a haughty manner, like, for example, Nellie Olsen on Little House on the Prairie.

Now, though, I have lived to see the day when arrogance has come to mean not only the above definition, but an entirely new definition as well: someone who is certain about something that is considered controversial, especially if that person holds an opposing viewpoint.  This has come to be seen, publicized, and popularized as the new arrogance.

Christians are accused of the new arrogance for believing there is one way to Heaven.

But, if this is true, Muslims and Jews must be arrogant, too, because they also believe there is only one way to Heaven.  And what about atheists?  Don’t they believe that there is no way to Heaven?  How is it less arrogant to believe there is no way than to believe there is one way?

And for that matter, how is it more arrogant to believe there is one way than to believe there are many ways?  Aren’t both claiming that they are the truth?  One claims truth is through one way, one claims truth is through many ways.  Both would seem to be equally arrogant in their claim.

If it is because Christianity (and other one-way religions) “bottleneck” at one point of entry, I don’t understand how that is any more arrogant than the bottleneck at the entrance to Silver Dollar City theme park.  It’s certainly true that you can make your way to the entry point from different starting points–you can come from St. Louis or Topeka or New Jersey–but it is also certainly true that you must come through the admission gate, and you must present a ticket or you will most certainly not get in.  I cannot present a ticket from Six Flags, Disneyland, or Schlitterbahn and expect to get into Silver Dollar City.  And no matter how many protects I cry of the arrogance of the park, I won’t be allowed in without a ticket to Silver Dollar City.

Maybe it is more arrogance for me to presume I can get in with another park’s ticket than it is for the park to expect me to have a ticket in their name.

Christians believe people have different starting points–you can be raised in a Christian household or an atheist household, for example–but anyone who wants to be saved must receive Christ as the only salvation and bow to Him as the only Lord.

The new arrogance . . isn’t arrogance.  It’s just being certain of what you believe.  The old arrogance is still around, and some people who are certain of what they believe (a.k.a., the new arrogance) do act arrogantly (a.k.a., the old arrogance) . . . but there’s something a little funny about that. . . . .

Isn’t it a little arrogant for me to point out the arrogance in others, if arrogance includes being certain of something?

–And if all ways lead to the same truth, then why should it matter whether I behave arrogantly or not?

I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. (John 10:9, ESV)


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