Last time we looked at a common objection to the truth that God has made His will clear to us in the Bible; the religious objection. We also briefly touched on a second objection, what we could term the ‘mystical objection’. Today I want us to delve into this a little deeper as one hears it a lot in some circles. Usually it is presented to us in the following manner- God is so great and beyond our comprehension that we simply can’t say anything very definite about him (see my last post for an answer to this). This inevitably leads to a second point- if God is beyond our understanding then surely all religions are really all saying more or less the same thing with each particular religion emphasising different aspects of the same one truth.
Given our post modern world where all ‘truth claims’ and ‘authority claims’ are ridiculed and rubbished (except the authoritative truth claim that we cannot speak truth authoritatively!!!) this idea has gained a wide following. “After all”, we are told, “with so many different ideas being floated on the religious market, isn’t it simply a sign of humility to accept that we really can’t be definite about anything?”
An often used example of what is being proposed here is that of the ten blind men groping round an elephant; each thinks that he is describing the whole elephant whereas, in reality, they are only describing different parts of the elephant’s body. Another illustration used is that of different travellers all making their way to the summit of a mountain. They are all going to the same destination, the peak, but they get there using different paths.
These illustrations, although widely used, really don’t stand up to much scrutiny. The mountain story only works if you already know that the climbers are, in actual fact, all working on the same mountain. In terms of religious truth, or any other truth, this is exactly the point which is under dispute.
And given the fact that all the religions are saying wildly different things, and indeed totally contradictory things, it does appear that the ‘climbers’ are on different mountains.
Likewise, the story of the elephant and the ten blind men doesn’t help much as it only works when told from the position of someone who sees the whole situation and already knows that there is only one animal in play. Kevin DeYoung makes the following insightful point- “But the story never considers this paradigm-shattering question; what if the elephant talks? What if he tells the blind men, “That wall like structure is really my side. That fan is my ear. And that’s not a robe; it’s a tail”. At that point it would no longer be ‘humble’ to doubt the elephant’s words; rather it would be arrogant and foolish.
Are you getting the point here? Despite post modernism loudly proclaimed humility, it really is very arrogant to reject what our Creator has already proclaimed about Himself and his world. In truth I have never had a conversation with an elephant (and I am not expecting that to change!) but I am so glad that I have heard the Creator God of Heaven and earth speak to me in the Bible. He has spoken clear, authoritative words of life and peace. Now that is something to get excited about!