I Could Be Wrong (But I Don’t Think I Am)

[bonus points if you recognize the artist from which I stole the title]

“No man ought to write at all, or even to speak at all, unless he thinks that he is in truth and the other man in error.” [and] “But if there be such a thing as mental growth, it must mean the growth into more and more definite convictions, into more and more dogmas. The human brain is a machine for coming to conclusions; if it cannot come to conclusions it is rusty. Trees have no dogmas. Turnips are singularly broad-minded.” — G.K. Chesterton

The bulk of irrational haters who disagree with me tend to say things like “How can you be so arrogant as to think that you’re right and everyone else is wrong?”  The simple answer is: it seems natural to me to argue in favor of things I think are correct, and against things I think are wrong.  I don’t claim to speak for anyone else, but I would feel sort of stupid arguing in favor of things I thought were wrong.

Those who have drunk deeply from the wells of certain strands of post-modernism, however, seem to think it is an intellectual virtue never to come to any firm conclusions (except, of course, that those with firm conclusions can’t possibly be right).  They then attack the “arrogance” of those who, crazily!, argue on behalf of what they have come to believe is correct.

Another favorite technique of the haters is to claim that, while they are still on their “journeys,” embracing “doubt,” those who hold passionately to their convictions must have been indoctrinated from birth with those convictions, rather than come by them honestly.  It seems incredible to them that people might actually have thought about something enough to form a reasoned opinion on any given subject, especially religion.   Then, instead of arguing the point at hand, they resort to name-calling and purely ad hominem attacks, along with four-letter words such as “Pharisee,” “self-righteous,” “hypocritical,” “judgmental.”  It’s as if no one learns critical thinking anymore; the proof is in how few people can manage to get out a coherent sentence, complete with correctly spelled words and proper grammar, without falling back on smoke and mirrors.

The point is this: get over your sensitivity to people with whom you disagree and actually contribute to the argument.  Don’t try to figure out someone’s motivation, unless they explicitly state it, and simply respond calmly and intelligently.  Also, you might question, prior to hitting ‘submit,’ whether you’re reading something into a comment that is not there.  Really, it’s not that hard.


9 thoughts on “I Could Be Wrong (But I Don’t Think I Am)

  1. Amen and amen. I have been saying this for years!
    The saddest thing is when you hear it from Christians. They act like they can’t be confidently humble. Instead they become sniveling whiners who call themselves CHRISTIAN, yet can’t really confess CHRIST.
    They think it’s more humble to say “I am not going to be so ARROGANT as to say MY BELIEF is the only one that saves!” rather than “The promise of Christ is for all who believe, even me, a fallen and broken wretch!”
    It’s so pathetic!

  2. Pingback: David Bazan and Loss of Faith « Balaam’s Ass

  3. What makes Christianity so believable for you? You’re a logical person, based on your writing. Can you explain why belief in Christianity makes more sense than the belief that all religion is simply a human construct?

  4. Ian, I don’t know if I could give you all the reasons. (I may not even know all of them.) Which I suppose means that some are sub-conscious, and some are supra-conscious.

    It began with being brought up in the Christian Faith and being taught that God accepts us gratuitously for Jesus’ sake, since we can never live up to God’s standards for His creatures. All of that entails that there is a God, that He is the Creator of all that exists, and that, therefore, He determines what is just and that His creatures will be held to His standards of justice and righteousness. I believe that sin entered God’s good creation, wreaking havoc not only in the physical creation, but in the relationships humans have with each other and with God Himself. That is the ultimate cause of our disobedience and rebellion against our Creator.

    God did not give up on His creation, but made a way back to Himself through Jesus’ blood, death, and resurrection.

    What makes all that believable to me? I’m not sure I can say any more than I believe that Jesus is who He says He is. If He really died and really rose from the dead, then that validates everything He said and did on earth. Other than the fact that no one has ever found His tomb, I doubt I can prove the resurrection beyond any shadow of a doubt to someone committed to an opposing view.

    Why does Christianity make more sense than the belief that all religion is simply a human construct? (I would recommend Chesterton on this.) I think, whether it makes more rational sense or not, Christianity is the opposite of every other religion in the sense that it is primarily the story of God coming and redeeming and recreating people who not only did not want to make their way to God, but who were actively opposing God. Every other religion is an attempt to justify one’s self and one’s existence. Christianity is God justifying man because man justifying himself is impossible.


  5. Timotheos,


    For being open and firm….and unashamed.

    ps – Interesting comparison between Christianity and the other ‘religions’. Something for me to ponder.

  6. I know I’m a little late to this blog and this thread but right on! Good things to ponder. And I agree with the above post, thanks for being “unashamed.”

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