What would be your response to be to someone who claims that it is egotistic to claim there is only one truth?

Hi @ClareW,

I met an atheist who says, “God is egotistic, why should his truth be the only truth?”. What would be your response to him?

Dear Charles,

Thank you for your question. The exclusivity of the gospel with Jesus being the only way is often a barrier to faith for many people because it seems to challenge our pluralist, tolerant society. How can there be only one truth?

Your atheist friend also seems to take issue with God’s character, deeming him to be egotistical. Ironically, this seems to be a very well-formed belief about a God whom he claims does not exist.

One of the things we all must face is the fact that truth is, by its very nature, exclusive. For example, if your atheist friend is implying that truth is subjective , that there can be multiple truths for different people and religions which all have equal value, he is actually saying that it is objectively true that there is more than one truth. His reasoning is logically inconsistent. There is also the risk of losing any moral ground in judging things like rape, racism and genocide as wrong if truth is subjective. Based on the logic of subjective truth, I could easily argue that ‘my truth’ is to harm a group of people and there would be nothing you could do about it. You would have to let me live out my truth.

The same goes for sayings like, “There is no such thing as truth”, which unwittingly makes the claim that it is true that there is no such thing as truth. Again, a contradiction. There is no getting around the fact that truth is exclusive.

In the gospel of John 14:6, Jesus claimed, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” This is a highly provocative statement that offended his audience and still offends today. However, the fact that God made a way for us to be in relationship with him is an act of love, not egotism. As Dr Vince Vitale remarks in the RZIM Ask Away Podcast, if God made 11 ways for us to be in relationship with him, we would turn around and ask why there wasn’t a 12th way! This says more about the ingratitude of the human, sinful heart than it does about God’s character.

I hope this response has been useful. I recommend Dr Amy Orr-Ewing’s book, But is it real? if you would like to explore this further with your friend.