Truth is Arrogance

I recently spoke with a liberal Christian who made the claim “truth is arrogance.” More fully, if I recall correctly, his claim was “thinking you know the truth is arrogant.” Our conversation quickly moved on to other topics however, and I wasn’t able to think about or respond to this claim.

There are three possible things which he could have meant with his claim. (1) That to think one knows ALL truth is arrogant, (2) to think you know any truth is arrogant, or (3) claiming to know greater than a certain number of truths is arrogant.

I don’t think the first meaning was his intention. For no one claims to know all things. This, omniscience, is reserved for God.

I doubt that the second meaning was his intention. For the claim “thinking your know any truth is arrogant” is itself a claim to know a truth (that thinking you know truth is arrogant) and therefore itself is arrogant by its own standard. This is the form of the failure of many philosophies — a denial of truth amounts to a self-contradiction.

The third possibility, that a certain number of truth claims makes one arrogant, might possibly have been his intention. How one determines what quantity of truth claims makes one arrogant is hard to tell. Maybe it is “anyone who claims to know more truths than I do is arrogant” which is really just a form of jealousy, and of placing oneself as the ultimate standard.

Seeing that all of the possibly meanings of “truth is arrogance” fall flatly on their face, one must conclude that the statement is false.

The real behind-the-argument debate here is, and has long been, the inerrancy of the Scriptures. More particularly, the important doctrine is the perspicuity of Scriptures. This is the doctrine that the Scriptures are largely understandable to the average man. Extended, this doctrine means that all of the Scriptures are potentially understandable given sufficient study.

The Bible is perspicuous or it is useless. If it is not inherently understandable, then we are mired in subjective interpretation. Subjective interpretation is what the liberal Christian argues for, rather than arguing for the truth of God.

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About douglasdouma

I am a graduate of the University of Michigan (BSME), Wake Forest University (MBA), and Sangre de Cristo Seminary (Mdiv). I've learned far more from books than in school. I'm particularly in debt to Martin Luther, Ludwig von Mises, and Gordon H. Clark for any thoughts I have.
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3 Responses to Truth is Arrogance

  1. j.p. says:

    I read an article once which said about 25% of Christians believe “There is no absolute truth.”

    I’m a little lost at how any of this could possibly jive with being a Christian.

  2. Steve M says:

    “The Bible is perspicuous or it is useless.” This statement hits the nail on the head. Those who would deny it do so because they wish to use Scripture as something other than a written revelation from God. Liberals want latitude to arrive at whatever interpretation they like. Van Tilians also venerate the idea of a less than perspicuous Bible. Any attempt to reconcile God’s sovereignty with Man’s responsibility is labeled arrogance. The Perspicuity of Scripture is the “the real behind-the-argument debate” and I thank you for pointing it out.

  3. Pingback: Perspicuous or Useless? | belief alone

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