Silverbirch Evangelical Church

Glorify the Lord with us


Is Christ REALLY the only way?

“There is a dizzying array of options when it comes to religion, and our culture tells us that they are all equally valid.  In my experience the main motivation for dismissing the idea that Christ is the only way to God is that it sounds terribly arrogant. Often at this point the parable of the elephant is used to illustrate the point. It goes something like this… 

Blind scribes touching different parts of the elephant. One is holding onto the tail and saying ‘this is a rope’. Another is holding the front leg and saying ‘No, you’re wrong, it’s not a rope – it’s a tree trunk’. Another scribe is holding the trunk and says, ‘You are both wrong. This is neither a rope nor a tree trunk, it is a snake!’

The moral of the story is that all of the world religions are like those men. They each touch a different part of ultimate reality and therefore Christians are arrogant to say that they have the truth. Take a step back and think about what is being said here. Think about the two main differences between the person telling us the story and the people inside the story. The first difference is that the people touching the elephant are blind and the narrator can see. The second difference is one of perspective – the people inside the story are close up to the elephant but the narrator is standing back and has the full picture.
Do you see the breathtaking claim that is being made here? Jesus, Buddha, Krishna, Moses and Muhammad are all blind, but I can see! They all had a small perspective, but I can see the full picture – I can see that all of those ways actually lead to God. The question now is who is arrogant?”*

The other interpretation of the illustration is, of course, that world religions are groping around in the dark and are a million miles away from discovering the elephant and explaining ultimate reality.  Religion tends to be discarded as a result.  The intriguing challenge of Christianity and one that begs to be explored is that Jesus Christ made radical claims about his authority as the only way that – if they are true – make the Christian faith totally unique.


* Copyright Amy Orr-Ewing for RZIM Europe 2011 originally published in March 2011 issue of Christianity Magazine, used with permission