Are All Beliefs Equally Valid?
In recent decades, it has become fashionable to claim that there is no such thing as absolute truth, and that all belief systems and truth claims are equally valid.
It seems to me, though, that the essence of believing in something (having “faith”) is believing that what you believe is really true. Doesn’t matter what it is, the Bible, the Koran, science, atheism, little orange men living on Pluto – whatever. If you believe that little orange men live on Pluto – if you really have faith in that – isn’t there an automatically inherent implication that anyone who denies that there are little orange men living on Pluto is wrong? In fact, if you believe that all faiths come from God, doesn’t that imply that someone who believes that some faiths come from God and others do not – or that some come from the Devil – is wrong? Even more to the point, if you believe that all beliefs are equally valid, does that not imply that one who believes that all beliefs are not equally valid is wrong?
Whether a faith is provable or not isn’t the issue; by definition a religious faith is not provable. If it were, no faith would be needed. Faith is personal assurance of what we cannot prove.
That’s why I have such a problem with the postmodern maxim, “It’s OK to believe that you’re right, but it’s wrong to believe that others are wrong.” The statement is self-falsifying. If you really believe that you are right about anything, then you must believe that those who disagree with you are wrong. Otherwise you don’t really believe, or else you lack the courage of your convictions.
And. frankly, that’s how the universe is. Some things are true, and others are not. No matter how sincerely you believe that following I-95 will get you from New York to Chicago, you aren’t going to get there by following that route. All the faith in the world won’t make it true, if it’s not. Nor is it a question of selecting the route that’s “right for you”. If you want to get to Chicago from NYC, I-95 won’t do it, no matter how good it makes you feel to follow it. It does no good to assert that all paths are equally valid. They aren’t. You might really enjoy your drive down I-95 (though I can’t see how), but the trip will never, ever bring you to Chicago.
Similarly, one who really believes that Jesus Christ is the only way to God (John 14:6) must of necessity deny the validity of any other path. To acknowledge that there may be other paths to God would negate the words of Jesus, and thus, the basis of Christianity. Now, you can argue that Christianity is wrong about that if you want to. But to argue that both sides of the debate are “equally valid” just makes no sense.