Are Christians Arrogant? Rethinking the Definition of Humility

In the modern day, humility has basically become synonymous with another word: uncertainty.

Thus, for Christians, humility and uncertainty are not synonymous.   One can be certain and humble at the same time.  How?  For this simple reason: Christians believe that they understand truth only because God has revealed it to them (1 Cor 1:26-30). In other words, Christians are humble because their understanding of truth is not based on their own intelligence, their own research, their own acumen.  Rather, it is 100% dependent on the grace of God.

 

One of the most common objections made to the absolute claims of Christianity is that Christians are arrogant.  Christians are arrogant to claim that they are right; arrogant to claim others are wrong; arrogant to claim that truth can be known.

Unfortunately, in the midst of such accusations, no one bothers to ask which definition of humility is being used.

Over the years, the definition of humility has undergone a gradual but nonetheless profound change.  Especially in the intellectual community.  In the modern day, humility has basically become synonymous with another word: uncertainty.

To be uncertain is to be humble.  To be certain is to be arrogant.   Thus, the cardinal sin in the intellectual world is to claim to know anything for sure.

Of course, this shift presents a real problem for Christianity.  Christians believe that God has revealed himself clearly in his Word.   Thus, when it comes to key historical questions (Who was Jesus? What did he say? What did he do?) or key theological questions (Who is God? What is Heaven? How does one get there?), Christians believe they have a basis on which they can claim certainty: God’s revelation.

Indeed, to claim we don’t know the truth about such matters would be to deny God, and to deny his Word. (This doesn’t mean, of course, that Christians are certain about everything; but there can be certainty about these basic Christian truths).

Thus, for Christians, humility and uncertainty are not synonymous.   One can be certain and humble at the same time.  How?  For this simple reason: Christians believe that they understand truth only because God has revealed it to them (1 Cor 1:26-30).

In other words, Christians are humble because their understanding of truth is not based on their own intelligence, their own research, their own acumen.  Rather, it is 100% dependent on the grace of God.

Christian knowledge is a dependent knowledge.  And that leads to humility (1 Cor 1:31).  This obviously doesn’t mean all Christians are personally humble.  But, it does mean they should be, and have adequate grounds to be.

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