The Elephant in the Room: Competing Worldviews and Religions Can’t All Be True

by Jeff Myers

In questioning the truth or falsehood of various worldviews, we risk a great deal. Whether we accept Christianity, Islam, Secularism, Marxism, New Spirituality, or Postmodernism, we accept a worldview that describes the others as hopelessly distorted. They cannot all depict things as they really are; their competing claims cannot all be true.

Some people in history have tried to get around the differences between worldviews by telling a parable. Perhaps you’ve heard it: Six blind men come into contact with an elephant. One handles the tail and exclaims that an elephant is like a rope. Another grasps a leg and describes the elephant as a tree trunk. A third feels the tusk and says the animal is similar to a spear, and so on. Since each feels only a small portion of the whole elephant, all six men give correspondingly different descriptions of their experience.

So no one is really right or wrong, you see—we’re all correct in our own way, with our limited knowledge—or so it seems at first glance.

But how do we know the blind men are all touching the same elephant?

The parable assumes that (1) each man can discern only part of the truth about the nature of the elephant, and (2) we know something the blind men don’t—there is a real elephant everyone is touching. The first assumption says no one possesses complete knowledge; the second assumption says we know no one possesses complete knowledge because we know what the elephant (or reality) is really like.

But there’s a contradiction here…


The Elephant in the Room: Competing Worldviews and Religions Can’t All Be True – Summit Ministries