“Well, isn’t it fortunate for you that you just happened to be a member of this ‘unique instrument’ of salvation — the Christian church! I suppose you realize that if you had been raised among Muslims, you would make similar claims for Islam?”

Yes…I conceded that if I had been born in Cairo or Mecca that very likely I should be a devout Muslim. But what is supposed to follow from this observation?....A multitude of political options also faces the citizens of any modern nation. Tell Marxists or liberals or Burkean conservatives that if they had been raised in Nazi Germany they would have been fascists. They will answer that they are aware of that fact and what is your point? The undoubted fact that one’s adherence to a system of political thought is conditioned by one’s upbringing is no reason for doubting that some or one of these systems is clearly and markedly superior to its available rivals. And yet any argument to show that the Church’s belief in her own uniqueness was arrogant would apply a fortiori to this almost universally held belief about politics.

[And we should add this]…the members of the Church can take no pride in their unique relation to God, for that relation is His doing and not theirs. But the superiority of one’s political party to the others must be due to the superiority of the knowledge, intelligence, wisdom, courage, and goodness of one and one’s colleagues in the party… – Peter van Inwagen, Non Est Hick

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