The Blind Men and the Elephant Analogy is a common argument used by religious pluralists to illustrate their belief that all religions are essentially equal.
The basic argument goes like this:
- There are several blind men who all encounter an elephant.
- One of the blind men feels the trunk of the elephant, and thinks the elephant is like a snake.
- The second blind man disagrees, because after feeling the side of the elephant, he believes the elephant to be more like an immovable wall.
- The third finds the first two ridiculous, because after feeling the leg of the elephant, he thinks the elephant to be a tree.
- And the fourth man disagrees as well, feeling the tail was more like a skinny broom than a snake, wall, or tree.
Therefore, none of the blind men are wrong per se, because they have different views and experiences of the same thing. The argument goes that religious people are just like the blind men feeling the elephant, just encountering the same truth in different ways.
On the surface, this can be a convincing argument and hard to defend—but it shouldn’t be, because it is built upon flawed logic.
What should the Christian response be to the Parable of the Blind Men and the Elephant?
In the video below, Matt Chandler offers a powerful rebuttal to this common parable.
“The only way the parable of the Blind Men and the Elephant makes any sense is if the narrator of the story sees the whole elephant.”
“The moment you claim ultimate reality is unknowable, you have just claimed the knowledge of what you said can’t be known! This is intellectually inconsistent.” Matt Chandler
A version of this post originally published on December 28, 2012.