Coexistence

Can light coexist with dark?

Can nonviolent men coexist with violent men?

Can truth coexist with falsehood?

Can good coexist with evil?

In every case, the answer is no.  One side must cave in as these polar opposites can not coexist, just as oil and water can never be blended together.  For a long time, the falsehood of this bumper sticker has been like a thorn in my side.  I have known how malicious this is to the Truth, yet I have not said a thing.  How dare I not stand up for the Truth when it is under such a profound attack?  I am ashamed that I did not do so at first, but I am done sitting back and watching the world come apart at the seams.

Is it truly possible for the following religions to coexist as the bumper sticker proclaims?  Islam’s Star and Crescent, Judaism’s Star of David, Wicca’s Pentacle, Taoism Yin and Yang, and Christianity’s Cross are all present.  Is it truly possible for any of those religions to come together under a banner of peace?  The only two that have done so are Judaism and Christianity due to their shared history and value system.

Can Islam which has the shahada, which is one of the five pillars of Islam, ever reconcile with any of the others?  The shahada states “There is no god but god, Muhammad is the messenger of god.”

Can Judaism with it’s core tenets ever accept Islam or any other religion except that which is prophesied with the coming of the Messiah?

Can Christianity coexist with any other religion when Christ Himself states “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)?

Moreover, even the peaceful religion of Taoism cannot coexist with Islam, Christianity or Judaism, all of which are monotheistic.  Taoism is multitheistic, which means that it believes in a number of gods both major and minor.

So the bumper sticker’s advocated mindset is one of willful disregard for all of these religions. It advocates that they all drop central tenets of their religions in order to “coexist.”

The writer of this blog did a decent breakdown of the tensions inherent in this idea of “coexistence.”

Let’s break it down. We’ll call each worldview by the letter it’s supposed to represent. So:

  • C = Islam
  • O = Pacifism
  • E = “Gender equality” (=the LGBT agenda)
  • X = Judaism
  • I = Wicca / Pagan / Bah’ai
  • S =Taoism / Confucianism
  • T = Christianity

And let’s assume a very broad definition of “coexist”: living together without calling for the destruction of each other. Here are the problems with that:

  • C wants to kill E, X, T, and (by implication) O. If they achieved the world they wanted, I and S would also no longer exist.
  • O doesn’t allow for effective resistance or defeat of C.
  • E stands in direct opposition to C, X, and T, and accuses those who speak against them of hate speech. Also, they’re trying to edge X and T out of public schools in favor of their own agenda. (They’re afraid C will be offended, so they get less trouble.) E is actually very, very intolerant.
  • X’s existence is threatened not only by C but also by O, who invariably supports C over X.
  • I and S are statistically insignificant and are mainly on there to complete the bumper sticker.
  • T is who the bumper sticker is really arguing against, but poses no physical threat to any of the others.

Historically, T has brought about more tolerance- “coexistence” if you will- than any other movement. But the kind of “coexistence” the people who make this sticker envision is one where at least X and T are completely marginalized.

These tensions will not just go away with some wishful thinking.  These belief systems are fundamentally at odds with each other and to pretend otherwise is a falsehood and despicable in terms of actually finding true peace.

As Christians, what are we to do?  How can we coexist in a world that is completely at odds with us?  Do we lay down and tell the world that we’ll go along to get along or do we refuse to compromise?

Do not conform to the pattern of this world

Romans 12:2

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.

Romans 12:9

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

Romans 12:18

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Romans 12:21

The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said it so perfectly when he wrote a letter, much like the Apostle Paul, from a jail cell in Birmingham, Alabama.

There was a time when the church was very powerful–in the time when the early Christians rejoiced at being deemed worthy to suffer for what they believed. In those days the church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was a thermostat that transformed the mores of society. Whenever the early Christians entered a town, the people in power became disturbed and immediately sought to convict the Christians for being “disturbers of the peace” and “outside agitators.”‘ But the Christians pressed on, in the conviction that they were “a colony of heaven,” called to obey God rather than man. Small in number, they were big in commitment. They were too God-intoxicated to be “astronomically intimidated.” By their effort and example they brought an end to such ancient evils as infanticide and gladiatorial contests. Things are different now. So often the contemporary church is a weak, ineffectual voice with an uncertain sound. So often it is an archdefender of the status quo. Far from being disturbed by the presence of the church, the power structure of the average community is consoled by the church’s silent–and often even vocal–sanction of things as they are.

But the judgment of God is upon the church as never before. If today’s church does not recapture the sacrificial spirit of the early church, it will lose its authenticity, forfeit the loyalty of millions, and be dismissed as an irrelevant social club with no meaning for the twentieth century. Every day I meet young people whose disappointment with the church has turned into outright disgust.

Do you want to coexist with the world or do you want to exist as God Himself intended, unblemished and purified by the blood of Christ?

You cannot do both.

 

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3 Comments

  1. Max

     /  September 25, 2012

    You paint with an awfully broad brush, “C wants to kill E, X, T, and (by implication) O”. You are of course aware that the Islamic extremists that want to kill those other groups are about the same size as the Christian extremists who bomb abortion clinics or have other extreme views. Most Muslims are as peaceful as most Christians and would very much like to simply “coexist”. As for how the T is the most tolerant you didn’t explain. One of the core tenants of T, as I understand it, is to convert everyone else to become a member of team T. How does, “turn them into one of us” = “tolerance”?

    I also find it odd that you believe the E is the most intolerant. How exactly are people who believe in equality trying to “edge out” the other religions? How is saying, “I want to be who I am, openly, in school without threat of being beaten to a bloody pulp”, edging out Ts and Xs? And as for the whole hate speech thing, I can’t count the number of times I have heard conservative Christians accuse other groups of “hate speech” or “persecution” simply for disagreeing. I’m afraid that works both ways.

    Reply
  2. To those Christian extremists, I would have to tell them that they are failing at following Christ’s specific teachings regarding unbelievers and sinners. The fundamental core beliefs of Christianity are not conducive to intolerance as the God of the Bible is open and welcoming to all:

    I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people — for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. (1st Timothy 2:1-4)

    The best way to think of it is that Christianity is tolerant, but some people who call themselves Christians fall short of the concept of love, peace, and gentleness that is proscribed by Christ Himself and fall into hate and intolerance. I welcome you to read some of my posts about anger – they should fill in some of the blanks.

    Reply
  3. Max

     /  September 25, 2012

    So you discount the “bad” Christians as “not really Christians” but simultaneously discount the “good” Muslims and only count the “bad” ones. I see, that is rather convenient. When you claim all Muslims want to kill other religions, you can’t exactly be surprised or upset when non-Christians assume all Christians are like the members of the Westboro Baptist Church. I recognize that most Christians are not hate filled monsters, but some are, just like most Muslims are not, yet some are. Most Muslims think there religion is as peaceful and tolerant as you feel your religion is.

    Reply

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