Coexist? Seriously?

Whenever I see a “COEXIST” sticker (like the one above) on the back bumper of a car, I can’t help but laugh. I realize that many people slap it on their vehicles under the naive assumption that they’re saying something profound in an incredibly clever way. Then again…

When you stop and think about it; when you consider the implications of that word in that context… is it really such a clever slogan after all? Is it even intelligent? I would say not. Granted, it looks cool and it sounds cooler; but if you throw away the rose-colored “let’s all just get along and have world-peace” glasses, it’s quite plain that the “COEXIST” sticker is nothing more than godless asininity dressed up in a fancy ball gown.

But wait, you say: wouldn’t it be good thing if everyone could just put aside their differences? Wouldn’t it be great if we could just be nice to one another? Wouldn’t it be fantastic if we could all just hug, hold hands, and be friends?

Sure, I reply. That’d be dandy! Smashing! Positively phenomenal!

Unfortunately, in a world desiccated and corrupted by sin, it’s impossible. Nice thought, yeah – but totally out of touch with reality. No can do, crackerjack. Sinners can’t just “be nice” and “coexist” together as one big happy family. Sinners lie. Sinners hate. Sinners kill. Sinners SIN. There can be no “peace” in sin.

But there’s another reason the sticker is false…

Behind it lies religious pluralism: the fundamentally-flawed belief that all religions are true and valid. That very idea alone worthy of head-scratching in a “what the heck?” sort of way.

Let’s see. What have we here?

  • C – the crescent moon and star of the religion of Islam
  • O – the peace symbol, or Pagan pentacle
  • E – the symbol for male and female, a Scientific equation
  • X – the star of David, standing in for Judaism
  • I – the wand and pentagram of Wiccan
  • S – the symbol for Chinese Yin-Yang
  • T – the cross of Christ, representing Christianity

Each of these religions claim something different as truth. That’s all good and well, but they cannot all be correct. If I say the sky is blue and you say it’s purple with pink polka dots, we’ve just made two contradicting statements. Either one of us is right and the other is wrong, or both of us are both wrong. Point is: we cannot both be right.

Just consider the Christian religion. It’s very foundation rests on the claim that Jesus Christ, the God-Man, is Lord and Savior; the one and only Lord and Savior. Christ says it Himself in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”

That’s a pretty strong statement. He doesn’t say, “I am one of many ways, one of many truths, one of many sources of life.” His claim is exclusive: you come to God by Me and by Me alone. In modern speak, that adds up to, “My way. No highway option.”

Obviously, Jesus is no pluralist. Either He’s right and all other religions are wrong; or else He’s wrong and some other view is right. In no case, however, can all religions be true and valid.

That’s about as black and white as you get.

Clearly, I believe Jesus is right. Of all the so-called “truths” – He’s the only one. And because I believe and rest my soul on that, I should live like I really do believe and rest my soul on that.

That means I’ll take my faith and it’s implications seriously. That means I’ll not be content to keep my religion to myself, to simply “be nice” and “avoid stepping on toes” while the world goes to hell in a hand-basket. That means I’ll act upon the biblical injunction to shine the light of the Gospel of Christ wherever I go. That means I’ll recognize the notion of “coexistence” for the fallacy that it is.

In the words of Charles Spurgeon,

If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our dead bodies. And if they perish, let them perish with our arms wrapped about their knees, imploring them to stay. If Hell must be filled, let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go unwarned and unprayed for.

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22 thoughts on “Coexist? Seriously?”

  1. Great exposition! I agree with you on the idiocy of these stickers.

    I do think it’s important to note, however, that Christians are called to “live peacefully” with the unsaved. I see nowhere in the New Testament where Christians are called to be like Muslims and take a position of “If you don’t convert we’ll kill you.” We shouldn’t condone their religion, no, and we shouldn’t just step back and say “If that’s the what you want to believe, that’s fine” – but while we’re attempting to witness to them, we should coexist in a physical sense.

    I don’t think you were trying to say that, but I do think that’s a fundamental reason that true Christian witnessing differs from Islamic and even Catholic (at least, historical Catholicism), by way of example.

    1. Agreed, Aubrey. I’m certainly not proposing that Christians need to take up arms and convert the unconverted at the point of the sword. As Paul would say, God forbid. :)

      What I take issue with – and what the heart of my post was about – is 1) the idea that there can be “world peace” apart from Christ, and 2) the pluralistic attitude behind the “COEXIST” mantra. The Christian cannot be content with mere ideological coexistence – we are to be actively engaged in spreading the good news of Christ to those who are dead in sin.

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving such a thoughtful comment!

      1. I concur entirely. I didn’t think you were trying to suggest that Christians be hostile, but whenever I see that sticker I think of the irony of the different tones to coexisting. It’s a fine balance, even when dealing with Christians that have theological differences.

  2. Amen, brother.

    I even heard someone say something once that really tickled/fascinated me. Even though it’s pretty dangerous thinking. That is, the Star of David doesn’t even really look like an ‘X’, for one thing…… and if there was a Swastika in the middle of that coexist sticker– well, would people still use it??
    I mean, it fascinated me because when people say coexist, they really only mean “coexisting” with the stuff that won’t bug them.

    And yeah, when it comes to a) sparing a few toes from being stepped on or b) saving people’s lives, I’ll go for b. :)

    ps- I don’t know if this made sense– I’m a little delirious at the moment so I apologize for anny incoherency.

    and I just noticed the smiley face at the bottom of your blog :)

    1. Bingo, Abby. *internet high-five* :)

      Everyone has a point when they will not be okay with another’s belief system; generally, that point is when those beliefs “make demands upon me.” If you’re going to believe in the “co-exist” slogan, and actually be consistent with it, you have to scrap all that and support another’s right to believe whatever they want to and live however they want – regardless of the benefit or harm that comes to you in consequence. The Nazi principles (or lack thereof) are a perfect example. I’m sure the Jews weren’t concerned about trying to “coexist” with a belief system that called for ethnic cleansing.

      Which brings us back to the root of the problem: relativism. There is a right way to live, and there is a wrong way to live – no matter what the world would like us to believe. The right way to live is laid out in God’s Word. Refusal to accept that results in wrong living.

      (I would have addressed that in my post, but I think I’m gonna save it for another time, since it’s a rather large subject.)

      Thanks for the comment! :D

    1. *grins* Thank you, Christina. If I can articulate something well, it’s thanks to God’s grace and the multitude of good books on my parents’ shelves. Like Gregory Koukl’s Tactics. :D

  3. Love the post. It reminds me of a line from Ravi Zacharias’ book Jesus Among Other Gods — he said, “We live in a society in which it is OK to believe in anything you want to as long as you don’t actually believe it’s true.” (That was from memory and my apologies to Zacharias if I got it wrong.)

  4. Quoting a Living Waters video:
    “You can’t know anything for sure”
    Are you sure of that? Are you sure that you can’t know anything for sure?”

    “Well, you shouldn’t judge”
    Is that your judgement? If you shouldn’t judge, then why are you judging my judgement?

    “Well, nobody’s right”
    Are you right? Are you right that nobody’s right? And if you are right that nobody’s right, well, then you’re wrong about nobody being right!

    “What is true for you is not true for me”
    Well, that’s true. And what is true for me is that you’re wrong. So who’s right?

    Good answers to have on hand. ;)

  5. How am i not surprised that a christian wrote this nonsense. The notion of coexisting faiths is that yes they may each believe what they do, after all it’s called FAITH- not FACT for a reason. The idea is that faiths can exist alongside each other with their own belief sets not that they all have to link arms and skip over rainbows suddenly agreeing on merging as one faith or all believing the same thing and in the same god(s).

    1. I’m a Christian, yes. And that automatically makes my post nonsense… how? I’m inclined to doubt that you actually read anything I wrote. Otherwise, you would realize that I dealt with your position already. It’s untenable.

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