The Bumper Sticker Theology of Coexist: Is This Possible? Yes and No.

I see these bumper stickers proudly stuck on vehicles all across this great country of ours.  “Coexist”–a desire for tolerance of all religions in this country.  

This piece of art was designed by Piotr Mlodozeniec, whose basic coexistence design uses three symbols that stand for Islam, Judaism, and Christianity.  Thus, each of the letters represent a different religion or philosophy:

C – The symbol of Islam

O – The peace symbol or pagan/Wiccan pentacle.

E – The male/female symbol, recognizing the equality of each.

X – The Star of David and represents Judaism.

I – The symbol for Wiccan

S – The symbol for Chinese yin-yang.

T – The cross is used to represent Christianity.

Granted, the challenge of communicating everything you wish to communicate on a 12 inch bumper sticker is asking too much.  Interpretation is in the heart of the beholder.  

But if tolerance be the issue, we certainly understand that the need for clarity of this definition.  

Does tolerating someone mean being willing to agree to disagree, all the while making the case for the veracity of their philosophy?  

Or does tolerance mean that everyone is right–even if two philosophies or religions are diametrically opposed to one another in means and ends? 

As fellow citizens of our country, and as fellow imagebearers of God (Genesis 1:26-27), I happily coexist with my neighbors who hold to different beliefs that I do.  But how I long to recapture in our society the original meaning of tolerance: sharing your views, sharing how you believe the other is right/wrong, and still being friends or at least civil to one another.  

Each of the philosophies outlined in this bumper stickers may certainly coexist, at least in a democratic society.  But to say they must coexist because each are inherently correct?  Given the differences in starting point, means to salvation, and the end results–we must remain intellectually honest and say without hesitation that this argument is weak with little foundation.

So when you see this bumper sticker, what comes across your mind?

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