What do coexist bumper stickers mean? Nothing, really — they are mostly a signal that the owner of the car has an encyclopedic ignorance of religion.
I am not proud of how many opinions I have about bumper stickers. It’s embarrassing, really.
But may I share one more?
“Coexist” bumper stickers are unbelievably stupid.
And it’s obvious why.
Each religion makes truth claims about the nature of the universe. Those claims are the foundation of the religion. And the difference between those claims is what defines the boundaries of each religion.
In particular, religions make truth claims about the important stuff:
- What the nature of reality is
- How humans should behave
So when billions of people split into groups that have different belief systems for how we should live and what the nature of reality is… doesn’t conflict seem inevitable?
It sounds nice to say “coexist,” but isn’t that a pretty unlikely outcome in a system like that?
Why not just put a picture of a lighter next to a can of gasoline with the subtitle “Don’t Ignite”?
Thankfully, many religious folks are good people and respect their neighbors with different beliefs. They don’t take the divisive language and war-mongering in their scriptures too seriously.
But that doesn’t mean it’s not there. It means that they can exercise their best judgment and choose to ignore the dangerous parts of their chosen holy texts. I.e. they can become less religious for everybody’s safety.
I want mankind to live in peace and find a way to cooperate at scale, but if we do so it will be in spite of our obviously-in-conflict religious beliefs.
Instead of making an empty and mindless request for us to all “coexist,” maybe we should continue to put unrelenting critical pressure on our most troubling and divisive beliefs, wherever they may come from.
If you believe “God is energy” or “we all believe in a god, but maybe just have different names” or “I think we’re all after the same thing,” it may be too late to save you.
Consider for a moment that your use of language may be so fuzzy as for nothing to mean anything.