Mt 13:36-43 Coexist
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Jesus said to his disciples: “He who sows good seed is the Son of Man, the field is the world, the good seed the children of the Kingdom. The weeds are the children of the Evil One, and the enemy who sows them is the Devil.”
While driving back home, I noticed a bumper sticker that read “Coexist”. The letters were written in the form of various religious symbols. The “C” was in the form of a crescent moon (Islam); the “T” was in the form of a cross (Christianity); the “X” was in the form of the Star of David.
Although I have no doubts of the owner’s good intentions, I do wonder if the designer was open to any religion at all. I wonder because I could easily design a bumper sticker myself with the same word but written in an entirely different form. Why limit our hope to just religion, especially if our goal is to live in perfect harmony? Why limit ourselves to religion when we can use so many political and national symbols or colors as well.
For example, I would love to see “Coexist” written in various colors. “C” in blue (Capitalists), “E” in green (Environmentalists), “S” in red (Socialists), “X” in black (national socialists). Or better yet, why not write the letters using the colors of national flags: “C” (USA), “O” (North Korea), “E”(Israel), “X” (Iran), “I” (Iraq), “S” (Saudi Arabia)?
Why not? Unless, we have a hidden bias against religion; that religious piety is the source of all our problems and not human thinking? Or, to be more specific, that religion, and not human beings, is the source of all our problems.
People love to group religions together, as if they were all the same. Would we do that to animals? Would we place a cat in the cage with a lion? Are they not the same? Would we do that to a dog and a coyote? I don’t think so.
Would a math teacher be upset with me if I claimed that all numbers are the same? Can’t we group them all together? Is one more significant than the other? Can’t they coexist?
There is a place in our world for coexistence. For example, I dream to see a Republican endorse a Democrat, not because he/she is a Democrat, but because he/she is really the better candidate. I would love to see a Democrat nominate a Republican as their running mate, not because they have lost their mind, but because two minds are better than one. This is real coexistence.
But when it comes to the truth, there can be no space for falsehoods; when it comes to love, there can be no place for hate; when it comes to unity, there can be no time for sin.
My concern with false ideology is how it disguises itself as authentic piety. Why should religions coexist? Did the Lord ask for coexistence? Of course not! He asked for his disciples to go throughout the world and baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. He did not ask us to declare war on religion, like atheists have done. Neither did he ask us to declare war on religious liberty, like secularists have done. He asked us to declare war on sin, like Christ has done by dying to oneself and “loving one another as I have loved you.”
Let us compete. Let us race. Christianity, like all religions, was not created to coexist. Christianity was created to stand alone, like the number “1” or a gold medalist. Let us compete. Let us race. Most religious people would find nothing wrong with this statement. Islam was not created to coexist; it was not created to be one truth among many truths. What distinguishes one religion from another is the truth; the truth found in its founder. Christianity is not like any other religion because Christ was like no other. He did not die in battle. He died on a Cross. He did not hate his enemies; he loved His enemies. He is not God or man; He is God and man. He sowed good seed where there was only bad seed.
Christianity is not a religion of conquerors, unless you consider love conquering.