TimeHop and Facebook’s “On This Day” have been really awesome in un-covering some of my old random thoughts and musings. This one was from 3 years ago, and I think it makes a good point. I haven’t seen many of the coexist bumper stickers lately, but I always thought they were good spring-boards for conversation.
Here is what I wrote on the topic, 3 years ago.
I can see the value of ideas promoted by the “COEXIST” bumper sticker. We should all try to live in harmony with other religions by… you know, not killing each other and stuff.
Tolerance is a good thing.
However, the “COEXIST” bumper sticker isn’t only suggesting that we should all live in harmony, is it?
It also seems to be suggesting that every religious perspective is equally valid… and that is a problem.
Now, I understand the desire to affirm this “all roads lead to Rome” idea, I really do.
But let’s take this pluralistic approach seriously for a moment. Is promoting religious pluralism really doing what the pluralists want it to?
Namely, affirm that all religions are equally valid?
I don’t think so.
In fact, it seems to do quite the opposite.
In an attempt to group all religions into a single category, we’re ignoring the vital differences between the religions. We are essentially ignoring MOST of the teachings of the various religions (primarily the exclusivistic teachings… we don’t like those) and assuming that part of the religion IS FALSE. For example, those who say that Christianity is just as true and valid as Islam or Hinduism, are ignoring the contradictory teachings of each of those religions.
Christianity claims that Jesus is the 2nd person of the trinity. Islam and Hinduism deny this.
Islam claims that there is the true God is Allah, and that Muhammed is His prophet. Christianity and Hinduism deny this.
Hinduism claims that there are multiple Gods. Christianity and Islam deny this.
You cannot believe that Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism are all true without running into immediate contradictions.
It seems that, in a twist of irony, those saying “all religions are valid” are forced into affirming “no religions are actually valid” in order to maintain true religious pluralism.
All religions could be false.
But all religions can not be true.