Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Coexistence?

Coexistence: Existing peacefully together. The state of two or more things existing together, usually in a temporal or spacial sense, with or without mutual interaction.

It doesn’t sound too bad does it. As humans, we all have a deep longing for peace, and a day when all people and religions could come together is something that people have dreamed of for centuries.

Though we’re not sure exactly when someone took a few religious symbols and put them together, creating the popular coexist logo, one main organization has been credited with it’s creation: The Museum on the Seam, a Jewish organization promoting peace through art exhibition.

The original Coexist logo only included three main religions, but it has since been expanded. Islam, Peace/Pacifism, LGBT, Judaism, Wicca/Paganism/Bahá’í, Taoism/Confucianism and Christianity are now represented because they are considered the main ideals that must come together in peace. Leading figures from the religions of Islam, Judaism and Christianity have spoken out about the faiths uniting through the coexist movement:


“I am convinced this is one of the most helpful methods of improving integration.” – Sheikh Ibrahim Mogra, Chairman of the Interfaith Relations Committee, the Muslim Council of Britain

“God has given us many faiths but only one world in which to coexist. May your work help all of us to cherish our commonalities and feel enlarged by our differences.” – Sir Jonathan Sacks, the Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations

“[This] work is a vital test of our determination to find new ways of managing conflict in the new world order.” – The Bishop of London



What does Coexistence Really Mean?
In his book, Mediators Between Human and Divine: From Moses to Muhammad (1996), John Macquarrie wrote:

 “I believe that, however difficult it may be, we should hold to our own traditions and yet respect and even learn from the traditions of others. [...] There should be an end to proselytizing but equally there should be no syncretism of the kind typified by the Baha’i movement.”

 Unfortunately, his views are too often echoed by modern Christians.

“We all need to accept each other, be tolerant and stop the hate. Any real Christian would know that Jesus was about acceptance…. So why would you go and bash other religions?”

Coexistance encourages religious pluralism – the idea that all religions eventually lead to God. Any true Christian must realize what Jesus said,

I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me..” – John 14:6

Because Christianity is the only way to God, our ultimate goal should be to share the gospel.

In fact, the Christian focus is to share the gospel in a God honoring way as stated throughout the Bible.

The danger of coexisting with other religions is that we will not only accept them as equals with Christianity, but we’ll gain a unity with them in which we cannot effectively share the gospel.

 False religion sends people to a very real hell.

The Bible speaks very clearly about coexisting,

Go thereforeand make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” – Matthew 28:19-20

As a flawed human race, we cannot hope for a peace until Christ returns and each nation is brought together in the throne room of God.

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