Tuesday, November 9, 2010

"Coexist" - Right intent but wrong execution?

Treading Grain » Post Topic » COEXIST?

As this parody shows, waving a superior hand to say, "All you brats just get along" doesn't pay attention to some serious realities, and doesn't really seek to understand or address the core concerns of the vast majority of the world's population. It's condescension, not coexistence.

The intent that religions with very different views should coexist in peace is laudable. Sane models of government carry that ideal. The New Testament itself says,

"If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone."

But I don't think bumper sticker spirituality is all that helpful to the effort.

For example, why leave out Buddhism, Hinduism and Humanism just to make a cute word symbol? Isn't complete disregard an insult and a detriment to coexistence?

And then there's "Gay Rights" - how the heck did that become a world religion? And why co-opt a symbol for gender equality as a pennant for a faction?

"Pacifism" is not a belief system, but a practice within various belief systems. And does that symbol show up anywhere except hippie-themed retro parties anymore?

Coexistence, as some of the grand experiments of both religion and government (including secular governments) have shown, is not achieved by disdaining and seeking to stamp out the profound differences of cultures, faiths and traditions. That only creates the bitterness for future conflict.

"God bless everyone - no exceptions" is another slogan I see on bumpers. It shows ignorance, at least of Christianity (I don't claim to speak for all the other faiths). The vast majority of Christians (yes, there are nutty exceptions) don't get together and pray, "God, please bless us and damn everybody else." Heck, even Christians who do believe that everybody else is headed for hell cry out to God to save the lost and ask God to provide for their material needs here and now. And Christians who most assertively evangelize are making more human contact with others than are people who flash the world by bumper sticker.

Jesus says, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God." The challenging thought is that he didn't stick his message on a bumper sticker, but hung it on the cross. Our efforts to make peace will be the real investment of our lives in others, sometimes at painful cost.

Once we've gone to slogans and graphics, we've probably stopped our peacemaking efforts.

1 comment:

The Archer of the Forest said...

Condescension...I think you just enunciated what always irritates me about those bumper stickers but I never thought long enough about them to figure out why they irritated me.

I also agree that once you start down the dark path of sloganism, bad things always happen. I don't do bumper stickers of any kind for that very reason.