To COEXIST Is A Biblical Command

Along with my regular blog here at seanmcdowell.org, I am now featuring occasional guest posts from some students in the Biola M.A. in Christian Apologetics that I personally had the privilege of teaching. This post is from my friend Tim Stratton, who has an excellent and growing ministry of his own. I simply asked him to write anything on his heart and mind. Check out his ministry and enjoy this post! Sean McDowell.

Coexist Biblical Comand

To Coexist Is A Biblical Command

By Tim Stratton

Almost every time I go for a drive these days I can count on seeing at least one bumper sticker with only one word on it — “COEXIST.” According to Wikipedia, the bumper sticker typically spells “COEXIST” using an Islamic crescent moon for the “C,” a peace sign for the “O,” a combination of the male and female symbols for the “E,” a Star of David for the “X,” a pentagram for the dot of the “I,” a yin-yang symbol for the “S,” and a Christian cross for the “T.”

The meaning is quite clear: “We all should get along!” No matter what worldview one holds, we ought to get along, live peacefully among each other, and help neighbors of a different religion, belief system, or worldview flourish.

Who could argue with that message, right? Well, you might be surprised!

The message of COEXIST implies that no matter what worldview one holds, there is a “Law above the law” that supersedes an individual’s subjective beliefs — an objective truth that it is really wrong not to get along! This statement can only make sense if humanity was created on purpose and for the purpose of “getting along.” This would be something true of humanity irrespective of the opinions from humanity.

Atheism and Coexist

Some views deny that it is objectively true that humans ought to “get along” and love each other. Atheism, for example, contends that since God does not exist, humans were not created on purpose or for a purpose — we are nothing but a happy accident — nothing more than dust in the wind. If atheism is true, there is nothing really wrong with not co-existing and getting along.

Islam and Coexist

Another worldview to consider is Islam. Although Muslims believe that Allah created humans for a purpose, not all Muslims believe this purpose is to “get along.” In fact, according to the final commands of Muhammad, Muslims ought to kill all infidels and non-Muslims (Quran 2:191; 9:5; 9:73; 9:123, etc.)! Accordingly, many who affirm the “crescent moon” on the COEXIST bumper sticker also believe they ought to kill everyone else who affirms one of the other symbols of the same bumper sticker. (Nabeel Qureshi is a former devout Muslim. Click here to watch him explain why Islam is not a peaceful religion.)

Christianity and Coexist

The message of Jesus Christ is radically different from the final teachings of Muhammad! In fact, the idea of COEXIST is a biblical command! Jesus summarized the entire purpose of human existence in two simple and easy to remember commands in Matthew 5:44; 22:37-39:

  • Love God first!
  • Everybody love everybody (from your neighbors to your enemies)!

Jesus even hammered his second command home by offering the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) as an example of how humans ought to go out of our way to make sure an individual of a different “people group” thrives and flourishes (even though these different people groups were previously hostile to each other).

The apostle Paul echoes the commands of Jesus in Romans 12:18: If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

And the author of Hebrews commands us to COEXIST with everyone in Hebrews 12:14:Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.

The idea behind the COEXIST bumper sticker is awesome — it is a biblical concept! However, each symbol represented entails beliefs which logically contradict the beliefs of other world views. Therefore, they cannot all be true! Moreover, not all views affirm that all people ought to get along.

Bottom Line: If you think all humans ought to COEXIST, then you should be a Christian!

 


 

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12 replies
  1. Matthew Etzell says:

    While it is true that peaceful coexistence is a Biblical command, a desire for coexistence is not the reason one should embrace Christianity. One should embrace Christianity because it is true.

    Reply
  2. Kyle says:

    “If atheism is true, there is nothing really wrong with not co-existing and getting along.”

    Have you ever even spoken to an atheist? This is demonstrably false. Try harder next time.

    Reply
    • Jay says:

      Let’s try harder then, shall we?

      If you’re an atheist, then you don’t believe in any god or creator. This entire thing called life is an accident. As such, the moment you close your eyes for the last time and breathe your last breath, all thought and memory ceases. And, eventually the same will happen with all your friends, family, and anyone you ever cared about. Given enough time, all life ends. It goes ‘poof.’ Darkness.
      So, based on atheism’s core foundation, there’s absolutely no reason to follow any moral codes because your time is limited and you should do whatever you want as long as you’re willing to face those consequences.
      With no moral guide, no moral reason for doing anything, there’s absolutely NO reason why an atheist should even bother trying to get along with people they don’t like or who share beliefs they feel are ridiculous.
      There. Was that enough? Do you get it yet?
      Or perhaps you need to think of bit harder on that one for a while.

      Reply
      • bob says:

        “So, based on atheism’s core foundation, there’s absolutely no reason to follow any moral codes…”
        Liar! Atheism has no “core foundation”. Simply put – as an atheist, I do not believe in any god(s). Atheism is not my “world view”, naturalistic humanism is. And because of that, I have good reason to have and follow a moral code.
        .
        “…because your time is limited and you should do whatever you want as long as you’re willing to face those consequences.”
        For what it’s worth, I am doing “what ever I want”…and that consists of obeying the law, being nice and generous to my fellow humans and the animals I am surrounded by.
        .
        There…was that enough? Do you get it?

        r.u.reasonable@gmail.com

        Reply
      • David says:

        So what you’re saying Jay is that if you found out tomorrow that there was no god you would go on a self serving rampage of carnage. You would kill your parents for their money and property. You would kill your wife and start spending your time with the hottest prostitutes you could afford. You would withhold all your money from your children and spend it on yourself. You would rob banks, rape women, murder gays (of whom I assume, being a conservative Christian, you are scared to death), I could go on and on. So really, the only reason you don’t do what you suggest above is because you are scared of some cosmic Hitler that would eternally punish you for it. If that’s what constrains you Jay, you are already reprobate. And the gentle, loving atheist, who holds none of these stupid, ancient beliefs about hell is an intrinsically better person than you are because even without the fear of the cosmic bully he is loving and kind. Maybe you should think a little more Jay.

        Reply
      • Kyle says:

        As has been mentioned, atheism has no core foundation. It is simply not believing in any gods. Theism has no core foundation other than believing in a god or gods. Christianity is what you claim to derive your morals from. Humans are social creatures. This is why it can be better for the whole to for individuals to make sacrifices. This translates to being a good person in society. It is specifically because of our limited time that I try to be the best and make the most of what little time we have. I’m not answering to some unseen or unknown higher power. I’m answering to the people I deal with daily. The Christian must live in constant fear of some higher power they routinely claim to not understand while understanding everything (tragedy happens and suddenly we don’t know your god’s plan or purpose just that it’s good, gays though? bad news that is well known). What’s more is this notion of forgiveness. What stops a Christian from leading a disgustingly immoral life and just ask forgiveness before you die? Isn’t that supposed to be like shaking an etch-a-sketch? What sins can you commit on earth that merely asking your god for forgiveness will not allow you into your promised land?

        Reply
  3. Andy Ryan says:

    “This statement can only make sense if humanity was created on purpose and for the purpose of “getting along.””
    .
    Why would that make it ‘objectively true’ that we should get along? All it would mean is that a being created on purpose, for the purpose of ‘getting along – how are you deriving an ‘ought’ from that ‘is’? What principle are you relying on to make this assertion?
    .
    If someone has a child for the specific purpose of murdering other people, does that mean the child is obligated to kill other people? Does that make it ‘objectively true’ that the child should murder?
    .
    “The idea behind the COEXIST bumper sticker is awesome”
    You should just stop there. Many people agree with you. You’ve got that common ground, build on that.

    Reply
  4. Barb Owens says:

    Every time I see this I think how clever satan is. On the surface it sounds wonderful for all of us to love one another and get along but I think this is the tactic satan uses to try and convince us that all religions are the same and they will all get us to God in the end.

    Reply
    • bob says:

      Then by all means Barb, you just go ahead and continue telling all the millions from other religions that they are wrong and going to hell…go ahead.
      .
      My guess…and this is just a guess…you never go out of your way to talk to people from other religions (or no religions) except here on the Internets. Am I correct?
      .
      r.u.reasonable@gmail.com

      Reply
  5. JCS says:

    The 2nd Commandment, Jesus says to us that we are to love our neighbor as we would love ourselves. Yet, take a look at the current state of our broken world, it is as James told us it would be. God, realizing that all His other creatures had another one, Adam had no one, ergo, Eve! We were meant to exist with one and other, no man should be an island. Regarding the co-existence of all religions, this should be done out of respect, and we may find that we may have some things in common. Do you recall in The Bible when the Disciples told Jesus about those men who weren’t following them but yet still casting out demons and healing in Jesus’ name? this was His Reply Mark 9:38-41New International Version (NIV)
    Whoever Is Not Against Us Is for Us
    38 “Teacher,” said John, “we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop because he was not one of us.”
    39 “Do not stop him,” Jesus said. “For no one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, 40 for whoever is not against us is for us. 41 Truly I tell you, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to the Messiah will certainly not lose their reward.
    I am Christian, this denotes my religious affiliation, but I don’t worship my religion and I don’t idolize My Bible, yet I believe in The One who The Bible reveals, the penned words of God-Inspired men, If you know you’re Bible well, you come to a very stark realization which is, The Bible is God’s Word by which to safely navigate all aspects of life while here on planet, Earth! For myself, when in a particular situation or circumstance, it is Jesus who set the example on how I should go about things. The simple beauty of Jesus’ words of “turning the other cheek”, I honestly have avoided many conflicts, yet, still achieved my goals. I ponder, and I think, if only if only, more understood the awesome wonder and wisdom contained within The Bible, the potential good that could come about! There’s no doubting the evidence of many seeking to logically analyze God, when God Himself told us His Ways are not our’s, His Thoughts are not our’s, and without this evidence, God doesn’t exist. I watched a very interesting Icelandic documentary “Inna Saei” which means Inner Sea. There’s scientific medical evidence to support the fact that we are in an era by which we only utilize the left side of our brain, that part which is the analytical and logically based. We take in information by pieces of data, metrics, which really doesn’t call for much use of the right side of our brain, that part which is more free-following and creative. As it was indicated, this world of our’s is just too noisy, and I think we can agree with this, which gave me cause to think the following if you prayed to God and He Answers in the still, small way, we may not be able to hear Him at all! Wishing all a great day and God Bless!

    Reply
  6. Ray Mitchell says:

    I agree we should coexist as far as living together and not killing others or beating them up simply because their religious beliefs are different.
    However, we should NOT coexist as far as tolerating false religions and false teachings as if there is nothing wrong with any religion at all. We should teach and preach how false, incorrect and satanic are the beliefs of any false religion or idea and promote the truth of Jesus Christ, God and the Scriptures as the real truth. I am sure the author agrees with this, just wanted to clarify since many people misunderstand things easily.

    Reply
    • Andy Ryan says:

      “we should NOT coexist as far as tolerating false religions”
      .
      Hi Ray. I believe Christianity is a false religion. Can you tell me how I should demonstrate intolerance of Christianity? Could you also tell me how I should NOT coexist with Christians?

      Reply

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