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The Problem with the Coexist Bumper Sticker

You may have seen them on cars or t-shirts, the coexist message has become fairly popular with liberal Christians and other liberal religious people. On the surface, it sounds like a pretty cool movement, but I do have a few issues with it.

Have you seen this Bumper Sticker:


Each letter represents a different religion or idea. The “C” is for Islam, “o” for peace, “e” for gender equality, “x” for the Jews, “i” for Bah’ai, “s” for the eastern religions, and of course “T” for Jesus and Christianity.

First, there are a lot of groups not represented here. While I am all for gender equality, I am also for gender relations equality. There is nothing representing the gay community. What about atheism or at the very least Humanism? No representation for Scientology? Tom Cruise will sue you for that. What about the Hindu religion and the Satanists? So coexisting with the Bah’ai is okay, but not these other religions and non-religions?

Maybe I am reaching a little bit. Maybe the word “Coexist” just isn’t long enough to fit all that stuff. So I looked on Yahoo Answers to find what the full meaning of “Coexist” was. It turns out that someone asked this very question. Here is part of what DyLaN asks:

“The complete meaning of the coexist sticker?… If there is a deeper meaning like all religions should combine or all religions are wrong I would like to know before I stick it on my car because I go to a Christian school and I don’t want them all to think I’m an evolutionist or atheist.”

Well, of course DyLaN doesn’t want to coexist with atheists or people who actually accept the mountains of evidence in support of evolution.

The thing is, I don’t think that is all that far from the truth. It does seem like liberal theistic believers are the ones pushing this “coexist” movement and I can think of a few reasons why.

First, let’s give them the benefit of the doubt and say that maybe they really think that everyone should get along even those who disagree with their ideas. Fair enough. Maybe there are people out there who believe that. But does that mean that their ideas ought to be protected from criticism? I am all for coexisting with people who hold ridiculous ideas, but I still think I ought to inform them that their ideas and beliefs are ridiculous. I can think that their ideas are ridiculous without having to want to blow them off the face of the planet. I can coexist with them, but I would rather they realize how ridiculous their ideas and beliefs really are.

That brings me to the second reason for the coexist movement. It is a great way to shield ridiculous ideas and beliefs from criticism and make those who think those beliefs are ridiculous seem like bad guys for point it out. I think that might be why Scientology isn’t represented. Too many people think that the story of Xenu is ridiculous. No one wants to “coexist” with them.

This sets up the false dichotomy that one must either accept ridiculous ideas or believe that those with different ideas are evil and should be destroyed. Just because I think someone’s beliefs and ideas are ridiculous, doesn’t mean that I can’t coexist with them. But it also shouldn’t protect them from criticism. In the free market of ideas and beliefs, the best ideas are the ones that can stand up to criticism and not the ones who hide behind peace to protect certain beliefs from criticism in order to avoid competing in the free market of ideas.

Religion is dying and the religious know it. That is why they are doing everything they can to protect themselves from the inevitable. So take that Coexist Bumper Sticker off your car and put on a bumper sticker supporting critical thinking or something. Atheist bumper stickers and Humanist bumper stickers are great too. Maybe even a Dangerous Talk bumper sticker, hint hint.

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  • 1225truth

    In the northeast and other cosmopolitan areas of the country, you have clerics from a variety of religions who attend “ecumenical” summits, where everybody makes nice about comparative religion and they all pat each other on the back about how religion and spirituality can contribute to human fulfillment in the community.

    Travel to a Bible Belt community (even north of the Mason-Dixon line). Most will have none of that. It is my way or the highway. You either accept Jesus Christ as your personal savior for His redemptive act of resurrection, or you are certainly on the wrong side of the human condition. In parts of New York and other metropolises, much of the Middle East belongs to Zionist Jews, as promised by Gawd himself. Anyone who stands in the way of that imperative can just drop dead, including the Muslim President.

    Ask the nice clerics in the northeast about what they think of their inflexible colleagues and their “flock” who disdain tolerance and “coexist”ence and you get evasive answers about how people seek universal meaning and truth and other (according to Alan Watts) “gooey” rhetoric. In fairness, there are exceptions like Chris Hedges and Bill Moyers.

    Among those ideas that you so aptly pose that should be subject to critical scrutiny are what purpose is there in tolerating people who will not tolerate you on principle and from ideology? Unless there is something about you in conduct and disposition that is intolerable by any reasonable standard.

  • kirk

    I agree, when you put all the gods in a blender and squeeze out the paste through a pasta maker you end up with The Flying Spaghetti Monster. May his noodley appendages caress us all.

  • http://www.zeitgeistmovie.com Erich Frankenberg

    The “T” is for Tamus, the son of Nimrod, dude!
    It was introduced by the false Christianity during the days of Constantine. All False Religions are split in two parts. One part is kept in secret, hidden meaning, true targets … the other part is for the goats, for the normal people. In the Vatican they worship Satan and use all this Symbols of Paganism and old Empires to show to the NWO Elites that they are on their side.

    But the NWO is tired of this prostitute. They already has put away their protecting shield in their mass media. Now you can see how near the End of False Religion is.

    • http://www.dangeroustalk.net Staks

      Erich, with all due respect, that is all bullshit. The fear of a NWO is little different than the fear in a God. It has become another bullshit religion. I have already write about the NWO, HERE.

  • http://www.myspace.com/diana_graves Diana

    It feels like there is a cold war going on. No group is willing to declare war outright, not officially, but we are fighting. The amount of religion in our government is crazy, the UN is bending to the will of the muslims like it’s their prison b*tch, and our Islam problem has gotten out of control

    Atheist and Humanist are fighting for a better future…and the rest, well I guess they’re fighting because they want everyone to believe their make-believe stories or submit to their authority.

    Coexist my a$$. It’s nothing but a joke.

  • tralf

    I tend to look beyond that sticker’s limited range of inclusion and think of it as a call for people of faith to get along. The fact that it excludes people of no-faith, the rational, is fine, as atheists aren’t the ones blowing themselves up to glorify God or waging wars to prove our Invisible Friend is superior.

    In other words, the ration folks already know how to get along, so why don’t you irrational people try and do the same.


  • Livewire713

    “……the mountains of evidence in support of evolution.”

    Evidence? Scientific?? Really?? Point me to some.

    • DrArkaneX

      Were you awake during High School Science class? There are mountains of evidence… and for you to find it is going to be harder than you think. But a good start is http://www.google.com. You can’t deny evolution … ever. If you do deny evolution, you are only telling the rest of the population that you agree to disagree. This just tells me that there are ignorant people in the world, people that refuse to believe but would rather believe in santa claus or other supernatural beings as their “answer”. It’s easier to be comforted by a lie, than to be hit with an uncomforting truth.

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  • neutrino78x

    This is a stupid article, because the people who have “coexist” stickers are on the same side as the atheists with regard to things like the Separation Between Church and State, Abortion, Gay Marriage, etc. So people who agree with the writer, while they are probably not stupid people, are doing stupid things!

  • http://www.dangeroustalk.net Staks

    Autopoet, this sounds a lot like bullshit too. I think the symbols on this bumper sticker mean exactly what everyone thinks they mean. No hidden means that only special people know about. You are not part of the chosen special people who understands the true meaning behind the world. That kind of crap is bullshit and I have to call you out on it.