Unleavened Brett

Brett’s Friday Blog Post

UB Mar 22 web

Should we co-exist?

Can different religions get along? Depends on what you mean. 24 years ago the “Coexist” logo was created featuring the symbols of the world’s 3 major monotheistic faiths: the cross for Christianity, the crescent moon for Islam, & the Star of David for Judaism. The idea was to promote tolerance & peace. But over time it took on other symbols to become a viral symbol & bumper sticker promoting tolerance of everything, including paganism (pentagram symbol), Taoism (Chinese yin-yang symbol), & often “progressive” values.

“Coexist” may sound good & have benign intent, but it doesn’t mean the same thing to all people. If it means to approve of false beliefs as equally true or valid, then it’s not something to embrace. We believe there’s only one true faith (Acts 4:12, Eph. 4:4-6). All the incompatible, contradicting faiths in the logo can’t all be right or equal. They offer different gods, creeds, worldviews, & ways of salvation.

If it means compromising our moral convictions for the sake of getting along, then we can’t embrace it. Tolerance does not equal approval but instead should be a gracious attitude toward those we disagree with. We’re still called by God to speak the truth in love (Eph. 4:15), pointing out error & reproving sinful behavior. We can tolerate every person, but not every harmful idea & behavior.

When Christians take these stands for truth & morality, the culture often turns very intolerant of us. Tolerance becomes the civic religion that allows for all beliefs except those who believe in absolute truth. Our goal though is not to threaten others, but to share our faith with them. We seek to win them to the truth, not force them. We recognize that we’re in a spiritual battle for the hearts & minds of people. With eternal souls on the line, we can’t succumb to the spirit of the age. While not a physical holy war, spiritual kingdoms are in conflict.

Jesus makes the most inclusive offer ever — whosoever may come (John 3:16, Acts 2:21)! But He also makes the exclusive claim that He is the only way (John 14:6). Doing so invites conflict. He said, “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household” (Matt. 10:34-36).

We see that play out in families when conversion to Christianity invites hostility, avoidance, & banishment. We see it play out in various parts of the world. While in this nation we’re able to live near people of different faiths, in many other nations Christians aren’t permitted such courtesies of co-existence. They may instead endure various forms of persecution, including death, at the hands of radical Islamists, Hindus & atheistic Communists. Christianity is both the largest & most persecuted religion in the world.

While some may want to point to so-called Christians in the past committing violence during The Crusades in the Middle Ages, we should push back that those were carried out by people who were often not biblically informed & so have nothing to do with anything Christ ever commanded. Sometimes such acts of violence were carried out by quasi-Christian tyrants against genuine Christians who disagreed with them. It was a corruption of Christianity.

God expects us to live peaceably & to bless those who persecute us (Rom. 12:14, 18). Still, we will never experience John Lennon’s adolescent utopian vision in the song “Imagine,” describing a world free of belief in religion, heaven, or hell. This globalist hymn of co-existence is sometimes called “The Atheist’s Anthem.” But getting rid of belief in Jesus will not rid the world of intolerance or hostility. It will only leave a vacuum for other beliefs to fill. Banishing or abandoning God & the expectation of an afterlife robs every decision of any lasting importance or consequence. Those beliefs are the only thing holding back the unleashing of anarchy, chaos & despotism.

The sole reason why religions can’t peacefully coexist is sinful rebellion against God. Only Christianity has the solution through the cross which is far more than just another religious symbol. It was on the cross that Jesus made possible forgiveness & the power to change hearts (Acts 2:38, 2 Cor. 5:17). There will never be real & lasting peace until every knee bows & every tongue confesses that Jesus is Lord (Phil. 2:10), when swords are turned into plowshares (Is. 2:4). That’s why we must never surrender our swords of truth until then (Eph. 6:17, Heb. 4:12). So yes, we pray for a peaceful society so that we have the freedom to spread the message that “there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus…” (1 Tim. 2:2-5).