Monday, November 21, 2011

C-O-E-X-I-S-T?


"Can't we all just get along" (quote by Rodney King) seems to be the sentiment that comes from the c-o-e-x-i-s-t symbols, bumper stickers and signs that are becoming common today regarding different world religions.

The answer to that question is likely 'yes' and 'no'.

Yes, in our multi-cultural, pluralist society, we should all get along when it comes to respecting the laws, providing equal access and living peacefully with each other. However, if coexisting and getting-along is something more than agreeing to be lawful or peaceful, when tolerance becomes something that requires a person to change their own personal beliefs and practices, then the adherents of coexist are actually encouraging intolerance.

This C-O-E-X-I-S-T symbol is very telling if people truly understand the religious that are represented. These symbols, arranged in a clever way to spell 'coexist' represent Islam, Buddhism, Science, Judaism, Paganism, Wicca and Christianity.

First of all, I love it that science is finally represented as a religion. For years people that have come to the conclusion that this universe, all of creation and all life on this planet are the obvious result of the Divine, have been discredited by the religion of science. We know science must be a religion for it takes much more faith to believe in cosmological chance and coincidence than to believe in a Creator.

My issue with C-O-E-X-I-S-T isn't as much with science as it is with other religions that clearly worship another god. This became very important to me recently, which I'll explain.

In the Qur'an, Allah is never described as 'father' and true Muslims wouldn't refer to Allah as their father. The Qur'an says that Allah has no son, there is no Holy Spirit and that 72 virgins are awaiting the righteous.

Wicca is a pagan religion that worships the Horned God and the Triple Goddess. While there are many different sects and beliefs, they are altogether the antithesis of our Christian culture. Paganism may not be Satanism but it is still earth-centered. Christianity is Kingdom-centered as we are 'aliens and strangers in this world' (1 Peter 2:11).

Buddhism and Hinduism are groupings of eastern religion that have much in common with each other but little in common with the teachings of Jesus. Both embrace reincarnation or transmigration. On the other hand, Christianity and Judaism embrace the unique creation of man, molded in the image of God.

None of these other religions can appreciate the Biblical understanding of our sin nature, our need for a Savior nor our access to a heavenly Father.

As I mentioned, recently I had to address this issue of coexist. I was invited to participate in an interfaith prayer service. I love to be able to pray at a public gathering and love the unity of the Body of Christ but had to decline this invitation. The prayer service included not only Christians but also a Rabbi. I have no issues with Rabbis and since Jesus was also considered a Rabbi and Rabbis worship the same God, I can pray with a Rabbi.

However, I declined to participate in this particular interfaith prayer service as an Imam would also be praying and reading from the Qu'ran. I didn't see anyone listed that would be reading from the Bible (likely an oversight) but I knew that an Imam couldn't possibly be offering a prayer to the same God that the Christians and Jews acknowledge.

My mission as a Christ-follower is to bring clarity and not confusion. My participation would have left the wrong impression on some people that were in attendance. Light cannot coexist with darkness; we cannot serve two masters. Paul tells us in Ephesians 5:11, "Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them."

Coexist...absolutely. Pray for them to come to the knowledge of the way, the truth and the light......daily!


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