The idea for this post was inspired by a bumper sticker I saw on the back of a mini-van as I was driving to church this morning. You’ve probably seen the same bumper sticker; it say’s COEXIST, and it is written with symbols from different systems of thought that resemble and replace the letters of the alphabet that would actually spell the word: The Crescent and Star for Islam; the Pentagram for Wicca; the relativity formula for science; the Star of David for Judaism; the Karma Wheel dotting the I for Buddhism; the Ying and Yang for Taoism; the Holy Cross for Christianity. I don’t know what you think when you see these symbols placed next to each other in this way to give rise to this message; you may feel that it is a great message, or you may feel otherwise.
Here are a couple of statements I found while I was searching the internet to get an idea of the range of thoughts about this message: “I honestly believe that it’s possible for many belief systems to coexist if they try and I think that more people need to see that,” on one end of the scale and, “You can try for toleration. That is a goal we can have concerning religion. But both Islam and Christianity have as part of their faith the commission to convert the whole world. Coexistence implies you do not try and convert; you just live side by side. This movement is in my opinion just a weak liberal theological movement tied to a desire for peace. The desire for peace is good. But you cannot coexist in the way the COEXIST Foundation talks about without watering down your theology. So, don’t support them.”
While neither of these statements reflects my views on this idea, the first one does come a lot closer. I feel more closely aligned with Mahatma Gandhi’s statement, “I am a Christian and a Hindu and a Muslim and a Jew.” Feel free to throw the religion of your choice in to that statement for me. If it is a monotheistic teaching of any sort, at its core, more than likely it somehow points to the Truth that God is all there is and we are all one because we are all expressions of God.
I see God as the One Omniscient, Omnipotent and Omnipresent Creator, and as the One Life, Love, Light, Power, Peace, Beauty, Joy, Spirit, Truth, Source, Mind and Intelligence of all. I believe that some monotheistic religions may have been misunderstood and/or misinterpreted over time, but are rooted in the same recognition.
Thusly, I believe that all of mankind is One in Spirit. The separation and differences that are sensed and felt by so many come from the misconceived notion that being born in different places, speaking different languages or having different physical features separate us and make us different. So, I don’t simply choose to tolerate others that look or speak different, or those that were born in different lands, or even those that seem to think differently; I recognize God in all of mankind, and live in the idea of oneness with everyone. I choose to see the Truth, honor the Truth and celebrate the Truth of God in everyone by loving everyone as I love myself, regardless of how anyone else feels about or sees themselves, or me. Although I appreciate the world learning tolerance and choosing it over hate, I have decided to choose Unity and Love over all.
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