Coexistence and the Truth solution

Our Lord delivered a sturdy challenge when he said, “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Surely he was skeptical (albeit, all knowing) about how His followers would respond.

Coexist bumper stickerRecently reflecting on a trend of car decals, I’ve questioned how exactly a “Coexist” sticker on the back of a Christian’s car reflects a response to that call? If a mute bumper sticker that promotes everyone just getting along is the answer, I think we’ve failed the mission.

As a Coexister might justify, the message promotes peace across faiths from which enormous conflict can – and often has – been born. The idea of peaceful coexistence isn’t foreign to Christianity. Our Holy Father’s recent visit to Lebanon to appeal for peace is a demonstrative testament to the Church’s struggle to promote the dignity of life over religious persecution.

However, a problem I experience today is Catholics not knowing how to toe the line between tolerance of others and practicing their proclaimed faith. This blurred distinction has really blinded our perspective on the mission of the Church and how we are called to witness to Buddhists, Muslims, Jews, Wiccans, Pagans, Protestants & people of any faith, gender, sexual orientation or generic worldview that infamous bumper sticker designers have cleverly crafted into a 2×10 inch rectangle.

A tragically poignant example of this lost distinction is Arlington, VA Bishop Paul Loverde’s recent requirement of all diocesan teachers to sign a profession of faith and the hugely negative response he got in return. A catechism teacher from one of his parishes, who simply did not want to promise to teach the Truth of the faith, wrote to the Bishop saying, “This is not in the spirit of what people go to a Catholic Church for, which is community and a loving, welcoming environment.”

The problem is that this isn’t why we go to church on Sunday, which is to fulfill our obligation to be present in the sacrifice of Jesus in the Eucharist for our Heavenly Father. This poor woman is sadly mistaken to believe a warm welcome is more important than the salvation of souls.

Hospitality is so significant and evangelization can’t happen without it, but it seems we’ve placed it on a pedestal far above the Truth of Christianity – so far above that we mistake our Sunday obligation to worship Christ and instead we worship fellowship.

It seems reasonable enough that an agnostic, atheist or Unitarian might adopt such a blanket ideology as ‘Coexistence’ to struggle for harmony, but how much greater a means do we as Christians have to spread peace on earth? Jesus Christ came to die for us and as Christians we are so incredibly blessed to know His love.

If we could sincerely appreciate the gift of faith God has given us and if we truly understood the magnificence of His perfect Truth, why would we ever discourage anyone from it with a dull message to maintain contentedness without Him? We must remember and rejoice that only the Holy Spirit can bring true peace.

We must be generous in showing God’s love and mercy toward people of all faiths – and yes, we should struggle for peaceful coexistence – but we mustn’t stop there. We are called to spread the Truth of the Gospel & point to Christ as the One True God.

Repent Bumper Sticker

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13 thoughts on “Coexistence and the Truth solution

  1. Pingback: WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON EDITION | Big Pulpit

  2. My beef with the coexist sticker is that it places all religions on the level regarding their inability to “coexist”. It seems to me that certain religions (cough islam) have a habit of starting trouble with other religions. Then there is the logical nihilistic conclusion of atheism. The coexist sticker gives the impression that they are all the same, whether that is the driver’s intention or not.

    Oh, and +1 on the Repent bumper sticker.

    • Yeah, because Christianity has never started trouble with other religions, right?

      (cough, The Spanish Inquisition, cough, THE CRUSADES, cough)

      Point being, no one’s really innocent on that bumper sticker.

      Oh, and regarding the post itself — “toe the line,” not “tow the line.”

      • Hi Pete – Thanks for the catch. Fixed.

        It is really a tragic struggle that every man suffers the consequence of the Fall, that is, of original sin, which invites man to do terrible things. However, the two persons who were free from sin, Jesus & the Virgin Mother, point to the unique Truth of Christianity, which was the focus of this post.

      • You are woefully ignorant.

        The inquisition was not “starting trouble with other religions.” It was a means for the Church to deal with heretics WITHIN the Church.

        The Crusades were not the Church “starting trouble with other religions.” The Crusades were a RESPONSE to muslim aggression. Sound familiar?

        You better educate yourself about such things and quit allowing leftist bigots to spoon feed you with lies and do all your thinking for you. Your eternity depends on it. Don’t forget, that’s why God gave you a mind and the ability to reason.

      • Cough cough..doesn’t know cr*p about actual history cough cough. Question Joe, how many people were put to death during the entire 500 year inquisition? Actual people executed, not jack chick protestant fairy tales?
        A: Less than 6,000 (and that may be high)
        Question #2 Joe: Why did the crusades or as you write it THE CRUSADES occur in the first place? A: Because of repeated attacks by Islamists into Christian Europe and territories including attacking, killing, buring, extracting tribute and all the usual funness.

        With all thy getting Joe, get some understanding before posting on any website.

  3. I want to clarify, too… Jason makes the right points about the Crusades & the Inquisition. A lot of people develop a narrow perception of these events based on stories of rape and the like, which, as I mentioned, result from the evils of original sin. Unfortunately, we can point to many occasions in which soldiers of the US military have done absolutely inhumane things, beyond which the scope of war would call for (e.g. http://articles.cnn.com/2009-05-08/world/kentucky.iraq.soldier.rape_1_soldiers-civilians-penalty-phase?_s=PM:WORLD). Does it invalidate what is perhaps an objectively moral war when individual members of the military choose evil over good? In the case of these events in which the Church was fighting to preserve herself, I would certainly argue no.

  4. Pingback: Atheist Leader Resigns & Converts, ☪☮e✡i☯✝ and Truth, and More! | Daily News | NCRegister.com | Mobile Atheist

  5. If church were all about “community and a loving, welcoming environment”, quite frankly, the Catholic Church can’t hold a candle to most non-denominational Protestant megachurches.

    It’s about something more…

    “When I was a seminarian, I remember reading an interview with Flannery O’Connor about what it was like to grow up Catholic in the South. O’Connor said there were very few Catholics and many prejudices against them. She told the story of her best friend who was a Baptist. Flannery often invited her to Mass. Finally, one Sunday the little girl got permission from her mom to accept Flannery’s invitation. Flannery could not wait for the Mass to be over so she could ask her little friend whether she liked it. The little girl said: “WOW. You Catholics really have something special. The sermon was so boring, the music was lousy, the priest mumbled the prayers of a language nobody could understand, and all those people were there!””

    http://www.thebostonpilot.com/article.asp?ID=14017

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