Christians love to talk about Pharisees. Any situation that appears to be overtly religious or judgmental gets hammered with the label understandably. This focus on the extremely religious and the demonization of such would fall well within Jesus’ teaching (see, Matt 23). However; what we often lack to identify in the world and ourselves is the inclination towards personal religion.
A perfect example of personal religion is seen on the back of every beat-up Prius on the interstate, a giant bumper sticker that reads: Coexist. Now the idea of coexisting among other people groups and religions is not what bugs me about this sticker but the mentality that I’ve seen in the people who “rep” such a statement. In the United States, despite what you may hear, is extremely tolerant. I have worked with a diverse group of people from all over the world and we never argued or hurt each other, just worked and conversated like normal people. This means that the coexist signage on the back of peoples cars is not calling for unity but a dismantling of orthodoxy.
A Different Perspective
To people outside of the Christian faith, it is not enough that we as humans can work, live, and prosper amongst those who differ from us fundamentally, but that we each fully embrace all beliefs as equal to our own. Most naturalist will say that religion has a place in the society as far as community and sense of purpose but that religious values should have no place in public policy. The coexist sticker reduces all religious thought to one misconstrued blob of information, regardless of the stark contrasts.
A person who slams Christianity, Wicca, and Islam together on a single bumper sticker makes known to the world that there is no distinction between these faiths and that one is just as relevant as another. If these religions are equal, what does it matter if you just make up your own faith, a faith that focuses on your own conceptualization of love? It doesn't. If Christianity is just as relevant as any other worldview it losses its power and thus is the implication of the coexist bumper sticker. Thank God that the Jesus who rules the universe made himself completely distinct, showing the hypocrisy of religions that focus on man.