Logic & Religion

I saw this poster on a Facebook friend's profile on Sunday and thought it was a very clever variation on the "Coexist" bumper sticker. So I reposted it on STR's Facebook page, and immediately people "liked" it and reposted it.  Soon after, people commented under the post that they were getting a vehement reaction to 390829_10152080583605078_324347773_ntheir reposting that it was hateful, dogmatic, unkind.  I was actually stunned that people saw it as controversial because, after all, it's simply a point of logic.

I guess it shows how deeply ingrained the modern notion of religious pluralism is - all religions are equally value and "true" (as in "true for you" relativism).  As one of my Facebook friends humorously commented, I didn't realize the law of non-contradiction was a controversial Christian doctrine.

Look, logic is a universal, basic feature of the way people think.  Everyone uses logic everyday in everything they do. Contradictory claims can't both be true - it can't both be day and night at the same time in the same way.  It's not a surprise to people who take religious claims seriously that their claims of reality are mutually exclusive.  They can't all be true.  To point that out isn't even yet to claim which one is true - or that any of them is true - just that they can't all be true.

The poster does add Jesus' claim that He's the only way, but that is in the Bible and it's obviously what Christianity claims - otherwise we wouldn't be Christians. 

The poster doesn't suggest that we can't coexist, just that we can't all be right and Christians believe what Jesus said.  That is what follows from logic and true tolerance: We believe we're right, but respect the people we disagree with.

Actually, the "coexist" bumper sticker is much more offensive because it asserts a particular religious view that most of the religions symbolized on it disagree with. The bumper sticker implies that all religions are equally true - something most religions reject. So it begins by denying the fundamental claims of most religions.  And it suggests that if we don't accept that view of religious pluralism that we can't get along and "coexist." It suggests that if we take our religious claims seriously, we are sowing seeds of hostility.  That's a pretty controversial suggestion.

And how about the response to the "Contradict" poster by those who apparently have the "Coexist" view of religious pluralism?  When a Christian offers something logical and reflecting his belief, the response isn't very tolerant or coexist-like.

The irony is that "Contradict" makes a simple logical and Biblical claim that should be obvious. "Coexist" actually makes a controversial claim.  But the reaction is exactly opposite.

Melinda Penner

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