I drove behind a vehicle today that was sporting this bumper sticker:The thought is nice. I guess the point is that these world religions all have some things in common and we should focus on those similarities in order to “get along”. It is true that we should not fight or war against one another because of our different belief systems. I find something troubling about these presumptions however. I assume the creators of the bumper sticker, and society in general, see two things these religions have in common. First, a belief in a higher power. Second, a desire to “be good people”. I guess the thinking is that we are all headed in the same direction so we might as well get along. The troubling thing is not what these religions have in common, but where they differ. Each believes in a higher power, but followers of Jesus are not taught to simply “be good people.”
It is true that followers of Jesus should be what the culture would define as “good” (sometimes). But we are not “good” for the same reasons that adherents of other faiths are “good”. The religions of the world teach that people need to be “good” in order to have a better after-life. Followers of Jesus are taught to, well, follow Jesus. Here’s where things can get tricky. In following Jesus we will be honest, hard-working, trustworthy, “good” people. But we do not do these things to gain a better after-life. We do these things because we follow Jesus and He commands us to do these things. We are motivated by our love for Jesus, not our fear of having a bad after-life.
We can coexist with adherents of other faiths in that we should not take up the sword for proselytizing purposes. We should be the people Jesus has called us to be and let others see the freedom that comes from loving Christ. It is a far greater joy to be a “good” person when we’re motivated by love rather than motivated by fear.
7 thoughts on “Coexist?”
I see you didn’t use the word “Christian” once in your post. Love it! We are, as you say, “Jesus followers.” And Jesus followers love non-Jesus-followers, because that is what Jesus would do!
Unfortunately the term “Christian” carries so much baggage, both good and bad. There are many in our culture (especially in the Bible Belt) who call themselves “Christian”, but do not and would not call themselves “Jesus followers”. I think the term “Jesus followers” is closer to the New Testament idea of who we are.
I totally agree, Jon. You are a great theologian even if you’re just an average Greek student. (Just kidding!!!!)
I saw on Reuter’s News today the following: “Pope calls for Christian-Muslim harmony 8:17am EDT
AMMAN (Reuters) – Pope Benedict visited a mosque on Saturday in another attempt to mend fences with Islam after a 2006 speech caused offence, and urged Christians and Muslims to jointly defend religion from political manipulation…”
Notice the words “jointly defend” and notice the focus “from political manipulation”….interesting.
Can you tell me where this quote came from. Was it a Mohler speech, address, or in a book? I would like to quote it in some research.
“The Christian school must not be education dressed up for church, but the church armed for intellectual battle” Al Mohler (2001)
I got his quote from “Kingdom Education” by Glen Shultz (Lifeway, 2002. He quotes Mohler in the first few pages on this book.
This is a great post. Sadly, I have heard several times the argument that the Biblical text is not necessarily applicable today since were are in different times now and that the gist of it is that God just wants us “to be good people.” This has been used (by self-proclaimed Christians) as the defense for supporting lifestyles that are not according to God’s word, and it troubles me that we as a people have fallen to such a level that one would even try to justify a lazy life of disobedience by claiming such a loose interpretation of the word.