Read more at FriendlyAtheist.com
After my rant about the misguided Christian COEXIST poster, the folks at Truth-Saves made one that’s much more realistic (click on the image for a larger version):
I appreciate the addition at the very end
Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.
This is just as eye-rollingly bad as the other one, IMO.
except it is funny. And True.
Only if every adherent of every faith is a literalist, which we know is not the case. Plenty of people coexist just fine precisely because they don’t follow the various teachings referenced in this banner, unless of course you think the slight majority in this country supporting full marriage rights for same-sex couples is comprised entirely of pagans, atheists, and humanists.
Exactly. You don’t have to be a literalist to be deeply religious.
This does address moderates though. It starts by saying “the texts of” to make it clear it’s about their holy books. Then it mentions “the less a self proclaimed follower of actually follow the teachings of the more peace and gay rights thrive”.
For various definitions of “funny” and “true.”
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a good bit of dickery as much as the next guy, but this smacks of “trying too hard.”
And as others commented, the author is pretty clueless about Taoism.
Seems a bit pagan obsessed and gay rights centric. Would rather it be saying equality for all, the point of gay equality is to remove the branding altogether and just make it a completely unnoticeable “norm” in society. I don’t care if the guy next door has sex with another guy or marries another guy or whatever, I just want him to be able to do what he wants and not have to fight for it. If the person across the road wants to wear a teapot on his head who cares? Focusing that down on gay rights ignores all sorts like gender equality, racial equality, the list goes on.
I’m not sure why pushing a certain ism over other ism’s is positive. How about just saying no ism is required? Stop pushing isms and everyone gets on with their lives based on rational thought and common sense. Subscribing to Taoism or Paganism might make you less aggressive to one another but it still teaches you a lot of nonsense that is equally negative to the human race or lacking in evidence/science.
I’d leave the symbol the same but change “gay rights” to just “equality” to include both gay rights and gender equality. We know that several of the main religions have problems with women’s rights as well as gay rights, plus I prefer the inclusiveness of the “equality” label.
What does this person symbol mean? (The one right of the “A”)?
Humanist I think.
Yes, it’s the international symbol for Humanism.
It looks like someone getting robbed.
The bit about Taoism is wrong, at it’s heart it is closer to Atheism than Paganism.
Right on. I was a bit miffed by the portrayal of Taoism, myself.
To my reading the Tao Te Ching mostly says: Live and let live and I’m not sure how that conflicts with the search for peace and gay rights. Taoism doesn’t say accept injustice, it just says to seek balance.
Though there are some gods in traditional Taoism, as practiced in the West (and by myself) it is more of a philosophy of. So you can be an Atheist and a Taoist. It’s actually a fun way of confusing door-to-door Xtians.
As I said with the last poster, it’s annoying as fuck to read. You don’t need a gimmick to get your point across if you actually have something worthwhile to say.
I don’t have so much of a problem with Paganism and especially not with Taoism. Sure they might have some fruity beliefs, but they’re not actively trying to diminish the rights of non-believers, like “the Three”.
I feel compelled to point out that Judaism and Islam have kind of been unfairly lumped in with Christianity in terms of claiming to be “the only way”. Jews consider themselves a “chosen people” based on OT passages including Genesis 17:7 and Exodus 19:5-6. There are also references in the book of Isaiah to Jews being a “light unto the nations”. Jews certainly have a code of ethics that they would suggest (or perhaps even demand) non-Jews adopt–the seven Noahide Laws–but it is not fair to say that Jews believe their bundle of belief and ritual (i.e. the 613 biblical commandments, or nowadays some flavour of Rabbinic Judaism) is “the only way”.
As far as Islam is concerned, the Quran in sura Al-Baqarah 62 states that Jews and Christians may, through the practice of their own traditions, attain nearness to god. In sura Al-Imran ayat 113-115, Jewish and Christian practice is again recognized as valid worship of god.
While I’m certainly sympathetic to the poster’s final claim, I think it needs work on the “truth” front.
When I made this I was shocked at how many people objected to Scientology being on the coexist sticker. Listen folks, if you object to any position being on the sticker, then you’ve just demonstrated you have zero understanding of the whole premise of coexistence, which I think is a bigger barrier to coexistence than any teaching of any school of thought.
Regarding the whole concept of coexistence: There will always be people who disagree with one another. In coexisting, we agree that it’s more important that we learn how to share the space then assert correctness. Here’ s where it gets tricky: we can’t let everyone believe what they want because inevitably some will come to believe they deserve special privileges, which inherently causes oppression of others.
It is vital that as embraces of coexistence, that we challenge all instances of special privilege, which goes against at least one teaching of all schools of thought on the sticker; all schools except humanism that is.
For these reasons, I submit that coexistence inherently calls for the rejection of special privilege and oppression (regardless of where it fits in a school of thought, in all degrees), and replacing it with humanism.
It’s kind of difficult to coexist with folks who actively reject coexistence. Scientology having some of the harshest shunning and ostracizing rules of emerging religions.
Where is the limit to coexistence really? What kind of intolerant notions should we coexist with? I think that is a rather serious question and some of the religions in question are good case examples how that is challenged.
Should Paulette Cooper just advocate for co-existence with Scientology when the organization was out there to destroy her life?And Scientology does have special privileges in the US, being recognized as tax-except as recognized religion… Nevermind that one of the co-founders orchestrated criminal break-ins into the IRS. And nevermind that they essentially run a sham pyramid scheme as part of their religion, defrauding people of their money. Nevermind their take-over of the cult awareness network (it’s great to have unsuspected parents worried that their kids drift into the cult of scientology to call up a helpline staffed by scientologists!)Scientology has demonstrated on many occasions that it really behaves like a rather creepy stalkerish organized bully with highly dubious internal operations.Or in other words, I am all for coexistence, but it has to be with open eyes and with proper principles. People or organizations that don’t themselves recognize what it takes to coexist cause real problems that we have to recognize and try to address.
Crud. PNG looks crappy. Redone as smaller JPG
I’m not convinced that if everyone were “peace”, “gay rights”, “atheist”, or “humanist” that there would be “complete coexistence”. To think that is to fall into the fallcy of eutopian thought and ignores in-fighting that takes place in such groups even now.
Been asked to coffee on an elevator lately?
As a female, in the middle of the night, alone, with the guy being drunk? Nope. Can’t say that I have.
I don’t see the point in mocking people who are trying to coexist. I know it’s an atheist fantasy to be able to rid of the world of irrational attachment to bronze age deities and iron age prophets, but that is not likely to be the case for the foreseeable future or even within the next two centuries. In the meantime, it’s probably a good idea for the more enlightened members of various religions to seek to mitigate the damage done in the name of theocratic tribalism by promoting coexistence.
Brilliant. Love the end.
Belief exclusivism is inevitable, and need not mandate exclusive existence. The idea that these different faiths cannot coexist due to the reasons given in this poster is rather absolutist itself; it supposes that there can be no interpretative divergence (see: mainstream liberal Christians, Jews, and Muslims and their pluralism), and by that mark would seem to suggest that a peace born of constant mediation and compromise is either impossible or undesirable. Perhaps that is not what the artist intends to say, but it is an implication of his work, the “half-truth” that it is.
Coexistence is tentative. So long as different people have different priorities and place different emphases on their common values- so long as thought and conduct are free, and to the extent that they are- coexist among human beings will always be tentative. I suggest we concentrate our efforts on bridges the gaps between ourselves and the adherents of other belief systems. Putting them under fire with nowhere to run only makes them more “conservative” and affirms their ideas of the group with whom they have confrontation.
While perhaps gratifying, I am doubtful about the amount of good this poster does for any cause but division and the establishment of secularists as their own group identity.
I think it’s great. And secular humanism is great but I never really liked the symbol. It looks like a person frantically raising their arms to signal surrender. Not intended but it always looks to me that way. A more embracing (or a wider arm span) might have been better.
Good post, but I think you have a fundamental misunderstanding of Taoism. It’s almost completely atheistic in it’s original form. Might I suggest reading the Tao-te-ching?
Why Taoism and not Buddhism or Hinduism? Weird.
I dislike it for all of the reasons I dislike the other one. It’s still not accurate; it’s just picking on different groups of people.
While folks are complaining, I would like to point out that not ALL pagans live by “non-evidence based claims”. Because the term pagan covers a huge number of different beliefs, it also covers more than a few folks who are atheist, like myself, but who like the people. I even participate in ritual, but the “Lord and Lady”, to me, are the Jungian concepts. They don’t really exist. They are ideas that humans have developed. I find the idea of magic fascinating and see no reason why it has to be at odds with an evidence based life . . . you just don’t believe in it until you have evidence. I think a lot of scientists investigate things that seem magical until they sort out the laws behind it. So . . .magic is fun to think about. I often say I am a priestess of the Earth . . and not a conscious Earth that guides our lives or anything . . .JUST the Earth, a giant rock we all live on and which is, literally, the source of our life. I’ve been worried about that Earth for over 40 years now. I have gone through periods where I verged on eco-terrorist, wanting to save our Planet from humans, but never in any god/dess’s name.
It’s kind of funny, I’ve been through every major Christian religion and have been a member of the Catholic, Presbyterian and Mormon churches in 35 years of searching, and yet, through it all my only real devotion was to the Earth. Now I’m an atheist and I STILL am totally devoted to the Earth.
No real point to this, I guess, except to say, there are pagans who are atheists. 😀
How does “attempting to find harmony in everything, good or bad” equal not being amenable to peace or accepting gay rights?
I really don’t like this poster. I’m an atheist, but I respect a lot of religions. This poster incorrectly asserts that the religious texts of Islam, Christianity, and Judaism say that members of these respective faiths should kill each other, when the opposite is true; hypocrisy causes religious war, and a lot of what the Torah, Talmud, Qu’ran, and Bible have to share about kindness and happiness is pretty interesting. Just as we criticize religious people who stereotype us, we should say that religion only causes war and inequality.
As it has been pointed out repeatedly, the portrayal of Taoism is just plain wrong. The essence of Taoism is PEACEFUL COEXISTENCE, or there would be no balance. While we’re on the topic, I’d like to point out that most East Asian “religions”, such as Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism are, strictly speaking, not religions at all. They are philosophical systems, in their most original forms. Confucianism is founded on atheism and humanism, as Confucius explicitly said “do not talk about the [supernatural]”, which could plausibly inspired the idea “good without god(s)”. Buddhism may contain many supernatural beings, but they are later additions.
Nice. I never liked the coexist image anyway. I prefer the image where the word ‘fiction’ is spelled out using the symbols of several religions.
Sign up for free newsletters and special offers
Follow Patheos on