Here's the culprit, in case you have no idea what I am talking about:
Now some of my objections may seem superficial or facetious at first, but bear with me.
First, the stickers themselves seem to me to be intolerant to start with - how many religions are there and how many are represented in the sticker? If the idea was to promote religious understanding then why pick the three usual suspects to the exclusion of all others? Why not include Sikhism? Zoroastrianism? Jainism? Is the sticker saying that only the three big ones don't get along? Is it saying other religions don't matter, or was it being lazy for the sake of brevity? The latter being the case then wouldn't picking more obscure symbols from more obscure religions that people actually had to research have served better for furthering the intended message? Are the religions represented in the different versions of the sticker the only ones that have to coexist? How does that promote religious tolerance of all religions?
Second, is it just me that thinks that the idea that religions coexisting will make everything better is hopelessly naive and deluded? Different religions not getting along is not really the problem, the problem is religion itself. As Voltaire said:
As long as people believe in absurdities they will continue to commit atrocities.
Different faiths coexisting and understanding each other does not get rid of the oppression of women, the suppression of science and learning, the mutilation of children's genitals, the oppression of homosexuality, the suppression of human rights, institutionalized child abuse, the denigration and suppression of sexuality, the state torture and punishment of criminals as advocated by different religions, religiously supported apartheid, religiously supported slavery, religiously mandated 'honour' killings, etc etc.
I don't want to tolerate religion and neither should any other sane person, I want religion in its entirety to fuck off and die a quick and final death.
Just imagine how much more oppressive and interfering religions could be if they could concentrate more on enforcing their own tenets rather than attempting to butcher or convert the other lot. And all along, instead of fighting it tooth and nail with all our strength, we are expected to tolerate and understand it. To coexist with it.
Bollocks to that.
Religion is the root of the problem, tolerating religions does not fix it. Tolerating religions allows the problem to continue to exist and attempts to suppress the criticism for the sake of touchy feelly "Why can't we all just get along?" happiness. That's a delusion that solves nothing.
Just to emphasise my point of how silly this call for coexistence is, I have some questions for those who support the idea of religious tolerance and the coexistence stance.
Just exactly how far does your tolerance of the tenets of religion go? Just exactly how much are you willing to allow for the sake of religious tolerance and freedom? For the sake of coexistence?
If there is just one aspect of one religion you won't allow, then how are you being tolerant of religion? How are you allowing religious freedom?
How do you coexist with something you are fundamentally opposed to?
How do you coexist with something you are morally obliged to stand against?
People should be allowed to believe what they wish, but like all other stupid, repugnant or immoral beliefs, religion should not be tolerated. Instead, it should be fought until, like other superstitions and outmoded beliefs, it dies in the minds of every person and humanity shakes of the shackles imposed upon it by imaginary gods.
Coexistence is not the answer. Tolerance does not solve the problem.
Tolerance is the problem.
The call for tolerance silences dissent, suppresses criticism and gives religion a status it does not deserve. Religion is no more deserving of tolerance than Nazism, but you won't see swastikas on a coexist sticker anytime soon.
Beliefs do not need to be tolerated, people do. Beliefs do not have to coexist, people do. That's what calls for religious tolerance miss.
Voltaire never did quite finish the thought for me, when he wrote that now well worn phrase:
I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it.
For me this should read something along the lines of:
I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it. And I'll continue to mercilessly point out how utterly ridiculous what you say is until it finally gets through and you give it all up for something more thoughtful and productive.