The "coexist" bumper sticker implies that any religion is as true as the next one. And indeed, that was the premise that I started from.
Fortunately, I stumbled upon an invaluable book very early in this phase of my research. Entitled The Universe Next Door: A Basic Worldview Catalog, this volume provides an overview of every major worldview and religion. Included are deism, naturalism, eastern pantheistic monism, and New Age philosophies, as well as existentialism and nihilism -- the latter very familiar to anyone who was a college student in the '60s or '70s, and depressingly prominent in our culture today.
Author James Sire does a masterful job of summarizing the key beliefs of each one. As I studied his book, three things became abundantly clear:
- These worldviews contradict each other in all their key tenets.
- That means they cannot all be true, according to the law of non-contradiction.
- In fact, not even two of them can be true.
For me, this was an astounding realization. It gave me hope that absolute truth really might exist in spite of what my professors taught back in the 1970s, and that it might be knowable -- even by someone like me, a long-time atheist whose entire belief system was crumbling.
The "coexist" crowd's message may simply be that we should all just get along, that what we believe really doesn't matter as long as we're kind to each other. But I was about to discover that kindness does not exist apart from truth -- and that the most loving thing we can do for others is to lead them to the truth.
Which one's the real deal? Find out here.