Co-exist anyone?

25 Jun

Saw one of those ‘co-exist’ bumper stickers yesterday.  I initiated a conversation with the driver – in my mind:

Logical Gal: So what does ‘co-exist’ mean (VERY neutral, pleasant voice)

Miss Co-Exist: What do you think it means?  To exist together.

Logical Gal:  Doesn’t that happen already?  You exist, I exist…what’s the problem?

Miss Co-Exist: What’s implied is ‘existing together while minding your own business, you know, like…..not proselytizing and stuff.’

Logical Gal: Does that happen often – the ‘proselytizing and stuff’?

Miss Co-Exist: You bet it does! Haven’t you ever been the victim of one of those right-wing nut-jobs?

Logical Gal:  I don’t know, what are they like? (touch of innocence in voice)

Miss Co-Exist: Oh, you’d recognize them if you were so unfortunate to be cornered by one.  They’re likely to tell you that you should believe some narrow hogwash that they spout.

Logical Gal:  (slow, pondering-type voice) So let me get this straight – if they verbally say that it’s RIGHT to believe XYZ they’re proselytizing?  But if you have a bumper sticker that reads ABC you’re not proselytizing? It’s the medium that matters?

Miss Co-Exist:  (heads jerks up and tone turns a tad defensive) what do you mean?

Logical Gal:  Well, aren’t you broadcasting to the world what YOU believe to be right, just like they might be communicating out loud with words what THEY believe to be right?

Miss Co-Exist:  Whatever….(and she leaves)


Words matter.  A simple and non-threatening way to get someone to use logic is to start by asking them what they mean by a term or expression they use.  You don’t have to carry out a full-blown discussion.  Just practice engaging by asking a few questions.  May times we say things, pass on information or ideas about which we’ve given little thought. 

Greg Koukl of the organization Stand to Reason is the master of questioning. Link to Stand to Reason.  He recommends it for several reasons:

1)     It’s easy and not too scary

2)     You get more information that might help you think through an issue later

You can practice anywhere.

You can start today – keep your ears open in any and all conversations with family, friends/co-workers and ‘strangers’ for a term you could ask them about.  Be bold and try asking them a few questions.  Then let us know what happened!



2 Responses to “Co-exist anyone?”

  1. Kristin July 31, 2013 at 12:06 am #

    I am enjoying reading your blog! Thanks!

    However, this entry felt less convincing than the others. Perhaps it was because you put your own words in Miss Co-Exist’s mouth, instead of truly asking her what she meant. In the imagined dialogue, she contradicts herself. Yet, if she had had a chance to explain her thoughts, perhaps she would have had a logical answer to share.

    • Maria July 31, 2013 at 7:19 am #

      Kristin – thanks for commenting – you are absolutely correct in that all I was doing was IMAGINING a dialogue which is unfair to the other side, given my presuppositions and the lack of comeback/explanation from her. I welcome that kind of dialogue….and perhaps living here in the Asheville, NC area, I will have more opportunities to engage graciously. This area is rich in differing viewpoints!
      Thanks for reading.

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