Behold the take on the Coexist logo of a militant atheist. Makes a ton of sense, doesn’t it? Join in conversations among secular and atheist groups and you’ll find that a lot of the atheists like to make hard fun of the religious. This image above is a mild jest in comparison to some of the vitriol. I certainly understand where the militants are coming from though, and I can appreciate the humor in it.
But we wouldn’t want to just leave this laying around without a proper nod to the originating idea behind the Coexist Foundation, which I’ll get to near the end of this post.
Hardliners come in all sects religious or not
If you’ve any experience in surfing the various secular/atheist community groups then you’ve seen that some of the members relieve themselves by way of some hard, sometimes quite humorous critique. On the flip-side of that, you’ve surely also been witness on occasion to some of the abhorrent judgments made against irreligious people by adherents of some religion.
We can probably agree that inappropriate religious testing or critique in some way have contributed to the ill will commonly seen among activists of New Atheism. It might make sense as well that modern issues of politics and religion in the United States and across the globe are instilling a kind of reactionary fear that well feeds the New Atheists in their hard stances and harsh drive against religious oppression.
The Real Coexist
In truth, the Coexist Foundation does not exist (on the surface at least) to eradicate religion but to encourage peaceful relations among opposing religious neighbors in battle-torn areas. It’s a critical movement to peace and life for some communities. The Coexist organization realizes that religion is not going to go away.
The goals of “Coexist” somewhat mirror or at least aim for a secular result that encourages community synergy. It’s easy to see, by popularity of the symbolism among many people who have altered the original image many times, that there is much interest in individuals maintaining their religious ideals over any idea of atheism as a rule of land.
In an already secular space like the U.S. promotion of Coexist symbolism without proper alteration to include Nones seems risky. A few have already thought of this though, evidenced by various alterations of the original logo to include representation for Nones. One such version is by the Openly Secular organization, which has included a few more identification symbols in an attempt to cover the beliefs of more people. Pretty great work.
Without proper representative alterations, wide enthusiasm for the Coexist ideal may carry some risk in a secular space due to misunderstanding that only the religions are of matter to a free and secular nation. I can’t imagine a better example of the value of public use copyright options for such a circumstance. At right, find the original Coexist logo . . . a beautiful image applicable to the region of which it’s used- any region really- representing Islamic, Jewish and Christian Faiths. Piotr Młodożeniec, a Polish graphic designer, created the Coexist sign in 2000 for a contest. Via Wikipedia:
Formerly, the Coexist Foundation in London, United Kingdom focused on improving religious relationships between people of Islamic, Jewish, and Christian faiths. The stated mission of the foundation is to “promote, encourage and support engagement between Jews, Christians and Muslims both individually and through their respective communities through dialogue, education and research.
The organization is now represented in Washington D.C. as well, according to the same entry.
Which is your ideal Coexist imagery contained in a logo?