Tuesday, September 10, 2013

My friend Mike (Canadian Atheist) suggested a while ago that we exchange posts on each other's blog.  You may read mine at:  http://canadian-atheist.blogspot.com/2013/09/some-thoughts-from-believer.html.  Following is Mike's post.  (Thanks, Mike for your gracious remarks.)
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Why Is It Important That Atheists and Religious People Continue To Talk?
Bill has been kind enough to allow me to hijack his blog temporarily so that I can speak about something I think is very important to believers and non-believers alike.
Thank you, Bill, and thank you for allowing me to speak my mind on your blog and its comment section. While it may not seem like it at times, your blog is one of my favorites and I avidly watch for any new posts you might make.
As to the question posed in the title; I think it’s very important that atheists and religious people keep up a dialogue. Here are a few of the biggest reasons.
Reason 1
We all share the same space. Like it or not, atheists and religious people surround us in our day-to-day lives. It’s beneficial to us all if we can talk about our differences in opinion in an open, honest, respectful manner.
Reason 2
We have more in common than we do differences. In my daily life, I very rarely even think about atheism. In most cases, it doesn’t matter. Sure, I find the topic of religion and atheism fascinating, but it’s a very small (although important) part of who I am. In most things, I suspect I am just like you, dear religious person. I worry about my job, stress over my family, put my pants on one leg at a time and eat, sleep and love just like you do.
Reason 3
I work in the social service field and I often have to work with religious people and religious organizations.
You know what?
It doesn’t matter that I’m an atheist, and it doesn’t matter that they believe in God. When we work together to feed, clothe, raise money for the needy, the fact that we hold two different views on God doesn’t matter one iota. We work together and we accomplish our goals. This wouldn’t be possible if we didn’t keep up a dialogue. There are many things the religious an irreligious can work together on.
Reason 4
It’s easy to demonize a person if they’re faceless. It’s easy to call atheists immoral, Satan’s pawns etc. when you don’t know any atheists. By keeping up a dialogue, you can find out that atheists are much like you. In most cases, we want and need the same things. Besides, you might know an atheist but not be aware of it. They could be keeping their non-belief in God a secret. They might not talk about it or they might be questioning their faith.
Reason 5
I believe in the marketplace of ideas. I think that any idea should be discussed, and I think that eventually, the truth will win out. Obviously, I think the Christian God will go the way of Zeus and Odin, but we’ll never find out if we don’t talk about it.
So Christians, please keep in mind that atheists aren’t so different from you after all. I hope this blog post will pop into your head if you ever meet up with an atheist in the flesh. Just remember that we’re all human beings. We’re all flawed, full of prejudices and brimming with good and bad ideas. Let’s discuss these differences, but at the end of the day, I hope both sides remember that we’re more alike than not alike.

And last but not least, if you see me floating about in Bill’s comment section, feel free to ask me questions. I honestly don’t mind and I welcome the dialogue. You can also feel free to visit my blog.
I don’t bite. Honest.
As the bible says in John 15:17:  “This is my command: Love each other.”
Despite our theological differences, I think we can give that an honest shot.


Amy said...

Thanks for posting Mike! I whole-heartedly agree, people have more in common than differences.

There is so much more to our world than we can merely see with our eyes.

What we feel in our hearts and the connections we share with others very often are more real, true and lasting. To me, that is the Love of Christ.

Amy said...

Thanks for posting, Mike! Yes - I whole heartedly agree - people have more in common than not.

There is more to this world than what we can merely see with our eyes.

I most feel Christ's Love thru the feelings in my heart and my connections with others.

Canadian Atheist said...

Thank you, Amy. I'm glad you liked the article and that we agree on much of its content. We do indeed have much in common.

Trent said...

I agree. We need to respect the right of people to be different and make their own choices. God gave us that ability, so trying to control the actions of others that "don't" effect others IMO is not biblical. Honest debate and disagreement is healthy when done in a grace filled manner.

Canadian Atheist said...

I agree Trent. I defend your right to believe in your deity of choice.

I also think it's possible for religious and non-religious people to carry on a conversation in a civil manner, even if it might come a bit heated at times. We can also find common ground in many cases. I often agree, for example, with many of Bill's thoughts on things if I take out the word 'God' as the basis for it.

Thanks for reading!