I decided to wait a few days before writing about our recent participation in the first of maybe other collaborations with people of different faiths.
Overall, I think the night was an enlightening and very valuable first step in better understanding other peoples’ perspectives that differ from our own. Of course, it didn’t hurt that the group of Christians attending seemed to be of an extremely moderate variety. And they were also gracious and kind, as was Ted the quasi-Buddhist. I especially enjoyed talking to Harry- a Christian with three sons, two of whom seem to be somewhere in the atheist/agnostic camp from how he described it. Harry voiced to me his heartfelt concerns about his faith and how he has wrestled with his own beliefs. And how refreshing it was to hear DJ acknowledge that he is probably an agnostic theist. One remark I made during the evening was that at the end of the day, we are all agnostics, as none of us can know with 100% certainty whether or not a god exists (much less if that god is in fact the judeo-christian version).
For me, this first meeting was about focusing on the common ground we all share. This common ground is really not difficult to identify- it’s the human experience and the human desire to contribute to the world in a positive and loving way. Does it really matter if our starting points are diametrically opposed? For this meeting, it did not. But it would be interesting to delve deeper into some specific topics. I suspect there is still much more to be learned from each other.
One thing Andy mentioned during his talk was that he would love if all of us in the room got baptized and dedicated our life to following Jesus (while also acknowledging that this is a personal decision). But here’s the thing: we atheists have a wish concerning believers as well. And, as was the case with Andy’s remark, it’s meant with sincerity.
So with that, I’d like to introduce a video that I think aptly expresses, not only what we non-believers wish for believers, but also beautifully illustrates something far more important than what we would like for each other: our Common Ground.
(and watch in full screen- the images are beautiful!)