Finding common ground with others starts when we realize that we are all going to hell in someone else’s religion. Here is where we are guided by reason and common sense.
Everyone believes they have common sense. It doesn’t matter if you have deeply held religious beliefs or none. Funny thing. Common sense and logical reasoning have a grounding in the points of Atheism and Agnosticism.
However, most people with deeply held religious beliefs don’t think they can relate. They don’t realize we are all going to hell in someone else’s religion. This point is the starting point for common ground. It opens the doorway to meaningful dialogue.
Guided by Reason
What is an Atheist?
The term Atheist is comes from Greek ἄθεος (atheos), meaning without god(s). The “A” is short for anti meaning to oppose. But, if you don’t believe in bigfoot, we don’t call you Abigfootest or Antibigfooter? No. We do not need to attach a negative disclaimer for the disbelief in many things. If you don’t believe in aliens or vampires, we simply say, that person believes in them. No need to create a special term.
An Atheist is someone who does not believe in the existence of gods. So everyone is an Atheist. That’s because if you believe one supreme being, you must reject all the others. So, that makes the believers in one God an Atheist in the eyes of all the other 2,000 plus Gods.
Some religions have several gods. In fact, Christianity has more than one. It has the good god, and the bad god Satan. But, even if you have pantheistic beliefs, you probably don’t believe in every God that has been conceived. And, if you don’t choose any God, then you are an Atheist to all Gods. Therefore, we are all Atheists to some extent. Most Atheists just go one god further than believers. Atheists have none. And mostly don’t care that they are going to hell in someone else’s religion.
What is a Theist
Theists who believe in the existence of a god or gods. The belief in a god or gods does not stand on its own. Gods come their own doctrines of religious mythology. So, to believe in a god or gods, one must accept all the trappings of a particular religious mythology.
The Error of Asserting Atheism Is a Religion
Some people argue that atheism is a religion. This is an attempt at a False Negative Association. A False Negative Association is an attempt to link something with a negative term to render it undesirable or to cloud the issue. In this case, the obvious distinction between people who ascribe to religious beliefs and those who do not.
The bottom line here is that Atheism is a conclusion or perspective absent the belief in gods. Gods are the centerpiece of religion. Therefore, if someone does not believe in a god, they do not follow a religion. Ergo, Atheism, it is not a religion.
What is an Agnostic?
An Agnostic is a decision based on the lack of credible evidence. For this reason, everyone is also an agnostic. No one knows with absolute certainty whether a Supreme Being exists. There is no credible proof for the existence of gods. That means believers don’t know their God exists. Believers have faith that their God exists. If they had facts they would not have to believe. Believers assert that certain texts were the creation of divine inspiration. There is no proof of these assertions, that’s why believers need faith.
The same arguments that proves your God exists is the same argument that proves all the other gods exists. The first argument is the absence of evidence to refute the existence of your imaginary Being. Sorry but the absence of evidence is not proof of absence. This is the same proof for the existence of Zeus, Odin, Santa Claus, unicorns and, fairies.
In the end, we are all going to hell in someone else’s religion. Some say, why not believe in them all of them? But you can’t believe in them all because all religions are mutually exclusive. For instance, if you believe in the Christan god, you can’t also be a believer of the Hindu gods, etc. So, if you pick the wrong one, oh my god, you are still going to hell.
The second argument is that believing in something makes something real. But if belief equaled fact, then again all Gods would be real. The divine inspiration of a holy text is the third main argument. This whole mess relies on circular logic. It starts with the assertion that their God exists because there is no proof it doesn’t and also because they believe it is so.
Agnostic Atheism is the position encompassing both atheism and agnosticism. A conclusion which comes from the lack of evidence and logic to support the concept. No gods, no master.
Finding Common Ground with Others
Start with the basic foundation that we are going to hell in someone else’s religion. We are all atheists to most of the 2,000 plus religions. This should give us all reason to pause and consider that we might be wrong about what we believe.
Next, let your discussion be guided by reason instead of mythology or superstition. Use a process we call comparative analysis. What is the process of comparative analysis? This is a scientific model for conducting comparative research. It is a process similar to a comparative religious study. We use the above term because it reflects the six steps of the scientific process. These steps guide our study, which provides consistent and accurate results.
Finding common ground with others requires us to go beyond labels.
Those who don’t like being labeled an Atheist are more comfortable with terms like a non-conformist, skeptic, rationalist, or freethinker, or even spiritual explorer. The term non-believer or unbelievers has a negative connotation.
Not being a part of a group of believers is a bad thing within the Western cultural narrative. Many people remain silent on the subject. Remaining silent is a strategy for avoiding conflict. It is safer. There are still many communities around the world where freethinkers are persecuted.
Still, people like to categorize things. As a result, some refer to this state of free-thinking as atheism. This is a perspective unencumbered by the belief in imaginary friends or enemies. So, this means they are free from religious, ethnic and cultural prejudice and bias.
Many people don’t ascribe to any part of the Western theological, but also still have the desire to follow the call of the inner quest. Does this resonate with you? You can fulfill this quest without religion. Spiritual exploration does not require the belief in religion simply the ability to follow a process.
Going to Hell in Someone Else’s Religion
When we are guided by reason, even the deeply religious can find common ground. We can help others use more of their critical thinking abilities by using the process of comparative analysis. This is a process whereby people can examine religious and philosophical concepts in a non-threatening way. The conclusions we reach with this process will lead to a better understanding of the positions we call Atheism and Agnosticism. The study and use of logic, reason and common sense can illuminate our core beliefs.
This process is like pealing an onion. Layer by layer it exposes what is beneath. Illuminating facts and truth does not always mean we end up agreeing. But this is a good way of finding common ground with others, which will lead to a more open dialogue.
Just open your mind. Start with the realization that we are going to hell in someone else’s religion.
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Joseph Campbell & Joseph Campbell’s Book The Hero’s Journey, Wikipedia