Finding common ground with others starts with using common sense and logic. All religions agree. We are all going to hell in someone else’s religion. And this is the common ground for dialogue.
Everyone believes they have common sense. It doesn’t matter if you have sincerely held religious beliefs or none. Funny thing. Common sense and logical reasoning have a grounding in Atheism (1) and Agnosticism (2).
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.
Common Sense and Logic
Let’s start with some definitions.
What is Common Sense?
The exercise of sound judgment.
What is logic?
It is a thinking process where you find the answer to problems using guidelines and proven principles. It is a structured set of principles that ensures valid and measurable results.
What is an Atheist?
The term Atheist 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 our disbelief in many other things. If you don’t believe in aliens or vampires, we simply say that person believes in them—no need to create a unique term. We don’t say you are athe-aleien or athe-vampire.
So the word Atheist is a derogatory name for someone who does not believe in the existence of gods. So everyone is an Atheist. We are born atheists. However, even if you believe in one god, you still reject the others. So, that makes the believers in one God an Atheist in the eyes of all the other 2,000 plus Gods. See, that was easy. Here’s some common ground; everyone is an Atheist.
Some religions have several gods. Christianity has more than one god too. It has the good gods (father, son, and spirit) and the bad god Satan. That means Christianity is a pantheistic belief system.
If you don’t believe in every God conceived, you are an Atheist to all the other Gods. Therefore, we are all Atheists. Most Atheists go one god further than believers. Atheists have none, and they don’t care that they are going to hell in someone else’s religion.
What is a Theist
Theists believe in the existence of gods. And, the belief in God comes wrapped in religious mythology and superstition. To believe in a god or gods, one must accept all the particular religious mythology trappings.
The Error of Asserting Atheism Is a Religion
Some people argue atheism is a religion, but this is an attempt at a False Negative Association. A False Negative Association attempts to link something negatively to render it undesirable or cloud the issue. In this case, the an apparent 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 based on the disbelief 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 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 reasonable proof for the existence of gods.
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 specific texts were the creation of divine inspiration. There is no proof of these assertions; that’s why believers need faith.
The same argument that proves your God exists is the same argument that demonstrates all the other gods exist. The first argument is the absence of evidence to refute the existence of your imaginary being. Sorry, but the lack of proof is not proof of absence. Absence 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? Sorry, you can’t believe in them all because all religions are exclusive. There are thousands of Christian Sects. Each sect has a unique way of identifying with God. If you believe in one denomination, you must reject the others.
So, other Christians who don’t believe in your sect are going to hell. So, if you pick the wrong one, oh my god, you are still going to hell. Everyone is going to hell, except you. That is crazy logic, but that’s how they sell membership in their denomination. So, we are all going to hell In someone else’s religion.
The second argument is that believing in something makes something real. That’s a problem because if belief equaled fact, all Gods would be real again. The divine inspiration of a holy text is the third primary argument. This complete mess relies on circular logic. It starts with the assertion that their God exists because there is no proof that it doesn’t and because they believe it is so.
Agnostic Atheism is the position encompassing both atheism and agnosticism. A conclusion comes from the lack of evidence and logic to support the concept. No gods, no master.
The Answer is Common Ground
Please start with the common foundation that we are going to hell in someone else’s religion. We are all atheists to most of the 2,000 plus religions. It gives us reason to pause and consider that we might be wrong about what we believe. Doubt is the doorway to freedom.
Next, let common sense and logic be the guiding principles for your thinking, instead of mythology or superstition. Use a process we call comparative analysis. What is the process of comparative analysis? It’s a scientific model for conducting comparative research. When you use this process, it enables you to see the historical similarities between different beliefs and faiths.
The answer to a productive dialogue with others requires common sense and logic. We must go beyond ideological labels.
Those who don’t like being labeled an Atheist are more comfortable with terms like a non-conformist, skeptic, rationalist, 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. It means they are free from religious, ethnic, and cultural prejudice and bias.
Many people don’t ascribe to any part of Western theology and still desire to follow the inner quest’s call. Does this resonate with you? You can fulfill this quest without religion. Spiritual exploration does not require the belief in religion, just the ability to follow a process.
Going to Hell in Someone Else’s Religion
When we use common sense, even the deeply religious can find common ground. We can help others use more of their critical thinking abilities by using comparative analysis.
A comparative analysis is a scientifically based process of comparative religious study 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 peeling an onion. Layer by layer, it exposes what is beneath. Illuminating facts does not always mean we end up agreeing.
The answer to finding common ground with others starts with agreeing that we all going to hell in someone else’s religion. Once you can agree on this point, then you open the dialogue to other topics, such as morality, with or without religion.
If this article resonates, you’ll find more to spark your interest on our blog. To learn more about our organization, see our page FAQ. Register on our site to receive discounts on training and unadvertised material. We comply with all GDPR guidelines and never share or sell your contact data.
Are you interested in spiritual exploration? Check out the blended learning process at the core of our teaching process. It reflects what Joseph Campbell called the Hero’s Journey (1). Our learning options include both face-to-face and virtual learning sessions. Please consider donating and supporting our mission.
(1) Atheist, Wikipedia
(2) Agnosticism, Wikipedia
(3) Joseph Campbell & Joseph Campbell’s book The Hero’s Journey, Wikipedia