Finding Common Shared Values and the Benefits of Aligning Shared Values

Finding Common Shared Values and the Benefits of Aligning Shared Values

What is the common ground for dialogue? What topic allows for an open discussion of other topics? Learn the benefits of aligning shared values. Come and see how it can be done.

Our sacred ground contains the guiding principles of our worldview. People protect these beliefs because they identify with them. The more strongly you believe in something, the more sensitive you are to people challenging your sacred ground.

People who follow a religion have certain tenets of belief that are non-negotiable. So, discussing any ideas that do not align with their sacred ground can undermine constructive dialogue over sensitive issues. In order to discuss these concepts, you must be invited to walk on their sacred ground, which means finding common shared values on which to build trust.

So, what is the common ground on which trust can be built when people come from vastly different worldviews? Religions program their believers to reject all ideas that are different from their core beliefs. How, then, can we get believers to look at their sacred ground from another point of view without triggering their fight, flight or freeze response?

The Meaning of Shared Values in Society

We each have a hierarchy of values shaped by our culture. Many societies promote honesty, integrity, and courage as core values. Freedom, equity, equality, and inclusion are positive cultural values. A group can use any values to build commonality. The meaning behind values can be either positive or harmful.

For example, unity is a shared value that promotes teamwork and cooperation. The Third Reich used the shared value of unity to disguise its true intent of racial discrimination. People in the Third Reich were devoted to the unifying principle of nationalism, which prevented them from distinguishing between favoritism and the scapegoating of marginalized groups.

The use of common values to drive behavior that we saw in the Third Reich is mirrored again today in right-wing conservative values both in Britain and the United States. Why can’t the people involved in these ideologies see the harmful intent of this thinking? The answer is that they are subject to brainwashing and propaganda that erases their ability to use common sense and logic.

Common Sense and Logic

Everyone thinks they have made the right decision when establishing their beliefs. People who follow one of the 10,000-plus religions substantiate their beliefs in some way that makes sense to them. Their religions tell them to reject and distrust anyone who doesn’t believe their sacred ground.

Organized religions subvert the meaning of shared values in society to support their ideology. Religions gravitate toward the extremist points in their ideologies when they are threatened. If you are labeled an unbeliever or heretic in a culture controlled by a religion, you are subject to penalties, up to and including torture and execution.

People who follow a religion have difficulty discussing their sacred ground with people who they label atheists (1) and agnostics (2); these are non-believers. So, how does a non-believer discuss the sacred ground of a believer? That’s a good question.

One way to do this is to tell them you believe what they do. However, being dishonest is not a good way to build a relationship. What you do is find a philosophical position that aligns with their beliefs without triggering their fight, flight, or freeze reaction. What is the common ground between believers and non-believers?

Philosophical Positions

Theists believe in the existence of gods, and their belief in god is based on religious mythology and superstition. There’s a catch. To believe in a god or gods, one must accept the religion associated with them. Finding common shared values around a religion makes you a follower.

Some religions have several gods. Christianity has more than one god; they don’t like to admit it. It has the good gods (father, son, and spirit) and the evil god Satan. That means Christianity is a pantheistic belief system. However, they don’t see it that way. They use apologetics to explain away this and all the other inconsistencies of the system.

The term Atheist comes from the 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 harmful disclaimer for our disbelief in many other things. If you don’t believe in aliens or vampires, we say that a person does not believe in them—no need to create a unique term. We don’t label people as “athe-aleien” or “athe-vampire.”

The word Atheist is really a derogatory term. It describes someone who does not believe in gods. In reality, everyone is an atheist to all the other religions. So, we are all atheists to someone else.

Common sense and logic tell us we are born atheists. When we are born, we are absent from any beliefs. Sadly, finding common shared values with the innocence of the childlike mind is no longer possible. The cancer of religion infects most cultures.

If you believe in one god, like Odin, you still reject the others, Mithra, Jesus, etc. So, that makes believers in one god atheists in the eyes of all the other 2,000 plus gods. See, that was easy. Here’s the answer to the question: What is the common ground?

Are You Going to Hell in Someone Else’s Religion?

The answer is that we are all going to hell. No matter which religion you choose in someone else’s religion, we are going to hell. So, we are all atheists in someone else’s religion.

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 those who follow one god. Atheists have none.

The Error of Asserting Atheism Is a Religion

Some people assert that atheism is a religion. Atheism is not a religion. If you reject the belief in imaginary beings, it does not mean you believe in some other myth. Atheism does not have a system of common shared beliefs or values. Atheism is a conclusion based on disbelief in imaginary beings like 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.

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, and there is no reasonable proof for the existence of gods.

Believers don’t know their god exists. They have faith that it does. If they had facts, they wouldn’t need faith. Believers assert that 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 exact proof of the existence of Zeus, Odin, Santa Claus, unicorns, and fairies. So, finding common shared values based on the lack of proof is precarious and illogical.

What is The Common Ground?

In the end, we are all going to hell in someone else’s religion. Some say, why not believe in them all? Sorry, you can’t believe in them because all religions are mutually exclusive belief systems. 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 god exists because there is no proof that it doesn’t and because they believe it is so.

Agnostic atheism encompasses both atheism and agnosticism. It is the conclusion from the lack of evidence and logic to support the concept of a Supreme Being. No gods, no master.

The Benefits of Aligning Shared Values

Make Better Decisions

When we are aligned with positive values, we make informed decisions that benefit us and the world. As we work toward goals that promote positive intentions and motivations, it provides a sense of fulfillment. (3).

Authentic Living

As we follow our true values, we can resist the unhealthy trends and values in our culture. By embracing the positive values of equality, diversity, and inclusion, we can become a positive example for our culture.

Spiritual and Personal Growth

The benefits of aligning shared values is the platform for any positive spiritual community. Our spiritual community helps us overcome the obstacles to our growth and supports us during hard times in all areas of our lives.

Personal, Social, and Career Impacts

In our work and personal lives, creating shared interests and values with others supports positive goals. It connects personal success with the community. A society should be measured on the amount of wealth held by a few individuals or corporations, but on shared wealth and resources of the culture. (4)

Finding Common Shared Values

meaning of shared values in society

We start with the common ground that we are going to hell in someone else’s religion. Next, we observe that there are 10,000 religions in the world. So, even if you follow one of these religions, you are still going to hell in the other 9,999 religions.

That means we are all atheists to most of the religions ever created. It gives us reason to pause and consider that we might be wrong about what we believe. Doubt is the doorway to freedom.


See if you can get them to try a new approach to viewing their sacred ground. You can keep your religion; just set it aside for a moment. Try a process we call comparative analysis. What is comparative analysis? It’s a scientific model for comparative religious research. Using this process, you can see the historical similarities between different beliefs and faiths. It is a simple process using common sense and logic.

Beyond Labels

Those who don’t like Atheist’s label might be more comfortable with terms like non-conformist, skeptic, rationalist, freethinker, or spiritual explorer. The term non-believer or unbeliever has a negative connotation.

Not being a part of a group of believers is bad 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 that persecute freethinkers. Or as they call them, unbelievers, heretics, or infidels. Be careful. People kill other people who don’t believe in their god.

A productive dialogue with others requires common ground. So, we must go beyond ideological labels. The benefits of aligning shared values allow us to establish respect and trust.

Still, people like to categorize things. As a result, some refer to this state of free thinking as atheism. It’s 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.

We Are All Going to Hell in Someone Else’s Religion

What is the Common Ground? We're All Going to Hell in Someone Else's Religion

This simple, logical assertion that we’re all going to hell in someone’s belief system provides the common ground we are looking for. Once we establish the foundation for the open conversation, we can use processes like comparative analysis to delve further into the arena of religious belief.

A comparative analysis is a scientifically based process of comparative religious study in which people can examine religious and philosophical concepts in a non-threatening way. The conclusions we reach with comparative analysis will help us better understand 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 agree, but it’s a starting point for future discussions.

In Conclusion

What is the common ground between believers and non-believers? It’s simple: We are all going to hell in someone else’s religion. Once you decide on this point, you open the dialogue to other topics, such as morality, with or without religious dogma. Try this approach yourself. The benefits of aligning shared values provide the anchor you need to establish respect.


(1) Atheism: Wikipedia. 
(2) Agnosticism. Wikipedia. 
(3) Why Values Matter. 
(4) Harvard Business School, Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness.