Christians and Atheists Still Agree

In the practice of Arbitration and Negotiation (both professional and personal) , the principle of identifying “common ground” is expressed often and in different ways. The idea being that recognizing commonality builds rapport and empathy thereby allowing the conflicting parties to move more smoothly toward a resolution. As the atheists of the West (e.g. the USA) become more vocal in the media and conflict with theists (particularly Southern Baptists Christians) increases, I thought I would offer this post listing the beliefs shared by both groups. Of course, it’s impossible to speak accurately on behalf of each and every member of either camp, so please don’t pummel me with the deviants exceptions.

  • Christians and atheists believe in absolute truth.
  • Atheists and Christians believe that morality is innate in humans.
  • Christians and atheists believe that the material universe exists (which is something that not all theists believe).
  • Atheists and Christians believe that life in the material universe matters.

On the common ground of these shared beliefs, it is possible for Christians and atheists to meet…just before attempting to utterly annihilate one another.



Filed under Religion

4 responses to “Christians and Atheists Still Agree

  1. Bad

    Christians have rather honorably over the last few centuries decided to stop killing and imprisoning us atheists for being atheists, but it would be nice if they’d realize that the only weapons that the new crop of vocal atheists are really bringing to bear on anyone IS argument and criticism.

    Obviously it’s wrong to generalize (not all atheists believe in absolute truth, not all theists or atheists believe that the universe exists, etc.) but I think a key thing most atheists and American Christians agree on is that people should be free to believe and observe the practices of their beliefs without anyone trying to use force or violence to get them to believe something else. That is something that will always set us together against, for instance, the horrid restrictions that countries like China or North Korea place on belief.

  2. welcome back Bad and thanks for your comment.

    while i might concede to your statement that “not all atheists believe that the universe exists”, i’m going to hold my position that all atheists believe in absolute truth. after all, atheism is the belief that there are no gods. it’s an absolute claim.

    i’m not aware of any expression of atheism which posits that the (material)universe doesn’t exist. can you tell me where i can read about one?

  3. Bad

    I think the problem is that you seem to define atheism via a belief, rather than the lack of a particular belief, which is more fundamental and, for most people that call themselves atheists, accurate.

    I’m an atheist, for instance, but being so does not require any belief, absolute or no, that there are no Gods. I simply do not believe in any, and have no reason to do so until given one.

    Also, I am an empiricist, as are most atheists, which one might certainly say is a very different thing from claiming absolute “Truth” (not that it prevents one from claiming that there is one, but it does involve a certain degree of skepticism about ever being able to discern it, since knowledge is an ongoing process for empiricists, never a destination).

    You ask for expressions of atheism, and I think that is mistaken in exactly the same way, because atheism is not a philosophy in and of itself, it’s a category. An example of what I mean, however, might be “universal ignorance” position defended by philosopher Peter Unger (who also happens to be an atheist).

    As for believers who doubt reality, there are many: many forms of gnoticism hold this world to be an illusion, and many theodicy theologies essentially argue that this existence is not “real.”

  4. thanks again…

    yeah, i was already familiar with the gnostics.

    i was also pretty sure that you’d bring up the bit that atheism is a “lack of belief” and i guess that i fail to appreciate the significant difference between a “lack of belief” and a “disbelief”.

    would you say that the following statements are significantly different? are either one of them an “atheist” statement?

    “i lack a belief in gods.”
    “i believe that there are no gods.”

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