For dinner tonight, I’m going to a grill-out at a a group I am helping my Christian and atheist friends take wing. The idea was started before I came along, but it has a philosophy behind it that I can get behind, and you should too no matter your political or theological position.
The group that is meeting tonight is called Convergence, and it’s trying to be interfaith without the barrier of having to have a faith (other terms I have heard used an inter-worldview and trans-faith). And basically, if you like intellectual discussion and trying to find common ground, this is great. If you prefer being divisive, then you will probably not feel comfortable.
Does this go against the ideas growing up in A+? I don’t see a necessary contradiction because the folks I work with hold to much the same values as I do (as described by Richard Carrier for A+): rationality, compassion, and personal integrity. Sure I don’t agree with the Christians about God and Jesus, but they don’t evangelize through Bible-slapping, and on social issues we seem to feel similarly. One of the earlier discussions the group had was whether it is okay for us to live with luxury while so much of the rest of the world has decrepit living conditions (to put it nicely). These are conversations that can and do happen at atheists meetings as well, but to make the changes we want it is necessary to talk to the other 80+% of the country.
This won’t reach out to all religious folks, especially those that love their Jesus but don’t seem to think the “love my neighbor” stuff is all that literal. Again, the values described above seem to be a prerequisite for making such a group work, be productive, and create a community that unites rather than divides.
Currently the group exists only in Columbus, as far as I know, but we hope that it expands. If you are interested, let me know as we want to make organizations like this grow. It’s great for atheists to work with the religious to show we don’t all eat babies. It’s great for the religious because it shows that the next generation is more tolerant, more reasonable, and more inviting than the previous generation. And I only want that to keep getting better.
But for now, got’s to gets to the grillin’!