Yet Another Experiment

Last December if you had asked me about my friends, I would have told you they were all nonbelievers of some persuasion or another. But back then I ran into a fellow blogger who is a devout Catholic. Roxane wrote about me and I felt obliged to write back. Instead of getting into a "blog war" we decided to take our conversation privately to email and have been writing each other back and forth ever since.

Now I would call her a friend. Do I understand her worldview? Does it make sense to me? No, it really doesn't. But she seems like a good person, kind and compassionate. With Roxane, I've been learning to see that there are religious people who aren't like the media stereotypes that make me apoplectic with impotent indignation.

Interestingly, in this same time period I've also come to see several family members that are also moderately religious to seriously devout in a new light. I've engaged them as well, and it has really expanded my perspective of people who are so diametrically opposed to how I view the world. It's been eye-0pening to say the least.

Last week Roxane got a crazy idea that she and I should co-write a blog. Nothing intense, just a weekly joint post. She thought I'd say no, but I surprised her and said yes immediately. So we started AtheistCatholic.com and today was our first post.

In the past couple of days I've told a few of my friends about what I'm doing. I've gotten mixed responses. Some people said I'm wasting my time. Others thought it was a good idea. First I should probably explain the goal of this new experiment. Because that is most definitely what it is. It might not work out, but I'm willing to give it a good ol' college try.

We want to share some of our discussion publicly, and have people join our conversation, mainly about our worldviews. It's not a place for debate or attacking the opposing team. It's more about coming to hopefully understand each other, and maybe even learn more about ourselves in the process. I've done that with Roxane already so I want to share that insight and hopefully get even more from the interactions we have over there.

One more thing. I am not being an accommodationist here. This isn't about compromising and bending over backward to the religious worldview. As you know, I have very strong opinions about naturalism/atheism and religion. But, this is about people getting along, being friends despite opposite viewpoints, and learning about others and ourselves.

If you're interested in joining the conversation, head over there and say hi. Just please be courteous. This is about building bridges, not isolating ourselves.

4 comments:

  1. Roxane B. SalonenApril 13, 2011 at 9:07 PM

    Neece, Hi! I saw a ping and was reminded that your post would be up. I'm really looking forward to our experiment and am really hopeful it will be fruitful. By the way, this was a very nice post! I felt honored to be part of it. It's really interesting to hear the story of our friendship told from your point of view, and presented to your readers. You explained yourself well and set things up very nicely. Thank you for that! I look forward to hearing from some of your readers on our mutual blog. Peace!

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  2. Hi Roxane!
    I'm hoping for a positive experiment as well. :) See you over at AtheistCatholic.com! :)

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  3. Good luck on this. Debate is a good thing in my opinion and it will be interesting to see how readers from different points of view will respond to the data and ideas that present during the discussions. One of my best friends believes in God and we have conversations regarding "faith" frequently. What I find most interesting during these discussions is the amount of emotional connection he has to his faith. It is as important to him as food. Its fun to navigate through our conversations...I challenge and he circumvents or he challenges and I look for data which sometimes I cannot produce. At the end of the day we have a nice meal together and he's always happy. That is the shocking thing to me. He's always happy no matter what horrors present or know matter how unjust or undeniably horrible something is. He's just happy. I laugh about it because at the end of the day he smiles going to sleep and I'm tortured with facts and atrocities and worry. When you have faith I just think its easier to let so much stuff "go" People always tell me to lighten up...Maybe I should learn a thing or two from people who believe in Invisible things that comfort them in strange ways. But no.....I'm too rational for that most likely. No flames here I'm not saying that all rational thinkers are without a sense of humor or that they are not happy with life. I just worry too much. My time with my friend who believes does make me happy, though, and I thank him for that even if I remain unconvinced about the existence of God.

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  4. Hi Harold, it sounds like your conversations with your best friend are great for both of you.
    I just have to say, Roxane and I aren't debating. We did a bit of it in our email exchange but felt that it just made us both defensive and didn't change anything.
    No, our blog together is about understanding, conversation and learning from each other.

    About your friend always being happy, even in the face of horrible things, that doesn't sound healthy to me. Of course, worrying and making yourself miserable about things you can't do anything about isn't healthy either.
    Maybe the best way of approach would be somewhere between the two of you, where you are happy when things are good and upset about things when they are bad, but then you try to make things better during the bad times. In other words, being proactive and realistic.
    Of course, hopefully you already are proactive. You didn't say, I'm just saying what I think is a good way to go through life. :)

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