I just read an article on theists vs. atheists and it was not a waste of time. It was a very good look at how the non-believers and believers can get along and why insisting on not getting along isn’t a good idea at all.
Over on my other blog I go on about God a lot. I try to write for the atheists and those folks who grew up feeling strangled by religion and so have trouble with the word “God”. (Since I found a definition of God that doesn’t include a definition of hell, I’m OK with the word and concept.) But I cannot speak about my own spirituality and spiritual process without including God because that’s not how I am wired. And apparantly we are wired for such things. Faith or a need for a faith is emerging as something genetic. And for that reason, I am baffled at how atheists get through their day, their life without having a faith, without prayer, without a desire for a connection to something bigger and better than oneself, and at the same time a part of oneself.
I have always had that desire. I attended a number of Bible camps growing up and have always tried to sort out this religion thing. I never could get the deal with Jesus, because the whole dying-on-the-cross thing baffles me. No, don’t try to explain. Many have tried before you, and not one has been able to get me to understand why his death changed anything. (Which reminds me of a discussion with a former Christian friend: What is being saved? My answer: Remembering your spirit and being true to it.)
So I had to go find my faith outside the religion offered me (Norway is an Evangelical Lutheran nation). My good fortune is that I grew up with a woman who had a philosophical and investigative spirit and introduced me to things like theosophy and the Rosicrucians. Said woman was married to an atheist. I wish I had asked him more about his lack of faith. But he was one of the most spiritual people I have ever known, because he always managed to give and get respect; even abused animals trusted him automatically. So I know that those Christians who insist on shoving their (negative version of) religion down my throat are missing the point of their own religion, and the derogatory attitude some atheists have towards anybody who believes in (a) God is likewise missing the point of being human. Most people, theists and atheists alike, fall somewhere in the great middle, and get along fine with everyone else, and want to. And that is what the article I linked to above shows.
If you’ve been defining others in your world as “those people”, please go read. There is no “them”. There is only us.