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Our common ground: Atheist to evangelical — and beyond

My heart and I are very concerned about the conflict that exists throughout our world. I keep wondering what it would take to increase the possibility of a more peaceful world. My conclusion is that we need a pathway in conversation that is respectful and illuminates what we need to know. One of the obstacles to this kind of conversation (or thinking) is related to various narrow and absolute concepts of God which are embedded in many cultures.

Some religious doctrine appears to be fear-driven. These indoctrinations inform us that tragedy will befall those who do not follow their belief system. Explicit and implicit is the havoc created by identifying all other belief systems as “wrong.” This mindset creates separation between hearts and minds throughout mankind.

I am searching for a common language, precise terminology, which could reveal beliefs that many of us share. With clearly defined language, I believe that there is a lot more common ground between us than currently is recognized. I am looking for insight and assistance to determine how much validity there is in this idea.

Universal Intimacy

Mankind has not fully developed a personal intimacy with himself or his environment. If one is not functioning in accordance with one’s True Self (where True Self refers to our natural state of being at birth without environmental influence; just as the nature of an oak seed is to become all it can be), then their life may reflect a false set of assumptions, reoccurring questions regarding the purpose of life, or just unconscious responses to daily events. When these kinds of false lenses are used, the stage is set for universal conflict within and without all boundaries.

Three aspects of universal intimacy to consider:

• Personal intimacy: Understanding, internalizing and living in accordance with one’s true core. There is a implicit order of growth in everything from birth to maturity.

• Environmental intimacy: Knowing, feeling and functioning in accordance with the laws of our environment as the basis of one’s intimate bond with the natural world. That is an inherent product of being human and it is palpable. You can feel it. Our peak performance and sustainability depends on the quality of this connection. Cutting down the trees in the rain forest devastates our environment. We need what the trees give us, and the trees use what mankind gives them.

• Relationship intimacy: Remembering that every human comes from the same source. We are more alike than we are different. I respect, nourish, protect and support myself by giving to others what I lovingly give to myself.

I am looking for a continuum of concepts, thoughts and ideas linking atheists and religious fundamentalism. Within this continuum, there is possibly a large area of common ground. If the areas of commonality between the extremes were explored and recognized, possibly more common agreement and acceptance would emerge. Statisticians typically described areas of interest as normal when they fall in the center of a population which includes the middle two-thirds of that population. The remaining one-third of the population is split, leaving one sixth of the population on either extreme. If we can generate consensus within the middle two-thirds of the population, my speculation is that we would find common ground on many issues that currently appear to be in conflict.

We can develop a new language using precise terminology just as lawyers, doctors and plumbers have their own descriptive language that enables them to communicate more effectively about the specifics of their common endeavors.

The Mission

I want to develop a research study using precise terminology. The goal of the study is to determine the amount of common ground that exists in society. Precise terminology, plus a broad cross-section of ideas and beliefs, needs to be factored into this developmental process. I am asking for your ideas and help in developing this study. Please log on to JOYAL.org and give me your ideas. 

Charles “Al” Huth is an author, teacher, workshop presenter, and magician. He has published "Living an Extraordinary Life: The Magic of Oneness, and Essentials for a Changing World: Living Harmoniously with Yourself and Others." He invites you to visit his website at joyal.org to participate. Send 600- to 700-word articles on all aspects of inner peace to Sally McKirgan innerpeaceforyou@live.com.