Atheism Plus Finding Common Ground

CommonGround“It is thus tolerance that is the source of peace, and intolerance that is the source of disorder and squabbling.” – Pierre Bayle

Just about everybody knows that my immediate family are believers of some sort. My wife is a non-denominational Christian. My older daughter is somewhat agnostic where doctrines are concerned, but does believe in a higher power. My second oldest daughter is a born-again (as is her husband). My third oldest daughter is making a transition from Protestantism to Catholicism. My son, the only one of my children who lives at home, is finding his own way – but at this time he considers himself at least a nominal Christian.

I Love Them Unconditionally…

Nobody is perfect. Nobody can totally, completely and unequivocally embrace perfection in their daily lives without saying, doing or thinking something that is going to offend another human being. And to those who really, truly believe they can, they are lying to themselves. We all have our pride and prejudices, our deeply ingrained ideologies and philosophies and things that we choose to believe – even in spite of evidence to the contrary. Even atheists.

For me, I hold out hope that the world will be a better place for the future of the human race. However, the world as it is now – with the wars and rumors of wars – evidences that we will surely destroy ourselves. I hold out hope that one day my Government will be completely neutral where religion is concerned and that it will recognize all of its citizens as truly equal. However, the Government, as it is now, evidences that this will not happen any time soon.

My family also has their own points of view and ideologies. Some I do not agree with. Sometimes I hear things that disappoint me. Occasionally, I even get disappointed in what certain members are taught as facts, and their defense of their arguments remain static. Some of them do not agree with me, or some of my ideologies and philosophies. They even get disappointed in some of the things that I do and day. You know what?

That’s OK…

I love them, completely and unashamed. They consist of my life partner, my progeny – my very flesh and bone. That includes my step-daughter, whom I do not differentiate from my biological children. She’s been in my life since she was 18 months old and has given my wife and I two beautiful grandchildren. That also includes my oldest daughter from my first marriage, whom I do not see often at all (including a long span of time where I did not see her at all), who has also given my wife and I a beautiful grandchild.

These individuals are paramount to me, and there is nothing – I mean absolutely nothing – that they can say, that would cause me to disown them, put them on ignore or chastise them to the point where they would choose to have nothing to do with me. Even when they make disagreeable comments and/or jokes about subjects that others have said, quite clearly, should result in not just chastisement, but complete separation from them.

Not Gonna Happen…

Look, I totally get it. I am a civil rights activist. I advocate for equality for everyone, no matter who or what they are. Period. End of story. I have strong opinions on a wide variety of subjects and have spoken out against a lot of things over the course of my career as a writer, author, journalist and activist. I will continue to do so. But if anyone cares to know what will cause me to drop an acquaintance, friend or colleague like a hot potato, it is the insistence that I divide myself or cause myself to be divide from my family for any reason.

Yesterday, I got a phone call from one of my daughters. She was in the neighborhood and wanted to know if she could come by and take me and my wife out for some frozen yogurt. What went through my mind? The fact that my daughter is making a special effort to come and visit, to spend time with us, to enjoy each other’s company and to bring the puppies over for a visit as well. Was I thinking about religion? No. Was I thinking about debates? No. Was I thinking about anything other than the fact that I love my children and any time I get to spend with them is time I make a special effort to take.

If this upsets you, then that is singularly your problem. Personally, I don’t give a shit.

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  2 comments for “Atheism Plus Finding Common Ground

  1. September 9, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    Excellent. Thank you for being a voice of reason and compassion.

    • September 9, 2012 at 6:26 pm

      Thank you, Maria. I appreciate the props. I’ve enjoyed your writing for quite a while. 🙂

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