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Letting God Unite, Not Separate

June 25, 2007

Bridge atheism and theism? Impossible? Well, they are only one letter apart, for God’s sake (or no god’s sake)!

Seriously, the bridge will never be as broad as the territory on both sides, but why will so few admit that it exists? Haven’t many of us crossed it, perhaps on a fairly regular basis?

I don’t mean switching fully from believers in God to unbelievers necessarily, or vice-versa… but don’t we have doubts? Vascillate over puzzling questions? Perhaps anguish over emotionally charged “issues” with a God we hope (or fear) may exist?

Many “believers” (theists) are practical atheists, and many atheists are practically theists.

The first may be devoted church-goers who live six days a week as if there were no God.  They may even pray on many of those six days, but not feel any closer to the Answer-giver far away in heaven.

Atheists who are practically theists are those, probably in the millions in America now, who believe in God/god as more a universal field or “ground of being” than a “person.”  This view is technically not atheism, perhaps.  But it amounts to atheism from the viewpoint of a theist.  Yet such people (myself included) may find it convenient or automatic to speak to their amorphous god as if it were a person (thank God!).   Or they may speak of their god as a person, even if genderless (“Mother-Father God”).

This blog grows out of both my personal experience and my professional interest in furthering an important mission related to all this theism/atheism conflict.  As I’ve hinted, the conflict is both internal and interpersonal.   The mission is to bring together leaders (as well as followers) of diverse spiritual belief systems on their common ground, and create dynamic cooperation toward world peace and meeting human needs.

Please post a response to my intentions and comments or just introduce yourself and your interests in this subject.

Howard Pepper

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. Christy permalink
    June 26, 2007 7:39 am

    This is my first time responding to a blog, but a friend recommended I check this out, since he knows my interest in spirituality vs religion. I, too, come from a Protestant background, but started questioning the “truths” I was “told” to believe as early as high school. By the time I hit college, I was pretty fed up with my denomination and religion, so plunged into studying other faith traditions. Although all of them had some attraction for me, they also failed to live up to my expectations, so for about 25 years I chose to ignore religion entirely!

    Being out of any kind of religious practice did leave an emptiness, however, and about 6 years ago, I started to go back to church. BUT, the big difference is that I pick and choose what makes sense to me, and no longer feel guilty about veering away from dogma or church tradition. I honor all faith traditions as humanity’s feeble attempt to organize and “manage” huge and transcendent concepts that defy casual definition. I recognize that culture, history, hierarchy, and all sorts of human stuff often interfere with the basic truths and universal laws. But instead of criticizing religion from outside, I have chosen to work from within — not to proseletyze or persuade anyone of my “enlightenment” and “correctness”, but to grow and shine my light, and let others do the same in their own way and on their own path.

    I look forward to reading more on this page, and hearing from others who are trying to find their way out of fundamentalism or disbelief into a genuine cooperation and honoring of all our paths. CLW

  2. naturalspirituality permalink*
    July 27, 2007 3:56 am

    Thanks for your comments, Christy. Your experience is common to many people, although quite a few never come back to any kind of church fellowship. I intend that this blog will help inform people of the many options for joining others in spiritual fellowships that may be vastly different from anything they have seen or even been aware of. Incredible resources for support and emotional/spiritual stimulation are very close to virtually every American these days–in both online and in-person forms.

    Howard

  3. Scott permalink
    July 2, 2008 1:17 am

    This article drills into the heart of both a problem and a solution that should be at the forefront of spiritual issue discussions. I was disappointed that there were no more entries, and your website is not up now. If you have written more on this, or if you might be interested in exchanging ideas, please let me know. –SM

  4. July 16, 2009 5:11 am

    I agree, there’s a lot of common ground 😉

  5. Alt'ai,J.A permalink
    September 19, 2009 5:52 am

    I agree with you,it semms this is after all inevitable.

  6. March 20, 2010 7:14 pm

    i wouldn’t have guessed this had been great just a few years ago nevertheless it is crazy precisely how age switches the manner of how you experience diverse creative ideas, thank you regarding the blog post it happens to be nice to start reading some thing sensible once in a while in lieu of the conventional rubbish mascarading as information sites on the net, i’m off to enjoy a couple of hands of zynga poker, take care

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