THE BLOG
07/31/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Thank God for Atheists! A Word About Disagreement and Debate

It may sound strange but a lot of atheists not only read my blogs and articles, but they also respond -- maybe more than any other "group" of people. The best feed back I have received about the survey project I am working on have been from atheists. Now I know "they" tend to hate it when I generalize and say that an atheist's worldview is their form of spirituality and that their name for God is simply "life." Many respond indignantly and some even try to find ways to make my own worldview seem small or foolish. But, all the same, I love the fact that these responders are people who are engaged in thought, feeling and an active dialogue with those they don't agree with. Most of the time I'd much prefer a "fight" or "insult" thrown my way if I know there is some sincere thought and debate that comes as a part of the package.

Despite my absolute personal certainty in the existence of a mysterious and divine Spirit (God) that preceded all things, pervades all things and ultimately is the nature of all things, I am not afraid to hear the views of others, nor do I need the world to agree with me for me to be comfortable with what I live by. I place as much value in communication, dialogue and evolving worldviews as I do in certainty or blind faith. If I feel strongly enough about "my" way of seeing the world, than I should be more than willing to test it, hear other views and reconsider. I am not sure when unyielding beliefs became a good thing, but any close mindedness sounds dangerous to me. Sometimes it is just the willingness to listen that is of value. The act itself is good for the soul. And if you don't believe in a soul -- well, the act is good for humility, critical thinking and open heartedness which goes a long way in life -- especially if you want to be happy, have good relationships and manage stress.

Part of the gift we were "given" as human beings is the capacity to be self-aware and to understand the world according to its component parts and mechanics. When categories like science and religion, spiritual and atheist halt our ability to explore and seek to understand then we all lose out. If you are intent on your "way" being right or ruling this world I can assure you that such a drive doesn't come from confidence or clarity, but more than likely some inner fear, more often than not rooted in experiences you had long before you even know what the words "prejudice," "stubborn," or "biased" ever meant.

So, I thank God for diversity. I thank God for Atheists, and for all who oppose me, for I know that this world is far greater than any one mind, any one science, or anyone spirituality can contain. An infinite universe is by definition beyond total comprehension. So, let our ideas and inspirations and faiths interact and interface with at least a willingness to listen, and a best a shared intent to make the world a better place by sharing the best of who we are.