Believers and atheists: How to (sometimes) agree

17 May 2010

Quick pointer: Derek Sivers, creator of CD Baby and now a TED Talks-type inspirational kind of guy, relays an overheard conversation between an atheist and a believer. The short version is an argument you've certainly already heard: "You ask how I can disbelieve in your God? Well, the same way that you disbelieve all those other gods." But it's a nice write-up; take a look.

The point Derek draws is a good one: Even where we disagree, we can still find and emphasize the points of agreement. It's something to keep in mind. There are times and places to hold the faith-vs-reason discussion with no holds barred, and there are times and places to set it aside and focus on other stuff.

Oh, the atheist in the conversation reveals one more great point: In this age of Google and Wikipedia and what not, getting terribly invested in a topic is no longer a requirement for holding useful knowledge about it. Expertise will always remain hard-won, but anyone can at least pick up the basics of a topic – and some useful facts, too – with incredible ease. Whatever our sides on any issue, that's a wonderful development in our ability to maybe make real headway in resolving our disagreements.

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