Human beings are a queer lot! Every human society appears to be dividing itself like an amoeba! Religions, nations, political parties, any kind of human association seems to be running towarsd a split. Athists are increasing numbers, so we say and think. They are spread all over the world. Sanskrit language has a very apt description of human mind. It says " Pinde pinde matirbhinnah, kunde kunde navam payah!" Every pond ahs diffferent water and every man has a different mind. Atheists are a particularly difficult lot. No atheist will accept anything because someone tells him to. Domination by numbers will simply be rejected.
How are we going to maintain our unity? We must lay some ground rules to maintain our unity. We can not allow ourselves to stand divided. Any ideas how it can be done?
*If I were going to write a problem statement, it would go something like this:
Atheists from around the world and within countries and within families have different cultural experiences and expectations. Conflicts arise because of those differences.
*If I were to write a goal statement, it would be something like this:
Reframe conflict as opportunity to discover and develop creative solutions.
*If I were to write an options exploration statement, it would be something like:
Listen to and acknowledge what others write.
Express ones own ideas, not to quarrel, but to get all options on the table.
Identify different themes.
Recognize and value differences, using them to clarify issues.
Look for pros and cons of each option using a cost/benefit analysis.
When agreements occur, celebrate.
When disagreements continue, get back to work.
EVERY word that you say is correct. You are right because you realise that a reconcillation is required. At the time of conluding this discussion, what you say will be of great use to me.
Madhukar - this is actually quite a good lot of material on culture shock.... http://www.google.com.au/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=culture%20shock&a...
I am fascinated by the possibility of interaction with Atheists like you from around the world;
"Atheists of the World Unite!" the first thing I think is that - this is a good concept and it may involve limited, basic, tolerable concepts of uniform behavior -and that for this to become something that people all over the world start doing - would be a good thing."
Ah, the great "herding cats" analogy (I have a magnificent cat and I relish in the fact that she cannot be herded). But in the end, what is atheism? It is simply a lack of belief in god(s).
How much can that truly be unified? I can think of some areas: Separation of church and state. Wow, I honestly began this thinking there were going to be more, but I really just ran out. I mean, what else does "just atheism" entail? That's pretty much is all I could come up with. Now I don't want to deny the obvious: Most atheists accept empiricism and mathematical logic, most atheists tend to be politically liberal, most atheists are more accepting of nuanced explanations of how the universe works and are adverse to "black and white" reasoning; but all of those are just, most. That is one of the reasons that I really appreciate this forum. Atheists are a very diverse group and thank goodness we are. If we want to rid the world of a forced god belief we are going to have to appeal to a broad audience. That includes those that want to convince people that super-naturalism is a detriment to humanity that needs to be eliminated (my personal belief) to those that just want an even playing field and the free exchange of ideas (if I lived in a true theocracy that would be my goal and I just might be a little miffed at those that were pushing too hard too fast).
That is why I think this is a great forum. I have had discussions with other atheists with different outlooks than I have and have greatly appreciated them. Alice is more accommodating to theistic sensibilities than I am, Joan is more politically liberal than I am (I didn't think that was possible) and I've read many comments that where way more snarky than I think I even have the ability to be (and I certainly didn't think that that was even remotely possible).
So I think if we are going to have a unifying set of ground rules, it had better be really narrow or we risk alienating some of our best voices.
There, I just violated one of my own personal rules, pointing out a set of perils without laying out a set of alternative possibilities. And Madhukar, I couldn't have done it without your provocative post.
Thanks for taking interest in a long forgotten topic of discussion. Many things have been said by me and others on this topic. I am not a prophet but despite that, I want to add one thing with all the foresight at my command that the thinking "we are just atheists, we just don't believe in god, nothing more"is a shotrsighted thinking. This will undoubtedly change in future. Atheism in not just non-belief. It is belief in freethought, rationalism and secularism. Atheism is going to be a movement in future.