Can two truths coexist?
Many Christians would say no. No-one can come to the Father except through me. Many atheists would say no, too, because the concept of God is as unlikely as that of a teapot orbiting Jupiter. To me, though, it is possible for someone to be atheist for good reason, and another to be religious for good reason, and for the good reasons of one not to apply to the other. That I do not choose your atheism does not mean that I do not respect it. Christians should know that I know in part; your part may seem inconsistent, because we do not see the whole. And I am irked enough by atheist Quakers saying “When you are as spiritually mature as me you will be non-theist too” to not say something similar.
It is like Athenian v Spartan, Apollo v Dionysus, Enlightenment v Romanticism, the language of a scientific paper v lyric and metaphor. We think differently. That is our strength. Coming to respect and appreciate the other’s way of thinking and expressing thought enriches both.
Or, her experience of Christianity is oppressive, and in liberating herself she has left it, but in mine I have felt the oppression but have also found liberation, so have stayed. For me the liberation is real.
Here is a dispute. I could go through it, showing at every point how I was right- it is tempting. Violet II asked Violet I why she referred us to lessons on communication. Well, if Violet II had taken an atheist stance and I had said the physical evidence of Noah’s Flood is overwhelming and “scientists” who deny it are entrapped by Satan, we would be unlikely to come to concord, or even courteous, respectful disagreement; but here we started with friendly intent, and it would be sad to lose that through misunderstanding.
Though I still assert that being able to respect a way of thought which is not my own is essential to such friendly dialogue.
What it misses out is that we can both be right. Scientific consensus moves on when one expert in a narrow field produces an explanation of evidence which convinces the others. This does not apply to internet debate, where we dialogue through comment boxes rather than peer-reviewed journal articles.
Elevatorgate might be a good illustration, though. It is not strictly a dispute between all men and all women, but between high and low sex drives, or beliefs about casual sex. In the Tube, I saw an advert for holidays in Las Vegas: Come to a place where your accent is an aphrodisiac. Or- Las Vegas! You know about the drink and gambling, but have you heard of the no-strings casual sex!!? I was disgusted, but not everyone will be. Onywye. Elevatorgate.
-He meant well.
-She was repulsed.
He did not force himself on her, but made a proposal. There are arguments why he should not have done so, but feminist objections to slut-shaming make them more difficult to put consistently as absolute objections.
How would I put this as a seventh rule for pretentious ape?
Accept that the other’s contrary belief does not threaten your own. I do not have to convince thetruthisstrangerthanfiction that Noah’s Flood is just a story, to be certain of that myself. That is not quite it:
Accept that a belief you do not share may have value. At least sometimes. Try to find that value??
Or something. You may have better words for it, so do comment.