One of those nights when the words wouldn't flow, alas. But progress none the less.
I came up with an interesting exercise:
If you and I sat down and made lists of things that are important to us, there would be a lot of duplicate items. Why don't we try an exercise? Take a pen and paper right now, and list out ten things that are important to you. I'll show you mine if you show me yours.It's kind of sad to think we might be reduced to making lists and checking them twice in order to find things to talk about, but hey. Considering that some religious folk seem to think we have nothing at all we agree on, at least it would be one way of demonstrating otherwise.
Ready? Here's mine, in no particular order of importance:
- My community
- My country and the world
- The environment
- Financial security
- Literacy and education
- Constitutional issues
How many things do we have in common? Probably quite a few. If we got into specifics, we'd probably notice quite a few differences in the details, some of them superficial, some of them more serious. But there's enough there to work with, isn't there?
This is just a little warm-up, to show you that we really do have enough interests in common to talk about. Most of us share common concerns. We want clean water to drink and clean air to breathe. We want kids to be healthy, and we want our communities to be vibrant. We want to make sure our economy's strong so that we all have a chance to work and support ourselves and our families. We want a better world.
Together, we can find ways to make that happen. Even when we disagree.
As I'm writing this, I'm conscious of the fact that there are some religious folk buried so deep in the dogma that there's no possible way we could hold a useful discussion, so I'm trying to aim this book away from them and at those who either want to talk to us, but aren't quite sure how, or those who never really considered we'd have anything to talk about but are willing to be surprised.
For those of you who might be afraid I'm getting too toothless here, I do get more confrontational later in the chapter. That's where I explain in no uncertain terms what the world would be like if atheists had never existed. Some folks might be a mite surprised.
It seems to me important to get across one metatheme in this book: Atheists are here to stay, and the world needs us like it or not, so you might as well learn how to get along with us.
Striking the right balance between friendly and firm has proven a bit difficult. We'll see how it turns out.
Your comments on this project thus far have been invaluable. I haven't incorporated your ideas and suggestions just yet, simply because NaNo demands looking forward rather than back, but most of what you guys said yesterday is going to end up tweaking the book considerably in revision. We'll hold a few discussions on specific points later. Right now, I just want to say thank you a thousand times THANK YOU, everybody drinks on the house (how I wish I could actually give you guys real live free drinks!), and keep the commentary coming. I don't care if you don't think you have something useful to add: I want to hear your thoughts. No, I NEED to hear your thoughts.
This book is for all of us. Without you, it's not going to be a very useful book at all. So: thoughts, links, quibbles, anything you want to toss at me, bring it on.
Muchos gracias, mis amigos. Salud!