General Question

prolificus's avatar

What is the common ground shared amongst atheists, agnostics, theists, etc.?

Asked by prolificus (6540points) March 14th, 2011

In reference to this response from this question, what are the points of agreement you share with someone of a different or opposing belief system?

For example:

As a theist, the common ground I share with an atheist is the need to verify information before believing it is true.

As a theist, the common ground I share with an agnostic is the feeling of dealing with the elements of uncertainty.

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27 Answers

chyna's avatar

Love of human kind.

Blackberry's avatar

We’re all still insignificant animals in a vast universe that don’t know the answers to the big questions.

Seelix's avatar

As a theist, the common ground I share with an atheist is the need to verify information before believing it is true.

How is this even possible? How can one verify the existence of a god?

prolificus's avatar

@Seelix – that’s my story and I’m sticking to it! ;-) Actually, I’ll answer, but not here, not now.

Rarebear's avatar

I would hope, humanism.

crisw's avatar

Hopefully, the desire to do what is right and just.

Soubresaut's avatar

Tears at deaths, tears at births.

bolwerk's avatar

The desire to oppress others. Particularly entertaining is how Randroids, teabaggers, and the general right-wing talk radio crowd seem all too willing to work together to oppress others.

josie's avatar

We all inhabit this small planet
We all breath the same air
We all cherish our children’s future
And we are all mortal

(John F Kennedy)

josie's avatar

The desire to oppress others (?)

Have to say, I never would have thought of that one.

iamthemob's avatar

As a weak atheist (or perhaps a strong agnostic), I share the belief at the core of most theistic structures that the choice to either do good or bad is left in the hands of humanity.

Rarebear's avatar

@iamthemob @crisw As someone who is somewhat religious and and atheist, the reason I find no contradiction is that at its core my religion (Judiasm) is a humanist religion and the core principles are the same in my mind.

CaptainHarley's avatar

We’re all human and prone to error.

tinyfaery's avatar

The common ground is the ground we walk on.

SavoirFaire's avatar

We all think polytheists are full of it? ~

Kardamom's avatar

We all try to do what is good and right and just, but we aren’t quite sure exactly what that means, for ourselves or anyone else. Good and right and just, have different meanings within different contexts (even within religious contexts) and things are not always black and white for any of us.

crisw's avatar


I just finished a very interesting novel by Geraldine Brooks called People of the Book. You might enjoy it.

Rarebear's avatar

@crisw It doesn’t look like it has spaceships, laser beams, aliens or zombies, though.

ninjacolin's avatar

I would say: The commanlity between atheists and theists alike is that all our conclusions are rational.

Nially_Bob's avatar

Generally, we’re all being kept alive by a sack of twitching muscle in our chests and a ball of (mostly) burning hydrogen about 92 million miles away.

Ideologically, each individual theist or atheist could have any number of common opinions, hobbies or experiences that they share in common with the other. I know a theist who also enjoys invertebrate keeping for example. This is with regard to the debate itself too. Some theists see homosexuality as sinful while others say, “Live and let live” just as some atheist may see homosexuality as unnatural while others don’t.

It’s difficult to pinpoint a shared ground between two groups when each does not necessarily have as specific a set of beliefs as one may believe.

Electra's avatar

The only common ground these groups share necessarily is that none of them believe things on the basis of the fact that someone else has uttered these things. That is, the groups you mentioned need facts that go beyond the ravings of some person who may be insane to consider whether or not these facts are valid.

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

It matters enough to all of them to talk about it.

LostInParadise's avatar

In general, the difference between theists and atheists is where they think values come from. The theist will say that values come from God, perhaps in the form of sacred writings. Some atheists believe that values can be derived from science and others (my group) believe that values are ultimately human decisions with historical and cultural connections. Regardless of supposed origin, the values for the most part overlap, with some notable exceptions, like the Catholic attitude toward birth control.

There are, unfortunately, fundamentalists who think that science can be derived from holy texts. To me, they correspond to the atheists who think that morality can be derived from science. In the one case we have people trying to use religion to encroach on science and in the other case we have people trying to use rationality to establish spiritual values.

bolwerk's avatar

@LostInParadise: Values are almost always emotive. In the end, the difference between theists and (most?) atheists is most often one of pure indifference. Your everyday believer in God doesn’t really care or think about it much – the decision to believe in God just doesn’t affect him/her, even if believing in God is silly and illogical. Most atheists do care, and do think about it a lot – to the point of insecurity precisely because their beliefs are reactionary. They don’t like authoritarian theism, the other people who think about it a lot, so they break for atheism.

Electra's avatar

No one has ever oppressed anyone simply because he was an atheist or an agnostic; but millions of people have died because of theists and their crazy fanaticism.

Electra's avatar

Ooops, I need to make a correction to my first response on this thread—I thought it only included atheists and agnostics; I wasn’t thinking that it included theists for some reason, or I wouldn’t have answered as I did. Some theists most certainly believe what they believe on the basis of the fact that some other human being has uttered what they have uttered. Agnostics and atheists aren’t implicated in such idiocy by definition.

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