There’s a great article over at the Secular Student Alliance in which Camp Quest director Amanda K. Metskas talks about how tired she’s become of religious debates, and thinks a little about what might lie beyond them.
As someone who loves debate (including the religious variety) but also knows its limits, I’ve actually been mulling over a lot of these issues myself. We’ve heard, and are going to continue to hear, plenty of of arguments against religious beliefs and religion. And we’re going to see plenty of resulting pushback from believers, who are hardly going to give up their powerful dominance of society without a fight.
But let’s be serious for a second: at least in the short term, little of that is going to change anything: non-believers will be increasingly visible (get used to it!), but still a minority, and believers are not going to dump religion en masse. Given that, I often feel like there’s times and places where the discussion over who believes what and why and whether that’s justified or not just has to stop. It’s not always open for discussion: sometimes the issue is simply “here we are: figure out how to deal with it.”
I think most non-believers have spent their lives learning how to get along with, tolerate, and heck, vote for, believers (not like we have many choices!). Plenty of atheists bristle at religiosity (the likely apocryphal “hand-stabbing” atheists), or are even downright nasty and insulting to belief. But most of us pretty much stick to, at most, expressing ourselves heated words here and there, if we even bother. And we all get along just fine living and interacting with believers in the day to day.
I wonder if believers by and large know how to do the same back? Debates aren’t going away, but we can’t neglect the issue of figuring out how to get along better in the aftermaths.