the deeper connection between believers and atheists

"Same Iceberg" cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward

“Same Iceberg” cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward

[CLICK HERE TO GET THE PRINT OF THIS CARTOON!]
For decades I struggled to understand. I was in intellectual, theological anguish for so long. Then, in 2009, I had a dream of a waterfall and I woke up in complete peace. My mind was at rest. Finally! That peace of mind has not gone away. It abides.

One of the things I came to see was that we are all connected at a deep and fundamental level. Only thoughts and language seems to separate us. But these are fleeting illusions. They are just thoughts. They are just words. And the idea is not the thing. The word is not the thing. We are all experiencing the same thing, we are all in the same reality, but understanding it through our own paradigms, ideologies, world views, beliefs… and articulating it with our own languages and words.

I learned not to get caught up in appearances and not to believe my thoughts. There is a deep unity. No separation.

Want to hear something cool? The membership of The Lasting Supper is very diverse. We have hardcore church-going believers all the way to hardcore atheists. The cool thing is that they respect and even love one another. Because, like me, they understand that beneath the currents and waves and ripples is a deeper and abiding union and peace. Won’t you please join us? I’m sure you’ll love it. CLICK HERE to check us out!

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16 Responses

  1. Ducatihero says:

    David – it is funny you should be talking about this. I have been reflecting on what you have been vulnerable with sharing about your own journey and the idea that you have arrived at that we are all connected. Knowing you and your adaptability my guess is that you might accept that this idea as with other ideas is not the thing.

    I appreciate your sharing about the vision you have had of the waterfall, the peace and the principle you talk of of love where there are differences, the embracing of diversity. In that light I have heard what you have said in front of the audience in your video of being unapologetically Christian and letting people know that, and in TLS where you have talked of many being atheist or struggling with atheism that you are part atheist and proud of it and finding connection.

    I think there is something in all of us that finds a comfort in connection and belonging that we are naturally inclined towards in finding happiness.

    However, there also has been a time where you have been right to say that something is black or white. so while connection, love is an honourable and right ideal to aspire to it comes with a caveat. All of us have an ego, it’s natural and good that leans us toward attachment to happiness an aversion to suffering. We encounter difficulties when we experience differences of views over what constitutes connection love and peace.

    Most of the bad people in the world don’t know or don’t care they are being bad – the bullying boss, the hyper critic, the religious fundamentalist, the intolerant secularist, those that commit obvious atrocities that we see and read in the news etc. In the most evil of us there is some good, in the most good of us there is some evil and it is almost impossible to may anyone see they are being bad when they think what they are doing is good. You rightly say that no matter how much forgiveness is offered and non-violent direct action taken some people never feel shame – ever.

    So – we end up in fear and with arrogance, whit shame and pride hindering connection, belonging love. religious/secular, republican/democrat, Christian/atheist, man/woman, conservative-evangelical/liberal-progressive, the list goes on.

    Only when we surrender our egos and connect with something other then a focus on self with perfect love driving out pride and shame can we experience connection.

    As humans we never love perfectly so we experience degrees of connection and degrees of separation.

  2. Sabio Lantz says:

    I totally agree with the idea of your pic (fun analogy) and with what you’ve written. The commonalities between religions-believers and the religious-free folks is huge.

    Couple thoughts about your analogy:

    (1) Most Atheists do not snarl at religious folks (though some vocal ones may give that impression), whereas distrust of atheists is widespread and pervasive (see this research review)

    (2) The religious folks hunk of dry ice is a pile of theology. If their theology is inclusive, they are on the same dry-ice as us religious free folks.

  3. Sabio Lantz says:

    Oh yes, I think we can “experience connection” without any complication — it is very natural for most of us. No theology, no philosophy, no complicated psych-jargon needed. Mind you, it can be lost easily, so it often takes discipline to return to and nurture connection — but jargon (verbal or intellectual) is not necessary.

  4. Ducatihero says:

    Sabio,

    There are one or two interesting elements to your comment with what you say about “us religious free folks” and “religious folks” and “their” approach. So your perception of reality is that there is an us and them with regard you being “religious free” and “religious”.

    It’s very common to hear folks being described as “spiritual but not religious”. However the term “religion” legally is used to described any religion or absence of religion. So in one sense some of us describe ourselves as not religious but in the legal sense we are all religious. So we live with this paradox.

    So the research you showed about “atheists” (or what the researcher describes as the “less religious”) is that in comparison between an actor playing a Christian and one playing an atheist, the former is found to be more agreeable and conscientious that the latter. For the “more religious” the result is the same but their being a greater differentiation.

    I’m surprised with the same preference for both groups. Why do you think it is that the “less religious” or “atheist” group prefer the actors that play the Christian over those that play the atheist for agreeableness and conscientiousness?

    The poll states that 40% of the US population would not vote for an atheist presidential candidate. I suspect that the result may be different in the UK.

  5. Sabio Lantz says:

    @ duc,

    You said, ” the term “religion” legally is used to described any religion or absence of religion. ”

    This is complete nonsense. That is just you makin’ stuff up again. Arggghhh, your agendas are so clear. Whether harping at David about his one video or trying to make religion free folks really have a religion. Hilarious!

  6. Clamoring to protect the word “Christian”, clamoring to protect the word “religion”, clamoring to protect the idea of a “higher power”. Clamoring is the point of David’s post, don’t you think?

  7. Ducatihero says:

    Sabio,

    You wrote “you said, ” the term “religion” legally is used to described any religion or absence of religion. ”

    This is complete nonsense.”

    This is easily refuted. In the UK, according o the Equality Act 2010

    “Religion or belief

    (1)Religion means any religion and a reference to religion includes a reference to a lack of religion.
    (2)Belief means any religious or philosophical belief and a reference to belief includes a reference to a lack of belief.
    (3)In relation to the protected characteristic of religion or belief—
    (a)a reference to a person who has a particular protected characteristic is a reference to a person of a particular religion or belief;
    (b)a reference to persons who share a protected characteristic is a reference to persons who are of the same religion or belief.” http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2010/15/section/10

    I did ask you why you think the “less religious” or “atheist” group prefer the actors that play the Christian over those that play the atheist for agreeableness and conscientiousness, but you haven’t answered. I’ll answer your question about the allegation you make about clamouring if you answer this.

    Otherwise, have a nice day :).

  8. Hendrik says:

    Is there a way to get this drawing/picture in high resolution?

  9. Yes there is. But if you click on the link beneath the image you can order a high-quality print of it. If you want to use the image for something else and need a high-res copy of it, we’ll need to talk. You can email me at haywardart at gmail dot com

  10. Bernardo says:

    Reducing the time spent on worrying about religion:

    • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

    • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

    • There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

    • There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.

    • There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

    • Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

    • Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated/reborn Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.

    • A constant cycle of reincarnation until enlightenment is reached and belief that various beings (angels?, tinkerbells? etc) exist that we, as mortals, cannot comprehend makes for a no on Sikhism.

    Added details available upon written request.

  11. Sabio Lantz says:

    @ Duc

    Ah, you were talking about BRITISH Law — my bad.
    But definitions are man-made, and in your country (as in others), loaded with politcal agendas.
    I’m in the USA, and “religion” does not have a “legal” definition.
    Even your definition is only used focally to further understanding in other laws.

    Nonetheless, the fight over the definition of “religion ” is not my gig. I fight over those who use definitions to push their agendas — a much different level of encounter.

    Prejudices about god-talkers are deep — even in nonbelievers — they are culturally taught, from youth. Pretty simple stuff, really.

    Interestingly, in the USA, our constitution’s first amendment (as you know) has amendments with the first one saying Congress can not pass a law that establishing a national religion or prohibiting the free exercise of religion.

    Unfortunately, we have ridiculous tax laws that protect religions, so there has been fights of the definition of religion legally because of the silly laws.

    The folly of religions in the history of my country are amazing — I’d imagine the same in England.

    The silly legal battles over all this reflects the folly of the human mind.

    I just watched the same fight over a Hindu temple in my brother’s hometown — everyone trying to get property and tax breaks. All under the pretense of religion, gods and human rights.

  12. Ducatihero says:

    OK saviour so the Equality Act 2010 in the UK is not dissimilar to the first ammendment in the US about discrimination on the basis of religion or lack of religion. So in the US, constitutionally, the state is obliged neither to establish a state religion which everyone must follow or prevent freedom of religion.

    Talking of the human folly you talk of, this is as you say a human trait, not one that is exclusive to any movement.

    Yeah pushing agendas. I don’t need anyone to stop having legitimate freedoms, only those that limit freedom of others. I don’t need anyone else to ha a belief or non-belief. I just ask that if you are going total with me that you respect beliefs or non-belief that are not the ones you hold to, and that you don’t be a dick.

  13. Ducatihero says:

    Typos saviour = Sabio and total = to talk.

  14. Sabio Lantz says:

    @ Duc,
    Why do I ever talk to you. I must stop. So I will

  15. Ducatihero says:

    That’s your choice Sabio do what you want.

    Happy to chat with you anytime you are interested in doing so with mutual respect.

  16. This world is getting too much into religion; people going astray from the main purpose of what actually religions teaches us. Communities are foolishly fighting and killing each other in the name of religion. We need to remember only one little thing; we are all born with a few special and unique features, our appearance, fingerprint and personal religion. Like in a computer we have an operating software, unless this primary software works correctly, we cannot work with other secondary softwares. Corrupt primary operating software will give incorrect results or output; in the same way if our personal religion, with which each one of us are born, is corrupted, we turn evil and our output is negative and unfriendly to this world. Take for instance, two brothers, both Christians, church goers, one turns out to be friendly, helpful and loving while the other is nasty, evil and selfish. How does this happen ? this happens only because we are born with our unique individual religion like our appearance and fingerprint.
    Each one of us, try and live with dignity and respect; this can happen only when we conduct our lives only with what is real and true in this world. Following logic and reality is the only way we can find peace, happiness, reconcile to bitter memories.If you read my blog http://www.zennliving.blogspot.in or http://www.zennliving.wordpress.com you will understand what I mean.