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Unfortunately, one point of contention with the non-religious is that they seem to believe that what you believe matters.

I know what you’re thinking: Isn’t that exactly what this blog talks about all the time?

Well, yes and no. What may not always be apparent is that I have a strong differentiation between a belief and a value. And while I believe that beliefs change, values rarely do, and this is the key to unity.

Let me show you what I mean.

Neil Is An Atheist!

A lot of atheists have gotten on Neil Degrasse-Tyson’s case for not calling himself an atheist. And while you could have some quibbles about the lack of understanding about the philosophical position of agnosticism and how it represents what you believe about knowledge rather than what you believe and blah blah blah, at some point, you have to ask why it matters that much to them.

Because, in large part, it’s very difficult to make the jump from whatever he believes about the existence of a higher power, to what he’s going to do because of that.

And the reason for that is that beliefs are pretty much irrelevant, and what actually matters is values.

Beliefs Vs. Values

A lot of energy is often focused on beliefs when values are what matters.

If I were trapped in a closet with little food, I’d be much more interested in being trapped there with a Christian who values life than an atheist who doesn’t. It doesn’t matter that the atheist “believes” the same thing as me. And that’s because whether or not you believe in God tells me relatively little about what you value, what is important to you, what you stick by when the choices are not easy.

Those are the things that matter, and those are the things that tell me whether or not to feel safe around you. One of the most inspirational people I know in life is Stephen Erich, who helps children in Cambodia, and he’s a Christian. So what?

So for the good of everyone, I think we could stand to more carefully analyze someone’s values when choosing the people with which we most align, because compassion does not have a religious identity, and neither does love.

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[Photo Credit]
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Photographer: Matthias Kümpel
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