But no, that’s the name of a new series here where my atheist sister-in-law and I will be holding discussions about our beliefs and what unites us.
Atheists are not aliens. (And neither are Catholics, I’d like to add.) They’re people. And just as Christians are sometimes nice (or not), so are atheists or non-believers or…well, anyone.
Too often, I think we get focused on people as Other, as opposing us, and we fail to focus on what unites us.
In this first installment of ten posts, I’m going to share the questions I asked Brittany and her responses. The questions were inspired after a presentation she gave about using principles of social influence and persuasion for humanism.
But let’s start at the beginning, with an introduction.
You might remember my sister-in-law, Brittany Shoots-Reinhard. A few years ago, I did a series called “A Different Perspective” where she shared her viewpoint and her “conversion” to atheism. Here’s the short form (with links to the original posts in the series):
- She “failed” as a Christian.
- She was always skeptical, and couldn’t find answers in Christianity that satisfied her.
- She’s inspired by Catholic tradition, though uninterested in joining.
- She’s an atheist, but she’s respectful and friendly towards those of us “with religion”.
- She’s supportive of religion.
- She’s trying just as hard as the rest of us to be a good person and serve others.
I don’t call Brittany “brilliant” lightly: she has a Ph.D. in Social Psychology from The Ohio State University and specialized in Attitudes, Persuasion, and Behavioral Decision Making. She taught (and survived!) undergraduate classes for many years and was a teaching award nominee. Her research has been published in Psychology journals. (And we knew her when she was just posting guest blog posts at my lowly blog!)
Brittany also works for Foundation Beyond Belief, a charitable organization demonstrating compassionate humanism through charitable donations and community service. Brittany runs FBB’s community service programs, including a national partnership with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Light The Night walks. She has an ongoing blog series applying principles of psychology to secular humanism and charity on the Foundation Beyond Belief blog and has been an invited speaker to discuss these topics at local and national meetings.
Next week, we’ll start with our discussions. Hope to see you then!