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Converging Matters: providing different but converging viewpoints on heavy matters

The title carries a double meaning: providing converging viewpoints on heavy matters, and converging dialogue matters.

This blog is written anonymously by two different authors who are friends in real life and are interested in exploring dialogue. We believe that healthy discussion of issues can be helpful and valuable to others, and we want to learn about and analyze topics from different angles. We believe that it is possible to find common ground in just about any topic, and once that is found, mutual respect follows. Sometimes we may start in different places and end up agreeing, and other times we may converge on our viewpoints but then diverge again. Regardless, we respect each other’s viewpoints and the logical process that leads to them.

Format: Each question will be answered in a double-column format with our viewpoints side-by-side. Each person will present their primary response, about 500 words. Then, each person will present a shorter response to the statement made by the other side.

Discussion: Below this main post will be space for comments. As a general rule for comments and discussions, don’t be a jerk. Violating this rule may result in the harshest punishment we are permitted, deleting comments.

Frequency: New posts can be expected about once a month, or whenever we get around to it.

About the Authors

We realize that we’re taking a risk here by presenting two different viewpoints labeled anonymously. Antipas and Aurelius come from Saint Antipas the early martyr of Pergamum and Marcus Aurelius the Roman emperor and philosopher. We flirted with the idea of using The Christian and The Agnostic as many of our posts will come from those two perspectives. However, we don’t want readers to think that we therefore represent those entire viewpoints. Nothing could be further from the truth. We are both individuals at various places in our journeys of life, discovering and learning new things every day. We are all a product of our life experiences, and therefore no one person could ever speak for an entire group. You may have a totally different viewpoint from what’s presented, and that’s great.

Antipas

I was raised a Christian, but I’d say that I seriously committed myself to my faith in middle school.  That’s gradually become more real to me as my life has gone on.  My religious tradition is shaped by a lifelong series of experiences.  I grew up in a mainstream conservative denomination, which I still attend, but my theology is much broader than that.  I’ve experienced my Christian faith on three different continents and I’d like to think I’ve learned a lot on each of them.  I have a Masters degree from a more progressive seminary.  I’d describe myself as a compassionate intellectual who is interested in how things shape out in real life.  I do a lot of “ministry”, and I work for a ministry, but I’d not consider myself a “full-time minister”.  I’m just an individual who is trying to figure out more and more all the time about what an authentic Christian life looks like.

I’m excited to contribute to this dialogue from a Christian perspective.  I believe that civil dialogue is the best way to reach consensus and learn more about the world around us.  I’d like to think that if our world were capable of more honest rhetoric that seriously sought to understand the perspectives of others, the world would be a much better place.

antipas2

E-mail Antipas: antipas@convergingmatters.com

Aurelius

Although I was raised a Christian and became a devout Christian in college, I became disenchanted with Christianity in my senior year while I was still a bible study leader and worship leader. It was a confusing time. Starting at about two years after graduate school I finally considered myself an agnostic. For practical purposes I’m an atheist but technically an agnostic because while I believe there is a chance there is a God I believe this chance is insignificantly small.

Without religion there is still much purpose in life and much beauty to experience and much joy to be had, but it’s a different experience to live with doubt, not knowing the answers. Richard Feynman explains this viewpoint well in his audio series. I live my life the best I know how but apart from religion. I try to critically analyze my life and the world in order to better myself and our society for however much time I’m given.

As far as my professional life, I have degrees in engineering and business, and I have worked as both an engineer and online professor.

The first author and I are good friends from college but didn’t realize until afterward through email how similar our viewpoints are, even though to society we may appear on opposite sides of many spectra. This blog is therefore intended to show some common ground in many controversial topics, and some less controversial, but those just aren’t as fun.

aurelius
E-mail Aurelius: aurelius@convergingmatters.com

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