Nightline Boldly Goes… Where We’ve Already Been Before

March 24, 2010

NightlineLast night a group of diverse, young Chicagoans were having the first planning meeting for a Chicago Secular Humanist meet-up. It was so inspiring to hear each individual talk about why they were in the room, and it left me feeling so excited about the possibilities of this group. But I have to admit that I was a bit disappointed that our meeting coincided with a debate on ABC Nightline called “The Future of God.” I was curious to see what new ground might be covered in this well-worn debate.

Then I watched it. I was not impressed; it was just the same argument we always hear between anti-theists and theists about the legitimacy of people’s images of God — an interesting conversation to have if done respectfully with a concern for significance and intention (and I know this is possible: I just spent all morning discussing it with a room full of Christians in my Psychology of Religion class), surely, but one that needs to be transcended in the public forum. As The Atlantic pointed out in their post on the program, the program was “cliché,” introducing nothing new and sticking to “trodden ground.”

It’s time to change the conversation. Whether or not God exists is not the most pressing point for dialogue — instead, we ought to be wrestling with finding ways to do good work in the world with others who disagree with us on this idea. We’ll never come to a public consensus about God, but I believe a shared ethic of responsibility to others, with or without God, is achievable.

If you’re interested, you can read about the program — and watch video clips from it — on ABC’s website.

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