I just discovered the Civil Conversations Project (CivilConversationsProject.org), and invite all to visit and support their good work.
I’ve not written an entry is quite some time, but a major breakthrough in my business model has put me in the search for a nonprofit to donate my company to. I no longer need outside investment to prove my model, and therefore don’t need to organize as a B Corp.
In my search for an aligned entity that can make the most of my “invention” (to fund the empowerment of deliberative democracy), I was perusing http://www.Fetzer.org. The Fetzer Institute has a wonderful mission:
To foster awareness of the power of love and forgiveness in the emerging global community.
They’ve support the Collective Wisdom Initiative, and also provide support to the Civil Conversations Project (hosted by OnBeing.org). I’ve reached out to the staff, and hope to start a conversation and collaboration.
In reviewing some of the comments to a conversation between a fundamentalist and a progressive, I ran across one that struck a nerve. A fellow progressive had a vitriolic reaction to allowing a conservative evangelical to have a voice on a progressive platform. I crafted a response, and realized after the fact that I finally had a blog entry (that in my opinion was worth posting):
I can certainly sympathize with your comment, as one who has been very outspoken against fundamentalism for years. That was until I found the same degree of “certainty” among many of my atheists friends, that there was nothing beyond what science could explore (and no reason to talk about it, nor to genuinely respect those who believe otherwise).
I have come to know several conservative evangelicals, who I now count among my best friends. My frustration that they don’t see my “truth” is mirrored pretty equally by their frustration that I don’t see theirs. It is hard to overstate the importance that mutual respect has, irrespective of our (perhaps permanently) different webs of belief. I have had my own blinders and tunnel vision remediated a bit, and they would acknowledge the same.
Politically empowering our collective wisdom, compassion, and creativity is now my life work. The median voter, even after being informed and perhaps transformed by respectful dialogue is still going be to the right of me, but as professor James Fishkin has been demonstrating for decades now, rather more progressive than the median “voter” in our current, de facto plutocracy.
Respecting one another should not, of course, be motivated primarily by the instrumental gains of empowering economic populism. But in point of fact, the empowering of deliberative democracy has as a wonderful side effect a transformative influence. Our hatred toward the “other” decreases in proportion to our understanding of them.
Some of my conservative friends may still think that I’m going to eternal Hell, but they are now saddened at that prospect. Some of them are questioning the veracity of eternal Hell, and I’m most delighted by that.
I could not be more supportive of the Civil Conversation Project!