Does an Ally Always Have to Agree With You?

I’ve been hearing some discussion on the Internet about what constitutes an “ally”, referring of course to skeptics and atheists. Does an ally have to be a person that walks lock-step with you on every issue?

There are actually some that believe that you do have to share the same opinion or else you’re some sort of subhuman. I wonder why that is the case? I dialogue (yeah, that word) with a lot of people over the Internet, mostly via Twitter that have different opinions on a wide range of issues than me and yet we seem to be able to have that 140 character conversation without animus toward one another or resort to name calling or epithets.
I actually enjoy the back-and-forth because it allows each to express their ideas and as we all know in Twitter, with the 140 character limitation, it has to be accomplished clearly and succinctly to ensure the other person(s) don’t misinterpret what is being said. Because we may disagree on finer points, doesn’t mean as skeptics and atheists aren’t allies on the larger issues we all have to navigate everyday.
An example would be how different countries around the world are allies. There are political, economic and military alliances between countries that agree on basics like democracy, capitalism, and fighting against aggression by rogue nations. These same countries may have different ideas of what democracy or capitalism is, but they all have the same goal of providing a measure of freedom and opportunity for their respective peoples. Yes, we see all the time that even allies will criticize one another on finer points, but it doesn’t prevent them from being allies.
We as skeptics and atheists should be able to do the same.I find it fascinating that there are people that claim to be skeptics that won’t countenance a different opinion. I’m not referring to claims of woo, because I wouldn’t give respect to those claims either, but general issues. We’ve seen that here in the U.S. recently concerning the government shutdown (no, the government isn’t shutdown, 1.3 million civilian government employees are still at work) and the ACA. There seems to be a diversity of thought out on the Internet about both. Some take a hard left view, some a hard right. Then there are those in the middle. Honestly though, I don’t mind having a discussion with any of them. It’s easy to become angry over any particular issue that is held dear. It doesn’t really have to have anything to do with ideology. We’re all different that that’s what I like about the wider community.
It’s the free flow of ideas that make this Internet community rich. It’s not about what has been ridiculed as Freeze Peach by some, but the open and honest exchanges that I see most often here without animosity toward one another. What this exchange do is challenge each of us. It forces us to look at our ideas and to think about the facts that we have presented to bolster our view. Do we present only those facts that validate our view or do we take in the entire picture? Are we willing to take a level of honest criticism and not shutdown the discussion because someone else’s facts aren’t ours?
Being an ally in this community is not about being a person that is afraid to disagree or be shunned. You’re not a C.H.U.D. In my view if you happen to disagree with anything I say here. You’re an individual that has had different experiences, maybe raised and educated differently as well. Hell, I might even learn something from you! And vice versa.
None of us may ever agree on the lesser issues, and that’s okay. If we can still discuss them openly and honestly does that mean because we happen to disagree that we’re not allies? I don’t believe so because the greater issues are more important. Resorting to petty squabbles over things that in the long term don’t make a damn bit of difference is counterproductive. Dialogue (there’s that word again!) though I believe is something we should all support and not shutdown individuals or groups because we to differ from them.

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