Common Cause is a group of researchers who have come to the rather radical conclusion that the third sector could make greater change in the world (be it on environmental or development issues) by pursuing a common aim of “fostering intrinsic values” in society.
To quote from the website:
“Fostering “intrinsic” values—among them self-acceptance, care for others, and concern for the natural world—has real and lasting benefits….By working together to cultivate them, we can create a more compassionate society, and a better world.
Does this sound a bit like a religious idea to you?
As an atheist, in no way is this a criticism; just an observation. And I would be interested in your thoughts.
From reading their work and attending a recent workshop – I feel that there are strong linkages to be drawn with religious movements, which work hard to remind individuals of “intrinsic” or “bigger-than-self” values.
This is discussed widely and wonderfully by Alain De Botton in his recent book “Religion for Atheists” – an insightful guide on what today’s atheistic societies can learn about living in harmony from religious groups.
And the idea seems feasible. The “Green Movement” could easily be described as a collection of individuals, civil society organisations, businesses and even political parties who subscribe a set of intrinsic values, which include sustainability, while pursuing their own particular aims.
So where do we go from here? Is it talking to people and organisations about what they hold dear, with the idea that the meme will spread throughout society? Is our secular, atheist movement ready for such emotive change? Perhaps we should consult a prophet, as we look to change on this Good Friday.