A criterion for sharing experiences, that can solve a lot of problems and difficulties, is that of visiting.

I can visit a religion that is not mine, even if I am an atheist; I can even share their prayers, their rituals, making clear, at the same time, that I am not doing that as a believer, but because I have appreciation and respect for those people, I am sure that their religious experience has a lot to teach me.

An immediate objection is easy to imagine at this point: isn’t it quite strange, even hypocritical, to invoke, for example, Jesus Christ, or Allah, after having said clearly that I don’t believe at all in their existence and I have absolutely no intention to convert myself to any of those religions? Isn’t even an offence to that religion and to the dignity of those believers?

The answer to these questions has to consider how and how much those people would like to be visited with this attitude of mine. If they feel offended, I cannot force them to get visited by me. But there are a lot of other people who actually are open to this mentality. Religions are not exclusively composed of radical believers; there is a wide range of different attitudes and mentalities inside every religion and a lot of believers are really passionate about exchanging experiences, exploring different mentalities, even experimenting contaminations and mixtures of rituals and ideas.

Obviously, these things cannot be done with shallowness and lack of commitment; on the contrary, they are serious experiences where we want to make exploration and research in a mental context where we acknowledge that what we are exploring is always greater than our thoughts and comprehension.

This kind of visiting can be practiced, obviously, in the opposite direction, that is, for example, believers visiting the experience, philosophy, life, friendship, of atheists.

This criterion, this mental category of visiting, can be further generalized, until we realize that everything is a visit to somebody or something that is, to a certain degree, a stranger. This happens, for example, even when a believer experiences their own religion or when I try to explore my own thoughts. This implies respect and humility. This way, an atheist who visits a religious ritual, can work as a reminder, for believers, that every believer, to a certain degree, is always somehow a stranger in their own religion.