Right up there with topics such as abortion, gay marriage and politics, stands religion.
Religion is a topic people tend to avoid because it usually starts with a casual question, turns into a heated discussion and then ends with an argument.
Asking someone what his or her religion is not the typical icebreaker. It is pretty much like diving right into an ice cold pool fully clothed, which seemed like a good idea at first because it’s hot outside, but now you’re all wet.
Within my church walls it’s easy to talk about my beliefs, but on the outside of those walls, not so much.
You see, according to the Web site Religioustolerance.org, there are thousands of different religions, but the world religions are Baha’i, Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, Judaism, Shinto, Sikhism, Taoism, Wicca, Zoroastrianism and Druidism.
I was raised to be Christian and according to Religioustolerance.org, even Christianity has 34,000 denominations such as Pentecostal, Baptist, and Catholic.
With that said, one is bound to come in contact with another person who doesn’t understand their religion and sometimes may even criticize their beliefs and try to recruit them to ditch their own and join them.
It’s kind of funny but when you think about it, religions are like gangs; each one has its territory (church), each has its gang sign (crucifix or Star of David), and each has its assigned ranks (deacons, evangelists, and pastors, elders, and bishops).
My advice is to just show respect and keep it moving.
I’ve had my share of conflict with another person’s belief and while each religion tends to have its own rules and regulations,
I’ve grown to realize that most religions have one thing in common: the belief in a higher being, whether it is Jesus Christ, or Buddha. Some of us may have come in contact with an atheist or a person that is agnostic.
I understand that many religious people must confess their faith to a non-believer, but never should one force their beliefs on another.
I look at it as everyone having their own translation of God just like different countries has different languages.
No person has seen God, so we tend have our own separate vision of him. I can respect that.
Besides, I think that a belief in anything isn’t just so one can find salvation in the afterlife, but more so to have some sort of direction in the life we have now. The Bible is my instruction manual on how to be a better person in general, and showing respect is one of those qualities.
James 1:19-20 reads: “My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.”