Oftentimes, when we talk about religion amongst our family, friends, co-workers, and even strangers, it ends up in a heated argument, especially with the diversity of opinions and beliefs when it comes to the topic of believing in a so-called powerful being.
But it doesn’t always have to be an argument.
It can be a great way to teach other people what you know about your own religion, and not a medium to force someone to share the same belief as you do. It doesn’t have to be in a church, you can do it anywhere, at home, school, workplace, part and even at a coffee shop.
Here are some great tips on how to handle a conversation about religion, without getting on someone’s nerves.
Be curious about what they’re going to say
You’re not just having a talk about religion to say what you have to say, but also to listen to what other people say. Don’t waste the time just talking about facts you know, beliefs that you strongly respect and opinions that you would want to share. Give time for others to share their opinion of the topic. Don’t stop him/her in the middle of her sentences, it’s rude and disrespectful.
If you’re having a talk, and you’re the host, use the time at the end of the discussion to listen to your audience’s question and opinions. Also, encourage them to politely raise their hands and actively engage into your discussion.
Don’t step on someone’s toes
All the things we know about religion, God and the life after death isn’t permanent as we thought. Instead, it’s a belief that changes through space and time. Take for an example, thousands of years ago, our belief used to teach the society that homosexuality is a sin, and the population of gay people is an abomination. Today, even though a lot of people still believe in that teaching 20 years ago, homosexuality is already accepted by religion.
You should know this before you talk with other people because it will help you realize your limitations and remember your place. When it comes to the topic of faith, you can’t step on someone’s shoes and force them to share the same belief. It isn’t your responsibility nor your job to push someone.
But, your job is to openly discuss your view from where you stand and just hope (and not force) that it will help, encourage and challenge the people you were sharing with
And if it ever gets tense, learn to stand down
Even though you did your best controlling the situation, it can still get blown out of proportion. Besides, if things get out of control, it usually becomes unproductive and uninteresting, and the conversation becomes personal. There’s no point in continuing if you’ve already entered the domain of argument. If he or she says something that pisses you off, just breathe and try to be calm. Don’t fight back and lay down your “weapons”.