Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: San Francisco Bay Area
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I know it is possible, as I have discussions about religion with many friends (and even when they were new acquaintances) about religion when they are of different religions. I think religion tends to come up a lot because in many circles I work/live in, I'm VERY religious. (obviously not particularly more religious than other folks at my synagogue lol, but I definitely.... have more of the outer trappings of being more religious. I dress modestly, cover my head, I LOOK religious to my religion, basically etc.)
I think that open dialogue about religion requires several things:
both/all parties are interested in dialogue
all parties are curious about the other parties' beliefs/practices etc
No party is trying to recruit/convert/convince another, they are only sharing their beleifs
All parties are ok with other people having different religious beliefs. It is impossible to have open religious dialogue with someone who beleives their truth is the only truth, and everyone must be convinced of it. (If people beleive their truth is the only truth, however are fine with other people not beleiving in their truth, it might be possible, I'm not sure.)
If you feel unsafe/threatened by the other person, then of course you can't have religious dialogue. (and I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels that it is a form of threat/lack of safety, when someone comes up and harangues you for your beliefs and tries to convince you of theirs, or tells you you are going to hell/etc. And I'm quite secure in my beliefs.)
I also think it's sometimes harder to have open religious discussion with family. (or maybe my family just isn't open to it.) I mean, I can discuss it somewhat, but not entirely.
In terms of how to approach the subject, I think genuine, respectful curiosity of another's religious practices/beliefs is always a good way to go.
In terms of getting defensive and angry, I'm not sure. maybe discussing one person's religion at a time? so like, asking someone about their religion, and just listening, not really talking about yours? also, depending on who you are talking to, and what your religion is, they may feel innately threatened by you (as a representative of your religion, and not specifically you.)
A pagan who has had a lot of trouble from catholic relatives won't nessicarily be as open to discussion with a catholic. A Jew who has faced anti-semetism specifically from evangelical christians might feel threatened by another evangelical christian. A evangelical christian who has faced persecution from baptist co-workers might feel threatened by open religious discussion with a baptist. etc (I chose these groups randomly, with no offense meant to anyone. I'm sorry if picking your religion felt offensive. It was just an example.)
Do you find that there is one or two things you usually get defensive about? If you find that there is, maybe there is something about that/those issues you need to work on yourself before you can have open discussion.
Caroline, partner to J, post partum doula, kitchen manager, aspiring midwife, soon to be nursing student, mama to my furbaby, someday a mama to not so furry munchkins, G-d willing