Common advice new professional often hear is to avoid talking about religion or politics at work. I have also heard people say that they get along with their family until someone starts talking about religion or politics. No one wants to hear someone’s opposing views, so we are left only sharing our opinions in safe groups where we know we will be met with agreement. The very mention of differing beliefs often becomes offensive in today’s culture. Social media explodes because we can say what we truly think without directly experiencing any repercussions or judgment.
I am left wondering why we struggle to talk about these topics. There seems to be a deep fear or sense of judging and being judged, and who would blame us? It is easy to see how quickly we are to point fingers at the opposing political party, especially in times of trouble. At times, the church has also been quick to focus on the repulsiveness of individuals’ sin. We have not left ourselves with a safe environment to discuss opposing ideas.
I hear of college classes and organizations that attempt to create safe spaces for students to speak about their beliefs, and I hope that all students feel comfortable in these environments. I remember attending a class where the professor seemed very open to what any of us had to say, but I dared not speak my mind because I knew the opposition I would face from classmates.
It is my hope that as a society we would be able to better communicate with others about who we are and what we believe without fear of judgment. If those of us who are Christians want others to listen to us when we talk about the Gospel, we have to show them that we have a sincere desire to listen to where they are coming from as well. We have to show others that it is safe to talk to us, even if we don’t necessarily see eye to eye.
In listening, we may find that the people we believe are the most hateful are actually compassionate. We may also see that the “sinners” of society are experiencing deep grief and they aren’t sure how to cope with it. As we learn to listen better, I believe we will become less divided as a society, and hopefully, we won’t feel the need to avoid conversation topics that are deeply meaningful to us such as religion and politics.
Related post: Civil Politics