How to Avoid Uncomfortable Conversations About Religion
“You outrage my religious feelings!” – that’s what you can often hear from people who follow other confessions when you talk to them about religion. However, sometimes talking about it is inevitable, especially if you deal with aggressive fanatics or atheists. Or, perhaps, you are an atheist yourself and hate when other people talk to you with that homiletic air and try to “convert” you. Indeed, religion became an apple of discord for many relationships. If you don’t want to get involved in such conversations or don’t want to lose friends because of religious issues, check out our tips for avoiding awkwardness and conflicts when you talk about religion.
Try to avoid this topic
If someone explicitly tries to involve you in this type of conversation, try to avoid it by saying “I don’t feel like talking about it right now”, “I’m not comfortable about discussing it with you”, or “I never discuss my religious views with strangers”. Try to make it sound convincing, firm, and polite.
Be careful when you reply
If there’s no way you can avoid this conversation, you can check the following points to make your discussion as painless as possible:
Know the difference between insulting and non-insulting things
Indeed, there’s a thin line between those two. Generally speaking, things that you say and questions you ask won’t assault religious people if you don’t intend to assault anyone. If you ask your questions because you don’t completely understand the principles of another religion, are curious about it, and want to get more information to get your ideas straight, you are free to say whatever you want. Meanwhile, if you intentionally ask provocative questions to prove another religion wrong/unfair/stupid, etc, your opponent would be assaulted even if you “filter” your words carefully and try to speak politely.
Know the difference between clerical and spiritual
As they say, church has nothing to do with religion. Most adequate people wouldn’t be mad if you mention the stories about clergymen’s misbehavior or church organization and management issues. However, you will insult their feelings if you say similar stories about God and the principles of their faith.
Channel your conversation into another topic
Laugh off and continue the conversation in a friendly way by asking some question people usually enjoy answering, like “Do you have kids?” or “Tell me about your collection of coins”.
If you know that the person you’re talking to is a bigot or totally insane, just lie to him. Yes, lying is bad, but sometimes it’s much easier to do than deal with a crazy person. You may agree or disagree, but the ideal reply in such case is “I don’t believe in God”. After this phrase, most people will just give up. Everyone knows that talking to aggressive atheist isn’t really worth bothering. However, you never know how outrageous your opponent can be, so saying so is the last thing you want to do.
Don’t joke about religion
Adequate religious person is okay with arguing, discussing, and wondering, but no one of them will appreciate blasphemous jokes. Doing so, you “spit” in the soul of this person.
Don’t talk to bigots
In this article, we mentioned the word “adequate” several times, and we have our reason for it. The point is most religious people are sane enough to understand the point of the conversation and react accordingly. However, there are people who are totally fanatic about their beliefs. Long story short, they listen to you but don’t hear what you’re trying to say. Stay away from them because your conversation just doesn’t make sense.
Religion and beliefs are the sensitive topics to discuss, especially if you have to talk to really aggressive people with the flaming sense of outraged virtue. Luckily, you can avoid this conversation or at least make it less awkward and uncomfortable. Check our tips in order not to become a victim of these people and save the relationships.
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