Sunday, April 17, 2016

Talkiing about Religion & Faith

A friend moved to the United States a few years ago and went through the culture shock of being immersed in a nation so like our own, and the source of so much of our entertainment, yet so different. She was immediately struck by how "out there" people were about religion. Neighbours invited her to their churches, and public chatter about religion was obviously not the taboo she assumed in Canada.

A recent article in The Atlantic magazine suggest that is changing significantly in the States.

According to a new Pew Research Center study, only a third of Americans say they talk about religion with people outside of their families at least once or twice a month. Evangelical Protestants and people who attend historically black churches are far more likely than other religious groups to talk about faith with friends, colleagues, and strangers, but only about half of each of those groups tends to do so with regularity. Jews, Catholics, and mainline Protestants don’t talk about religion much—only a quarter or slightly more of each group said they did so once or twice a month. Atheists, agnostics, and non-religious people were the least likely to discuss religion, with only a tenth or slightly more of each of those groups doing so regularly. All of these groups, outside of those who aren’t religious, said they’re much more likely to talk about religion in private with their immediate families.

Some would say that this is the way it should be, and certainly I feel that aggressively proselytizing for any faith is intimidating, counter-productive, and just plain annoying. I have been aggressively evangelized on a number of occasions through the years, usually with the other person having no idea that I was a minister. It has rarely felt like a conversation, Too often I've felt like a project, a task. Of course I've felt that way about people who were trying to sell me on their sports team, or political party, name it.

I enjoy talking about my Christian faith and religion, when there is a sense of reciprocity and respect. Why wouldn't I? My faith is a central aspect of my being, and my relationship with God is one of the most important in my life. So why wouldn't I be willing to do so when the opportunity arises.

How do you feel about talking 'ligion? Are you okay with doing so, if the context is right? Is that actually part of the Christian life that we tend to ignore?

1 comment:

Judy McKnight said...

I rarely initiate a talk about religion, but I am not afraid to get into a discussion if invited ... the problem is that my religious views are based on my life experiences and my limited studies - and "GOD" is SO big and so beyond our understanding... that is why I think it is important to learn about other religions, and other interpretations of my own religion (I admit to preferring a liberal, non - literal interpretation), and even listen to non - religious people and their rationale for being non - religious; I have often seen Christ in people not of my faith, too.