Religion: A Touchy Topic

'Defensive rhetoric is never good'

Matthew Wilcox, Section Editor

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It should be obvious that religion is and will always be a touchy subject. Because of its touchiness and difficulty to tackle, religiously-fueled discussions are often uneasy for people, and students are no exception. When religious students are confronted about their religion, it creates an uncomfortable situation where they feel the need to represent their religion to the best of their ability and often turn defensive under the stress they feel.

When someone asks me in-depth questions about my religion, I almost immediately go on the defensive. Even though I know they’re only curious about what I believe in, I can’t help but feel they’re trying to catch a slip-up in what I say even though I know that this is almost never the case. I’ve never come out of a religious discussion satisfied with what I’ve said and how I’ve represented my religion, and I’m certain that I’m not the only one who feels this way.

A common phrase brought about in religious conversation that provokes a sense of hostility is “that’s weird.” To the inquirer, this is nothing but a passing remark on a policy they think is strange but still respect, nonetheless. To the explainer, it seems like an attack on their way of living. “That’s weird” has a negative connotation that forces the religious participant to a position of defense. For an informative conversation, defensive rhetoric is never good.

It’s a touchy subject that’s hard to talk about respectfully and inoffensively. ”

Another issue with discussing my religion is that often, the religious policy someone is inquiring about is rooted in an abstract concept that can’t be explained in the time provided. For example, a foundation of my personal religion is a concept known as “the Plan of Salvation.” If my answer to a religious inquiry involves the Plan of Salvation, I’ll have to go off on a seemingly irrelevant tangent about a concept that’s difficult to explain within a passing period.

Again, religion is a touchy subject that’s hard to talk about respectfully and inoffensively. Even when the precautions are taken to ensure respect, things can get lost in translation and an enlightening conversation can quickly devolve into an awkward and offensive situation. When discussing religion and other similar topics, it’s important to remember that the person you’re receiving information from often feels uncomfortable, and you should see it as your duty to help make them feel a little more comfortable and remain respectful of what they hold dear.