Post by Katy M.
Photo by Leon_Ting
There is a stigma of talking about religion in the public sphere; it’s uncomfortable, as some people would describe it. The question I want to ask is why?
Why do people feel uncomfortable talking to others about Christianity?
Those who may not believe might feel like they’re being attacked when others are talking about it. They also might think that the person talking is forcing them to believe exactly what they believe in.
From the people I’ve asked, that’s mostly what they answered. A fellow classmate, who asked to remain anonymous, revealed how they were talking to a boy about religion. They then added that they didn’t really believe in anything, and the boy got angry, telling his friends that they should spit on this person. This person ended their statement with saying, “Religion is not something you can force upon someone else.”
Another few responses from anonymous classmates say something along the lines of “I hate it when super religious people try to shove their religion down my throat,” “I feel like they were forcing their opinions on me,” “My parents forced me to get confirmed with the Lutheran Church,” and how Christians are “really ignorant and try not to see your side.”
Other people grow up in families that are very strict with what they teach. According to another student, his “cousins decided that saying ‘gosh’ is too bad and it will send you to that place(hell).” He also added, “I always have to watch my mouth near them, swearing leads to drugs, which leads to satanism, which leads to hell.” He ended with saying, “My life has been made better, but mostly worse because of Christianity.”
“All Christians are extremists”
One classmate explains their view and how they think Christians are extremists and “hateful towards people of color or those in the ‘LGBTQIA’ community.”
But one specific student says, “I find that many people have certain stereotypes about Christianity. The general consensus is that Christians are judgemental, hateful and aren’t open to change. While this is true of some Christians, this does not reflect all of us.”
Often times, people get negative impressions of Christians because of extremist groups like Westboro Baptist Church. However, the majority of Christian groups do not reflect this extremism. In Minneapolis alone, many Christian ministries serve the homeless community without discrimination to sexual orientation, race, or religion (Salvation Army, Marie Sandvik Center, Street Light, Union Gospel Mission, First Covenant, etc.).
Photo by Skeeze
When people realize that Christians are only human, maybe they will accept the fact that they are going to make mistakes and do things that are wrong, and maybe even hurtful because they are only people.
The Discomfort applies not just to to non-believers, but Christians as well
For example, one student was talking to a friend about her beliefs and her friend revealed how he/she doesn’t really believe in it, leaving her speechless. She felt uncomfortable because she doesn’t “know what it’s like to live without the belief.”
A response similar to that is from someone who says, “It seemed awkward for me to talk to someone who says they have no religion, and it seemed uncomfortable for me because I see religion as a reason to have hope that there is a better world than the one I live in now and that I have the choice to go there after I am gone.”
I understand where this person may be coming from, and i’ve been in that situation several times. It feels weird and sometimes it’s hard to find a way to react correctly without telling them your opinion, which they usually get angry about. So it often feels as though you can never win, so you end up feeling uncomfortable and frustrated at the same time.
Other people feel no discomfort while talking about religion, instead they enjoy it
According to Rebekah, she is someone who tries “to understand others’ point of view,” and Cheyenne says, “I think religion should be talked about openly. What part of your belief should you be uncomfortable with talking about?” Adding to that, she also says, “I find their religions fascinating and cherish what they believe,” talking about her friends.
And Boedee says how he’s “never felt uncomfortable talking about it,” he actually “Really like[s] talking about Christianity and other religions with other people. It’s nice to hear what people believe and have them open up to you about their religion.”
So maybe the discomfort all depends on the person, and not the topic.
But one specific person explains why he thinks talking about religion is awkward. Joel says, “Religion is getting less and less popular because media these days glorifies sex, violence and vulgar language.”
I often question if we weren’t surrounded by so many destructive things in our world, would we be more comfortable with talking about Christianity? But I can never quite figure it out, and maybe I never will.
On that note, I believe religion is something people should get introduced to when they’re growing up, so they know what it’s about. But as they grow up, I believe people shouldn’t be forced into it. It should be something they choose on their own because it means so much more when you have the opportunity to decide for yourself.
And I may be Christian as well, but being rude to someone just because they may not be Christian is no way to treat them. We are supposed to be kind to everyone, no matter what they believe in, even those who believe in the exact opposite of what we do. And forcing someone to do something never works for anyone, just ask my siblings…
After hearing all these responses, readers can see several answers from teenage kids in the world today about their view on religion and why it’s uncomfortable to talk about.
But the question i’m going to leave you with is; what do you think?