Talk about Faith

How do you talk about your religious beliefs, or why you don’t have any religious beliefs, with someone that you know has quite a different worldview than you? It can be pretty daunting and a lot of the time, we just try to avoid it, because we’re worried we might offend someone, or say the wrong thing, or ask a stupid question. It’s much easier to just talk about something else!

But what we believe, and don’t believe, is really important for who we are. It shapes how we think about the world, how we interact with people, how we decide what is right and wrong. And how we view the world is important to us: we feel passionate about our beliefs, and the communities we’re a part of that share the same beliefs as us.

After talking to many different people over the last year about their religious identities as a part of the Superdiversity Project and what they believe and don’t believe, a couple of really clear patterns have come up for helping people talk about what they believe with people who are different from them. Here are some things they’ve suggested:

  1. Relax. Everyone has different ideas and beliefs about the world. Celebrate who you are!
  2. Tell your Story. What you think and believe is a part of your unique experience. Don’t be afraid to tell people about what you’ve experienced.
  3. Be curious. Just like you, everyone else has their own story. Listen to what they have to say and ask questions.
  4. Find Common Ground! Even though we’re different, we often have a lot in common. Look for the similarities in others.
  5. Change your mind. It’s okay to change what you think. Let new experiences affect how you see the world.

This infographic was produced through an AHRC-funded Leadership Fellowship entitled Language and Religion in the Superdiverse City (AH/V00980X/1) led by Stephen Pihlaja.

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