Darn those other people and their gods…

Question from Tyler:
Do you get upset over other people arguing about God or their gods? Do you get mad and tell them to shut up about God, or do you just walk away?

Answer by SmartLX:
If it happens to me in person, I try to do exactly what I do on this site: consider what they say to try and determine their actual position, evaluate it, then carefully respond. It helps avoid anger, even if it reaches the level of a confrontation.

To be honest it hardly ever happens to me in everyday life. I live in Australia, where religion isn’t nearly as prevalent or prominent as it is in America for instance. While many people are still religious they’re more likely to keep it to themselves, and nobody listens to the few street preachers we do have. I’d happily engage with evangelists if there were more of them out chasing converts, because I like to talk about this stuff with people who are already interested. That’s what’s nice about this site: anyone who writes in with a question genuinely wants to discuss, learn or proclaim something. I’m not bothering anyone who’d rather ignore it at the time.

Incidentally, I find that a lot of the aggression in arguments over religion isn’t directly linked to religion itself, but to socio-political issues on which certain religions have taken a conservative stance: abortion, homosexuality, euthanasia, birth control, stem cell research, sex education, evolution and so forth. It’s a lot easier to get emotional when an issue is somehow “brought home” and can directly affect you, your friends or especially your children.

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