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A Chronic Struggle

Thomas Whitley

I have a chronic struggle.

This struggle of mine is one that I’m sure most everyone deals with at least on occasion. The struggle is simply how much do we share and how much do we keep to ourselves. My version of this struggle is specifically related to religious belief.

I know that never will there be a time when everyone agrees - I, in fact, think this is wonderful, for without diversity of belief growth and change for the better would never be possible - and I am someone who enjoys and respects differences of belief and opinion, as long as they are sincere and reasonable. Thus, given someone else’s sincere and reasonable belief/opinion I typically do not share my own views unless asked to. I personally dislike people sharing their unsolicited opinions with me, so I try very hard not to share mine in that manner.

The question, then, is “does there come a time when I should share my beliefs/opinions even when they’re not asked for?”

What do I do when I know that other people find person X’s views very meaningful and important, but I find person X’s views to be wrong and detrimental? Part of me feels that I have a moral obligation to that person and everyone who admires this person to share with them what I believe to be truth. However, there is another, larger part of me that questions my motives. Am I just trying to get other people to think and believe like me?

Everything I believe, I believe seriously and I think my beliefs and true and right (if I didn’t, I wouldn’t subscribe to them…duh), but does that give me the right to create conflict and begin a process of dream-crushing and belief-crushing just because there is a chance that I may be right?

So, what am I really saying? What am I asking for?

Really, I don’t know that I’m asking for anything, though I will gladly accept comments on how you deal with this struggle. I guess really what I’m saying is that our thoughts and beliefs are important to us and to others and I take this very seriously.

It is not right for me to think that it is acceptable for me to share my unsolicited views/beliefs if I don’t want others to do the same. I work very hard to not employ double standards in my life and frankly wish that others would too. Most Christians, I have found, believe that it is completely acceptable for them to evangelize and share their beliefs with others, but get terribly offended when people of others religious faiths/traditions attempt to share their beliefs. This goes against equality and fairness, two things I highly value, and, in my opinion, shows immaturity.

Am I just too passive in this realm?

Should I be more forthright and less respectful of others’ beliefs/views?

I have a chronic struggle.