I was asked by my friend Dan Nosheny to write a guest post for his blog today. He gave me the topic: ““How to talk about religion in a way that is both non-obnoxious but also makes people listen.”
This sounded like something I could do. Challenge accepted! I’m including the first bit of my post here to whet your appetite, and then linking over to his blog for you to see the rest of it. Comments encouraged anywhere, though I think it’d be spiffy if they were at his site, not mine. (Sort of keeps with the “guest blog” thing.) I was fairly pleased with how it turned out. Now to see what his audience of blood thirsty atheists think about it. 🙂
THE WELL-TEMPERED EVANGELIST
Confession: this is the second version of this article that I’m writing. The first one was an immediate response I started as soon as I read Dan’s original piece. It was an article where I defended my beliefs and explained why I believe what I believe. I didn’t send that article to Dan. In fact, I didn’t even finish it–for a number of reasons, the main one being that I think it missed the point of Dan’s post. He didn’t write it as an assault on religion, although his views definitely colored it. Rather, he wrote it to explain how he can believe one thing (firmly enough to participate in a rally about it) and yet at the same time be accepting of other people’s very contradicting ideas.
It also helped that I had the chance to talk about belief extensively in the Facebook comments section of his post. (Honestly–sometimes I wonder why we even have comments sections on blogs. Everyone wants to do the talking on Facebook.) By the end of that discussion, I felt like I’d come to a good place as far as my reaction to the piece went, and I could move on to the real question Dan had asked me:
After some discussion with Dan, we decided the exact topic was “How to talk about religion in a way that is both non-obnoxious but also makes people listen.”
More or less.
Reading over Dan’s remarks, I was surprised by how much Mormons and atheists have in common. Growing up in a very non-Mormon area, there were tons of times when my beliefs felt marginalized. For example, I remember the time in eighth grade social studies when my teacher (whose name has been lost to the sands of time) went on and on about how silly Mormons were. In the middle of class. I am not making this up. He ended his mini-tirade saying, “I hope I don’t have any Mormons in *this* class.”