I am just as guilty of this as anyone else. It starts with some heated debate between two people who could know each other barely at all or very well. Religion is one of the more heated topics used, but politics, social trends, technology, and the concept of individual freedom will work as well. Often these debates end with one person making some snide and unrelated comment to end the line of argument, likely because (s)he is tired of fighting.

Which is the main problem.

I've never believed that two people arguing ever accomplished anything. It's so hard for us, when caught in the throes of a juicy debate, to remember the person we are talking to and what it is we are working to accomplish by opening and closing our mouths suchlike in a talking manner. We are often too proud to walk away from an argument saying, "Wow I never thought of it that way." This is especially true of religion, the topic of which brought me to this nodeshell.

If we believe anything strongly, and what we believe follows a straight and strained line of action and behavior, we are often led to think that ANY variation is wrong (if what we believe is inherently right, of course). It's so easy to just be defensive, as though talking about different ideas places doubt in your beliefs and renders you without a firm foundation. Well, what are beliefs for if not to be challenged against other beliefs? Would our differences matter if we weren't so inclined to bring them up? Things like these, instances like these are our antennae, our internal communication. It's how we, like other animals, relate to our environment by how it is different or alike as we are, both in appearance, action, thought and deed.

I hear a lot of people have a lot of varying opinions on religion, most of which seem to concern Christianity, as though non-Judeo-Christian beliefs are left out of the ring altogether and are therefore fine as they are and need no debate. People want to have either really rigid tenets or values so vauge that nothing seems to be taken seriously. Few people have what it takes to truly reason together. Here is where I throw my hat into the arena.

I am a Christian. I want to be challenged, not attacked outright and not given a chance to speak. You want to attack me, lump me with every doofus who owns a Bible, then I have nothing to say to you. You want to talk to me like a person, and understand that I want to learn from you with equal portion that you want to learn from me, then I'm interested. Pretty simple. You don't necessarily have to learn about God or the Bible just by hearing MY take on the matter. I'm not running a conversion tent here. The exchange required here is that you are willing to look at what I have to offer and not blow it off. If you want me to respect what you believe, respect what I believe. Not what the masses say they believe, not what you see on slanted news reports of what I believe, but what I believe.

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