How to Effectively Respond to Prejudices About Your Religion
There are thousands and thousands of religions in today’s society. This can be because of the evolutionary adaptation of people being religious. But why are there so many religions? Perhaps the most common answer to this question is that people seek the path to God, wherein these paths vary because we vary. The biggest religions on Earth are Christianity, Islam, and Buddhism, while the remaining are minor religious groups. Each sector believes that their faith is the correct one and the others are not. This view causes prejudice and hatred towards other religions. And other times, prejudice occurs because of the indifference of opinions. Most of the time, atheists or agnosticism hold prejudice because of no substantial evidence of God’s existence.
Prejudice is formed because of many scientific findings and religious beliefs or diverse religious truths. However, author Neil C. Griffen sets out to prove to all that science and religion are not at odds, putting a stop to prejudice. From Science to Spirituality, his book presents cases and significant data using scientific insights to challenge the viewpoints regarding science and religion disciplines.
The past decades have witnessed an increase in violent sectarian and religious tensions, which results in the incidence of terrorism and other violent acts. If intolerance pursues, this violence will not end. Moreover, there are ways you can stop prejudice without submitting to violence. Thus, below are effective ways to respond to discrimination about your religion.
Help Them Understand the Seriousness of Religious Prejudice
You may not have the power to stop every person’s prejudice on Earth, but you can make a change by educating the people in close proximity. It may be a small act, but it is an impactful one. Seeing someone being prejudicial to others, you have to step in and make them understand the gravity of their actions. Oftentimes, people do not know that they are holding prejudice towards another person and his/her belief. They might not know the meaning of the words they have spoken and how it affects the receiver.
When a person holds prejudicial attitudes towards others, they tend to view everyone who is in that religion in the same regard. They will paint every person from the same faith as being “all the same,” failing to really look at them as human beings. Hence, you must educate them, whether you are the one receiving the prejudice or not, of the seriousness of religious prejudice.
Listen and Validate
If you are faced by someone with prejudicial attitudes towards your religion, try to lend your ear. Stop everything else and take time to let them talk. Listen as to why they feel the way they feel about your religion. Do not stop them from voicing out and figure out their views. Interrupting and jumping to conclusions is not helpful, even if your intentions are good. Why? Because this can cause more tension. Practice active listening and calmly ask questions not to add fire to their anger. Afterward, validate their experience. This is not a blind agreement to stop the tension but to help you understand them through their lens. There could be plenty of reasons as to why they feel that way; maybe they had a bad experience.
Control What You Can
Again, you have no control over how people act and think towards your religion. Also, you may not be able to change other people. But the question is, what do you have control over? You can intervene the moment it becomes violent. If you witness an act of prejudice, you need to address the harassment directly. A direct intervention is a simple yet effective method you can use. However, it can also be uncomfortable and confrontational. But you’re doing a great job by reaching out to the person harassed rather than doing nothing. A simple intervention can help get this person out of a problematic situation. Bear in mind, avoid talking back because you’re only adding fuel to the fire. It is important to let them understand, but it has to be in a situation when one party is hot-headed. Talking would be pointless as this can lead to a greater argument.
Make Meaning Out of Experiences
Sometimes, it’s hard for you to make other people see your point, especially when they closed their minds on an opinion. Another appropriate action you can take is to instead let it be and make meaning out of the experience. This is specifically for your own good. A rebuttal can cause greater conflict, and you, too, may end up hating another person. Be the bigger person and charge this to experience.