Update: I submitted this blog to the “Bridging the Divides” syncroblog. I feel the following concept is important for having respectful dialog with those with whom we disagree.
We all have beliefs about various things. This is fine. However, some people expect everyone to agree with them. Or in other words, they expect everyone should share their beliefs. The thought process is like this: “(I believe) this is true, so everyone else must acknowledge it is true also.” This is a problem.
I think people confuse truth and belief. The truth is true unconditionally, no matter what. But our beliefs are in flux. Truth doesn’t need our belief nor anyone else’s in order to be true. Our belief however is a process, a journey. We aren’t born with perfect beliefs about everything in the world. Actually we aren’t born with beliefs about anything at all.
So as we grow, our beliefs begin to form—mostly through our experiences. The hope and idea is that we are trying to get our beliefs to match the truth. But we are not perfect. No one has it all figured out perfectly. Not even in matters of religion or the Bible. That doesn’t mean that the Bible or God are wrong, it simply means that we can misunderstand them.
So we must understand, when we are interacting with people who disagree with us, that they have the freedom to believe differently than we do. In reality, we can’t force anyone to believe what we believe. Even if you are correct, others must come to that belief themselves. We can explain to them why we believe the way we do, but if they are going to believe, they must choose to do so themselves. Remember, their belief (or disbelief) doesn’t affect the truth. If your belief is true, it will continue to be true whether or not anyone else recognizes it.
So have confidence in your belief. Don’t pressure others to conform to your beliefs. If your beliefs are in fact correct, have confidence that others will eventually become convinced of this truth themselves. Remember, this doesn’t mean we can’t share our beliefs with them, only that we can’t coerce them to agree with us. Respect them and the fact that they may be in a different place in their journey to know the truth. After all, don’t you want them to respect your beliefs as well?
Other “Bridging the Divides” syncroblogs:
- The Virtual Abbess – Abi and April’s Synchroblog – Bridging the Divides
- Caris Adel - Emotional Pacifism: Laying Down My Weapons
- Ty Grigg – Speak Truth
- Jon Huckins – Gay Marriage, World Vision, and a Unified Church?
- Mark Votava – Faith Presence in the Parish
- Mary at Lifeinthedport – let us meet in the borderlands
- Michael Donahoe – Healing Divisions in the Body of Christ
- Jeremy Myers – Unity vs. Uniformity in the Church
- Juliet at Still Learning – A Catholics Love Letter to Evangelical Women
- Dago at Scripture Insights – Jesus the Divider
- Glenn Hager – The Lowest Common Denominator
- Sarah Quezada - Standing on Church Bridges
- Michelle Van Loon – Bridging the Divide
- Happy at Simple Felicity – are we there yet?
- Travis Klassen – The Church: Coming, Going, or Being
- Bec Cranford - Biblical Interpretation and Inerrancy: Moving beyond myopia to a grander vision of unity
- Teresa Pasquale – Bridging the Divide: Translating Between Dialects, Culture Contexts, and Heart Stirring
- Miguel Labrador – I might be willing to reconsider church hierarchies, if…
- Paul Meier – Healing the Divides Begins Within
- Liz Dyer – You Can’t Get There From Here
- K.W. Leslie – Humility
- Kathy Escobar – 10 ways we can build bridges instead of bomb them
- Loveday Anyim – The “non-Gospelized Rituals” of Pentacostalism
- Caedmon Michael – Bridging the Divides
- Carly Gelsinger – “Church Shopping” at the Wrong “Mall”: A Story of Easter Sundays
- Mallory Pickering – A Splintered People
- Pastor Edwin Fedex – Tearing Down Fences and Building Sidewalks
- Jen Baros – Bridging the Divides: How to Heal
- Burning Religion – The Impossible Space Between Us
- Bronwyn Lea – When My Children Squabble
- Christine Sine – Unified by Love Not Doctrine