Religion is a topic that many shun or avoid discussing with peer groups because of potential differences in opinions. The hardest part for many is to give up sharing time with friends who do not believe in the same faith but are otherwise supportive, energetic and enthusiastic about life just the same. Muslims give up drinking alcohol and spend 5 times a day praying for 10 minutes each time to Allah their God Almighty, Christians give up entertainment on Sundays to be with their church friends, Hindus spend 2 days of the week to cook and eat only vegetarian meals etc.
If you happen to be on spiritual journey this month, fasting for Muslims, end of Hungry Ghost month, Hindu festival of lights, you may be thinking how you can share this journey with your friends who do not share the same religious belief as you do.Language is however needed to practice any form of religion or spiritual undertaking.
Why do religion and language differ?
- Language is a way of life; religion is a way to live life
- Language is for people, religion is for God, Angles,Prophets and People
- Language is limited by the ability of the people who can learn them; religion is not based on ability to learn but willingness to follow
- Language can be taught, religion has to be preached
- Language is an aid to support the progress of civilisation; religion is a guide to sustain this progression
- Before we learn to speak about religion, we must already know a language which we can use a tool to learn about it.
- Before there was a religion, there had to be a language which God needed to use to help people understand Him. So language must already exist before a religion can be passed down.
People who love languages do not always have to discuss religion, but people who love their religion always bring along discussions about wrong interpretations and translations from the original scriptures and what the language should indeed be. People who speak different languages come together to speak of one common religion and they feel fine about it, but people of different faiths who speak the same language just cannot seem to agree on one point of discussion.
If you have to discuss religion to people who speak your language, here are 6 ways:
- Look before your leap
- Are the people you want to speak to about your religion aware about your faith? If you have not been showing to others that you are practising your religion faithfully, how do you suppose people will react if you start sharing your belief in the religion? If y
- Informing close friends that you are a vegetarian is different from telling them that you cannot eat meat. The former is positive and the latter beckons more questions beginning with ‘why’.
- Don’t try to speak defensively by justifying your actions: “I am doing this because my religion says blah…….” Nobody wants to hear you preach but will take no offense if you show them that you are indeed practising it. If you are fasting, you can say, “Sorry thank you for your offer, I cannot eat now as I am fasting.”
- Do not seek opportunities to discuss religion, it never works. Instead make way for opportunities to discuss everything else except religion. People want to get to know people not because they feel comfortable with the person not his or her religion.
- Do not make declaration or raise an ultimatum if there is difference in opinion as a result of entering a discussion on religious topics; not even speaking the same language can help you solve this conflict. That’s because a person’s ability to express himself effectively is limited by his practical skills at using language as a tool:
“….although religion is a salient aspect of an individual’s identity, it is linguistic differences that are more likely to lead to conflict by limiting individual’s ability to self-express, communicate with others effectively, and take advantage of the opportunities available in that society.”