, and how should I, as a Christian, communicate with other people?I know a number of Christians feel that they should try to spread their faith by preaching to others that they have the answer to life that the others are missing.
It seems to many people like a Lucy in the Peanuts comic strip claiming that she's a great Evangelist in changing people's minds by hitting them over the head with her lunch box.
Many perceive this as looking down at the others and saying in reality that I'm better than you.
This is not true, but it is perceived by others as such..
After all many of the people that we come in contact with are not Christian, and even ifthey are,Christians themselves can differ with each other on some basic convictionswhereby some Christians feel that the others who call themselves Christian are not really Christian.
And this analysis could be true even if I were Jewish, Muslim or whatever, because even if people are of the same religious persuasion here as well, they can differ in some basic ways as far as their own beliefs are concerned.
In other words, all people are different and we have to recognize this as a fact.
One of the most important aspects in communicating is that we have to learn first how we shouldlisten to others.
We all love to speak and give our opinions, but before we do this, we all have to learn how to listen and understand where the other person is coming from before we can intelligently converse with that person at his or her own level.
We all come from differentbackgrounds in growing up so that this can basically influence how we think and understand what life is all about.
So here it's easy to understand why having a democracy is so important.
In a democracy individuals have the right to say what they think whereas in a dictatorship they don't.
But on the other hand, one has to realize that having a democracy is not a cure-all for having the ability to converse freely.
Within a democracy you also have to protect minority rights.
And some democracies do a poor job in doing this.
But even if you do a good job in protecting minority rights, there are still a number of individuals within this minority who feel that they are not being listened to.
And unfortunately, sometimes they resort to violence to demonstrate this.
But here I'm only talking about democracy within a single county, and I feel we have to go beyond this.
This is because it doesn't include different cultures, although you can find different cultures to a lesser extent within a single country.
But on a much broader scale one will find many different cultures existing around the world, which we would have to include in this equation as well.
So the initial listening process has to start between individuals and then maybe it can mushroom out (more effectively within democracies) so that eventually it can encompass society worldwide.
Now what are some of these more basic issues that tend to divide people?One is on the role women should play within society.
Now this has divided Christians, Jews, and Muslims.
Some Christians feel that women should not be pastors, whereas other Christians feel that women could be.
But it's dealt with peaceably by Christians joining different denominations depending upon theirbelief here.
This is dealt with in the same way by the Jewish religion.
But within the Muslim religion, you will find in a number of instances in which the women are physically and emotionally abused.
This, however, is gradually being changed through a more comprehensive educational system.
Another point of division is on homosexuality.
This is a more potent division within Christianity, Judaism, Islam and most other religions.
Here you have to define what doing what comes naturally means according to each religious belief, since homosexuality now seems in most cases to develop at birth, and not as a willful activity.
A third divisive issue has been the one on abortion and all the world's religions tend to be divided over this one.
Here one has to decide as to whether a fetus is a human being or a potential human being, which could determine how one would feel about this issue.
Andother divisive issues that should be dealt with are race, ethnicity, poverty, AIDS, and 2 minor issues (transvestism and transexualism) in that they affect fewer people, but are very potent divisive issues nevertheless.
How should one deal with these issues and any other divisive issue that might come to your mind?This is the basic question that has to be answered.
Now some, especially within the Muslim faith, feel that they can force their belief system upon others.
This never works, and what happens is that you generally form a dictatorship, which can give you an external appearance that everyone seems to be following the same belief system.
But in reality you would find that internally the people's belief system could be quite different.
And I believe God only looks at the people's internal belief system.
This is why we need a freedom of religious choice in our society.
The answer to all of this would be in listening to others, and even if we might disagree,respecting their opinions considering the environmental upbringing they're coming from.
And at the same time we should share our opinions keeping in mind the environmental background that we're coming from.
In this way others can take from our opinion, thoughts that might improve their lives, and we can take thoughts from their opinions, that might improve our lives.
This always begins with individuals, but eventually it could grow into a world-wide movement.
This is how communication should work where TRUTH will eventually emerge as the predominant societal guide.