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I love when people talk to me about religion and politics, but it’s a topic I generally avoid mentioning around all but a select few. This is because, well,  if you want to throw labels around, I’m a spiritual agnostic-atheist anarchist, so pretty much nobody agrees with me on anything.

I probably get in more serious discussions on the concept of god with atheists, because they refuse to let me off the hook with my standard response of: “I respect your beliefs, but I’ve decided the whole topic is beyond my understanding; what’s important is people try to live good lives.”

Generally, religious people let me off with that one. They might even wish me well, and hope things change for me, meanwhile, I try that with one with an atheist, and x hours later, I’m exhausted, have gone on some kind of insane rant, and feel the need to flee for a while.

Ironically, I annoy atheists way more than religious people, even though I feel like I’m much closer to being an atheist than a person of faith. Relatedly, one of the things atheists point out is how strict and intolerant religious people are, and the strictest and most intolerant people in my personal life are all atheists. I realize that this is just a reflection of the people I know, and I love people on both sides of issue. I just wish we’d all learn to respect one another’s differences.

So, ultimately my answer is that it’s best not to discuss these things with people you don’t know that well, because religion and politics tend to stir up some pretty deep emotions with people, and you’re putting a person’s core beliefs on trial, and that can get pretty messy.

Also, people on any side of these issues post some amazingly disrespectful stuff on Facebook. How do you expect to change someone’s mind by deeply insulting them?

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