We Should Talk About Faith More, Especially With Friends Who Have Different Beliefs Than Us
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We Should Talk About Faith More, Especially With Friends Who Have Different Beliefs Than Us

The best study sessions are the ones that turn into deep conversations.

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We Should Talk About Faith More, Especially With Friends Who Have Different Beliefs Than Us

Today my friends and I went to a coffee shop to study and do homework. It was like the start to a bad joke: a finance major, a pre-med student and a pre-law student walk into a coffee shop. In some ways, we're all very similar, but in others, like our majors, we're very clearly different. What started out as a study session turned into a deep conversation about our faiths and our beliefs, and I wouldn't trade it for anything.

I'm a sophomore at Miami University. Like most sophomores, my initial experience in college was tainted by COVID-19. I came to campus late, my classes were all online, and everyone was still reeling from the impact of the pandemic. It was isolating, and a particularly rough start for me. Luckily, beginning in my spring semester, I began to meet people through one of the Christian youth groups on campus.

It was really nice to finally have friends that I could hang out with in person and just have fun. As I continued to meet people though, I very quickly realized that my beliefs were vastly different from everyone else's. At first it was subtle things, like how I believe women can be pastors (or elders) and others did not, but I rapidly grew to understand that I had some fundamentally different beliefs about my faith. It was really hard.

It sounds somewhat nuanced. I'm Christian, they're Christian, how different is it really? It wasn't that simple to me. I had finally found some friends in college, but the basis of our relationship seemed to reside on the idea that we believe in the same thing, that we all share the same beliefs. For me, I knew, that wasn't at all true.

There were stark differences in how we interpreted the Bible and what we believed a Christian's role was in the world. I was at a loss as to what to do. I didn't want to turn my back on my own faith, but I was also afraid of being abandoned by the friends I had so painstakingly made. Do I brashly and fearlessly proclaim my faith? Or do I keep my head down to appease my friends?

I ended up deciding to stay quiet, and I tried to learn from their experiences and faith as best as I could. This decision probably seems cowardly, and maybe it was, but it's so easy to dismiss the fear of abandonment when you aren't deciding between complete isolation and dishonest companionship.

Fast forward to today, as I walk into a coffee shop with two of my friends from that same youth group. We all grabbed something to drink, and then settled down at a table to study. For a while, all was content, other than the terrible Wi-Fi. Then I brought up the Scopes Trial.

The Scopes Trial, also known as the Scopes Monkey Trial, is a landmark case for evolution theory, as it challenged the constitutionality of outlawing the teaching of evolution theory. One of the reasons it was, and still is, so controversial is because evolution challenges biblical theories about the creation story. Many believe that evolution theory and biblical origin stories cannot coexist.

I glancingly mentioned the trial to my friends, as it was a part of the research I was doing for an essay, when I came to learn that neither of them believed in evolution. It was shocking to me, because I thought that most everyone believed in evolution, but I was clearly mistaken. We got into an in-depth discussion about evolution and how it impacts our faith, which slowly transitioned into a discussion about differences in faith and resulting conversations of those differences.

Both of my friends were incredibly open about their faith and extremely willing to listen and respond to my own genuine faith. It was refreshing and relieving, like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. Even though we did not come away with the same opinions, we came away with a better understanding and an increased respect for one another, and I felt freed from my vow of religious silence.

Religion is extremely personal and can be really hard to discuss. I felt incredibly vulnerable as I revealed my own beliefs to my friends. But, I can definitively say that it is so worth having a conversation about faith, even if your views differ. Faith isn't about being right, and it's not about proving that someone else is wrong.

I feel like engaging with your faith is a constant life of learning and being able to listen to others. There's always something to be learned from people with different beliefs and opinions, even if you come away with differing views at the end of it. So, never be afraid to take that first step into a conversation. It may be easy to say that, and much, much harder to do it, but it is also completely and utterly worth it.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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