Of the few people who responded, they all agreed that it is possible to separate a belief from the believer and discuss it objectively. I hope that’s true, because that’d be awesome, I’ve just never seen it happen. I’m able to discuss my beliefs objectively, but only for so long. Depending on the other person’s attitude, if they get to really attacking, I’m eventually going to either just leave or respond in kind. I want to be able to discuss my faith and the ideas surrounding it objectively, but if someone starts insulting my Lord and Saviour, or making raucous generalities that are simply untrue, it pushes my buttons.
The same goes for discussing any religion with me, though. I can talk about anything at length without a problem, so long as the person I’m talking with is fairly respectful and… responsive. Not responsive in that they have to agree with me, but it has to be a conversation. A debate, maybe. I’m willing to give and think and admit where I don’t know something, but if the other person is just monologuing, that’s not really worth it to me. I love conversations, but lectures get old after a while. And if someone starts insulting a religion, be it Christianity or Wiccanism or even Agnosticism, it angers me. Debating is one thing, but insults and slurs aren’t debating, they’re just mudslinging. It’s like turning the brain off and letting the mouth run unbridled. It isn’t theology or intelligent consideration at all.
I’ve always stated that we can’t hate the sin but love the sinner because the word “hate” means too much to me. It’s a complete, 100%, unmitigated desire to destroy the object of your scorn. “Hate” is complete to me. And I think that we, as human beings, are pretty flawed in our perceptions and therefore unable to separate a person well from what they do/are. We’d like to think we can, but we usually don’t.
Not saying it isn’t possible. I know very kind people who do. I’m not really that kind, if I am honest with myself. It’s something to work towards, and I think about it often and try to, but I find myself shying away from certain people and then kicking myself for doing so.
I’ve been attacked a lot for my beliefs over the years, both before and after I became Christian. It is extremely rare to find someone who can disagree with me but still discuss our differing views. They always feel like it’s a fight that has to be won, and though I don’t want to feel this way, once they begin attacking I have trouble not defending, maybe even attacking back.
Nevertheless, it’s encouraging to see that people think it’s possible to separate beliefs and individuals and discuss those beliefs (or ideas, or sins, or whatever label you want to use; just depends on the situation) objectively. Thank you for responding.