Well, not exactly the mailbox…
I received a phone call over the weekend from a loved one, who asked a compelling question. “Why do you believe what you believe? I just don’t understand someone like you. How could you think like this?” (names my beliefs that are in question)
How would you answer someone if they asked this question of you? Mind you, I just came home from visiting a farm to pick up produce and meat. Bags full of fresh stuff that needed to be cleaned and put away. Dinner still needing to be made. (Note: never call a woman at 5 p.m.) Nothing like a loaded question at a critical hour.
The last time someone asked me this same question, we were in a vestibule of a church. It was years ago. The other person said, “I don’t understand you. You take care of yourself. You are educated. How could you believe this stuff about God?” I was ready to give an answer for the hope I have. The person returned as a guest to the same church the following weekend.
This time, it wasn’t about God. The questions were political in nature. It was a holiday weekend, and I was totally thrown off base by the caller. So, I played defense for a few minutes. Then, it occurred to me that this conversation was headed toward a dead end. I proposed that we set a time and day, as often as needed, to go through each area of “concern.” You see, the caller on the other end wasn’t trying to name, blame, or shame me for my beliefs. It seemed that our relationship was significant to the caller.
It’s been a few days. My invitation to set a time and date to address the caller’s concerns has not yet been accepted. I have time to think about how to respond to the question, “Why do you believe what you believe?”
This much I must be prepared to do:
-Articulate calmly and unashamedly why I believe what I believe.
-Know what the other person believes and why they believe it (Listen to get them talking so they can hear themselves defend their beliefs).
-Know what they believe about what I believe.
If I do these things, the relationship may grow. Our integrity may be maintained. Maybe, in time, the person will respond affirmatively to my side of the issues.
How would you answer the question, “Why do you believe what you believe (from a civics/citizenship viewpoint)?”
This is Common Sense Civics and Citizenship.??