Unfortunately, talking to other people with opinions that differ from your own can be a strenuous task. I remember distinctly speaking to some of my old friends about the topic of abortion at the lunch table in high school. Honestly I’m not sure how the topic was brought up but I do remember the argument that occurred. My friend was going around the table, asking for everyone’s opinion to see whether they agreed with her or not. Growing up in a Christian household, she believed that having an abortion was as if you were murdering a baby, which is of course a sin. But when I spoke my mind, expressing that I believed that all women should have the choice of whether or not to have an abortion, she suddenly turned a civil exchange of opinions into an argument. I stayed calm and collected, defending my point, while she continuously demanded that my opinion was invalid… all because I didn’t believe in her God.
Speaking on behalf of a non-religious person, I am not against religion. However, I realized that day that I simply strive for respect. I will not judge you, I will not try to convert you, and I will not undermine your personal opinion due to your religious beliefs. All I wish is for you to treat me the same. Your spiritual beliefs do not determine the amount of respect and civility you deserve.
Although our friendship later deteriorated, there is the possibility that it was irrelevant to our different religious backgrounds. Nevertheless this begs the question, can we really coexist? What does society need to change if we want all to truly coexist with one another?