Religion and Politics: How to Avoid Stress When Someone Tries to Engage or Challenge You

From the time I was a child, my family used to say, “never discuss religion or politics.” If someone makes a political comment and you are not in agreement with their stance, you don’t have to get into a tangle. That will lead you nowhere.

The same holds true for religion. There are many people in this world who believe there is only one way to the unknowable God. Of course, that doesn’t make sense since there are many religions and spiritual ideas. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is a safe way to conduct our lives, but when someone says, “Unless you think MY way, you are on the wrong track.”

I have learned in my 73 years that the best way to handle a comment about religion or politics is to just change the subject quickly. Pretend you did not hear their comment or question about what church you belong to or who you voted for in the last election. Unless you want to get into a hassle, zip the lips. Chances are that person will get the message that you and he/she are not on the same page but can still converse about the weather or the new Italian restaurant that opened up the street. Or what college their grandkid got into. There’s plenty to talk about and remain on friendly terms.

Treat yourself well. Try to avoid unnecessary stress. Learn how to verbally duck when confronted with trouble. Let people judge you by your own fruits and how you treat others with respect. When we change the subject, we also give the other party an “out.” In a sense, we all can prevent a war from escalating. It all starts with each of us — live and let live.