Over the past couple of months I have begun to ponder and do some soul searching on the idea of friendship and how shallow it has become in today’s world. I have begun to ask myself how I can call someone a friend and not discuss my worldview with them whether it be political, social, religious (defined as a pursuit or interest followed with great devotion). Not sharing your worldview is pretty unreasonable when you think about it, mainly because your worldview plays a huge part in the way you think and the way you relate to people even your friends. For example, say you have a friend who believes that the purpose of life is to satisfy his/her needs and be happy by any means, then that friend might be willing to cause to harm(mental or physical) to you as long as they get what they want(material or immaterial). I choose to focus on religion (a pursuit or interest followed with great devotion) mainly because it is such a touchy topic with most people, that subconsciously we tend to avoid going near it in relations with friends or even anyone, and even when we do at the very most just scrape the surface. This is appalling and undermines any relationship when the consequences of believing or not believing in a certain religion (a pursuit or interest followed with great devotion) are considered. For example, if as a Buddhist you believe that the purpose of life is to avoid suffering, gain enlightenment and release from cycle of rebirth, or at least attain a better rebirth by gaining merit through purification of the heart and to let go of all yearnings toward sensual desires and the attachment to oneself, or an atheist friend who does not believe in existence of a God, or a Muslim who believes I must submit(Islam) to the will of God to gain Paradise after death, as a Hindu believe that only the soul matters which will one day be free of the cycle of rebirths and be at rest by being devoted to any of the Hindu gods or goddesses and grow in knowledge through meditation of Brahman (oneness). Why not share this with your friend if you truly believe they are on the wrong trail, or even as a Christian you believe that every human has sinned and is imperfect and are thereby separated from God and that salvation is through faith in Jesus Christ. Why not share it with a friend if you truly love them.
After much thinking and soul-searching, I came up with 2 main reasons why people don’t share their deepest beliefs e.g. religion; It is mostly either due to fear of losing that friend due to disagreements in opinion, or because you as a person haven’t really sat down and asked yourself why you believe what you believe which is sad, because if you don’t know why you believe what you believe and are not ready to have conversations about it then you don’t truly believe it, you just want it to be true. This is very dangerous as not truly understanding what you believe and why you believe it has led to so many atrocities in the world both past and present. That is why I encourage everyone to begin or continue to discuss their deepest beliefs and not worry about losing a friend, because anyone who doesn’t want to be your friend anymore due to differences in opinions, ideas or beliefs is probably not one worth having around anyway and the breakdown of that relationship could be a blessing in disguise.
Based on the above I have come to what I believe to be a rational conclusion that in a close relationship it is absolutely vital that friends should be honest and loving enough to share and discuss their world views especially those on religion as it is one of the deepest beliefs any individual holds. However, it is essential to restrain from forcing your religion on anyone but aim to have a respectful, intelligent conversation about it; the former is a one-way Street while the latter is a two-way street. The aim of this post is not to claim that I have been faultless in discussing my deepest beliefs with friends, or claim to be expert on world religions but to encourage friends to have conversations with each other about their deepest beliefs as sometimes it strengthens bonds in a relationship. Even if at least ONE person just one reads this article and is touched by it then the purpose of me writing this article would have been accomplished. Finally, we need to employ theses wise words by Joseph Joubert a French moralist and essayist in our discussions;
The aim of argument, or of discussion, should not be victory, but progress. – Joseph Joubert