Pre-Modern Theology in Public Life

Column by Bishop John Shelby Spong on 3 August 2005 0 Comments
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How do I communicate with someone who only responds with biblical quotations?

Robert from Denver, Colorado, writes:
How do I keep my head in a place of peace when people try to push their religious views on me?


Your questions are not essentially different so I ask your indulgence to address them together.
Hostile behavior never has to be tolerated even if it is done in the name of religion. If you ask for dialogue with one who believes you are lost and in need of salvation that only they can provide, then you are asking for abuse.

If you tell the religious zealot that you don't want to engage that subject, you must be prepared to walk away if the zealot persists. I believe we are called to love all people but we are not called to volunteer for religious abuse.

When anyone has a need to talk to me that is greater than my need to listen, I suspect the presence of hostile religious zealotry.

One such person warned me once that if I did not listen to his message, I would surely go to hell! I responded that I believe I would prefer to be in hell if the people in heaven all acted like him.

I wish you well.

— John Shelby Spong

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