- and why it is hard to talk about.
Religion is something that we embrace, or do not embrace. Certainly our religious options are defined and shaped by our experience, but the decision to embrace (which connotes love) and practice a particular faith is finally a matter of choice, reflecting our deepest loyalties, convictions, and affections. It is difficult, sometimes, to speak about these deepest convictions in a way that seems "objective". We all do have reasons for espousing, or not espousing (note again the love/marital metaphor), but they are often as hard to state or explain or defend as our choice of a marital partner. Similarly, when someone criticizes our faith -- if it is indeed a vital faith to us -- the criticism seems deeply personal - almost as if someone criticized our spouse. This emotional content makes discussion difficult. But it also makes it important. For, unlike race or gender or age, we always live with the fact that we can change our faith, and with the reality that our faith does grow, change, or disappear over time. Discussion contributes to that process. Therefore it is potentially dangerous, as well as potentially enriching. - Richard Crocker