Some people are afraid of being tricked, or of being persuaded by the honesty of someone honest who has himself been tricked. (Which is a fair concern, in today’s world.) So they try to listen only to sources they trust and know personally.
Some people are just not interested enough to spend the time researching and arguing. (And of course nobody has time to research every possible belief in this world.)
It may also be that this person was afraid that a religious discussion would break the pleasantness of his acquaintance with you. (It used to be good manners never to discuss religion or politics unless you knew each other really well. People are often more casual about such things now, but not everyone is.)
It might even be that the person prefers to think out matters on his own instead of during conversation. Most people like conversation better, but many introverts like to absorb information on their own, when they can concentrate on it.
Ask him about it. I bet he’ll tell you that he’s under the (mistaken) assumption that, if he never hears the Gospel, he will get to heaven without having to follow its demands, but that, if he does hear it, he’s obligated to follow it.
(That’s an odd misstatement on what the Church teaches, btw. He probably heard it from some Catholic who, himself, misunderstood the teaching…)
If someone wanted to discuss their faith with me, I have no problem with it at all. I personally don’t research others’ faith because
a) I don’t have the time.
b) If I had the time, I would do research (and I’m talking about in-depth research) on my own faith first because that is essential to mine and others’ salvation while the other information doesn’t apply to me and won’t help our cause. Just to be clear, I’m not saying they won’t be saved; God works in ways that we do not know. I’m saying the information they have doesn’t apply to me and so it won’t help our cause. As a Catholic, I am first to grow in our faith and should be at the service of others but other information that won’t come in handy is just extra information. For example, it wouldn’t help for me to research what others believe about transubstantiation when I don’t have a good understanding of what we believe on it. It wouldn’t help for me to research on other faiths’ perspective on marriage when I don’t know enough about mine. It wouldn’t be useful for me to understand why other Christian faiths ordain women when I don’t understand why we don’t. If someone were to then ask me about my faith, what would I say about the Church’s teachings? It is important to know about other faiths though. But since I don’t know enough about our faith, I would study ours before another.
Maybe your friend has heard or read that the invincibly ignorant may still be saved outside of the Church if they, through no fault of their own, have not heard the Gospel, but strive to live a good life. However placing your hands over your ears so you don’t hear the Truth doesn’t’ qualify one as invincibly ignorant. All must seek the Truth even if they find it inconvenient.
Could be anything. Not interested, don’t care, don’t want to spend the time, suspect being targeted for conversion, current religion discourages or bans reading outside religious material, other fears such as doing something wrong in the eyes of God (according to what they understand or believe), fear what family or friends will think, etc.
In most cases, for the same reason we continue to live in the same neighbourhood, continue driving the same old car, stick with the same job, stay married to the same wife, play sport for the same old sport club - we’re satisfied where we are, unless something happens to challenge our comfort zone.
I might add a couple of examples to this - one personal, the other topical.
When I became Christian, my religious domicile was Presbyterian. And I enjoyed that particular church - the Wilston Presbyterian Church in Brisbane - not because it was Presbyterian, but because the people were pleasant, the pastor was, in my opinion, brilliant, and we had a gym under the church.
But when I got married and moved away, with pastor dying just four months later, my comfort zone was challenged. My wife was Baptist, so we started going to a Baptist Church. Then through the influence of friends, we attended (and I joined) a Wesleyan Methodist Church. But I couldn’t quite settle down.
At the same time I was getting this spiritual push towards the Catholic Church. I resisted for a while, but an argument with a Wesleyan Methodist Pastor pushed me over the edge, and I went. Since then I’ve even had the experience of my old Presbyterian pastor turning up briefly in a vision and simply saying “The Catholic Church is closest to the truth”. So I’m not likely to go anywhere else.
However had the spiritual push to go Catholic come along when I was still Presbyterian in my original Wilston Church, it would have taken a lot more to get me to move, as I’d have been much more firmly embedded in my comfort zone. So often if God wants us to make a move, He shakes up our comfort zone first.
For the topical example - how many of us gave a hoot about Islam until Islam started challenging us? Prior to 9/11, how many of you could say you cared a dime about Islam or what they believed? I’ll bet it wouldn’t be many.
But after 9/11, the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, ISIS, the openly expressed desire of some Moslems for Sharia Law in the West, we’re suddenly finding our comfort zones have been challenged. Suddenly the resurgence of Islam means something.
You can bet God and the devil are up to something,and they’re going to shake our comfort zones to the core.
I feel the same. Why would someone go out of their way to research something if there was no impetus to do so?
I research the things that impact my life. If I have diabetes, I read up on it, but don’t spend time learning all about ovarian cancer.
When my car breaks down, I get online and look up my own car model, I don’t start reading about Toyotas or Lexus.
I’ve heard a lot of people saying that it’s a duty for people to examine a lot of different faiths, Why?
I’m not sure why your neighbor put their hands over their ears…but the first thing that came to mind was “I’m not going to listen because if I have to have this religious discussion with you…I don’t want to have to be responsible for being rude or strangling you.”
Most of the time when people start discussing religion with the neighbors…someone ends up wanting to strangle someone.
I am a high school English teacher and had an experience with my students recently that partially explains this.
We are working on argumentative essays and the prompt was “Should comparative world religions be taught in public school?” to which the students mostly said no. When I asked why it became clear that they did not understand the difference between religious studies and theology. Generally, the students I teach are representative of their parents.
What is interesting is that I have a large English Language Learner population and that it was mostly the Christians (a collection of bible-church, and Hispanic/Filipino Catholics) who were most uncomfortable with the idea of learning about other world religions while the non-Christians (mostly Asian) were much more on board with the idea. To me this exemplified how the non-Christian students wanted to learn more about the society and culture that they are joining and that is especially foreign to them. They understood that studying a religion enhances the understanding of people. While the “western” students were threatened by the idea of learning about religion in a more nuanced way. They made comments like “it might trick me into joining another religion.”
I researched different faith traditions because I wanted to do what was true not comfortable the same way I would study math to know the true answer to the equation. I didn’t want to say 2+2= anything other than 4
I was taught growing up by my parents all paths lead to God but after I read the bible when I was 30 while attending a non denominational church I realized that couldn’t be true.
If you don’t research God it is the same and not knowing math and just saying I’ll say 2+2=6 you can say it’s 12 and a third person can say it’s 4 and we can all be right
The topic being about researching other faiths, is a tough one because the leaders will often have the documents to themselves, that we the members do not have access to, except for occasional quotes. In Mormonism we have “The Gospel Principles”, or in the Catholic church it is “The Catechism of the Catholic Church”, these are available to us.
Having been Presbyterian>Mormon>RCIA Catholic, I have been between faiths much of my life, I have core belief in Jesus Christ. I know I must have faith in Him, refrain from adult things, and materialism, and that makes it so much easier to convey the spirit to the people. Words a lot of times do not work with people that may not have any faith, and/or do not believe in life after death, for which is “End of Story” for them, for they may “Eat, drink, and be merry”, for that is all there is.
I research occasionally. For example, last time I remember researching the belief of the Yazidi people and other people of Syria. It is situations like the Syrian situations which highlight difference of religions which usually triggers in my curiosity about different faiths.
Out of trying to understand the Syrian situation, I ended up researching the faith of Yazidi people, the people of Kobani, the people of Assad, etc…
In the past I researched Baha’is because a Bahai friend was trying to convert me.
I have a close Baha’i friend who is from Iran and can trace their family heritage back 100’s of years and have realized that the Baha’i faith developed because from persicuted Jews and Christians in the Middle East from Islam. It is basically a way of melding all three faiths. For instance my friends grandmother was kidnapped from Russia because she had blonde hair and forced to marry a Muslim with multiple wives
Well one reason I think people are reluctant to research other faith traditions is that they find “security” in their own traditions and feel insecure in the world at large… so they return to the religion they are most familiar with…
They are not ready as yet to explore…
When I was around fifteen or so I began searching and exploring other religions and found a great deal of insight and devotion in them… I still enjoy finding out new things about other religions… and encouraged my children to learn about other religions and respect them.
I don’t want this to sound negative, but observational. Most Christians are very little interested in studying their own religion let alone another. The members of this forum could be considered the top 10% of theologically interested and often are quite set in their own beliefs without and open mindedness to hearing others.
I think the English teachers’ point is pretty profound and telling of the mountain we have to face. Society through the media is teaching our citizens that religion, and particularly Christianity, is bad and therefore should be kept away. Since most people don’t receive any level of interest, study or practice in their homes, it will be a tough road ahead in the next 100 years for those who are Christians.
My neighbor is a baptized Christian who claims to be one but has a very distorted view of Christianity that he has made up for himself. I live 30 miles and 3000’ from the nearest church of any kind. He is kind of a hill billy his wife has adopted all the beliefs of the catholic church through her reading mainly after she found out how in healthy contraception was for a women. But with the geographic distance she hasn’t been willing to drive the 45 minutes to mass that I do every week
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