Volume 7, Issue 1, September 1997


It has been said that the most immutable barrier in human relations is between one person's thoughts and another's. It is important for people to communicate with one another, and any resistance has to be diminished or overcome.

The Bible states in the Letter to the Christians at Ephesus that, "We are meant to speak the truth in love." What this is really saying is that on many issues we have the right and the responsibility to speak out and to share our understandings and knowledge. It means we have the right to differ.

We are not to acquiesce in any situation we honestly think is wrong or unsuitable. As well, we are to defend the right of others to disagree.

Freedom of speech can never be taken for granted.

Truth can never be ultimately worsted in a free and open encounter. Everyone must be entitled to hold and express an opinion as long as it does not constitute an incitement to violence or cause harm to others.

Our present "corporatist" attitude denigrates individual opinion or belief sharing, marginalizing those who do try to put forth a point of view.

It is a feature of humankind that religious, quasi-religious, and psuedo-religious principles are the least negotiable among us. Yet this is an area of life we know the least and assume the most. Dogma becomes rigid, and dogmas combat each other.

There must be freedom and opportunity between them for individual discussion and contribution if fuller truth is to emerge.

We must not be frightened from sharing our thoughts and experiences with others.

As the old motto declares: "In things essential, unity; in things doubtful, liberty; in all things, charity."

We are wrong when we discourage individuals from expressing viewpoints and fail to listen to understand where they may be coming from.

It is not sermons we are so much in need of as discussion groups.

And when we differ cannot it be done in love?

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"Religion NOW" is published in limited edition by the Rev. Ross E. Readhead, B.A., B.D., Certificate of Corrections, McMaster University, in the interest of furthering knowledge and participation in religion. Dialogue is invited and welcomed.