“Dialogue is not some simplistic assertion of one’s own position, nor is it necessarily about persuading others to one’s point of view. Dialogue is about demonstrating respect for another’s life, and being determined to learn when confronted with differences in personality and perspective.” – Daisaku Ikeda
This morning, shortly after starting the coffee brewing, the doorbell rang and I was greeted by two women who wanted to discuss the end times. Based on some past experiences I’ve had with religious people coming door-to-door, I was initially a bit stressed about how the conversation might go. They pretty quickly asked me what my beliefs were, and I shared that I was an atheist.
They responded very nicely and mentioned that they don’t run across many people who hold that view. We then proceeded to have a calm and rational theological and philosophical discussion, and I felt we were both listening to one another and actually discussing ideas. In the end, they said they believed it was important to bring hope to people of the possibility of living in a better world (after end times), and I explained that while I thought hope was important, for me, it was more about doing everything I could to work with the world and community I currently live in and make it the best it can possibly be by reaching out to others and doing what I can to help.
In the end, they offered to bring back some more reading material for me tomorrow, and I think I’m going to prepare a pamphlet about this site to see if they’re interested in continuing the discussions here.
I sincerely appreciated their kind disposition and willingness to openly discuss the issues. I’ve found that to be very rare, especially with those who normally go door-to-door. It was refreshing to see two people who represented their faith and belief so well.