In the past couple of years, I can’t recall being asked what religion I believe in or follow. I’m glad, because I find that question intrusive, that is, going “where one is not welcomed or invited” (Merriam-Webster).
I suppose that a lot of people want to be asked what religion they consider themselves to be … so, why don’t I?
Let’s look at a few questions and see which ones are intrusive:
- Where were you born?
- What year were you born?
- Where did you go to school?
- What do you do for a living?
- Where do you live?
- What kind of car do you drive?
- Do you own or rent?
Hmmm … I have a feeling that we can envision a context in which all of these questions could be both welcome and intrusive. So maybe it isn’t the question per se that is unwelcome, but the context and our perception of why the question is being asked?
I admit to feeling a negative reaction to questions from people who I perceive are trying to define me quickly and superficially, to drop me into a group or two for easy identification and categorization. Maybe you feel that way too?
I don’t knowingly want to superficially categorize people. But the truth is, we do it all the time, when we’re meeting people at a social event, on the street, at work … everywhere.
Imagine going to a social event and not asking superficial questions of people you don’t know. It is impossible (and even unwelcome?) to talk long enough to everyone you meet in order to understand their interests, motivations, and values on a deeper-than-superficial level.
Now, I see that it isn’t the question itself but the way the question is received that makes the difference.
So—if I ask what you think is an intrusive, uninvited, or unwelcome question, please remember that I’m trying to get to know you … and I will do my best to receive your questions in the same way!
So … what religion are you? 🙂