Should people keep their religious views private?


Fact Box

  • Eighty-five percent of the people in the world align with religion, the most popular being Christianity, followed by 2.38 billion people. Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism are the next most common religions. 
  • Pew Research released a 2022 religious composition study and found that two-thirds of adults are Christians, with 29% “religiously unaffiliated.” However, in the 1990s, 90% of adults identified as Christian. 
  • According to a March 2021 Pew Research study, 19% of Americans believe the federal government should stop enforcing the separation of church and state.”
  • The religious freedom of expression is protected in the First Amendment of the Constitution, reading, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof [...]”

Chad (No)

Society mistakenly believes that being “non-religious” (or secular) equals neutrality. But in reality, every part of society is teeming with personal beliefs, forming every individual’s worldview. Worldviews produce people’s convictions about how they and others should behave. Beliefs are inseparable from the person holding those beliefs as they manifest through behaviors and choices. If someone’s behavior does not match up with their beliefs, that’s hypocritical. For instance, if people believe their specific religion mandates they share about it with others, they would be right to do so. It’s not about keeping one’s views private—if that were the case, no one would ever share what matters most to them. It’s about recognizing everyone’s right to hold, share, and live out their beliefs, religious or not. 

While many are instructed at work to separate their views from their job, this creates more problems by denying one's first amendment freedoms and ignoring the customs and traditions of others. Embracing religion in the workplace can lead to greater inclusion by ensuring that all relevant religious holidays are not overlooked but treated equally. Assuming it is done in an open and accepting manner, understanding that others' differing views are worthy of toleration, honest conversations around differing beliefs can be illuminating. 

What’s important for those sharing their worldview to remember is that it’s best done in humility, without judgment or a desire to aggressively change the perspectives of others. This will go a long way to the hearer of the message. Being open about one's views often indicates that one is open to hearing from others, creating greater inclusivity, even if those views differ. This helps others feel welcome in sharing, has been found to enhance brain function and health, and can reduce tribalism to create bridges leading to a healthier society. 

Stephanie (Yes)

There are many benefits of keeping personal matters private. Religion, for one, can be contentious and controversial. Defaulting to keeping religious views private can benefit society in many ways. 

Religious views should be kept private in public service realms, such as in political offices and schools, to maintain fair and secular rules that pertain to everyone. While one person can have a religious belief that stops them from doing something, that does not mean they have the right to espouse their religious views to people in their community as a way to control actions based on their own moral code. 

Keeping one's religious views private in a leadership role can eliminate any perceived biases and help keep rules and regulations in many different societal sectors fair for everyone. Specifically in schools, children should not be held back or treated unfairly if they do not have the same religious views as those in charge. Keeping school curriculums based on science rather than religion can maintain a basis of equality where no one feels targeted if they don't have prior knowledge of or prescribe to the same beliefs. 

Also, by keeping personal matters such as religion private, many people feel they can avoid discrimination in the workplace. Keeping one's personal life at home eliminates the opportunity to be discriminated against based on religion in a situation where one finds him or herself as the religious minority. The old adage that good fences keep good neighbors can still ring true in many facets of society. They can mirror the benefits of keeping things like religion, politics, and finances private while participating in one's community.

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