When interacting with someone of a specific world religion, no matter how many comparative religion classes you’ve taken or how many apologetics books you’ve read, never presume to tell them what they believe.
- It is possible that their specific “brand” of Islam or their specific “brand” of __________ teaches something slightly different than you had first imagined. This is understandable; even within the context of what would be called “Christianity,” there is a wide-array of views on specific topics.
- It is possible that an individual will call himself a “Catholic,” for example, but be completely out of touch with what the Vatican actually holds as truth.
For these reasons, it is better to give the individual the courtesy of telling you what they believe. The benefits are well worth it:
- Friendly conversation is an obvious first step towards establishing a relationship.
- Allowing them to honestly tell you what they believe will make it easier for you to ask soul-searching, gospel-oriented questions that need an honest answer.
- It is possible, even probable, that the individual’s personal beliefs are easier to deal with than the official teachings of their religious affiliation.
- If you give them the courtesy of defining what they believe, they will often extend the same courtesy to you.