1. Throw away your broad brush. “Well, those dirty, rotten ________. That religion is just rotten to the core.” How often does this appear on threads following articles at news sites? Sometimes, we can even vent our anger on FaceBook. Ask yourself: Will this comment I’m about to post makes things better or worse, particularly for those who live and work among those who profess “religion x?” Our words have consequences. Challenge Christian websites whose manner of reporting favors a “clash of civilizations” or “this must be the end times” storyline.
2. Offer condolences to the mourning and prayers for peace. These are always welcome and help us brainstorm in constructive ways for solutions. “Make every effort to live in peace with everyone, and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord”(Hebrews 12:14, NIV).
3. Seek common ground. Go out of your way to befriend someone of another religion. Find common interests, and build on those. Put a human face to your Christian faith that will challenge stereotypes that they might be hearing from their religious leaders. In the same way, by discovering the humanity of someone from another religion, you will be in a place to challenge stereotypes that some Christian leaders present as truth but that create ill-will and stir up hostility.
Let’s remember that what we say online is available for all to read. Are we part of the solution, or part of the problem?