Lately, I’ve been thinking about the idea of why we share convictions. With my evangelical background, it is very natural for me to want to tell everyone the things that I am convicted about. I’ve been questioning that natural feeling as of late.
Take a vegetarian for example. Why do I know who is a vegetarian and who is not in all my groups? Very likely because at some point I was told this. And likely a conversation has progressed where they explain why, or defend their choices, or just told me out of the blue because we were within proximity when they were eating.
It is likely true that it is easier to be a vegetarian if no one knew about it. You peacefully held your convictions and choices of food to yourself and made it a point not reveal this about yourself. Or even, go out of your way to lie about it if someone asks (“oh, I’m just not that hungry”) and really clamp down on the secret and make it only yours. I would suggest that it would be easier to live your life as a vegetarian with it being your secret than it would be to tell anyone. Because of scenario’s like the comic below, you will always be hounded, inquired upon, made fun of and misunderstood for your decision and the rest of the world will forever tell everyone else for you.
Now, if this is true, does this not mean that me telling people I am a vegetarian has nothing to do with the decision to be a vegetarian but more to do with people knowing I am a vegetarian?
I think this is a distinction that we need to make with all beliefs. What do we care about more? Do we care that people know that I hold a belief, or do I care about the actual belief? What beliefs are so sacred to us that we would continue to live them out in complete secret to a point of even lying about it? I think the list of beliefs that we actually believe more than the need to be known for the belief is much smaller than we would like it to be.