"I would never ask you such questions! What a man believes is his own business, and no one should have to answer such things in front of everybody."
Thus my good friend Mustafa came to my defense following a barrage of questions by a collegue in our family practice clinic. And I appreciated his sympathy and his concern. But, to tell the truth, I didn't feel the same way about the exchange. In fact, my other friend's questions (lets call him... Tom) left me wanting more. I hoped that he would ask me what basis I had for doing the things I do. I hoped that he would try to explain to me why it wasn't correct. I hoped he would give me a chance to state my case, proding me on with objections from his own personal point of view.
But alas, these types of discussion are few and far between these days. In fact, I don't remember the last time I've been involved in a good one. People seem more and more to shy away from these things. Perhaps its the polarization of our society; perhaps events in the middle east have made us more leary of strange new ideas; perhaps we've been so barraged by conflicting perspectives that we've given up on sorting them out; or perhaps we've always been this way.
Still, a person can hope. I still stick by my position that if someone can show me convincingly that what they believe is true and what I believe is false, I'll gladly accept their position. Now if I can only find a willing partner...