How to have a conversation about RELIGION in English


You are healed. You are… Hi, James from engVid. When I’m not actually
teaching English, sometimes I do religious services. I’m joking,
but this is a serious matter. By the end of this video, I would like to make sure that when you speak to
people of different religious faiths or backgrounds, you will be able to, when
you will remember that… Well, how to talk about religion, or faith, or belief. Okay?
Sometimes we talk about religion, and sometimes we can say “faith” or “belief” and it means to believe
in a higher power; it could be God, it could be a Spirit, whatever moves you. I think it’s kind of a serious lesson, because
religion is a very powerful force in our lives, and we should be respectful of one another or
to each other when we discuss it. You can’t have an open dialogue if you have a closed
mind. “Dialogue” means to talk, okay? So, this lesson is to help you be able to speak
to someone else who doesn’t believe the same way you do, so at least you understand each
other. Listen to me carefully: You don’t have to always agree or like, but you can respect
and understand, and that’s today’s lesson. So, ready to get serious? Let’s
go to the board, shall we? Okay. So, you’ll notice I have different symbols
up here. I am a terrible drawer. I can’t do anything. The worm is as good… Sorry, E. Mr.
E is as good as I get, so this is as good as you’re going to get. So if you go: “My
faith is not there. I’m Bahai.” I’m like: “You’re behind me, because I don’t know how
to draw it. Sorry.” So, here are some of the world’s major religions that have billions of
people that follow, or hundreds of millions. So I tried my best. Forgiveness if I didn’t
get it quite right. Okay? Nobody get upset. I did a bad drawing
for all of you. Let’s go to the board. One of the most common
questions people say when they talk about religion, they meet you and go: “Hi. My name is James. I’m from Canada. I
teach English. Do you believe in God?” And that’s the problem right there.
“Do you believe in God?” You’re going: “What’s the problem? It’s a question.”
Yeah, but it’s a yes/no question. Please check out the other videos I have on making interesting
conversation, because especially in this one, when you say yes or no, you really limit the
person, or we say put them in a corner. You put me in a place where I’m with you or against
you. Already we have division or friction. So why don’t we ask a question that lets them
speak to us, and explain to them where we’re coming from so that we can get a mutual
understanding? Now we understand together. And I think I’ve got two questions that can
help you make friends from different faiths, so you understand each other and start that
dialogue. Remember? Talking. If you say: “Are you a person of faith?” you’re not… They
can say yes or no, but you’re actually not saying “God”. Remember I said “faith” or “belief”?
“Belief” means to think something is real. “Faith” means to believe something… Believe
in something. And when you’re thinking of that, I don’t necessarily have to think of
God. I could think of a force that makes the world go around. Gaia. Some people believe in
Gaia. Life… The Earth is alive and we’re part of the Earth. That’s a belief, it’s a
faith. Some people believe… Have… Well, you don’t have a belief in science. You could
say it’s a belief, but they believe in science. Right? And that has nothing to do with God.
So when people say: “Do you believe in God?” They’re really saying: “There are those who believe
in God, and the blasphemers and the heathens”, and it doesn’t have to be like that.
Some people don’t believe in the book, but they actually believe in the same God you
do. So, give them a break. Okay? And ask: “Hey, are you a person of
faith?” And they might say: “Yes, I do believe in a
higher power.” Okay? Another question you can have
that’s like a “do” question, is: “Do you have a faith that you follow?” And that
means: Do you have ideas that you believe in, that you think are true, and you actually work with
them or work to improve yourself based on these ideas? That’s what the Bible, and the Torah, and
the Talmud, and the Quran are about. Right? Those are some basic books. Or the Tao Te
Ching; self-improvement by following certain principles. So, if I follow a faith, I follow
these rules and live my life by them. Okay? Now, once you ask a person: “Are you a person
of faith?” or “Do you follow a faith?” you might get the following response:
“Yes, I’m very religious. Hmmm.” Or: “I’m spiritual, man. Can you see the vibes? Can you
see the colours? It’s all around you, you know?” They might go: “I’m agnostic, yes. I’m educated.
I am eating away from agnostic, away from knowledge, I’m away from the knowledge of a
possible god, so I don’t know; therefore, I will not speak about it.” See, “agnostic”
doesn’t mean I don’t believe in God, it means I have no knowledge about it, therefore I
cannot talk about it. It’s not the same as “atheist”. Okay? “Gnosis” means knowledge,
and “a” means away from knowledge. “Atheist” is different. “Atheist” means: “I
don’t believe. I don’t believe in no God or no Jesus, or nothing like that up there.” Okay?
So, if someone tells you they’re agnostic, don’t treat them the same as atheist. Now, I
might have been a little quick on something, so I have to make sure you
understand agnostic and atheist. Let’s go to “religious” and “spiritual”. Remember?
When we talk about being religious… “Religion” means there is a book, and that book has rules
or suggestions that you should follow, and a belief system, or someone that’s the head.
So, I’ll give an example in the Christian religion, somebody believes there’s a God, a
being called God, there are some rules that they have to follow in order to be Christian.
And in this case, Jesus Christ wrote the rules that you follow, and that’s why it’s a
religion, a way of living and life. “Spiritual” is more a belief that there
is something more than what you see. We call this the material world. “We live
in a material…” No, not the Madonna song. Get it out of your
head, clear it. When you live in the material world,
it’s what you can see. If I cannot smell it, hear it, touch it, or taste it – it
doesn’t exist. The world of science, the material world. In the spiritual world, they believe I see
what’s here, but I believe there’s something else out there. What it is, I don’t know.
It could be a god, it could be a spirit. In Japan, they believe there are spirits in the
water and in the mountains, but they don’t actually believe in a god, one big god. In
the… In America and in England, they believe in a God. Some people believe in Allah in… In
the Arabic or the Islamic faith, they believe in Allah. Okay? That would be more religious.
Spiritual, there’s just something. Okay? So, we’ve gone through “religious”, “spiritual”,
“agnostic”, and “atheist”. This is how you would define yourself. If someone said:
“Are you a person of faith?” you could say: “I have no faith. I’m an atheist.” Agnostic,
“gnosis” being knowledge, and away from; I have no knowledge of God or other, so I don’t
know, and that’s what they’re saying. Agnostics are saying: “I don’t know”, so leave them
alone. They’re not trying to get on one team or the other. Okay? Now, we talked about where are you. If you
are one of these things, and probably this one, religious, you’re going to go, where?
To these places. “Synagogue”. A “synagogue” is for Jewish people. Okay? They’re one of the
oldest books of religion, and they believe there was a God that created our world, and
they go to a synagogue to worship their God. “Worship” means to pay respect to-right?-and
get in contact with. So, if you worship your God, you want to give respect to the God for
creating the world for you, and contact; have that God communicate with you in some way
so you know what to do with your life. Now, if you’re a Muslim or you study Islam, you
go to a “mosque”, also known as a “masjid”. Masjid, masjid. Don’t kill me, I’m trying,
okay? I said three different ways. Okay? So you go to a mosque or a masjid. “Churches” are used for Christian faith or
Christ. You can remember that with the “Ch”, think: “Christian”,
“Christ”, “Church”. Okay? “Shrines”, Hindus have shrines. Okay? You
can also have a shrine in your house. So, this isn’t just for a religious thing; you
can have a shrine in your house. For some losers in North America, specifically Toronto,
they have a shrine to Maple Leafs. Yeah, I said it. They suck, stop collecting their cards
and stuff. But a shrine is a place where you go to, and you may pray at it, and try
and communicate with your God. It can be in your house, or can be a bigger place where
people gather and go together. Okay? You can’t have a church in your house, but you can
have a shrine. Shrine. Shrine up here. “Temple”. Now, some people who are Jewish
call the synagogue the temple. Not everyone. It’s called the synagogue. But a temple is a
place of worship outside around the world. I don’t know all the places. I’m not going to
lie and make it up for you, but it’s another place of worship that people go to
if they’re going to the temple. If you’ve ever seen Indiana
Jones-please watch it; great movie -he goes to the Temple of Doom.
Seriously, it’s a temple of doom, really. Anyway, but you can go see
that, and you’ll see it was a place of worship from a long time ago. Okay? Yeah, his heart
gets ripped out, and he runs from a great big rock. Yeah? Serious business was with the
temple. Don’t mess with them. All right? And a general, general term is “a place
of worship”. So you can just say: “Hey, where’s your place of worship?” and then they
can tell you: “Synagogue”, “mosque”, “church”, “shrine”, or “temple”, and then you’ll
have an idea of which faith they follow. Now, each particular group has a leader that’s
usually in one of these places, and the leaders have different names. In Islam, it’s an “imam”.
Imam? Imam. Imam. Imam. I’m home. Okay, so the imam is the leader of the mosque. In the
Judaic faith or Judaism, it’s a “rabbi”. Okay? Christians, we’re kind of special folk, we’re
special. You know why? Because we got three names. Depends where you are, you can have
a “pastor”, a “reverend”, or a “preacher”, also “priest”, but I want to come back to
“priest” after. You usually hear about a preacher in the southern states of the United States
of America. In Canada, people don’t generally talk about preachers. They’ll talk about their
pastor or their reverend. In most other places, like Great Britain, they’ll talk about the
pastor; not the preacher. But American and southern baptism, they’ll talk about the preacher
man. The preacher man don told us. [Laughs] Okay? But we also have “priests” if you’re a
Catholic. Right? Catholic, you have priests, and they are similar
to these other ones. I’ve put a star beside the “priest” or the
“priestess” because outside, if you don’t know about someone’s religion or you’re travelling
to a foreign country, and these terms don’t apply because they’re for specific religions, you
can say: “Is that the priest or the priestess?” because it would be the holy person. I guess
that’s another one you can say: “the holy person”. But when we hear “priest” or “priestess”
we know it’s the leader of that particular group. Okay? And they’re holy people.
They have a… Maybe spiritual or maybe
they’re religious. Okay? Cool. Now, I want to end this lesson on something
very quickly, because this can make a huge or a very big difference in what we talk and
how we talk to each other, and you need to pay attention to respect them. “Non-practicing”. Many
people are religious. They’ll say: “I’m Christian”, or “I’m Jewish”, or “I’m… I’m Muslim”,
or what have you, or a Hindu. And… But what they say is… What they say is…
Oh, sorry. I don’t want to forget the “How” before I get off. But what they say when they
talk about this is they’re “non-practicing”, they mean they believe in a religion, but they
are not in church or observing the rules. So, if you’re Jewish, for instance, and you
don’t go to the synagogue and you eat bacon, you’re a non-practicing
Jew if you say: “Hey, I still believe in Judaism. I just like a bacon
sandwich, and I’m not going to the synagogue today. Got it?” But you can still be Jewish, but you’re not practicing the rites, or the culture,
or the things that you’re supposed to follow. Now, this is directly opposite to the “orthodox”.
Orthodox means by the strict letter. “Strict” means you follow exactly what it says. So, if
someone tells you they’re orthodox, they’re orthodox Jewish, or they’re orthodox Muslim,
or they’re orthodox Christian – we’re talking about a completely different creature. You’ve
got to respect where they come from. Don’t have to follow it, but you have to respect
that they’re going to see it differently. And if I’m speaking to you and you happen to
be orthodox, please respect the non-practicing ones, because they believe in what you’re
doing; they just don’t feel that that’s their lifestyle. Right? Live and let live, I say.
Okay? Anyway. Let’s go to here: “How”. We talked about the
leaders, and we talked about the different types of religion, and if they’re orthodox,
regular… And “regular” just means you go to church, follow some of the rules, but not
all of them. Okay? But let’s talk about how, because people believe in God or love their God
in different ways. Some people “meditate”. “Meditating” means to focus on something,
maybe, love, God, or what have you, and just think about that contemplatively. Okay? Another
word for that for some people are “contemplate”. They contemplate God. They just think: “God,
God, God”, and try to get closer to God. “Pray”. I like this one, because this is when you
talk to God and you tell God the things you want, or you ask God to help other people
and make the world a better place, or just trying to have God talk to you and communicate
with you. So, you usually close your eyes, and you talk to God and have
a conversation. All right? “Read”. The Bible, or the Torah, the Quran
sometimes are called “scripture”. Scripture. “Script” meaning written, written book. Some
people read the Bible every night, or the Torah, or the Quran, they read it, and they
try and understand it, and this is how they get in touch with God, because these are the
words of God, and God is communicating through the words. And other people, they go to
church, and they “sing” and they “clap”. [Sings and claps]. Yeah, okay. If you recognize “Old
MacDonald”. Anyway, so they sing, and they clap, and: “Hallelujah, Lord. Hallelujah!”
Yeah. All are fine, because when it comes down to it, we got to learn to understand
and respect each other’s different ways of wanting to touch things that we can’t see or
understand completely. Or if we don’t want to believe, respect the fact that not everybody
wants to come to your party. Right? You’re having one, some people
want to come; some don’t. And if anything, with this lesson, what I
want you to be able to do is: to talk to each other in a way that shows respect; ask people not
always about religion, but faith and belief; maybe ask them: “How do you show respect for
your deity?” And “deity” is another word for God. Right? There’s Zeus was a deity, there’s
God, there’s Allah, they’re deities; gods. How they show respect to them, where they
show that respect. You can even ask about their leaders, and what good words or wise
words their leaders had given to them. And if they follow, how well do they follow? Are
they just regular Joes that go to church once a week and they try to do the best
they can? Are they non-practicing: “Yeah, I’m Christian, but not really. I
don’t do anything.” Or they’re orthodox: “Hey, there’s a book, there’s a reason
for the book – I follow the book.” Talk. Communication is
the best thing we have. Right? That’s why you’re here, learning English.
Not a lesson on religion, but a lesson on using English effectively to get greater
communication so you can be [snaps] like a native. Anyway, that’s James for today, and we’re
going to go to my messed up ending. Are you ready? If you want to do…
You know, watch the video again or go see other videos that we do
on communication on the website, please go to www-right-eng as in English,
vid as in video.com (www.engvid.com) where there’ll be this video and others
you can watch, and do quizzes for. So, once again, I’m going to say thank you
very much, don’t forget to subscribe. It’s somewhere around here. You know that.
Press that button, wherever it is. Thanks, and we’ll see you soon.
Take care.

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