I recently spent a bit of time in thought on the subject of talking about religion and came up with my general philosophy on the subject. Maybe not so much WTFery in and of itself but I believe that religiosity can lead to many WTF moments, especially when people talk at each other instead of to each other.
On talking with others on the subject of religion, one should consider their purpose in doing so. There are only a few valid reasons, to share ones faith, to understand the faith of another, to clarify an aspect of ones own faith and to have a theological discussion within ones own faith. Each of these reasons should necessarily be governed by a few simple rules.
If you are sharing your faith you should first understand and accept that the person you are sharing it with may accept or reject what you share with them. If they reject what you shared, accept it and move on, your persistence will drive people away, it also shows a lack of respect for the other individual.
If you are wanting to understand another’s faith the key is to ask questions and listen. Understanding cannot be reached by offering opinions or engaging in debate. By showing courtesy they may in fact be encouraged to in turn inquire about your beliefs allowing you to share information, however if they do not it is best to not pursue the issue at that time.
If you are trying to clarify an aspect of your own faith ask questions and listen. Clarity and understanding must be approached with an open and willing mind, ready to listen. It is ok when seeking clarity to ask additional questions and to offer ones own understanding and opinion in the form of a question and if asked to respond in like, however seeking knowledge requires the willingness to accept knowledge.
If you are having a theological discussion within ones own faith, listen twice as much as you speak, be slow to answer and quick to ask questions. Listen to others with an open and willing mind, prepared to gain as much knowledge as you are intending to share.