I learn that it is best to avoid talking about politics with others, because people holding different political views can easily become hostile towards each other.

As an Atheist, I was wondering a similar question: when talking to people of a denomination or branch, is it generally better to avoid mentioning other churches of different denomination or branch?

I am asking about rule of thumb, and it is not uncommon to meet people of

  • Protestants and Catholics

  • Within Protestants, Presbyterians, Methodists, Baptists, ...,

  • within Presbyterians, Methodists, or Baptists, there is also distinction between Mainline and Evangelical.

  • 1
    Not talking about politics is how injustice takes root. Similarly, avoiding religious differences is how heresies spread.
    – curiousdannii
    May 30, 2020 at 0:22

2 Answers 2


Unlike politics, Christians of different denominations very rarely are hostile to one another. The differences between denominations are not very significant in everyday life. Most Christians have close friends different denominations and many would be hard pressed to articulate the differences between their denomination and any others they might encounter. Even when they are known, the differences are rarely a cause for animosity and it is safe to talk about denominations.

There are a few parts of the world where the above is not true but those cases should be easily identified.


Christ invites us into relationship with God though him. As Christians, who are called to imitate Christ, we are to extend this invitation to others. Among most Christian denominations, that which we share in common is far greater than the differences and the points on which we disagree. To a large extent, the differences have led to the many denominations that we have today. These denominations serve as communities in which we can practice our particular beliefs among others who share those beliefs.

Introducing one's denomination to a conversation is a secondary consideration. It is appropriate in response to the direct question, if asked, or in response to questions such as, "Why do you believe that?" Focusing on denominational differences could be a stumbling block in a nascent relationship with a person from another denomination or someone new to the ideas of Christianity. Too great a focus on denominational differences could lead to an "I'm right, you're wrong" outlook, which is not helpful. However denominational affiliation may emerge in the conversation or relationship, the focus should be on unity, not disagreement.

A statement that has been variously attributed (and mis-attributed) but nonetheless holds true with many as a Christian view is, "In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, and in all things charity." (The sentiment matters more than the attribution.) The essentials to many are faith, hope, and love. These should be universal among Christians. In non-essentials, there is freedom. Christians are united in the essentials without requiring uniformity in all things. Of course, there can be disagreement over what is essential and what is non-essential, but we should live in charity (love) with one another as we seek to advance the Kingdom of God. We can agree to disagree and continue to live in peace with one another.

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