In our culture it is considered impolite, if not intolerant to disagree with someone else’s religious or moral ideas. Personally, I feel uncomfortable when speaking to someone who is asserting religious or moral ideas I find to be flawed, because I want to voice my concerns with their thinking, but do not want to appear rude or argumentative. How do we disagree without sounding disagreeable?

One way is to make your disagreement known is to ask, “Why do you believe that?” (this is a variation of Stand to Reason’s Columbo Tactic). There are three benefits to this approach. First, the mere posing of the question alerts the individual that you question their truth-claim, but does so in a non-threatening, non-contentious manner. Second, asking questions about their beliefs will likely be perceived as flattering, because it is an invitation for them to speak their mind, rather than listen to you speak yours. Thirdly, it forces them to shoulder the burden of proof for their claim.

Upon hearing their reasons (if any are even given) and manner of reasoning, you can ask further questions to expose faulty premises or flawed logic. The ultimate goal is to get them to question the veracity of their beliefs. Once they see the problem in their thinking, offer what you believe to be true about the matter, and offer for their consideration the reasons you hold to that belief.