For as long as there are differences, there always seems to be one form of conflict or another. But considering that individual persons are, after all, unique in their own right, it seems that conflict is inevitable.
However, while conflict may have negative connotations, it does not have to be destructive. There are methods of transforming conflict into better relationships.
Religious conflict, however, can be particularly sensitive, considering that it is a great part of many peoples’ lives, not to mention a big source of discrimination. If you experience religious conflict in your workplace, here is how you can avoid or resolve its damaging effects.
First of all, be open-minded. Whether you are tenacious in your religious beliefs or do not practice it strictly, it is important to listen to other people’s perspectives on God and religion. Do not initiate arguments about who is right or wrong. If someone deliberately makes a derogatory remark about your beliefs, try to direct the conversation to a more open discussion rather than arguing back.
Find Common Ground
Despite religious differences, try to find a common ground with those of other beliefs. Try to get to know them, and give them a glimpse into your life as well. This will allow you to know each other as human beings. When you see each other as people, everyone gets to see that each religion has a diverse group of followers. After all, no matter the role your religion has in your life, there are other things that define you and can connect you with other people.
Finally, it is important to continue communicating with your workmates. Don’t be confrontational. Instead, be positive but honest with your communication. If someone inadvertently speaks of a stereotype of your religion, tell them that you feel hurt by that stereotype and that you believe it isn’t true for everyone with your beliefs. This can open up a new discussion that can help open everyone’s eyes to how religion actually shapes everyone else.
If, however, you suspect that religious conflict has been affecting your workplace, perhaps in a discriminatory way, you may need another level of intervention. In some cases, you may need to contact a lawyer who specializes in dealing with issues in employment discrimination to help restore balance in your workplace.