Where I live, you are expected to be mindful of what you say.
After all, we are labelled as a ‘multi-racial’ and ‘multi-religious’ society. People of different faiths and races live alongside one another in a tiny country. I was told to be sensitive to others’ beliefs, hence I avoided topics of religion.
That’s not to say that you are absolutely forbidden from bringing it up for discussion. It depends on the circumstances. It would be more comfortable for two parties sharing the same religious beliefs to engage in conversation. Or maybe you wish to comment about the news without bringing religion into the picture (innocent victims due to ISIS activities for example). If you’re perhaps simply enquiring out of curiosity, that’s fine too.
However, what if we have, say, an atheist and a Christian? Warning flags should begin popping up if you’re considering saying something offensive. Why go to such lengths to ruin a relationship even before it started?
It’s about respect. You may not agree with his or her way of thinking, you may even feel strongly against it. In the end, you’re not him or her. We are all brought up in completely different settings and exposed to separate beliefs, attitudes and opinions. What right do we have to insult their way of life? Wouldn’t it be better to show tolerance and respect?
Want to have a discussion on religion? By all means, go ahead. Just remember to watch your words.