Last night our Cultural Exploration team made presentations of comprehensive branding campaigns aimed at breaking the taboo of talking about religious subjects. The client is the Council for America’s First Freedom, an organization committed to protecting and expanding religious freedom. They take their work very seriously, as they should. The majority of bloody conflicts are caused by religious intolerance, and ignorance about other religions is a primary cause of intolerance.

If people talked more openly about their religious beliefs, or lack of them, the world would be a more respectful, peaceful place.

So why don’t we talk about religion? That was the first question 44 VCU Adcenter students had to explore. The answers are complex and varied: People are often ignorant or unsure about their own religion and don’t feel as though they’re in a position to discuss their beliefs. The people who do talk about religion are often seen as preachy or even fanatical. People are afraid that asking questions about the religious practices of others will be offensive. People are fearful that if they listen, they may be signaling a lack of faith.

Religion is a heavy topic; so most folks will talk about almost any aspect of their lives before they’ll talk about their beliefs.

Many of the presentations sought to lighten up the dialogue and provide tools to make it easier to enter into a conversation on religious subjects. Were they making light of a topic that is seen as too heavy to talk about? I hope so.