Prison life tends to magnify religious diversity. In many prisons, inmates must choose one religious affiliation (out of 22 at our local state prison) and stick with the activities and services of that religion. Even non-religious inmates have an incentive to choose a religion because it will provide extra opportunities to be out of their cells. The outcome of this system is unavoidable close contact between religious groups that, on the outside, might never come into contact. The inevitable result of this contact is tension and confusion.
“Roots down, walls down.” The origin of this saying is unknown, but its meaning is clear. Navigating an environment of diverse perspectives demands that we are deeply rooted in our own beliefs. Hostility, fear, anger, defensiveness, and other dialogue destroyers are all expressions of our insecurities that we may not be able to answer for our faith.
Come to think of it, maybe this is not just a prison problem. If we ever hope
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