When I first started school, I went to Catholic school. I don't remember too much about it, except for how awkward I often felt. I was always so confused about what was going on and the crazy thing is I was brought up Catholic and went to service almost every Sunday, so it wasn't like it was completely foreign to me. I also had a lot of questions about what I was being taught to believe, but in those days and where I grew up, you didn't question anything like your religion; especially if it meant challenging the status quo for the sake of self discovery. Simply put: you went with the herd.
When I saw the movie Saved! (2004) recently, it took me back to my days in Catholic school. Although I never dealt with any fanatics at school (we were way too young), I did remember that the people who made the biggest impressions on me about my faith as a child, were the ones that were out to influence people with their actions not aggression or intimidation. As I grew older, I realized that no matter what my beliefs are, whether they changed or remained the same, they are my beliefs and the best way to honor them is to live them. The same is true for you as well.
In the movie Saved! (2004), a Christian high school senior named Mary (Jena Malone) ultimately begins to challenge her beliefs when she ends up pregnant after attempting to so-call "save" her gay boyfriend. However, the joke is on her when she eventually learns that being gay isn't something that one can be "saved" from and that her energy was better spent on focusing on herself and what she personally believed instead of what she was told to believe. She learned that questions were a good thing that helped strengthen her beliefs, and in doing so, she was able to serve as an example of open-mindedness to others.
This movie was obviously religious in overtone, but I feel the message can resonate with any sort of belief that one can have. If you believe in feminism, animal rights, vegetarianism, etc., you not only have the right to have the belief, but also the best way to honor that belief system is to live a lifestyle that is conducive to that belief system. As I learned at a very early age, this is the best way to impress your beliefs upon others. Sometimes, people don't want to be preached at and in the end who doesn't respect someone who practices what they preach? Peace.