Losing Religious (Facebook) Friends
First, it was Judy T., a born-again Christian, who de-friended me on Facebook as chronicled here. She made a comment about my comments on this site being snide and disrespectful. They probably were. She cited no examples, so we’ll never know specifically what she was talking about. She implied that our friendship was contingent upon her level of offense. We’ve not spoken since.
Next was Belinda V., a Roman Catholic, as chronicled here. She initially claimed that I disrespected her and her beliefs. As you can read, I (initially) only asked questions. But then, as detailed here, I finally had to admit to myself that she did have at least one or two things to object to. During Belinda’s and my whole conversation, she didn’t de-friend me. That happened later.
And now, just the other day, out of curiosity, I looked up Nathan G. I knew Nathan way back in grade school. I liked him then. Thought he was a funny, light-hearted guy. I found him on Facebook a few months ago, saw that he’d already connected with a number of other mutual friends and acquaintances, and invited him. He accepted and I thought little of it (in terms of controversy). I soon discovered that he was also a born-again Christian. I paid little mind. Then, one day, he posted something about the devil. I responded with something along the lines of this:
“You don’t believe in the devil. You don’t believe in a guy in a red suit with horns, a pitchfork, and a Clark Gable mustache.”
Nathan didn’t respond. Totally cool. His friend Mary did. We conversed and, technically, still are conversing. I never heard from Nathan one way or the other about it. Then I saw he was no longer in my friends list. Now, I can’t prove that he de-friended me based on the devil controversy, but it seems a likely cause.
So now I have to wonder. My premise in Keeping Religious Friends was essentially that, though it might be possible, it’s difficult and takes work on both sides. Now I’m not so sure. I’m almost starting to think that it is only possible depending on the level of commitment of the religious friend. One friend of mine, Bruce B., a Christian, has gone so far as to read some of my rather more difficult articles on religion and written me very supportive messages. He’s obviously able to handle our differences. That and I don’t think he believes in bullshit like young Earth creationism.
Is it the crazier the bullshit is, the harder it is to maintain a relationship with the person? Is there an inverse correlation? Judy once struck me many years ago at her declaration that she would be raptured and she was sad about those who would not, including her now late father. At the time, I listened silently. I had no idea how to respond. I was in her car, on the way to some restaurant or something, so I wasn’t about to be a total dick and challenge her (that and Judy does NOT do challenge of her beliefs). But I also wondered, shit, Judy, do you really believe in the rapture??
I’m afraid that my conclusion at the end of Keeping Religious Friends has evolved into something a little more sour. I hate being a pessimist. I hate it even more being called such. But after not talking to Judy directly on Facebook and having her ditch me, asking Belinda questions (at first) and having her ditch me, and now no idea what happened with Nathan and having him ditch me, maybe I was wrong. We can’t keep (really bat-shit crazy, off the rocker, whoah Nelly, you’re seriously committed to that shit, no kidding, no joke) religious friends.