Archive for Keeping Religious Friends

My letter to a (former) #Christian friend

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on February 3, 2016 by Anton A. Hill

As I detailed in my article “Keeping Religious Friends,” I lost my friend JT over my alleged “snide” comments about Christianity. As I admitted in the article, it’s entirely possible I made such comments, I just don’t know what they were.

Shortly after JT sent me her Facebook message in which she said that, “for our friendship,” she was un-friending me, I wrote the following letter.

I never sent it.

I didn’t see the point. I knew what I needed to know. That I saw no incentive to speak to her nor her husband again. Our 15+ year friendship be damned.

But the stupid letter has sat in my drafts folder ever since. To clear that out, and to clear my mental air, here it is.

Hey JT,
Removing me is certainly your choice and I absolutely respect your right to do that.
I believe, based on evidence, that Christianity does demonstrable harm to the world. If you determine that my claims are baseless on the facts, you’re welcome to challenge me on them. If you can’t make that determination, then I assert you’ve got no reason to direct your irritation at me. If you simply have no tolerance for being challenged on your beliefs, then you should probably go ahead and de-friend me or block my comments from your headlines.
I understand that you and Mark, my mom, and many others really believe, but belief alone is neither valid nor commendable. There are plenty of claims out there (religious and otherwise) which are popular, but have no evidence to support them.
It matters to me that some of my friends are theists inasmuch as they have the right to their beliefs, but just as they do, so do I. And just as they constantly post theistic things, so, too, do I have the right to post non-theistic things. I don’t want to read about theistic things on a regular basis, and yet I put up with it because I understand that such claims are popular and so will often be made.
I’ve not once written to you directly asking for evidence of your faith. If you choose to read something I’ve posted on a public forum, that’s your choice.
It troubles me that you’d say “for our friendship.” If you feel it would truly be worth ending our decade+ relationship over a difference of opinion, then that saddens me greatly, but life’s too short to be wasted on petty trifles.
Best,
Anton.

 

Fare thee well, Tim Thomas: a thymomenology

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on July 27, 2012 by Anton A. Hill

(WARNING: If you don’t want to read my at-times constructive criticism of Tim’s attitudes and actions, then DO NOT read this!!!)

I met Tim Thomas during my freshman year at Pitzer College. We hung out in separate, though intersecting, circles, so I didn’t know him well, but I liked him and found him interesting. We got to know each other better during sophomore year as those circles intersected a bit more, and then, during that summer, we became quite close once we roomed together.

That summer was a good one. Tim and I bonded over video games, drinking (he poured me my first double-shot of Jack), and being dis-invited to a mutual friend’s (the woman who’s the subject of my article “Keeping Religious Friends“) wedding. I’d go so far to say that, at the time, Tim was one of my closest friends.

With junior year came even more hanging out as Tim introduced me to some friends who to this day remain close.

With all this happy-happy, joy-joy, I did notice early on that Tim seemed to lean towards depression. More so even than my self-pitying pathetic ass. For a while, it was cool and funny, but I do remember at times thinking, “Okay, Tim, we get it.”

Tim and I stayed close as I went to grad school. Then, abruptly in my second year there, I got an e-mail (which I no longer have), that basically stated: “Because you know about the events, I’m not talking to you anymore.”

What events? Continue reading

Losing Religious (Facebook) Friends

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on August 1, 2011 by Anton A. Hill

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.”

–Me

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.

An Easter conversation resumed

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on May 6, 2011 by Anton A. Hill

Holy fuck did I get served! For context (I’m in italics; Pen Pal’s in bold italics):

No worries–>This is my last on here. Just thought it was funny that you deleted our conversation. Kind of proves my point of the desire of confirmation rather than validation.

All it proves Anton is I have no time to argue specially when the conversation is one sided and narrow minded. Please pick fights with someone else!! I all love and peace…fight with someone or on your own wall!!! I do not tolerate our accept lack of respect to who I am or who I am and my believes. That you don’t understand something does not give you the right to act this way. Respect and tolerance dude!! Learn that first.

She’s right. I can’t prove that she deleted our conversation because confirmation of her beliefs was more important to her than validation of them. I shouldn’t have said that. That said, a number of things that she said pissed me off because they’re tired bullshit (“narrow minded”, “tolerance”) that people constantly use to attempt to establish that you either don’t have the right to question/criticize what they’re saying or you somehow lack the understanding of what they’re saying (but when you ask for explanation, they accuse such a request of being an attack). Continue reading

Thank you, SupportAtheism.com, for publishing me!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on April 28, 2011 by Anton A. Hill

The main site is here. My article, Keeping Religious Friends, is here. I’ve also linked to them on the Atheist Resources page.

%d bloggers like this: