Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Crisis of faith...


That could be my all time favorite XKCD comic. It just sums up what happens so many times. I've posted before about defriending people,  about arguments that go nowhere, and about being social media tired, this blog is going to talk about all of those things. Again. 

When I wrote about being social media tired I wrote about that fact that I just don't really post a lot anymore about things that lead to never ending arguments. I also don't engage with people who are having those arguments much anymore. But sometimes it's really hard not to. Over the past two weeks I've had two experiences that made me sit back and wonder if I did the right thing, made the right call. On one I am pretty sure I did and on the other I'm still not sure.

So the first one was pretty cut and dried. A friend of mine made a post and a friend of hers made a comment on that post. It was a pretty biased comment and so I snarked back. He posted back and called me dear. I clarified my point and also pointed out that we don't know each other and asked that he not call me dear. He then told me yes dear. I told him that that let me know he was just someone who had problems with respect in general. Which led to him call me deary, telling me to get a sense of humor and deciding that I must be a libretard. I didn't post again. Which was the right call. I didn't need to fight with the friend of my friend. And there would be no point in it. I asked him not to call me dear, he saw it as a challenge to get even more demeaning. Because, let's be honest here, he called me dear in the first place to try and put me in my place. I could have responded by calling him sweetie, and I thought about it, but decided to ask, nicely I might add, that he just not address me as such. He's not my husband or my parent or even a close friend. I'm not his dear. In counter to his belief that I must be a humorless liberal because of it, I'm actually fairly conservative. You don't get to call me pet names because I don't know you. That's a conservative stance, not a liberal one. 

But trust me when he went on his multi-post rampage I had to sit back to not respond. My temper was up. It would have gotten really ugly. But this wasn't someone I knew, and there wasn't a point to it. My friend went in and cleaned up her status to get it back on track and asked for no fighting, so I made the right call. Because I hadn't even started to fight yet. And that would have made her uncomfortable and not happy. So that was the right call. 

The next one is harder for me. Because I'm still not sure. 

Background story, another friend of mine posted that she had been defriended by a family member and it was hurtful to her. She then sent a private group message to a few of us who had posted on her status explaining the situation. My friend is religious. Part of a conservative religious family and friend circle. But she has some views that don't align with a lot of her friends and family. She still posts about them, and here and there gets deleted because of them. In this case it was her belief that every consenting adult has the right to get married, not just heterosexual ones. Her relative defriended her and sent her a bunch of material from the church explaining exactly why she was wrong. 

Ugh. So hard. It really is. When a core belief of yours is in conflict with a core belief of a family member it's hard. I've been there. Exactly there. With that exact belief. Now I am lucky in that over the years I've seen my family start to shift closer to my stance. Having a member of your family that you love and cherish come out helps you see that this isn't some esoteric debate but that real people with real lives are being affected. But that hasn't happened with my friend yet. And so there is still this friction.

I posted in the message that I understood how much it sucked but that it might be a good thing to have someone off your list who would delete you just because you held an opposing view point. A few of her other friends offered support or suggestions that you have to be careful in picking your battles. And then one of her friends posted that God didn't create Adam and Steve. And I took a deep breath. And then he talked about the right to marry as related to the bible. And I clenched my jaw. And then he quoted bible verses and basically said that if you call yourself a Christian you have to read and follow all of the bible, not just pick and choose. And I sat on my hands. 

I ended up sending a separate message to my friend telling her that I was sitting on my hands but I just wanted her to know I supported her, I knew how hard it was to stand up for something you believe when your family isn't there and that I wouldn't argue on her message. Because she doesn't like conflict. She had posted about the Duck Dynasty mess a few weeks ago and ended up deleting her status because she felt it was too contentious. Now I had commented (I believe the whole thing was a PR stunt btw) and was reading the rest of the comments and it wasn't my idea of contentious at all. So I also know that her level for argument and mine wouldn't be the same. And as this is an area I feel incredibly passionate about and I could tell from her friend's posts that he had a set point of view as well I could see it getting a little more contentious than she would be comfortable with.

But I'm not sure I did the right thing.

Because he was wrong.

But he would believe I was wrong if I pointed out his logic flaws.

See as I read each of his posts I formed my counter argument. I've been doing it for years, so I know what I am going to say. But the thing is he would have his own. This is an old argument. We've both probably had it a lot. Neither one of us would have changed our minds. And then I worried how ugly it would get. Would he be one that gets condescending in an argument? I don't react well to that and will return it in spades. Would he stick to the point we were arguing or it? And would others in the thread pile on or sit back and watch? And how would all of this make my friend feel? And does that really matter?

And that's the part I struggle with right now. I like her. I respect what she is going through as a not as conservative but still still conservative Christian woman finding her way in the world. But does that mean I should hold my tongue when someone is spouting off about something I completely disagree with?

Does my silence mean I just betrayed my other friends?

And that's where I am having the crisis of faith today. I feel on one hand that I made the right choice. It wasn't the place for that argument and he actually shouldn't have even started it. But because he did should I have let him just go on with it? I don't share his religious beliefs and I honestly don't care about them. Believe what you want. But when you start saying that laws should be made to accommodate for those beliefs? Well that's where you are wrong. Silence is golden, except when silence is viewed as agreement. Complacency. In trying to listen to my better angels and not argue so much am I actually giving in to the demons that make these things stick? 

I'm just not sure. 

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