I hope some readers can relate to my experience and journey with a best friend for decades. Many of us are done with religion but not God. We have stopped going to the institutional church for many reasons such as we just can’t agree with the God being preached. But we still love discussing God with others. Those not into God may assume believers have a hidden agenda to change their beliefs. But shouldn’t we be able to at least talk to God-interested friends?
History of friendship can be a problem
I wrote here My Story – Spiritual Journey. My parents were into God and for whatever reason I never rejected such a belief. I continued to attend church until I was about fifty. I became somewhat of a prophesier in my twenties and thirties. I suppose being taught that unbelievers were going to burn in Hell forever after death didn’t help. Turned out a literal Hell is doubtful according to the Bible. See here. My passionate and dogmatic ways carried over with my children. When one kid mentioned evolution as a way humans came into existence, I wasn’t exactly the most open-minded Dad. I have apologized, but I am not sure my friend or children believe I have changed when it comes to discussing God.
One challenge is discussions about God can undermine one’s faith
I should share my best friend and I use to have the same beliefs about God. I believe my best friend avoids discussion about God because it may create doubts in their own faith. To question what one has heard in church all their life can lead to uncertainties about God. When challenged if Hell is real though taught all your life Hell is real, it can create anxiety what else taught may be in question. Speaking to a questioner like me isn’t always comforting. One reason I left the church was because I felt my skepticism was divisive for newcomers who came because of what leadership taught. It didn’t help that leadership didn’t exactly invite differing opinions of what God may really be like.
Another potential reason conversations are difficult
We must examine if we control our emotions when discussing our beliefs. I think I do now. Do you? I mentioned some friends may not enjoy a discussion about God as much as we do, as challenges to one’s belief can cause anxiety. Another challenge is if the culture supports discussing diverse opinions. Are those with differing beliefs than the common narrative shut down and labelled conspiracists? The Church often labels those with different opinions of God as heretics. When only one political or religious opinion is presented, many are quick to consider their friends conspiracists or heretics – not exactly a conversation help with your best friend or any friend.
Can a friendship continue with important conversation challenges?
I have shared what I think are the main reasons for a stalemate with my best friend. The reader may want to explore their own personal reasons. I consider myself NOW an open-minded person, but legitimate reasons may exist for discussing differing opinions between two friends. Discussing God for some may be the same as discussing politics. The differences are just too far apart. My friend and I have found it is best to agree to disagree, but somehow we still have an a great relationship. It could even be better though. We share other interests. Personally, I still hope someday we can discuss the most important thing in our lives – a relationship with God.
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