Social Question

silverfly's avatar

What happened to my friend?

Asked by silverfly (4045points) April 23rd, 2010

I’ve known this guy since college (for about 6 years) and he was never one specific religion. He just kind of dabbled around with various things and never seemed to bother anyone.

He is now married with a baby on the way and has decided to convert to Christianity. He’s even got tattoos to prove his faith and occasionally quotes a line or two from the bible on Facebook.

Recently, he’s been posting statuses about people being idiots and laws being made against prayer and the like. It seems like ever since he converted, he’s been flaunting it and bashing everything that stands in his way. It’s really starting to piss me off. Religion is supposed to instill love and teach people good moral ways to live… isn’t it?

Why does he feel the need to suddenly speak out? Why is it so important for him to post generic things about people being idiots? What the ‘hell’ happened to this guy?

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28 Answers

Taciturnu's avatar

Some people are extremists by nature. If he found a comfortable platform to channel it on, what you’re seeing could be the result. Beyond that some arrogance or ignorance.

If he’s been a long time friend, why not tell him that you support his conversion, but have noted an “un-Christian” side to him recently. If he throws a fit, why not ask yourself what you’re still getting out of the friendship?

JeffVader's avatar

Sadly some religions fill people with a sense of self-righteousness, that they & their opinions are more valid than other peoples. This seems especially prevalent when someone converts…. I guess they just get all wrapped up in it. It’s like ex-smokers…. They seem to hate smoking more than anyone else!

silverfly's avatar

@Taciturnu Yeah. He always had some emotional problems in college. He drank a whole lot and often hurt himself. This could explain the extremism.

@JeffVader – love the ex-smoker analogy. It’s interesting that this happens when people convert. It seems like it gives them an excuse to be hate-mongers – in the name of God… which is so &*^% ironic.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I have heard (but this isn’t factually confirmed or anything) that adults that convert to a religion are much more zealous in their beliefs than ones who’ve been raised in a religion.

silverfly's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir Interesting… why do you think that is? Do you think it’s true?

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@silverfly I don’t think it’s true for all, certainly but I can see how it can be true, for some. They finally (hopefully) find something that ‘fits’, you know, and so they can’t understand why anyone else wouldn’t want the same thing.

silverfly's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir Yeah, they feel like they belong for once and therefore feel more comfortable to speak out or defend their newly found group?

JeffVader's avatar

@silverfly Yeh, it happened to my oldest brother when he converted…. thankfully he’s gotten over himself now & even acknowledges what a twat he had been!

silverfly's avatar

Haha! It’s putting me in a bad spot! I’m so tempted to yell at him, but it’s also interesting to observe the shift and just laugh and think, “this is why I left in the first place”... all the guilt and bigotry. He told one of his other friends that since he wasn’t Christian, that he had no right to comment on his post – even though the guy that commented made an intelligent and observant response. Oi vey.

Cruiser's avatar

I have run into this very issue a number of times with born-again converts who are attempting to atone for years of abusive life styles. They feel the need to draw attention to their self indulgence in their savior and think others must be in desperate need too. I run away as fast as I can when I see them a coming!

thriftymaid's avatar

If your friend was a member of no religion he didn’t convert to Christianity, which incidentally is not a religion. Tattoos do not prove faith. It sounds like he has become involved in a fundamental Christian group who focuses on what they believe to be evangelism. Many find this offensive, but all you can do is cease contact with him and not worry about what he posts on his Facebook status.

silverfly's avatar

@thriftymaid He claims to be a Christian. Tattoos don’t prove faith, but to him, it does. Tattoos symbolize permanence because they’re, well… permanent. So to him, this is a permanent and serious life decision. I’m not sure he’s evangelic though. Just because people speak out about their faith and encourage others to join doesn’t mean they’re evangelical.

chyna's avatar

I have noticed when some people have a sudden conversion or are “born again” christians, they are over the top with it. It seems to me that the people I have known like this have a short lived conversion. They go to church all the time, quote scriptures, down others that are not of their same faith. Then, just as quickly, they stop. It might be a couple years, but it seems over in a blink.

Siren's avatar

I agree with this statement:

Religion is supposed to instill love and teach people good moral ways to live… isn’t it?

It’s good your friend feels he has found a new direction in life which offers structure and is literally an entire institution devoted to how you should live. However, it sounds like he has done it at the expense of putting other people down. I’m sure his religion doesn’t preach that, but preaches tolerances and forgiveness to others. “Love thy neighbor” being one phrase that comes to mind.

So, I think your friend has a problem with handling the religion. Maybe he’s being overzealous and doesn’t realize what an ass he’s being? Maybe you should point it out to him before he loses most of his friends and possibly his job (if they see his Facebook post).

silverfly's avatar

@Siren I think I’ll let him learn the hard way. :) We’re not the greatest friends in the first place, so I don’t feel that comfortable saying anything to him.

Siren's avatar

@silverfly: Ya, just walk away from the trainwreck if you’re not the best of friends. Always the chance he may turn on you if you try to help anyways.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

It seems like extremist religious groups zero-in on people who have recently had a life crisis. Apparantly they scored a direct hit on your friend. I agree with @Simone_De_Beavoir that converts seem to be much more zealous that those raised in a religion.

xRIPxTHEREVx's avatar

Tattoos and quoting scriptures doesn’t make one a christian. It seems as if your friend may be a little confused and may need to look at his life and really think “Am i really a christian?” Because yes, you’re right, Christians are to love one another and not call people idiots, but instead pray for those who are astray from the path and witness to them.

silverfly's avatar

Here’s his post that started it all:

“Please put this on your status if you know someone (or are related to someone) who is an idiot. Idiots affect the lives of many. There is still no known cure for stupidity, but we can raise awareness. 93% won’t copy and paste this, many because they’re too stupid to know how to copy and paste. Will YOU make this your status for at least one hour?”

chyna's avatar

@silverfly Right up there with the emails I get that say “if you are not ashamed of Jesus, you will forward this email.”

silverfly's avatar

@chyna haha, nice. So true too. ::laughs::

ParaParaYukiko's avatar

I think something about having a family, especially children, makes some people feel the need to have religion in their lives. My aunt, who was raised Catholic and abandoned the faith in college, decided to convert back to the faith when she decided to have children (thankfully she never turned into a fanatic). It’s as if people feel being a non-religious parent will mean their kids won’t grow up to be good people.

I disagree with this way of thinking; my parents were raised Christian but had given up the religion and been atheists long before I was born. They attended a Unitarian Universalist church (sometimes, not regularly) where my sister and I were both “baptized,” but God or Jesus were never part of our upbringing. I am happy to have grown up forced into a faith I may not have agreed with, and thus eventually may have dismissed, causing potential family problems. I feel like I’ve been raised quite well without religion and have grown up to be a pretty decent human being.

It’s so frustrating to see people go from being normal to fanatic because of religion. Like @Cruiser said, they seem to be making up for their Godless life by going totally overboard. My solution with people like that is simply to avoid them, unless they are close friends in which case I would (metaphorically) slap some sense into them… in the most loving, “Christian” way I could manage. :)

PacificToast's avatar

He has become legalistic. He’s created a bunch of standards for himself and is judging others by these. It may die down considering he’s a new Christian, and this is probably just a mountain top experience for Him.

thriftymaid's avatar

@silverfly “Encourage others to join” pretty much describes an evangelical. Regardless, he has chosen a path for his life. Each of us has the right to do so.

silverfly's avatar

@thriftymaid That he does… I think of evangelical Christians as the ones who “speak in tongues”, shake around, etc. Think Jesus Camp

snowberry's avatar

Hey, I’m late to this discussion, and I’ve not read much of the above. It’s people like this (converts or ones who’ve been in the church their whole lives), who give Christianity a bad name. The least I can do is apologize to you about him.

It’s a lot easier to be the type of Christian your friend has become than it is to be the type who is truly Christlike in his attitudes, thoughts and actions. Christ rarely got angry. Yet folks like you describe seem to go around with a perpetual chip on their shoulder, all in the name of Christ. It also gives the good Christians a bad name. That’s NOT what Christianity is all about.

Silhouette's avatar

He crossed a line between speaking out and being a blowhole. He is drunk with his new found power. NOW he belongs to a family AND a group, a BIG group. He is pounding his chest! Ugg!

For probably the first time in his life he doesn’t feel alone. He is finally thumbbody. He might get his poop in a group and calm down then again he may be just getting started.

Siren's avatar

Shall I just say it? This person is an ass, plain and simple. Whether he has found God or the fountain of youth, he will probably lose friends exponentially by his post. Maybe you can do a countdown on how quickly that happens…..10, 9, 8, 7, ...

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