Recently I was having a text conversation with the person I call my best friend. I say that because quite frankly we’ve not done best friends things in a long time. When she found out about my deconversion she was angry and scared and she pulled back from me. Apparently at that time her teenage step-son was giving the family some grief. I’m not sure what he did or is doing, I’ve asked her on several occasions and she says it’s too upsetting for her to talk about. That for the past year she had been feeling depressed and was just beginning to feel better. I said ok when your ready you can tell me, to which she agreed.
Somewhere in there my deconversion came up. She she that was upsetting to her as well and did cause some of the depression. I apologized for that being so upsetting to her(which I’m getting kind of tired of doing. Why should I apologize for my experiences. I can’t control how others deal with them.). She said she didn’t want to talk about it either because calling her best friend and atheist upset her too. I said well don’t call me an atheist then. I’m ok with being called an unbeliever, or a humanist. To which she said “The H word makes me want to puke. Lets just avoid the topic for now, if we can.” At first I let it slide, but as I talked with her more it began to bug me that she appears to think that what I am or what I stand for or how I live my life clearly repulses her. I finally told her that it was upsetting to me that she would be so repulsed by something I identify with. She said she feels like “that work is a justification for something that feels like is trying to take my friend from me.” I wrote that I still didn’t understand. That humanist are for people and the greater good. Her response was “yes. It “sounds” lovely.” My response was “being for the greater good is lovely. Helping others is lovely. We are humans we need to help each other, not hurt each other. Be a champion for good.”
We went back and forth for a little while longer and then she said she needed to stop talking about it because she was starting to feel depressed. In our discussion I told her that saying something like that was hurtful. That I could tell her what I really think about Christianity, but that I don’t because I’m her friend, that is important to her and that I’m here to build her up not tear her down. She didn’t have anything to say to that, but she texted me everyday for several days after that, with small talk and chit chat. I believe she probably felt a bit guilty for being so judgmental, since she’s always saying religious folks are judgmental, but of course she doesn’t lump herself into that group.
I thought I was fine with how we left things. To tell you the truth I’m not sure how I feel right now. I kind of believe that we have only remained friends and I use that term loosely because we have been friends for 15 plus years. We were high school friends. There is history. She and I are going to need to talk about this at some point face to face. I need to see if she is able to drop her preconceived notions about what she think she knows atheism and humanism is and listen to my side of the story. Not just what her church and her devoutly religious mother have told her.
While I sympathize with my friends and family about their being upset I left religion, I’m not apologizing anymore for it. I’ve done it more than once to each of them. They sure as hell haven’t been as apologizing for their behavior. I’m beginning to become very impatient with those that continue to want me to live the life they want me to live. How about you live your life as you see fit and I live mine as I see fit. If we can find some medium ground there and remain in each other lives that’s great. If you continue to condemn me and disrespect me and mine then you can take your judgement and opinions with you as you go. Life is too short and precious to be surrounded by those who don’t love you unconditionally.