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Question
Posted by: Natalie | 2012-12-07

reborn Christian friend annoys me intensely

I have a lovely friend. I have know her for 8 years, we did salsa together, enjoy walks in the forest and she is good conversatiionalist and a caring and loyal friend. The problem is, she is a RADICAL reborn Christian, and cannot see there are other ideas/philosophies in the world. I was actually " reborn"  myself 25 years ago, and still go to church sometimes. I believe in a God and believe in prayers being answered. (i dont believe only reborn Christians go to heaven)
She annoys me intensely when she tells me how pivotal her relationship with God is. She does live her faith, but I feel I cannot even try to challenge her as I will hit a concrete wall. I avoid talking about religion but it creeps in.. like tonight she mentioned this guy she met, and said " he is Catholic. great guy but has no relationship with God? He believes in a spiritual power but not a God you can have a " personal relationship with" . I told her she might not know what his relationship is with God. Afterwards I was so annoyed, finding her views close-minded and judgmental. And I suppose annoyed that she probably thinks I have no connection to God, and am doomed to the fires of Hell. I have considered ending this friendship, but value much of it too. How does one handle this?? She is also 43 and has never had any sort of relationship, sometimes i wonder if she is hiding behind religion.
thanx, aaaahhmen!

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Our expert says:
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I understand and I know what you mean. Such groups, some apparently entirely sincere, some seemingly exploitative, too often seem to feel compelled to try to force others to see things the way they do, and without any idea that their methods actually repel and drive away the very people they want to encourage to see things their way. Its their smugness, absolutism, and total inability to see that any other variation even on the same faith they claim to have, could be valid and satisfying for other people.
Some, and your friend sounds like this, chatter on about their relationship with their God in the same way that a love-sick girl raves about her new boy-friend. We may be pleased that they're happy, but not share their view that we ned to hear about this constantly. And their tendency to make huge and sweeping assumptions about other people and their inner faith and views, are truly arrogant.
And as in the person you describe, apparently she has never in her whole previous life had any strong close personal relationship with anyone else, so she can't keep this sense of a new relationship in any sort of perspective.
You need to weigh the benefits and deficits of continuing such a relationship with her. She's not likely to change, and its entirely rational and sensible for one to choose to end a relationship with someone so obsessive and compulsiveand actually uninterested in you as an independent person.

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Our users say:
Posted by: BMJ | 2012-12-12

Hi Natalie

A change of life circumstances like having a baby does certainly affect our relationships. It is an adjustment for us who have the babies but also for our single friends. So that may certainly place strain on friendships.

When you become a christian, you may have a more sensitive conscience too. I remember when I did, I realised that for many years I would have called myself a christian but I was not and now that I have been ''reborn'', I am much more aware of my new found relationship that was previously missing. So everything I think and say is influenced by that. (Therefor the emphasis on relationship). Some christians, for example, stop drinking - even thought drinking is not a sin, or they may avoid romantic relationships with men who are not in the same place as they are. That is a good thing, not a bad thing. And they are doing it because their own conscience wont allow them to do it. Not because they think their friends are all supposed to do it too. It is true that some unwisely do expect everyone to have the same convictions they have and try and force it. That is not right.

I think you are also feeling a little sensitive and almost viewing her comments as a judgement against you - but hopefully that is not what she is meaning at all.

Good friends are really hard to find, so I hope you do get to navigate this difficult patch.

Reply to BMJ
Posted by: Natalie | 2012-12-12

hi BMJ

Its not that I dont respect her beliefs, I do. that is why we have been freinds to 8 years. I feel she doesnt accept mine, and actually doesnt even ask people, specially men she meets what their views are. IF they are not the same as hers they are automatically wrong.
I have a relationship with God (and accepted Jesus many years ago, so I too have faith). I just feel its not another persons job to decide what someones relationship is with God (or say they dont have one), when only God and that person really know.
I think its also to do with the fact that in the last 2 years I have got married and had a baby. I think that is hard for her, and she has never every had any sort of relationship ever. So she verbalises how important her relationship with God is!! If one is really secure in your relationship with God you dont need to try and convince others of it.

with love
Natalie


Reply to Natalie
Posted by: MnM | 2012-12-11

I also have a reborn friend, and I actually think she has missed the whole point of religion and developing a relationship with God.
She is always trying to prove that her beliefs are better. I do find her attitude and behaviour disrespectful at times and I have made it clear that nothing will move me from my beliefs.

Her life isn''t any better than mine. Actually it is worse. She is struggling.


No religion is better than the other. All that matters is that you have a connection to God and are a good human being and live with good values and morals.

Reply to MnM
Posted by: Liza | 2012-12-10

@BMJ
''it is not the christians that are intolerant of the friends who dont believe, but rather the others not tolerating the fact that the christian believes something different to them" 
REALLY?!?!?
What are you smoking? Must be seriously strong stuff. As a non-christian I more than tolerate the fact that my christian friends have different beliefs from mine. Just as I respect their beliefs, I expect them to respect mine and NOT try and convert me to their religion because I will NEVER try and convert them to mine. Most born-again Christians are so fanatical about their religion, that they almost always try and convert other people to their religious beliefs - thus disrespecting people who believe in any religion that isn''t theirs! Respect is a two-way street. You can''t expect people to respect your beliefs if you don''t respect theirs!

Liza

Reply to Liza
Posted by: Deeve | 2012-12-10

Oh my BMJ!! Why do you people always have to have the last word??????? Why is it always about the born again Christians. What about us normal, happy folk that are JUST ordinary Christians...??
And yes you Guys do tend to irritate the folk around you...sorry.

Reply to Deeve
Posted by: BMJ | 2012-12-10

Natalie, becoming a reborn Christian is not just adding a bit of religion to your life - but a total transformation and there should be a huge change in a person.

But do talk to her about how you feel - I can promise you we dont intentionally tr and irritate our friends.

But I also want to say that you two are fundementally in two very different worlds and have completely different world perspectives. And in the end, it is not the christians that are intolerant of the friends who dont believe, but rather the others not tolerating the fact that the christian believes something different to them

Reply to BMJ
Posted by: Milla | 2012-12-07

If you are very good friends you could always try to discuss it with her calmly, tell her that you''re genuinely happy for her if she feels at peace with her religious beliefs but that you would prefer not to discuss it because it makes you feel uncomfortable.
Don''t be too optimistic though, from my personal experience, people who''ve had a radical change in religion usually can''t help but talk about it, it''s just that important to them and everyone around them must be informed about how wonderful it is.
I know it might not be very helpful advice, but I have lost a very good friend when she became a reborn Christian, I could no longer have a regular conversation with her and the church she had started going to had some...strange ideas. I just decided to respect her choice and be happy for her, and made peace with the fact that we have wandered down seperate paths.

I sometimes wonder if they realise that the people they are trying to inform/teach/show the light to are actually being driven away from their ideaology by their behavior.

Reply to Milla

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