As soon as I saw the headline he was pointing to and his tone of voice, I knew I would be unable to just walk away from this one.
He did that whole “assumed brotherhood” bit, where he approaches me like you might approach someone you know for certain shares particular beliefs and values of your own — on politics, on judging people based on their sexual persuasion or skin color — or, in the very least, that they will pretend to share your views and therefore reinforce your sense of conviction.
Well, fuck that.
He says something about the world indeed being crazy, like I had implied during some brief conversation him and I had some time ago, as he boldly presents me with what he clearly considered to be Exhibit-A. The headline said something about a lesbian being appointed as the head of some religious group or organization. His accompanying commentary suggested a negative view on gay rights coupled with a bitter mockery for any religion other than his own. As a consequence, he not only thought I invested in his medieval-minded prejudice but also presumed I shared his insipid faith in the supremacy of the Christian belief structure over all other religious flavors.
He was like a walking sampler platter of Things I Detest About My Species.
I played his game of “assumed brotherhood” in response, only in this case I pretended to be ignorant of the fact that he was a hard-headed Christian and suffered far more generally from the I Want to Be a Wise Old Man superiority complex. Laughing, I suggested to him that he is right about religion being so crazy, but that Christianity takes the cake.
And he took the bait.
To make an excruciatingly long and ultimately pointless conversation short, he dodged every single question I posed and ignored every significant contradiction in his belief system that I pointed out — something I became quite familiar with from my time wasted engaging in these religious conversations. Like nearly everyone I have ever encountered in my life, he would also much rather talk than listen, but with him it extended to the point where it was less of a dialogue with me as it was his monologue with commercial breaks of my heated commentary and questions, which did nothing to disrupt the flow of theological bullshit.
I didn’t get it. I was honestly listening to him, even though I’ve heard this same crap countless times before. Even so, he acts like I just don’t have enough information yet or have the wrong information — not based on any information he knows I know, mind you, but based on the fact that my conclusion does not resonate with his own.
The ultimate sourcebook for all the information he knows is sitting on the table before us. He is handing me his conceptual launching pad but all he knows regarding me is that I am an “atheist.” I know the parameters of what he believes; he believes it is more than sufficient to know what I do not believe.
It was a pointless conversation, of course, but I justify it in retrospect much as I judge my occasional act of drinking: its good to engage in it in occasion just to remind myself why I typically do not.