Although I can't recall the specific words I said which (hindsight affords me the knowledge must have) drove a wedge in our friendship, I remember our last debate was about religion. His routine, after hours of alcohol-fueled conversation, was to begin to proselytize—mine was applying logic to debunk his religion.
Just before he started talking about god, we'd been discussing porn:
"...because I'm a man and men have needs. Even though my job takes me on the road for long periods, I still need it daily. Hell...three or more times a day! But because of those needs—that I, as a good christian and a good husband wouldn't allow to be met by anyone but my wife—I rely on porn even though I hate doing it." He said, nodding in the direction of his laptop.At this point he shifted the conversation directly to religion and god. His god. He touched on his belief in the bible...his being saved from an afterlife in hell (and my lack thereof)...how homosexuals were terrible sinners...and then said he didn't vote for Obama because he was a Muslim.
"You...I don't understand. You're saying you hate porn, but it's a necessary evil?" I asked.
"Porn is...yea. It's bad. Horrible." He said. "It can...it sucks you in. Like dope's a gateway drug— pornography's a gateway perversion. You can get addicted to it. It...there's so much out there...it's too available."
"I disagree." I said. "It's more like guns than marijuana. To call it a gateway means that once you start whatever you're 'headed-down-a-slippery-slope'. Porn doesn't do that. The adage: 'guns don't kill—people do' is more appropriate, I think. If you follow a link from a porn site to a chat site to a webcam site and eventually end up driving to a prostitute you found on craig's list...you can't blame the porn, only yourself."
I called him a willfully-ignorant bigot—afraid of people who thought or behaved differently than he did. When he tried to rebut, I replied that he'd just proved his prejudice by stating someone should not be president because of a religion different than his own; and proved his ignorance by believing something he read on the internet or heard on FOX.
I, then, dropped the blade on our 12-year friendship (I guess) by calling his entire belief-system a fantasy...no different than scientology...and saying that after death he'd return to the state of nothingness he was before he was born; as had—and would—every living thing. I also said that even though there's no such thing as hell, I still took offense when he proclaimed I and others were headed there, since it's the thought that counts and his thoughts were not those of a friend.
For three months after that, our communication was one-directional, then I stopped trying. It's been a year. I no longer have any more ccr friends to alienate. There are some extended family members and a few acquaintances who are ccr, but they (unfortunately) know not to discuss their prejudices, flaunt their superstitions, talk about their imaginary friends, or embrace their ignorance around me.
I don't think he'll ever read this blog (heathen's words are probably a gateway to a lower ring of hell or something equally imaginary) but if he does: Jim, I'm sorry I was rude and dismissive, forgive me?
Reprove your friend in secret and praise him openly. — Leonardo da Vinci