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A question for Christians
Old 11-25-2018, 09:53 AM
  #1

I am a long-term member, but I wanted to sign out, not because I'm scared of the hate I might get from this post, but because I have to divulge some sensitive info that a friend might read.

I'm really struggling with something. I have a fantastic group of friends. Our little 4-some have so much in common, except for our faith. Two of us are Christian, the other two say they have some sort of faith. I'll call those two A & B.

As a believer and someone who truly believes the Bible is the inspired word of God, it's difficult sometimes to relate to some of the things A & B believe. While I would never be disrespectful to someone who is LGBTQ, I am struggling with understanding some of the gender struggles that people have. One of these friends has someone close to her that has decided she is gender-neutral. This child wants to be called by a plural pronoun, which truthfully makes no sense to me, and wants to look at having some surgeries to remove anything that shows she was born a girl. This child is only 14.

As we were discussing this, I was told that gender is simply a "social construct" and some other things that I can't specifically remember, because I was so shocked by some of the things A & B were saying. I responded with something like that I didn't believe that and the Bible clearly states that we are born male or female.

I will not change my faith to keep my friends, and I fully expect to be dropped by them at some future time. I have not been rude in my feelings about the struggles that this child is facing. However, I have been clear about what I believe.

So...I guess I'm just wondering what I should do about the friendship I have with them. Do I just simply let it run its natural course? Do I start pulling away now? How do you guys handle friendships that are growing apart because of a huge difference in faith?


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Old 11-25-2018, 10:27 AM
  #2

I am friends with people who are all faiths, or none, and people with different political views. None of these beliefs make them bad people. We are friends because we do have things in common and those are the things I focus on.

I tend to keep quiet during those parts of conversation. They know my beliefs and it's ok they think differently.
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Old 11-25-2018, 10:38 AM
  #3

Are you good enough friends that you can agree to disagree and just never discuss these issues? This is the route I am going with some friends who currently have different political views than me.
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Old 11-25-2018, 10:48 AM
  #4

If both sides can be respectful of the other's POV, it's possible. It takes both sides, though.
Now that you each know the other's opinions on this issue, there is no reason to debate, etc. Leave the ball in her court, so it really is up to her to keep up or stop the friendship. If she decides to end the friendship, I don't think you need to feel guilty about it, though it would be sad.
Another point, my dad is quite religious and holds very conservative views on these type of issues. Yet he has a cousin who is gay, and they definitely have a caring & respectful relationship, visit each other, talk on the phone regularly. So it is possible.
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It's very difficult, but possible.
Old 11-25-2018, 11:04 AM
  #5

I am a conservative Christian, but I try to be one minded about the beliefs and lifestyles of others. I have been verbally attacked by some who assume that I am anti-LGBTQ, even though I have never said anything negative, and actually have close friends and family members who are gay or lesbian. There are some who can put those differences aside and still be friends and there are some (usually not LGBTQ themselves) who cannot put it aside. Don't give-up your beliefs, but be loving and compassionate towards those people who believe or live differently. Remember, we are not the judges. Only God can judge. We are to show God's love to others, no matter if we agree with them or not.


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Old 11-25-2018, 11:07 AM
  #6

This question can be asked of people who hold a strong faith in any religion (or who are atheists). I have friends that have different political and religious beliefs than me. We just don't discuss those issues. That's harder to do in a group.

What you should do about the friendships I think depends on how much you value these friends. Maybe it involves staying quiet during discussions that involve these sensitive topics, maybe it involves having a conversation about how much you value the friendships but are really uncomfortable with certain topics. Maybe it's a friendship that has outgrown itself as you have all diverged on beliefs. I think that's something only you can decide.
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Old 11-25-2018, 11:23 AM
  #7

I would just agree to disagree or avoid those topics. I have differing views from some of my family members and basically we know each other's personalities and tend to joke about it. My 18 year old son for example, is very aware of politics and government and is much more conservative than I am. We disagree on more than we agree, but we can still have interesting conversations about topics. We just know we're different.
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Old 11-25-2018, 11:36 AM
  #8

Do whatever you want.

I am a Christian, but I doubt you believe that based on your post. I'm a mainline Protestant, even a progressive! I believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God, but I don't think everything in the Bible is to be taken literally. There's a lot of ideas that reflect the culture and time of the men who recorded it. Actually, I think conservative, evangelical Christians like yourself do a lot of picking and choosing Bible verses to justify your own biases. Some of the Bible contradicts other parts. When that happens, I choose to follow the words of Jesus over the Old Testament and over the words of Paul. If I were one of your friends and knew you'd written me off as a non-believer, I would have difficulty not writing you off my list of friends, too.

I have a longtime friend who I believe shares many of your religious (and probably political) views. We have a commitment to an activity we share. We continue to be pleasant companions as we fulfill our commitment. We make pleasant small talk. We no longer talk about important things in our personal lives. I don't trust her with my thoughts and feelings. We see the world very differently. The worst part is that some beliefs and people she calls good (or at least necessary), I label evil, and vice versa. That's a deep chasm in any meaningful personal relationship.

I think my friend and I will finish our commitment together in June, and then we will become acquaintances who see each other occasionally and exchange pleasantries when we do. And, I'm afraid that will be all we'll ever be again. It is sad and a sign of the tremendous mess our country is in.
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gender
Old 11-25-2018, 11:49 AM
  #9

Quote:
I responded with something like that I didn't believe that and the Bible clearly states that we are born male or female.
When I was much younger, I thought this way too. Over the years I met a number of people who had children that were intersex, with physical anatomy on the outside that differed from the physical anatomy on the inside. What I learned was that there are real biological variations in human beings, and sometimes determining whether a person is male or female is difficult. In these cases it is often the doctor who determines the gender of the baby according to how unusual the combination of parts is.

I like what teachnkids said:

Quote:
I am friends with people who are all faiths, or none, and people with different political views. None of these beliefs make them bad people. We are friends because we do have things in common and those are the things I focus on. I tend to keep quiet during those parts of conversation. They know my beliefs and it's ok they think differently.

Last edited by cvt; 11-25-2018 at 12:42 PM..
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Old 11-25-2018, 11:55 AM
  #10

I am on the same page as you. I try to avoid those talks as much as possible. I always say that in the Bible it states a man and a woman. We are having a similar situation with our bible study group. I have been friends with one of the gals for years. I won't go into the story but I disagree with how her, her husband and son are dealing with a situation. It involves my family to a certain degree. I am having a hard time being around her. I don't want to say things I might regret. I am sure you feel the same. Good luck! ( mine will be somewhat resolved at Christmas) Maybe yours will be, too.


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Old 11-25-2018, 12:01 PM
  #11

Quote:
I responded with something like that I didn't believe that and the Bible clearly states that we are born male or female.

You don't have to "believe" gender is a social construct (although it is, lol. Biological sex is different than gender).

If this really is a fantastic friend, you support her as she parents a non-binary child. Because friends support each other. It is literally what Jesus wants you to do.
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Struggle
Old 11-25-2018, 12:33 PM
  #12

I'm in a similar boat. I'm Catholic. My cousin is transgender. I can totally see where our faith would teach us this is wrong. Yet, I also get where my cousin is coming from. I have decided this is not my place to judge. I am called to LOVE my cousin no matter what, and truthfully I do. She is now a He, and that's fine. He is still my cousin, he is still the same person he was before changing genders. I LOVE my cousin unconditionally. I'm not going to judge my cousin or take a stand on this issue. Maybe that's wrong of me, but God is the judge. God can take a stand on it in the end. I'm not God. I will just love my cousin unconditionally and not cast judgement on the issue. I really don't know what to think because I do see both sides, and I have a very strong faith-life. But when I found out my cousin was going through this, everything had to put aside and my focus is just on loving my cousin. Again, maybe that's right, maybe that's wrong, but that's how I've had to deal with this issue.
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I think in any group of friends,
Old 11-25-2018, 02:09 PM
  #13

especially these days, there are going to be a variety of opinions on nearly any topic. I also think that's okay because adults can make their own choices and must deal with the consequences of any decisions they make. I agree with much of the discussion here. The way I see it you have two separate issues. One is the beliefs you hold. The other is whether you are going to be able to be tolerant of the beliefs your friends hold. I would just agree that you disagree on some topics and let it go at that because you will probably never convince each other and there is no real reason you should. As long as you are all respectful of each other when you meet, there shouldn't be a problem as far as I can see.
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Old 11-25-2018, 02:22 PM
  #14

CanTeach stated this so well..."The way I see it you have two separate issues. One is the beliefs you hold. The other is whether you are going to be able to be tolerant of the beliefs your friends hold." And I completely agree with her.

As a Christian, I believe we have to respect the beliefs of others. To me that means I can have anyone I want as a friend, and I should not be judging them. I am not walking in their shoes, and therefore, that makes it pretty clear to me that I don't understand what they might be facing.

Jesus was pretty clear about loving others. Whether my friends hold my beliefs or not is not for me to judge. If I had friends who were judging my beliefs and questioning our friendship, I don't think I would want them as friends.
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I have friends of all different faiths
Old 11-25-2018, 02:41 PM
  #15

and those with no faith at all. There are ways to interact with people in a considerate way while you do not agree with their opinion or their choice of life styles.

Maybe if you keep in mind they are just the opposite side of the coin it would help. Try to remember that it is every bit as difficult for them to relate to your belief as it is for you to relate to their view. You all can listen to each other and find any common ground you can, and where there is no common ground just let them hold their own opinion and change the topic.

It is hard to have an strong opposing view than your friends do. However, that is what true friendship is. You take them and love them as you find them.

I have a former student that is a transgender male. There are indications that he knew it when he was in my class in first grade. There is no way he just decided on a whim or that he was/is confused. He is handsome, intelligent and the type of person everyone would want as a son, student,friend. This of course has molded my opinion somewhat.

We are always confronted about things that "don't make sense to us" but after we read about it, study it, and see the other side we still might not agree but by understanding we can accept easier. Maybe consider how hard is it really to call someone by a preferred pronoun or name? Try it out a few times and see how easy it becomes. I don't think that is contrary to any Bible scripture. It could be just part of Jesus' command to "do unto others."
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Old 11-25-2018, 03:05 PM
  #16

I consider myself a non-practising Christian and have many friends who are the same as I am or are practising Christians. I also have friends who are of different faiths or who are atheist. There are things we don't discuss or if we do, I nod and smile. We don't have to agree with our friends but like ConnieWI said, we have to respect their beliefs.

Quote:
the Bible clearly states that we are born male or female.
The Bible was written at a time when scientific knowledge was not the same as it is now.
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The Bible
Old 11-25-2018, 03:19 PM
  #17

ďWhenĒ it was written is of no account to a Christian. We TRULY believe it is the inspired word of GOD. The one true GOD who create the universe and all therein. Often, it is hard to live in this culture because God, the Father, from whom all things flow of whom Jesus was incarnate, is no longer the authority. As a Christian I must live and die by the word of God, regardless of societal constructs, things create by society rather than by the creator of the universe. By the words of Jesus the greatest commandment is love your God with all you heart and he commands we love our neighbors as ourselves. I will love all and pray for Godís will while serving in love.
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Old 11-25-2018, 06:33 PM
  #18

I wish there was a 'like' button on PT. I love how r9miles expressed herself/himself.
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Differing Beliefs
Old 11-25-2018, 06:53 PM
  #19

I believe that everyone has a right to their opinion (beliefs), but no one has the right to push them with someone else. If I am upset or strongly object to something, thatís my problem.

People come in all shapes, colors, sizes, races, ethnicities, genders, intelligences, politics, sexual preferences, or whatever else you can come up with - but when you get down under our skin, weíre made up of the same materials. Why should anyone be treated differently?

Truthfully, I believe no matter how conservative (or not) you are, a true Christian will show kindness to all. Iím not much for any particular religion but I sincerely doubt itís my job to judge, as Iím just human like the rest.
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Old 11-25-2018, 07:22 PM
  #20

My deepest friendships tend to be with those who share my faith, but I am also friends with people who are not Christians. While I do miss the intimacy of being able to share my faith it doesn't change the fact that we are still friends. We also need to keep in mind that many people who are devout Christians do not necessarily believe that being gay, bi, etc. is a problem. I am one of those. I firmly believe that most of those folks were born that way. I also know some, my DD included, who have been diagnosed with serious mental illnesses, often have gender orientation confusion. Either way, they are children of God who are still embraced and loved by Him. The Bible is not only filled with law, but with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

I also think that in the long run, as a Christian if you want to be more likely to reach them in the faith, it will be much more beneficial for you to let them know in all circumstances you love them and accept them as friends. Many people are turned off from Christianity because they have been made to feel rejected by those who are supposed to be fulfilling the greatest commandment - to love one another!

Nancy
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Old 11-25-2018, 07:39 PM
  #21

I was born and raised Catholic. Had I been born in Iraq, or China, or Sudan, I would likely have been born and raised into another set of religious and cultural beliefs that said that American Catholicism was absolutely 100% wrong and their way was 100% right. Since my place and time of birth impacted my religious education, I can't say that mine is any more 'right' than a Wampanoag Spiritualist or a Somali Muslim or a Japanese Buddhist. We all believe what we believe as truth, not as myth. As long as nobody is hurting anybody else, I will happily live alongside anyone else. Is your friend or their relative hurting anyone with this? Is it your job to decide what they should do? Could you just keep your opinions to yourself and refuse to cast the stone, as you are likely not without sin yourself?
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Old 11-26-2018, 03:02 AM
  #22

If you can't remain friends due to your differences, then that's that then. NEVER, ever go with the flow just to stay friends with someone, which you said you won't so that's good. You stand strongly to what you believe in and don't back down for anyone.

Start gradually bowing out of the friendship now if you know it will end soon...better that than an abrupt end, I suppose, although if abrupt is how it has to end, so be it.
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Old 11-26-2018, 06:27 AM
  #23

Ask yourself- What would you do if it were your family member? I always go with compassion. #Kindness Matters.
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