Monday, February 1, 2016

I Lost a (Facebook) Friend

So I received the following private message a couple of days ago on my personal Facebook account:

I put up with a lot in my news feed. I have friends all over the political and theological spectrum (here and on Twitter). Your posts are far and away the most consistently arrogant, absurdly-broad, and seemingly-hateful. I get the sense you don't care what I think, and that's fine. I care deeply about you and your family, but I'm choosing not to follow you on Facebook anymore.

I have had this acquaintance for some time now (I don’t consider most Facebook “friends” to be actual friends, just people I know).  He is a pastor, but that is all I will say about him on my blog.

I was a little shocked by his direct message.  To be honest, usually when I stop following people, I just stop following them, either on Twitter or Facebook.  I don’t make a big fuss about it nor do I send them a message as to why.  There’s no point to it.

But what sent him over the edge?  I wasn’t sure but I did have a slight argument with him a few days before.  It started when I shared this story about the shooting death of LaVoy Finicum.  He commented on my Facebook share (because my Twitter posts go to Facebook as well) the following:

You sure about that?

Now, keep in mind that I had shared the article.  I didn’t say that I believed the eyewitness, just shared the report of what she said (later video evidence seems to support her claim by the way).  What he was doing was accusing me of taking the witness’ account as genuine.

I knew what he was doing as I’ve encountered such nonsense in the past so I responded to him with the following:

Were you there?

This was basically me asking him if he knew more than me.  You see, he was challenging me directly and my knowledge only extended to the article I shared.

He responded with:

Nope. You?

I knew the answer he was going to give.  Of course he wasn’t there, but at the same time, he was trying to discredit another person’s writing by demanding to know if I was there.  So I followed up with the this:

Did I say I was? I am merely repeating what eyewitnesses claim here.

So maybe you asked the wrong question initially. Maybe you should be asking is if the eyewitness is lying, which is what you are implying.

So I’m challenging him here.  I want him to admit that he doesn’t believe the story, not shoot the messenger.  He does not disappoint:

Well this one is lying, or the other eyewitnesses are lying. Eyewitness testimony is notoriously unreliable anyway…it's possible none of them are willfully lying--maybe somebody's memory is wrong. But how do we even know who the real eyewitness are?

Remember, this person is a Christian pastor.  He has just stated that eyewitness testimony is “notoriously unreliable”.  Does anyone see the problem here?

Doesn’t his whole religion and profession rest on eyewitness testimony?

So we have a pastor who has doubled down on his assertion that someone is lying by basically rejecting the Good News as unreliable.

Yes, I am aware that this is a leap of logic, and I will credit his assertion as being unintentional, but that is where his line of logic ends: a rejection of Christianity.

I finally followed up with this:

I don't know about that. God said you needed two or three eyewitnesses in order for someone to be put to death. He seemed to believe it was reliable.

The Bible verse I am referring to is Deuteronomy 17:6.  I didn’t get a response after that.

I think the lesson here is that even if someone is not a Social Justice Warrior, and I don’t believe this person is one, you still find their tactics all over the place.  People always lie, they always double down, and they always project.  I admit that I am guilty of such things myself but I am at least self-aware enough to mitigate much of that.

We live is a world where people are different.  We have different opinions and no one really ever thinks alike.  It is something that mature adults must accept in order to function normally in a society, especially in this modern age of social media.

I understand why he rejected me. Understand that I make no apologies for what I post and if it is nasty or mean-spirited, I don’t care.

I made a lot of posts following that one but I think I angered him with the above exchange.  And if he is angry in a way that prevents him from being a pastor, then perhaps he should unfriend me.

But at the same time, he didn’t need to send me a message.  Just stop following me and be done with it.