Wednesday, November 8, 2017

She Called Me Ignorant . . .

After the shooting at the Texas church, I was reading a friend's Facebook post about the inevitable 'prayers and wishes' that follow such events (and the inevitable failure to do anything more concrete) and I made a comment which elicited a fervent response from someone I'll call Nice Lady. I've copied the entire string of comments because I found it interesting and, ultimately, heartening the way it played out.

Me: May God be with them, the president tweeted. One wonders where God was during the shootings in the church.

Nice Lady: God said men would become more evil, that perilous times would come! We don’t always understand why things happen I don’t understand but I know God is good and his word will be fulfilled! No man can stop it! Jesus warned us of this hour! Jesus is coming soon! More evil is going to come upon this earth like Jesus said. If we love him and stay close to him we have nothing to fear! They’ll be more mass shootings because men are so wicked and they have no conscience! They are like demons walking this earth! Gun control cannot stop this there’s so many guns in the hands of lunatics.

Me: So would you say the folks in the church loved and stayed close to God?

Nice Lady: hon I’m not sure what you mean. But people in other countries are being killed, beheaded for their love for Christ! Those precious people didn’t deserve to die like they did but Jesus didn’t say we wouldn’t suffer for him. He said the world hated him so if we love him the world ( evil people ) would hate us too!. We just need to trust him and walk close to him! God bless!

Me: I don't believe these people died because of their love for Jesus. They were the unfortunate victims of a deranged individual who was set off by a family dispute. You have your belief and your faith. Blessings to you -- I just don't see it that way.
(Trying to disengage politely . . .)

Nice Lady: I didn’t mean that. I can see you don’t understand what I’m talking about. Yes some crazy guy shot those people but it wasn’t Gods fault! I believe in the Bible. Maybe you should read it !

Me: Why do you assume I haven't read the Bible? I have. And while I think it contains some beautiful words and some wise philosophy, I do not believe that it is the "Word of God."

Nice Lady:  (I'm paraphrasing this from memory because when I went back a day later, she'd removed this particular comment.) Then you are ignorant. And you won't go to heaven and I hate to think about where you will go

Okay, I don't mind being told I'm going to hell but being called ignorant is like a bloody slap in the face. It really annoyed me for not only have I read the Bible, I've read a lot of scholarly works on the Bible. I know about the various translations and the various sources and the inconsistencies and errors. But life isn't long enough to get into it with a true believer so I didn't. Plus I try hard not to get angry on Facebook. Just walk away . . . But she wasn't done.

Nice Lady: I’ll be praying for you Vicki! Gods word has been proven over and over to be true! I pray your eyes are opened to the truth!

Me: Thank you. And I wish you all the best.

Note my restraint. And then notice the shift in her tone.

Nice Lady: I’m sorry for calling you ignorant. That wasn’t right! I wish you the best always too.

Wow! I do admire someone who can apologize! And with little hearts.

Thank you.

Nice Lady: Have a nice thanksgiving ! ❤️💕

Me: And you too!

Kinda amazing. I went from being extremely pissed off and really wanting to use all the bad words at my command to feeling like there could be hope for people with different points of view to communicate. Neither of us swayed the other but our perceptions of each other changed. A small victory for civility.


KarenB said...

I, too, was called ignorant recently on a FB post of mine. The post was that I was far more likely to die at the hands of a white, Christian man in the US than at the hands of a Muslim. Friends came back with nicely laid out facts and figures presented politely, as did I, but this particular commentator just doubled down. It is so easy to spill vitriol on the internet - something about that inability to see the other person - and it's also so easy to go with the knee-jerk comeback.

Someone described a Facebook page, blog site, twitter account, etc. as one's virtual living room, that is, the room into which your guests are welcomed and conversation happens. Therefore, if you would not allow behavior in your living room, why would you allow it in your virtual living room? And, as well, how would you behave in someone else's living room? I'm finding that works well as a guideline.

Vicki Lane said...

An excellent analogy, Karen! It's way too easy to be snarky on FB (especially for me where snarkiness is kinda a default mode.)

Misty Barnes said...

Nice Lady reminds me vaguely of some characters from Signs in the Blood.

Sandra Parshall said...

Thank you for this.

Barbara Rogers said...

Interesting exchange. My more recent conversation with those who don't think guns should be controlled (that Amendment kept coming up) ended with my feeling that I would never change their minds, and they didn't feel having gun availability, nor whatever kinds they might be, nor that the NRA had anything to do with all the killings. That was after the Nevada debacle. I have posted a lot of my anger on FB, which does seem a venue to let off steam. This time nobody has talked back. Maybe they have unfriended me! I don't think a living room discussion would have as much passion being vented. I'm very angry at Republicans at this point. There are too many innocent people being murdered to talk nice any more. Just my 2 cents worth.

Anvilcloud said...

You were pretty kind and restrained.

Vicki Lane said...

Almost Canadian, eh, AC?

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Good share, Vicki. Karen, I've read that advice about your Facebook site being your virtual living room, too. Excellent index for what not to accept and what not to do. I think Vicki's "living room" is a model for all of us.

Stella Jones said...

You are more forgiving than I would have been, Vicki!

Thérèse said...

Communication is always key to any situation.

Jime said...

Oh my dander gets up when I am told "this is the way walk ye in it" ,With a footnote that says, "or you will burn in hell"