So, I'm on the massive time suck that is Facebook last night. Checking out the minutia that makes up the lives of acquaintances and friends for the 20th time that day. (I know, borderline OCD, I'm in a 12-step program of sorts for it.)
Then a friend/acquaintance (call him Peter) from high school posts that he has a delimma. Me, being "the helpful sort", kept reading. Seems that the friend is concerned about a person who posts on some of the same religion/politics boards is asking about the best way to commit suicide. Seems this person is a hate-monger, socialist and even worse... an atheist! (his words - except for the 'even worse' part) Peter then referred to the hate-monger as being the exact opposite of him.. an anti-Peter. So the HM (hate monger) has lost his job, can't find work, is about to lose his car and not sure how long he'll be able to stay in his apartment. The guy, has reason to be disillusioned and bitter.
Let me stop and briefly explain something about myself... there are a couple of things I hate, maybe more than a couple.
The short list:
smacking your food
So, back to the story, Peter is one that regularly posts things on FB about politics, socialism, the President, national debt, health care... and the big heavy, religion.
And those of you that know me personally, know that the few times that I do keep my mouth shut is when the topic is religion and politics. Both are deeply personal and broadcasting your opinions on them will only serve to do one of two things. It will either draw those that believe the exact same thing as you, closer to you, thus bolstering your own views/ego and confirming the rightness of your own beliefs. Or, it will alienate those that haven't walked the same path, have beliefs that are different than yours, or have been more/less fortunate than you.
Either way, it's best just to keep your mouth shut.
Again, me being the helpful sort... I sent Peter a message. What I am posting here are excerpts of the lengthy posit that I sent him pointing out that wars are often started over the words that we use and that maybe the best way to reach someone is to just shut the hell up and listen.
At the end of the pasties..., please feel free to point out what an assbitch I am. I welcome your comments. Seriously. I do. I've survived a message board full of Sweet Potato Queens turning on me like a rabid dog turns on its owner, survived family members verbally evicerating me, ... anything else is easy. Bring it.
I would try and connect with him on a personal level. Ask what kind of work he is looking for. Also, that you picked up that he is hinting at suicide. Offer to listen, let him purge, and try to see things from his perspective.
But why do you say that he is socialistic? And atheist? And is being an atheist a bad thing? Yes, maybe, from yours and my perspective... (have atheist friends, lovelovelove them) but not everyone has walked a path like ours.
Personally, there have been many times when I doubt, feel that IT is all a big made up story. Does that make me an atheist? In some circles yes... Personally, if God cannot handle my doubt and would condemn me for being skeptical, using the brain I was given to reason out things... Then frankly, God is a bully... But I don't believe that. the whole God=bully thing... but I digress.
In dealing with my own acquaintances that are angry, atheistic, bitter, disappointed in their lives, I’ve learned that they see themselves not as a product of each and every decision they've made in their life but as a victim of fate. I've finally come to the realization that if they are that far gone, there isn't a single thing you can do (unless it is calling 911 if you know his address), not a single thing you can say to change his mindset, steer him from this path. Except pray.
In dealing with this person, speak with loving kindness, gentleness of spirit, and allow him the dignity of feeling that his opinions/beliefs possibly have merit. After all, your opinions are yours... are you 100% convinced that your beliefs and political opinions are the only right ones? So am I! I am 100% right in my spiritual and political beliefs. Both of us can't be right, so that has to mean you are wrong. Right and wrong always depend on your perspective.
If you truly care whether or not this person kills himself, reach out, meet him where he's at, and you build a bridge to him. Regardless of how atheistic-God doesn't NEED him to believe in Him to exist yet He does exist, or socialistic-if lending a hand, giving to the poor, helping those in need is socialistic... then Jesus sure was preaching some sort of socialism, or how much you disagree with him.
Out of curiosity, why argue with someone who is convinced that they're right? Unless, you are convinced you are the one who is right and the need to win the spiritual/political argument is just that... a need to win and the self-satisfaction that goes along with beating someone in a debate. Sometimes the hardest thing in the world is just to shut the hell up and listen. Tame the tongue.
If you truly care, build a bridge.
I was basically trying to paint a picture. Sorry if the labeling was a distraction.
Building a bridge is tough when this person whom you've already addressed with concern, only to have him reply with insults and threats. I will see what I can do.
By the way, I like to preach about politics and religious issues. But I don't remember EVER saying I was right...just saying my piece, as my gramps would say.
Thanks for the advice and God bless you,
Back to my long-winded, likes to hear herself talk, disguised as "helpfulness":
Think of him like one of those 'at risk' dogs you see on Dog Whisperer... People lash out when they have low self-esteem, and feel threatened. Behavior that was probably modeled for him long ago.
Why preach about politics and religious issues? Understandably I'm sure that there are MANY who will take your speaking out on those topics to be a condemnation of theirs if it happens to be different.
Assume that I had the following opinions - maybe they are mine/maybe they aren't.
The Public health care bill - totally for it. It's not perfect, not ideal but it is a HELL of a lot better than nothing. And that is what the majority of American citizens have by way of health care. Nothing. And I am not talking about those on wellfare... I'm talking about small business owners. Who are terrified of getting sick and the ensuing loss of income for their families. And quite frankly, a small business owner that has a net income over $250K... well, that's not exactly small business.
Out of curiosity, I'm guessing your mom/dad are collecting social security? Medicare?
The Preamble, just for fun:
"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."
From the Constitutional Dictionary:
Welfare n. 1. health, happiness, or prosperity; well-being. [
Obama - voted for him. And was proud to do it. Is he the 'chosen' one, nah. Just another really smart, very likable dude. Is he doing a fabo job right now? No. But, it is only 17 months into his presidency.
Bush - you probably don't want me to go there. I will go long and hard about what an idiot puppet President he was... but I won't. Or maybe I will. Nah... gonna step back from that one.
Religion - wading off in it now, I don't see that much difference between the religious right and extremist Muslims. Both do exactly as they are told to do from those in the pulpit. Many of the religious right have used threats, bombs, condemnation, and lies to further their narrow agenda. Extremist Muslims... ditto. They (the RR) preach conservatism all while driving Suburbans, Escalades and Hummers. (Ever wonder why you never see a Democratic party sticker on SUVs, etc.). Their President's solution to fixing the economy was "spend, get out there and shop your asses off" Out of curiosity, what exactly does conservatism mean?
There, just sayin' my peace and I feel better for saying it.
Now, Out of curiosity... How much of the above did you take personally? Or take it as a personal attack of your beliefs and opinions? Did my statements even hint at openess to a difference of opinion? Or were my words confrontational? Make you defensive? Cause you to think less of me? See me in a different light?
You don't have to come right out and say that you think you are right for everyone to assume that you think that you are.
I just wanted to possibly explain why and how someone could end up like your friend. We are all different. Sometimes, the people who try us and push our buttons the most, teach us the most. And not everyone who sees things differently is on the opposing side. More and more, people are the same.
Folks are folks.
Yeah, I know. Won't be the first time I've had to go in for a headassectomy