This morning I told someone I’d never had sex before I got married. He was shocked, obviously.
Then I told him that I thought it was wrong to have sex outside marriage. Of course, he was offended.
Who wouldn’t be? Why should someone take kindly to being told that their lifestyle is “wrong”? What right do I have to say that?
I asked him to be “tolerant” of my beliefs – including tolerating the fact that I believe that morality is more than the “don’t hurt others” style he has. But why should he tolerate that? Do I really expect him to think it’s ok that his friend is “judging” him?
I tried to appeal to his experience of knowing me – was I “judging” him? I am his friend and don’t ram this down his throat, so maybe he is wrong to say I am judging him just because I hold a view about his behaviour.
We argued quite a lot about whether only having one sexual partner was the best way to be happy. This was because I’d said that I believed God made us to be that way and he’d told us to do it because it would make us happy. Apart from offending him a bit more, this didn’t make much difference, since he disagrees with me – he thinks his various experiences make him a better judge of who he wants to end up with.
Of course the whole thing hinges on this one point: do you believe that God made us to be with one person? Since he doesn’t believe in God (the Christian one at least), the idea of this sounds ridiculous to him.
I did talk a bit about evidence in terms of divorce rates, but that’s very weak, and I tried to reason with him about how he’d feel if his girlfriend had had lots of sexual partners, but he wasn’t convinced by that – his girlfriend has had several partners and he’s not bothered by it.
I am convinced that my choice (plus lots of fortunate circumstances meaning God helped me stick to it even in moments of extreme weakness) has made me happier in my life, and allowed me to enjoy my marriage unrestricted by some hurtful experiences and unhindered by spiritual, emotional and physical ties to someone else. Meanwhile, he is completely unconvinced, thinks I’m pretty mad, and is more than a little offended by what I think of him.
We spent the rest of the day making sure we were alright with each other, trying to be friendly and show the other one we were still friends. He seems to have forgiven me or whatever.
It’s pretty rough being a moral absolutist in a culture where moral relativism is the only really accepted morality. No wonder Christians have a reputation for being judgemental.
By the way, yes, I did tell God that I was giving him the day this morning.
And yes, I do regret it.
Actually, no I don’t – I’m glad it’s out in the open. He should know that his friend is “judging” him if that’s how he thinks of it.
I told him I didn’t think my moral standards applied to him unless he was a Christian (i.e. I still think they’re true, but I agree he has no reason to follow them, and I don’t accuse/condemn him for not following them) and we got onto whether I wanted him to become a Christian.
He was offended that I wanted to convert him. And again, of course he was – who wouldn’t be? I tried to use an analogy about pulling your friend out of a well or whatever, but that is so offensive to someone who stepped into the “well” themselves, and likes it there, and thinks it’s morally right to be there.
So I think myself lucky he’s still talking to me and I guess I’ll have to pray that God will use my sorry words for his purposes. Thank goodness it’s God who converts people, not us.
Just thought I’d tell you about my day.