There mid the dust of dying creeds
Christ starves, while Venus feasts;
She holds the people’s hearts and leaves
To Him – the mumbling priests.

(G.A. Studdert Kennedy, Idols)

My own experience with people who suddenly go the “born again” route is that it’s not possible to be open-minded and to lend a sympathetic ear to them, because for the first couple years after their rebirth, it seems like all of their interaction with those who aren’t born again involves proselytising. I simply won’t spend time with someone whose every statement is an effort to convert me.

However, once they’ve been born again for a couple years, they tend to calm down and understand that they’re alienating more people than they are converting by being so aggressive.

I lost a very close friend for a while because of this. When he calmed down after a couple of years, we were able to at least meet up with each other on occasion again, but things were never the same. He’s a better person now than he was before he found religion (he stopped drinking and is a better family man). So I’m happy for him in that respect. But I still just have a difficult time feeling close to him when I know in the back of his mind, he thinks I’m damned to an eternity of misery because I don’t share his beliefs, and that our value systems and societal views are from different planets (he now holds a very traditional view of women and will occasionally use the word “fornicate”, not to mention his views on homosexuality and other such topics – I just can’t identify with such a person). Actually, he was over recently and saw all of the Darwin/Evolution stuff I put up on my walls. I’m guessing he won’t be coming back down for a while.

So, should I have continued to spend time with the guy, sitting there and listening to him try to convince me that my ancestors weren’t apes, that the Earth is about 10,000 years old, and that I have to accept Jesus as my saviour?.

I don’t think that’s uncommon for people who suddenly go head first into a fundamentalist brand of religion for at least the first year or two after their conversion.

I’d rather spend my time with people I consider reasonable and rational.