Sometimes I can't decide if you're a really bad Christian, or a really good one

It's a popular topic, in my neck of the woods, the sort of thing people like to titter and gossip about: who's a good Christian, and who isn't. It seems, though, that the more 'Christian love' I'm subjected to, though, the harder time I have differentiating between just who is a bad Christian, or a really good one.

This post will probably ultimately turn out to be half stream-of-consciousness, half rant, rather than any sort of significant prose on the issue, but never mind.

I've had multiple run-ins with a particular student in my school. I know him relatively well, actually; we swim together on the school swim team, we have some mutual friends... or, well, we used too. I have to stop here and point out that I rarely, if ever, have issues with someone, and vice-versa. I'm simply not that sort of person; it's far too time-consuming to actively dislike anyone, so I don't bother. So it takes a special someone to really get my panties in a bunch.

Caleb is a (self-proclaimed) devout Christian. Normally, this isn't a problem, least of all with me, except for one thing: As a devout Christian, Caleb feels it is his Christian duty to shit on me for the sole reason that I am an atheist. Now, it'd be unfair to say that we have never gotten along, ever, because for a brief stint, I do remember a time when we did get along nicely. We weren't the best of buddies, but we had similar interests in comedians and could share a joke. That said, he would often butt into various conversations, especially mine, to inject his religious rhetoric, even when it was not wanted.

I certainly don't shy away at the idea of a religious discussion, so long as it remains intelligent and stimulating--conversations with Caleb, least of all religious ones, were none of those things. I learned quickly that there was no need to bother with any of those discussions.

As time went on, though, Caleb became increasingly belligerent towards me. His wardrobe, which consisted entirely of cargo shorts and Christian-themed shirts, started to become specifically targeted towards atheism. One particularly classy one was worn at least three days out of the week to inform me that "It takes for faith to be an Atheist, than it does to believe in God."

one of the many shirts Caleb wears

Now, I'd long listened to Caleb tell of his exploits, such as fighting (in church, no less), swearing, insulting people, and other decidedly less than 'Good Christian' things. I've watched him gang up and bully a gay friend of mine over Facebook. He's told me I was going to hell for numerous reasons, and told my Catholic friend the same thing because he's... well, Catholic. Then things started to get personal.

He made a point to make sure I knew that he thought I was an idiot for various things, including caring about my school work, advocating science, being an 'evolutionist', a dirty, bleeding-heart liberal, and an atheist. Then he moved on to continually question why I had friends, or why they even liked me. Finally, it all came to a head with one particular conversation. After hearing all this, in a very passive-aggressive, I'm-not-talking-to-you-but-I-really-am sort of way, I got a little fed up:

"Caleb, you talk too much."
His response? "Well, I think you're a fucking bitch and I hate your fucking guts."
"That's alright, but you still talk too much."

It wasn't a poignant, soul-tearing moment of verbal destruction, at least not the sort that I've come to be known for in my circle, but his feelings were out in the open now... but now I knew that this was just beginning. I absorbed a few more minor episodes, which mostly consisted of Caleb calling me a bitch whenever he didn't like something I had to say, regardless of whether it was directed towards him or not. I just adhered to my personal policy to not waste time on people that didn't matter.

I got my own on the last day of school.

I was in the middle of a conversation with a friend of mind, discussing one of the many strange movies we'd seen recently, when Caleb had the audacity to make a sniffling, snide comment about our topic of conversation. Something about how he thought it was disgusting; it was so insignificant at the time that I never bothered to commit it to memory. I took a whole second to pass an "I don't care" over my shoulder and continue on with my conversation, making the mistake of thinking it was over and done with. Caleb wasn't finished and continued on, looking at our (formerly) mutual friend instead of me as he spoke:

"Was she talking to me? Did she really just say that to me?"
I was done with this shit and turned around. "I was looking directly at you, so unless your periphery is broken, you know I was talking to you. Moreover, this conversation didn't even involve you. I wasn't talking to you. In fact, I wasn't so much as looking at you, when you decided to butt into my conversation. Do you really want to end the last day of school acting like a dick?"
At that point, it wouldn't have truly mattered what he said, but when he ended whatever it was he was mumbling with "Well, I still think you're a bitch," I felt he needed to be aware of the huge mote in his eye.
"And I think you're a cunt, but nevermind that. Thank you so much, Caleb, for showing me the ways of Christ. You have made me regret my ways as a dirty atheist. How badly a wish I could be like you, Caleb. I wish I could be a good Christian, just like you."

Score one point for the Heathen, because he had nothing to say to that, and I was content to let the conversation end there.

Sometimes, it's just really hard to tell a really good Christian from a really bad one. From here, they all look the same.

*Names not changed because I have no interest in protecting the stupid.

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Comment by Jo Jerome on June 17, 2010 at 4:05pm
Have been bible-thumped a couple of times now by a 1,000 year old man, as well as a classmate in college, both of whom see nothing wrong or oppressive in the rule that men are supposed to dominate over women.

Well, at least they're practicing their faith as it is outlined in their own doctrine.
Comment by Jaume on June 5, 2010 at 4:21am
I'm not sure what else to call it.

The most appropriate qualifier I can think of here is 'rabid'.
Comment by Piper on June 4, 2010 at 11:55pm
Garrick, I think you more or less got the point I was trying to make, haha. What most people see as a 'good Christian' tend to be closer to my definition of 'bad Christian,' or at least bad people. As for 'bad Christian,' it could be taken as both someone who does not follow the teachings of Christ... or someone who is more 'Christian' (i.e. good) than most 'good Christians.'

It's not exactly word play in this context, but I'm not sure what else to call it.
Comment by Garrick McElroy on June 4, 2010 at 11:46pm
Woah, woah, woah, there's a difference between a good and bad christian? But it depends on how you mean "good christian" and "bad christian". Because christians who follow all that Jesus and the Bible says are good christians, but they're bad people (ignoring moral relativism and just going with the accepted morals of the place). And most people who are bad christians, are good people. So, it really depends on how you mean that. But, there's really no difference between a good christiand and a bad person.
Comment by Piper on June 4, 2010 at 10:25am
Thanks for all the comments, guys! I really appreciate them. I'm probably not near as suave as I made myself out to be in this blog post; I'm just glad I most likely will never have to see his ugly mug for the rest of my life if I can help it. Some people it's just better to steer clear of.

As for him being smitten, I'm not so sure where threatening to take a swing at me in the past falls on the infatuation meter. =] But that's neither here nor there.
Comment by Jo Jerome on June 4, 2010 at 10:21am
I do know what you mean Piper. In a strange way, I have a little more respect for Xians like Caleb because at least they're practicing their true faith and showing their true colors.
Comment by Dejah Thoris on June 4, 2010 at 10:15am
Thank you for sharing. It is encouraging to hear about someone handling asshole behavior in a rational, civilized manner. Good for you.
Comment by Staks Rosch on June 4, 2010 at 9:21am
If he were a really good Christian, he would have stoned you to death.
Comment by kj on June 4, 2010 at 9:19am
Sometimes the best way to deflect an asshole xtian, is to do exactly what you did so well. Pointing out the fact that while they may attend services, and proselytize for the lord... his actions are a beacon of negativity and further serve to turn people against the religion that (judging from your statements) he can't even live up to himself. Just because someone professes their belief in something doesn't mean they are the best example... but they sure don't like to look in the mirror much. Everyone else is always wrong, at fault, and going to hell. Assholes!
Comment by Ben on June 4, 2010 at 9:14am
That reminds me. We have discussed which of us has the most atheons lately?



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