Updated: Mar 6
My friendship with Garret was not as significant as my friendship with Falyn or with fundamentalist Christians.
What did he have to give up to be my friend? Was he a feminist who would have to overlook his social identity to appreciate someone who beats on feminism? Was he a lefty who would have to give up his comfort zone to befriend someone who criticizes the left? Was he Christian? He was none of it. He faced no resistance to being my friend, which is why it is not a big deal for him.
However, Christians do not appreciate those who criticize Christianity. They live with their church, make friends with people at church, find jobs and even wives and husbands within the church. To be close friends with someone who criticizes Christianity is hard for them. Christianity is a part of their identity. Some cults even instruct the followers to not be close friends with the non-believers. They are told they must associate with people with similar beliefs, who help strengthen their faith.
When an evangelical Christian accepts me as his/her own, it involves discomfort. It is his identity as a Christian which makes it harder for him to love non-Christians, just like it is harder for the feminists to love conservatives. All social identities have that effect on people. People even talk offense on behalf of their groups and hate other groups for no real reason.
One fundamentalist told me she was hanging out with people with similar beliefs, which means other fundamentalists. But what happens when her peers do not watch the same movies as she does? She would have to narrow down her circle.
We, thus, see that the more identities a man has, the harder it is for him to make friends. The reason dogs can make friends with anyone is that he has no national, religious, or ethnic identity. In a way, animals are more enlightened than humans. They can love everyone regardless of their political, religious, and national identities, while humans remained entangled in their petty group identities.