Religious views are always a touchy subject, especially when conversation turns to scientific or historical information that refutes some of someone’s core beliefs.
A guy on Reddit with a doctorate in history found himself in this sticky situation with a devoutly Christian new friend, and wasn’t sure he’d handled it correctly by sharing his historian’s perspective.
So, he went to the AITA (Am I The A**hole) subReddit for perspective. He’s since deleted his post, but not before it sparked a lively conversation.
The Original Poster (OP), who goes by Nordenfeldt on the site, asked:
“AITA for correcting a Christian?”
“One of my (M[ale] 37) oldest friends (F[emale] 36) has a new boyfriend. he seems like a decent guy, even loaned my 20$ for lunch once (Yes I paid it back). He is however, quite religious, while the rest of our friend group is not.”
“He is not overbearing about it, but he does refer to his faith and Christ an awful lot, just on the edge of what would be irritating. My friend has told us he doesnt mean anything by it, but thats just how he was raised and he doesnt think its abnormal, so we cut him some slack.”
“We were having drinks one evening, and talking about Roman history, as one does. Of note, I am a historian, with my doctorate from a top university. But I don’t work in the field of history, so it rarely comes up and I don’t make a big deal about it.”
“The conversation turned to sources of ancient Roman history and how a lot of the things we think we know are due to the biases of the classical historians, or their just transcribing oral traditions.”
“Our new friend spoke up and stated that at least we could trust the Gospels because they were written by eyewitnesses: the disciples of Jesus. notably we had not been talking about Christianity in particular. I corrected him, that none of the gospels were written by disciples, but by unnamed others long afterwards. I did so and what I thought was an entirely civil and conversational tone.”
“He immediately got very angry and loudly told us there was no one here who knew the Bible better than him and that he knew for a fact the four gospels were written by the four disciples of the same name. he then dared me to prove him wrong.”
“So I gave him the scriptural evidence, which is pretty absolute. I’m not going to get into the specific evidence here because I do not want this thread to turn into a polemic for or against the bible, or whatever: if people really care I can put it in the comments. Suffice to say the evidence is pretty incontrovertible, and out of the scripture itself.”
“I laid it out as politely and briefly as I could, and then (And here is where I probably drifted into AH territory), I just mentioned that, since nobody knows the scripture better than him, I’m surprised he didn’t know this already.”
“Anyway, he lost his poop, was screaming at me inches from my face about how I was a Communist, and a anti-Christian (again, not), and how he is always prosecuted no matter where he goes, and threw in a number of choice swear words and insults along the way. Then he stormed out screaming, got into his car, leaned on the horn for about 30 seconds, then drove away.”
“The clear consensus among my friends was that he was certainly on AH for his reaction, But the group was split as to whether I was also an AH for having corrected him on a topic clearly so close to his heart.”
“So, I throw myself open and ready for judgement from the collective wisdom, or at least collected comment section, of Reddit.”
“Was I the AH for correcting, and then demonstrating his wrongness, in front of the group?”
OP then added a bit more context.
“EDIT to add: I should be clear my doctorate in History is not actually in the history of the Bible or early Christian theology, nor did I at any point mention my ‘credentials’.”
“EDIT 2: Since I have been asked, the lead-in to the conversation wasn’t religion at all, but one of the group had just rewatched ‘Gladiator’ on Netflix.”
OP’s fellow Redditors were then asked to judge who was in the wrong in this interaction using the following acronyms:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
And they were all pretty taken aback by OP’s friend’s outburst.
“NTA, but there’s something seriously wrong with that guy. His reaction was crazed and scary.”
“I’m not a Christian or a historian, and I knew the Gospels weren’t written by four dudes named Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. I don’t think that’s arcane knowledge. People have been dissecting it for centuries.”
“He’s not very secure in his faith if this conversation made his head explode like that.”
“Maybe it’s good that your friend got a look at his bizarreness over religion. Maybe she’s forewarned now.” —NoxWild
“Sounds like a bit of regular christian persecution complex and not wanting to believe that something which you perceive as true and fundamental to your life, is actually wrong.” —PICK_ME_DICK_GIFS
“… You’ve given your friend a glimpse of what her future looks like with this guy any time his fragile belief system is threatened. If your friend doesn’t see any red flags after this, she’s not looking.” —jimhabfan
“…The only ‘Christian’ thing about this man’s behavior is acting holier-than-thou. Perhaps you were too cheeky, OP, but according to his beliefs he should have turned the other cheek. He needs to read a little more about how he should treat others, and anyone calling you an AH in this situation is wrong. NTA.” —Anonymotron42
“I grew up in the church so this reaction doesn’t surprise me. Most congregations push an “us vs them” mentality between them and the “secular world.” Not only are they told to unconditionally trust the Bible, they’re also told that anyone who tells them otherwise is actively trying to destroy their relationship with god. Christians also looooove to pretend to be oppressed in America when they just simply aren’t at all.” —MagicalMichaell
“NTA. At all. If you’re going to brag about much you know about a subject, you’d better be able to back it up without resorting to childish tantrums. Truth hurts sometimes.” —chinookmate
Hopefully OP’s friend can learn to control his adverse reaction to history in the future.