Arguing with Strangers on the Internet

I know, you’re not supposed to do this. Very few minds are changed by a written skirmish in the comment section. But my enneagram 8 self loves a good confrontation and I have found the perfect outlet. Dating apps. But Sarah, isn’t the point to find a match? Yes, but my ideal match will enjoy a good verbal (or in this case, texted) skirmish and sometimes the person in question…well let’s just say we were never going to be a match.

I’ve already discussed setting up a profile here and here. One thing I didn’t mention is that, in addition to pictures, you can also answer a series of prompts on your profile. Most of mine are light hearted and, hopefully, lead to conversation. For example the prompt is: Let’s debate this topic. My answer: Mulan is the greatest Disney movie of all time (I stand by that). But sometimes they are a little bit more serious. For the prompt “Something that’s non-negotiable for me is” I wrote, “You need to be serious about your faith. If your faith doesn’t include lgbtq inclusion and fights for social justice we’re not the same type of Christian.” And this is where the drama comes.

More than a handful of potential suitors have responded to that statement with something like, “well it sounds like you’re not really a Christian.” Let’s unpack all that’s wrong with that statement. First of all, who are you to decide who is and isn’t a Christian. Last I checked that was God’s job and God gave pretty explicit directions for you to stay out of it (that whole judge not lest you be judged thing). Secondly, literally the only things in the world you know about me are the statement you’re commenting on, I think Mulan is a great Disney movie, and a random fact I love is that bees have a sense of time. Oh, and you’ve seen six carefully curated pictures of me. You don’t have the slightest inkling about the shit I have been through in my life and how God has seen me through it. So how dare you come at me challenging my beliefs just because I don’t agree with your oppressive and flawed theology. My God is a God of liberation. Finally-do you really think this is the way to get a date with me? Like, has this worked for you?

I used to just swipe no on these replies, but then I had a wonderful, relaxing summer that was free from confrontation and I thought, lets sow a little chaos. Gentleman number one responded to the prompt with “So you’re not a real Christian.” Now I wanted to get into this, but not in a super rude way on the off chance this person was willing to listen to a different perspective. So I said, “Well if Jesus were here today I think he would be doing exactly those things and isn’t following him the whole point?” This gentleman responds with, “Leviticus 18:22” Ahh there it is-the clobber verse. Here is how the convo continued:

Me: So you believe in order to be a Christian someone has to follow all 613 Levitical laws.

Him: It’s a start [side note: this is where I thought, “ohh let’s gooooo!!!”]

Me: Ok well I disagree with that for a couple of reasons. One that was a specific set of laws given to specific group of people and we are not those people. Also it’s really logistically hard to do. Are you saying you never eat a bacon cheeseburger? And where do you buy clothes that don’t have mixed fibers? How are you making sure you never sit where a menstruating woman has sat? But most importantly, Jesus came to fulfill the law and make a new covenant with us. His greatest commandments were love God and love others. I show love to others by fighting for inclusion and social justice

At this point gentleman 1 unmatched me. What a disappointment. Before I share the delightful exchange with gentlemen number two I want to highlight an excellent resource. If you want a thoughtful and thorough exploration on why Christians believe different things around the issue of homosexuality I would highly recommend Queer Grace. They have a ton of articles, resources, and book recommendations for Christians seeking to understand this issue and, most importantly, for people in the lgbtq+ community who are trying to figure out how they fit into Christianity (spoiler alert: You fit, you are welcome, God loves you).

Ok on to gentleman number two. He was a little sassy with me and, as one of my former students said, “Don’t get sassy with Ms. Pinard because she will give you that same energy right back.” He is responding to the same prompt discussed above.

Him: There is only one type of Christian and you clearly are not. There is def no need to be disrespectful to homosexuals, but it is not his will.

Me: 100% disagree. First of all it’s incredibly disrespectful to say that someone’s existence is not God’s will. Secondly I believe in lgbtq inclusion because of what is in the Bible. I take my faith seriously and my beliefs are grounded in sound, scholarly, thoughtful biblical interpretation. So unless you have some special anointing where you get to decide who is and isn’t a Christian I would appreciate if you would refrain from telling me what I am and am not and go ahead and let God handle that part-She’s more than capable. (I’ll admit-I threw in the She because I knew it would irritate him)

Him: LOLLLLLZ God made man in HIS image you are completely dillusional (his spelling). God is not a woman. Bet you voted for Biden too and think that we should be OK with abortions. If you follow the Bible there is not a single word of it that says He is a woman. You can’t pick the good stuff and not follow the stuff you don’t agree with.

Me: God is beyond gender as a divine being and therefore you can use either pronoun. And the Bible actually has many references of god as mother, not just as father.

Him: Lol you are clearly off your rocker. You’re just a nice person. That doesn’t make you Christian.

Me: If you want to have an actual conversation I’m happy to do that. But if all you want to do is insult me I’m happy to leave. You don’t know me at all so stop assuming.

Him: (full disclosure-he unmatched me before I could screenshot this part so this is not word for word it’s my best remembrance of the conversation). You are not giving any facts. You are just believing what you want without actually looking in the Bible.

Me: [gives Biblical citations of Jesus as mother]. So are you taking care to avoid sitting where a menstruating woman has sat? Or are you just picking and choosing the parts you like?

This is where he actually unmatched me. What a bummer-he could’ve been the one.

I know that earnest, thoughtful, Christians have varying views on the topic of homosexuality. But it is bigoted, offensive, and hurtful conversations like these that are causing direct harm to people-people we are called to love. I’m a big girl-I can take it. Heck, I invited it. I knew what I was getting into when I chose to engage and I don’t regret it. Because the kind of entitlement that makes you think you can tell a stranger on the internet that they aren’t a “real Christian” is the same entitlement that lets you spew your hurtful views to youth who are trying to figure out their sexuality. Views that, at best, cause them to leave the church and, at worst, cause them to take their own lives. So if you want to put that shit on my dating profile you had best believe I’m gonna have something to say about it.

2 thoughts on “Arguing with Strangers on the Internet

  1. I think I am on safe ground theologically when I say there is only one type or flavor of “Christian”. One who has a relationship with Jesus Christ as Savior and tries to apply that to their lives as best as possible. Flawed and broken as we all are. Now in our highly partisan and politicized age we live in we seek to apply ideological, political, or cultural filters, assumptions and preconditions to our faith or belief matrix. And judge others outside our tribe, group, friends, groupings according to those notions and ideas. No more so than in the intersection of faith and gender, identity, sex, orientation, and the new culture war area of pronouns. So we self sort and seek out a Jesus, a Bible, a church, a group of friends who will of course parrot and group think and reinforce our presuppositions. Not to disturb our nice neat take on people and the world. And God have mercy on those who think otherwise.

    As to dating apps, profiles, real, fake, touched up, made up, authentic and otherwise. If we seek and self select mates/sexual partners/friends with benefits/soul mates/buddies that think, feel, view things just like us, agree with us on all matters we are in essence trying to find someone just like us, but maybe in the opposite gender. Good luck with that.

    At the end of the day we all want the same thing. Someone warm to put our bodies too ,and love and accept us on our own terms, warts and imperfections and all. And deal with our shit, the good and the bad. We all seek and want a custom fit, in am off the rack world in terms of people and relationships. Where 99.99% of human perception is in real time and real human to human, face to face in the same room or place. Where we can see and perceive body language, facial expressions, voice intonations and react accordingly. We settle for a nameless handle on a computer screen, a picture, and the mindless back and forth of posting and responding. No wonder folks get angry and worked up. Again one can choose a number of issues and topics to play “gotcha” or seek confrontation. One can choose to respond or not. But in any human to human interaction, real, cyber, remote, close or far, there are two people and two sides to the coin. What are you getting out of this? And are you a better person in the transaction? Its easy to block, remove, delete, cancel people or profiles you do not like or agree with. In the real world we live in and seek to keep some sanity about ourselves in all the craziness. Not always the best practice.


  2. Hey Sarah ๐Ÿ™‚

    I just found this now. One neato thing about WP / blogs is that you can approve or disapprove of what others do on YOUR site — indeed, you can even edit stuff (which I find sort of weird, but whatever).

    You could give me more or less rights, because YOU are in charge.

    There is no reason why you should feel required to accept anyone else’s opinions. I guess you know this (simply from reading the gist / between the lines).

    IMHO, this is another good reason not to use other people’s websites.

    I really don’t know what to add here — maybe I should simply say, I’ve enjoyed what I read, and also admit I didn’t read it all (simply because it became TL;DR ๐Ÿ˜‰ ).

    ๐Ÿ™‚ Norbert


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