• Resolving Problems

A Leap of Faith: Dumped over religious differences?

Published: February 20, 2010 | Last Updated: January 28, 2024 By | 18 Replies Continue Reading
When a friend is dumped over religious differences, it may actually be more than that.

QUESTION

Dear Irene,

I feel so hurt after being dumped by my friend of ten years. We met at the library when our children were two years old and had our second children together months apart. Two years ago she decided to go back and follow her Jewish religion. I am Christian and that is why she dumped me.

We no longer go out as families together with our husbands and children. My daughter is very upset and cannot understand why we do not go away with them anymore and why my friend is keeping her daughter away from her. We were always Christian and now her children say they are Jewish.

When she had no one and no friends, we were there for her but now that she has Jewish friends, we are not good enough for her anymore. I am so glad I am Christian and not Jewish. Christians are much nicer and do not dump people. They get along with all religions. I now feel sorry for her because I would have done anything for her and her family if she needed me. She will someday see it as her loss.

Signed,
Faith

ANSWER

Dear Faith,

You are making a huge assumption that may or may not be correct: That your friend decided to dump you because she turned back to Judaism. It is painful to be dumped by a close friend, and in your case, it also represents an inexplicable loss for your family. But you are making a grave mistake in thinking that any one religion has a monopoly over another in terms of kindness, friendship, and forgiveness—and that one individual’s actions define the attitudes of a group. (I might also add that believers aren’t always as charitable as those who are not.)

It is true that differences in religion, politics and values can create wedges between people who were once close friends—but this generally doesn’t happen when friendships are otherwise solid. People accept the differences and agree to disagree so the differences don’t interfere with the relationship. My guess is that there is some other reason(s) why your friend has decided to cut you off.

Did the split occur right after her decision to change religions (two years ago) or has it been more recent? Right now you sound very hurt and angry but when you are able to, you need to speak to your once-friend to find out what happened from her perspective. Either it will help you understand what went wrong so you can rectify the misunderstanding or disagreement, or it will help you get a better sense of closure so you can move forward. In my book, Best Friends Forever: Surviving a Breakup with Your Best Friend, I write about the many reasons why friendships change over time.

I hope this is helpful and you can work things out with your friend.

Best,
Irene

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Category: Faith and friendship

Comments (18)

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  1. Sela says:

    Exactly.

  2. caraK says:

    People who have either no faith or no organized religion are favored in U.S. society by the social rule ” never talk about religion or politics”. I really do hate it when people try to force their politics or religion on me. that said, the societal rule really does favor the people who don’t believe or have no organized religion ( which are two entirely different things). I have come to the point where I want to be able to make my beliefs open, by saying SOMETHING about what is going on with me.
    God is number one with me. to always be keeping quiet or secretive about that now feels wrong to me. even if I want to say to somebody God bless you, I now need to feel free to say that to a friend. so maybe what happens is that you have to choose friends who will allow both your beliefs and their beliefs to flourish within the friendship. I am very tired of having friends who do not believe and therefore expect me to keep quiet about my faith in God. it’s possible a Jewish person would want to be very open about talking about her faith, and cannot feel free with a Christian who always may want to convert her. and so she ended the relationship. this is just the easiest assumption to make. the President of the United States has often said God bless you. I need to be free to say that in my friendships. I can no longer hide my faith. I know God healed me from the terrible illness of last year, and I need to tell everyone about that. my friends must accept this, because only God comes first in my life. if they cannot accept this, or want to shut me up because they themselves do not believe, well I just can’t accept that anymore. this is hard to put into words, when the topic is so integral to friendships. I actually love all the different religions, and have come to the point where I want to wish people a Merry Christmas, and in return I hope that they will wish me happiness during any religious holidays they’re celebrating. I enjoy learning about religion. but organized religion is not really at the heart of this matter. what is at the heart is God. both Christian and Jewish people believe in God. it would be great if everyone were free to talk about their beliefs…. the real point I wanted to make here is, my friends have to accept that I have a strong belief in God, my faith is a part of my every moment of living, and I cannot hide that, I must express it. I hope this helps you.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I’m not sure if the placement was intending to respond to my comment (“Wow”). If so, I may not have been clear that I meant anyone that biased was likely not to be too welcome as a friend.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I have been dumped by Christian friends and looked down upon by Christian relatives because I don’t share their faith. They don’t respect or accept that I don’t believe what they do.

    • Sela says:

      It used to be people politely praised their God without expecting everyone else to do the same. Now there is all this judgement of others, quite sad. These people are not practicing their faith…love thy neighbor regardless of their faith.Live and let live.

  5. Anonymous says:

    “I am so glad I am Christian and not Jewish. Christians are much nicer and do not dump people. They get along with all religions. ”

    I think all of us reading this know why she was dumped as a friend.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Yes, Gert, that’s been my observation: Christians are overwhelmed and obsessed with wanting others to be Christians, too. They can’t be content to just enjoy their belief. They want to tell or urge others, either in words or by example, to join up as well. It is so frustrating to me. I wish they could let others think and believe what they choose.

  7. gert says:

    Maybe the new Christian is so overwhelmed. I’ve been there, and have hurt others. Sorry. Once my priorities got settled, I saw that my walk with the Lord was to be an example–I was not to judge you, just let my quiet dignity and grace do the talking. You can’t slam someone into making a commitment of faith. Christ didn’t force anyone to believe, you follow because He has something you want. You have the free will to stay or go. I’m sorry your friend wasn’t a good friend to you and I hope she realizes her mistake and tries to make it right. I don’t have many friends, but He is one who is always there for me.

  8. Anonymous says:

    “Christians are much nicer and do not dump people. They get along with all religions.”

    Dear Faitih:
    This has certainly NOT been my experience! I have been DUMPED by Christians because I don’t believe as they do. The worst have been the Christian Right. As I write this, in fact, I am realizing it’s been months since I’ve heard from a very old friend who recently “rededicated her life to Christ” and has ever since been very judgmental and anything but a friend. I have some liberal Christian friends who are completely accepting of my not being a Christian. And I’ve had many Jewish friends and acquaintances through the years who have not dumped or excluded me. And, I might add, they have never tried to force their beliefs down my throat, either.

    • Sela says:

      I agree, my experience as well.

    • Gigi says:

      Many religious people (especially modern Christians) are the worst people on earth, most of them today are religious narcissists ruining our entire society. Think about how all the babyboomer grandparents push their faith down their grandkids’ throats – religious narcissists are the worst, as one can’t really argue with them about it. It is horrifying and ruining this country, whether they are Christian or some of other faith.

  9. chris says:

    If you are real christian, you also are Jewish. Jesus was Jewish. What is the problem ? All religion is nice. Relationships is more important.

  10. Irene says:

    Hi Kimmy:
    Thanks for your thoughtful comment! I love to visit your blog: http://www.3pinkdrinks.com/
    Best,
    Irene

  11. Kimmy says:

    I feel like true friendship can endure small differences in beliefs and lifestyles. I have several extremely close girls friends some of whom are Christian, Catholic, Agnostic, amongst other belief structures and religions. It seems we can always find a common ground and if we can’t, that particular topic can be avoided for the plethora of other things we have in common. I empathize with Faith because I would be devastated to be unwittingly dumped by one of my close friends, but I also recognize that even as we grow older and think we are done changing, sometimes people grow apart for unexplainable reasons.

    • Sela says:

      I liked it when people had a “personal relationship” with their God. The intimacy with their God is what is lacking, instead they go around screaming at everyone my way is the only way. They are bullies, and like all bullies they push their hatred outward instead of pushing love inward. Nothing like any loving God I have read about. Tragic.

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