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I called an old companion from the Twelve Step program; we hadn't spoken in long time and I wanted to touch bases. He helped me during my long struggle with an illness. My future looks much brighter now, and I wanted to share the good news.
He mentioned that he had seen me on "that 'Ghost Busters' show." I've been on "Bunk Busters" several times now, usually to discuss Rational Recovery or some aspect of abuse in the Twelve Step movement. Sorry if I'm seen as a traitor to some Twelve Steppers; I must be true to what I see. Besides, ideas have no feelings.
I told him that a few people in the local treatment field pass around videos of my appearances, and that a widespread rumor about what I'd allegedly said on one show eventually resulted in my recent decision to stop supporting the Twelve Step movement altogether.
He told me he watches "that 'Ghost Busters' show" every week, and that he does not appreciate the attitudes and claims of the hosts and the guests. He doesn't think that the "Bunk Busters" hosts like to play fair -- or something.
I said, "'Bunk Busters' is produced for the benefit of atheists -- not believers." I told him the show is not designed to give "fair" or "unbiased" accounts of supernatural beliefs. It's goal is to provide skeptical material and to offer skeptical thoughts. We also poke fun at the other side.
From the gist of his response, I got the feeling that he had written me off because of my position on the supernatural.
I was raised knowing that many people believe in religion, and that I don't have to understand why they believe the way they do. What someone believes about such matters is not relevant to whether a person is worthy of my friendship.
Unfortunately, many people do not share this value. Throughout my life, religious people who would have made great friends have written me off for my lack of faith. In one sense, that's too bad; in another sense, it's okay. It takes two to tango and I refuse to force myself on anybody.
Copyright ©1996 Cliff Walker; Portland, Oregon