I’ve always been raised religious, but quite loosely. We didn’t attend church, I never took it seriously, l even had a short rebellious atheist phase, so most of my friends I made throughout my life haven’t been very religious either, if at all. Some of my closest friends are not religious at all, or are against religion, and even those that are religious lead pretty secular lives. Many are LGBT+, pro-choice, etc., basically anything progressive/liberal. So, as I’ve become more serious about the idea of converting, I’ve been really struggling with how to handle these relationships. I know I will make lots of new friends as I convert, especially within catholic groups at my university that I hope to join, but I’ve been friends with a lot of my current friends for many years. I know these likely aren’t people I should keep company with, but I don’t want to lose these relationships, but I know that trying to combat their ideology or motivate them to consider Catholism, or even just getting more involved in whatever denomination they are currently in will likely push them away from me. Are these just ties I have to come to terms with eventually cutting?
You must have more in common than ideology or they wouldn’t be friends. Can’t you focus on other things? You may find that as time goes by you have less and less in common, but you don’t have to drop them as friends all at once.
Cutting will occur on its own by simply not sharing in activities together with them that are near occasions of sin, and avoiding cooperation with sin.
1868 Sin is a personal act. Moreover, we have a responsibility for the sins committed by others when we cooperate in them:
- by participating directly and voluntarily in them;
- by ordering, advising, praising, or approving them;
- by not disclosing or not hindering them when we have an obligation to do so;
- by protecting evil-doers.
There is no reason for you to feel combative or persuasive. Simply be a good, loving, caring, and kind christian. Who knows, maybe you are what they are looking for. If they walk away from you, remember those that walked away from Our Lord.
Around 99% of my friend group are atheists. They know my beliefs and respect me enough not to say anything offensive about my religion around me. They also know how I feel about certain social issues and respect my differing opinion.
Converting won’t necessarily mean the end of your friendships (you may lose some), but you might find it allows conversations that expose similarities between you all and to be fair, how often do you all sit around talking about religion?
This is really the best advice. It’s likely that if you become more religious, some friends may distance themselves from you, or behave in ways that you find too uncomfortable to continue the friendship (like if they start arguments with you about your faith all the time), but probably some of your other friends won’t care and will just continue to be friends with you, doing the things you enjoy together, as long as those things aren’t sinful.
You might not lose as many friends as you fear.
If they ask you about your newfound faith you could say “I heard this and it made me think…” or “I admire the way the believers I know do…”
You don’t want to give your friends the idea that you think you’re “better “ than them.
When you see God in the form of Jesus, you realize that you don’t really need anything else. Sure, we want more, like food, drinks, sports, video games, friends and whatnot, but we don’t need those things as much as we need Christ. The Lord will use your situation to make you more Christlike. God’s grace is sufficient for you, irrespective of whether you have friends or not.
I am a practicing Catholic and I have all kinds of friends-atheist, agnostic, Protestant. I have my close group of Catholic friends to whom I go with questions about the Faith, morality, etc, but I don’t enjoy my non-Catholic friends any less. It’s all about finding your place in their life. For example, I relate with one of my nonreligious friends on exercising and we go to the gym together. I relate with another one on hiking. You can relate to all kinds of people-and sometimes even witness to them.
I have found that sometimes when you have a conversion (as I did three years ago) you will lose friends. It’s all part of the cross. Some people will be simply uncomfortable with the fact that you have changed. But here’s the silver lining: I have found that friends who cut you out of their life for being Catholic or persecute you for living a Catholic lifestyle are not even worth keeping around. The friends who can handle the “new you” are worth keeping around. You just need to be honest about where your boundaries are (i.e. maybe you will go out for a drink but not get drunk).
And by the way, you WILL make lots of new friends as you convert. What you sacrifice in the name of the Lord, He will bless one hundred times over.
You do not have to agree with your friends on all things. Heck, even Jesus is said to have hung out with some questionable characters (by the standards of that time).
Just be respectful of each other’s divergent views.
If it comes to that, yes. Some people will surprise you by their acceptance of your faith and some will disappoint you by their full anti-religion bias. The thoughts of hearts will be revealed.
I think you’ll find that over the span of life, many friends will come and go. My closest friends were those I worked with. Now that I don’t see them and party with them, we have drifted apart and probably for the best. Since I converted and retired, my friends center around those at my parish and my neighborhood.