I know a 18 year boy who was raised in a small town. It isn't a bad town to visit, I've been there. The people were kind to me, and what I am bout to write in no way portrays every person in this town. For the record, I am middle aged and white and my religious beliefs are not apparent just by looking at me, with my shirt on anyways.
I had several conversations in emails with this young man this week as has my girlfriend.
He has informed me that I am sure to got to hell due to my lack in accepting jesus christ. he has informed me that he has a mansion waiting for him in heaven ( I didn't ask about what kind of car he has waiting for him but I am sure it must be very nice, with power everything and a great sound-system)
I tried to give him some links about science which were met with a reply of "science is all lies, especially evolution" I tried to explain to him some of the problems with the teachings of the bible. He would not even consider or counter my points, he only said jesus christ will save him.
He said that America was founded on christian values. My self and several others tried to show him that was incorrect, quoting some of the forefathers and the things they had to say on the subject....it was met with....well it was all ignored.
I remember being 18 and thinking I knew it all. I did however (on occasion) listen to people. When someone countered my point I would find out if they were correct before I argued with em. Because I don't like being wrong and because I want to understand the truth of things as closely as I can from my perspective, while not dismissing the perspectives of others out of hand.
This evening the same young man shared with my girlfriend his dislike for gays. He was informed one of our closest and smartest friends is gay. Our friend is a wonderful man and some of the intolerance he has had to deal with is just disgusting. He has a partner who is also very intelligent and we have great conversations with them. Their lifestyle doesn't effect our opinion of them one single bit, there is no reason it should in my opinion.
The young mans reply? "I am sure I wouldn't like him"
I am hopeful that this young man will learn as time goes on but what he has been taught in his first 18 years shows we have a long way to go. He isn't a bad kid and I suppose I can not place the blame for the backwards way he thinks all on him. If he doesn't learn to consider that people are different and that does not make them bad or damned to burn forever then I hope he at least gets a nice house out of it...