Greetings. As some of you have probably realized I'm new here.
As some of you may notice from the title I gave myself, I'm also new to the faith. Some of you have gave me nice little welcome posts when I replied to a thread, and I thank you for that.
I have here a topic that's a bit different than normal, I'm sure, and just happened to me all too recently.
Well there was an old friend of mine who also became a catechumen, and we kept in contact online. He responded to my blog a couple of times, and we would exchange links to websites that had writings of the church fathers or sold icons and/or books.
However, I couldn't help but notice he seemed to have a problem: he was very mocking of non-Orthodox. He regularly called Protestants stupid and Catholics papists. Whenever other Christian sects came up in conversation he would often start giving them insulting names, or speaking down on them in general.
It got worse on this forum we both went to. There were atheists who often mocked Christianity in general, but while I would often ignore them (you just can't change some people's minds) or try to make them understand religion with a more open mind, he would get downright personal with them. I would tell him to just ignore them, since he only did what they wanted, but he would still attack them, again with the name-calling. At one point I even said to him (and I paraphrase), "I'm not a perfect guy or a master theologian...but please, learn some humility."
Recently he started launching a personal "crusade" (his words) against a guy there. The guy insulted him...but you have to understand this guy insults every body, but nobody minds because he does it like a New York comedian, with a touch of humor that makes people laugh at themselves. Well my fellow catechumen took it a bit personal and started deleting every single post the guy made. I told him to leave him alone, but it kept going.
Finally one day my comrade got upset and said he would make an avatar that showed my father in a profane way since I didn't seem to care about personal insults. I told him up front I didn't care - he could do what he wanted, and I would just pray he made the right decision in the end. And then I broke off contact with him, remembering the advice of St Paul when he said to shun Christians who go far astray. He still has ways to contact me, mind you, but I'm not going to stoop down to his level and start insulting or making attacks in return.
What got me thinking was if his interest in the Church was simply a kind of superiority complex that he got. We know ourselves to be the "holy and apostolic church", which carries quite a title in a world full of tens of thousands of Christian branches. Could this be why my friend seemed to thrive on the fact he belonged to the "original" Church, rather than what the Church truly taught? I do not want to sound judgmental, as I'm hardly a clean person (no one truly is), but as I said earlier that seemed to be a reoccurring problem with him.
Is this a danger for converts to fall into? Can this be one of the more sneakier ways pride is slid into our soul? I know many other religions, such as Islam or Mormonism, have a similar problem among some converts, where they believe themselves to be part of a pure religion where everything is perfect and it has more than its peers, and is therefore more holy. I really don't know, but I do pray for my friend.