I had a disagreement with a friend tonight on a matter of faith (not religion). It wasn't really a discussion that I wanted to have. I stated my disagreement (I'm not going to lie about it) and my friend immediately took offence and was aggressively dismissive of my attempt to avoid the precipice of one man's faith versus one man's reason.
Apparently, because I make a judgement based on evidence and haven't had my own revelatory experience I am closed minded.
So, I took a deep breath and explained the rationality behind my opinions, rationality based on evidence that I can demonstrate, that was met with the kind of insults that come laced with friendly patronisation; the kind that attempt to reassure you that your failure of judgement is just a misunderstanding. I ought to have forcibly ended the conversation at this point. Everyone can be patronising in a debate where they feel the other side is wilfully ignoring the debate, and so the benefit of the doubt is extended.
Following an attempt to clarify reasoning I was blatantly insulted, and informed that I clearly wasn't capable of comprehending the truth, that I was blind to what was so obvious to my friend. I received a lecture on the nature of open mindedness (read: faith without question) and this was when I decided the conversation was over.
Throughout the episode I was painfully aware of the foundation of my friends faith. Part of my desire to avoid even pursuing the discussion. It's the reason, i believe, that any hint of challenge to the validity of that faith was met with hostility. I'm OK with that. The problem now is that this friendship has on one side a certain contempt, the notion that the other party is insufficiently intelligent and/or insufficiently perceptive to understand some or all lines of conversation and so future discussion will be censored accordingly (I paraphrase only for the sake of brevity). Then there's my side, where only total capitulation will release the deadlock, a compromise of conviction and rationality that is fundamentally dishonest; one that for all it's sacrifice may still be casually dismissed as disingenuous (rightfully so).
One side demands agreement on a principle where only the agreement to disagree was ever achievable. I'm not sure I have a remedy for this situation.