I lost a friend tonight

I had known someone on line for about 2 1/2-3 years, and we had gotten pretty close in that time.Anyway, I was talking to him tonight, and he told me that he believed in homeopathy and astrology. I know there’s no way I can change his mind…once he comes to believe something, he’s pretty stubborn about it. So, I thanked him for his friendship over the years and told him that I couldn’t in good conscience be friends with someone who believed that. I didn’t really want to, because he was my friend, and I still do love him like a brother, but I just don’t know how I can stay friends with someone who believes such stupid, harmful things.

Let it go. It just wasn’t in the stars.

There are degrees of friendship, but since 'net only friendships are in some ways limited, perhaps that doesn’t help. IRL, I have several good and true friends who are Christians, Democrats, homosexuals - you name it, there’s some great divide. But we can still be friends. And I mean good, close friends.

Good luck with it. There have also been times when I’ve realized that I just needed to back away.

Always listen to advice from someone named **Monkeypants **. (That’s what my evening tea readings told me to say.)

You should reconsider. It’s silly to torpedo a friendship because of a difference in beliefs. Having a good skeptic friend may be just what he needs to put him on the correct track.


It might be stupid but how is it harmful? I wasn’t aware that homeopathy was particularly dangerous. Maybe if you ignore traditional medical treatments in favor of exclusively treating a life threatening disease with quackery that can be harmful, but it’s not like the man believes the KKK has the superior view on race relations. And astrology? How can that possibly be harmful? :confused: I think you’re being more than a bit ridiculous, frankly, but hey, it’s your friendship to throw away.

I have to side with ** hajario. ** If I dismissed everyone out of my life who had stupid beliefs, I’d be a lonely person indeed. Having harsh criteria can seriously limit how many friendships you could have, and you might miss out on some interesting people.

Differing beliefs are not an obstruction to a friendship. Can a Christian be friends with an atheist? I believe so; just keep religion out of your conversations. Can a skeptic be friends with a homeopathist? Of course! Just don’t mention when you have a cold, or he’ll offer you some advice on herbal junk. There are plenty of other things to talk about, and you can continue to have a rich, and rewarding friendship.

Astrology can certainly be harmful. Consider a person making important medical decisions based on the advice of an astrologer rather than a medical professional. Unfortunately, it happens. This is all the more reason to maintain that friendship. You may have to talk him out of doing something dangerous to themself.


My sister (who used to work at JPL and now works for the military) believes in homeopathy. She also sees a regular doctor, so I think she’s got a sense of “balance”. I don’t see why a belief in homeopathy is so “dangerous”. My sister and her family are doing pretty well. Also, homeopathy is not considered so “dangerous” in other countries. I had a coworker who was a medical doctor in Pakistan (before moving to L.A., where her husband worked for JPL as well). She told me that in Pakistan, doctors do use homeopathy in some cases.

But oh well—I suppose that my former coworker (the DOCTOR) and my sister are too “stupid” to be friends with you, eh?

As for Astrology—personally, I have no use for it, but I have some very smart friends who see some merit in it. My eyes glaze over when they start talking about it (and when I tell them that I don’t really believe in it myself) but it’s not a big deal to me. If they’re interesting to talk to otherwise, and don’t try to shove it down my throat, what’s the big deal?

Friends (of all stripes and types) are hard to come by. You shouldn’t just flush one down the toilet willy-nilly.

I ditto hajario.

In England I had a racist friend. I sometimes tried to reason with him, but mostly I ignored the fact, and concentrated on being a friend. I am not proud of that. But I don’t think I would ever relinquish friendship with someone if they had a different belief system than mine, or had some discriminatory opinions.

Good friends are hard to find. Letting go of a friend (you didn’t lose him–you willingly ended the friendship) over something so small is foolish.

I have friends who believe I’m going to hell for my religion. We can still love each other while we’re on Earth, regardless of what may or may not exist in the great hereafter. He’s still the same person he was five minutes before he told you of his beliefs; why should that pitiful bit of false knowledge change anything?

You said you still love him like a brother. Brothers shouldn’t abandon each other.

I think that’s appalling.

You don’t deserve his friendship, anyhow.

looks like it worked out

If he loves you as much as you love him, then hopefully he’ll accept your apology and resume the friendship. (If that is indeed what you choose to do.)

It’s not always easy being friends with someone who doesn’t believe in the same ideas you do, or someone who follows practices that you find ridiculous. I’m a firm believer, however, in that it is those kind of friendships in which you can learn the most.

There are literally millions of people who check their horoscopes daily.

Homeopathy is nothing to be ashamed of and I wish I knew more about it. Many of our medicines today are derived from herbs.

If someone were to shun me for an interest in either of these things, I would not be upset in the least. In fact, I would thank my lucky stars.

Friends of any kind are hard to find, good friends even more so. If I were you I’d try to overlook the fact that you don’t share your friend’s beliefs and concentrate on all the good things that his friendship has given you. Throwing it all away over such a small thing would be a crying shame.

Let’s keep it nice and friendly, folks.

But yeah, I have to say you acted a bit harshly there, Cap’n. As stated, the aversion to homeopathy is a rather American thing, for example. Some homeopathic treatments are often covered by medical insurance in most European countries - they can’t all be dead wrong, right? Sure, relying on homeopathy when you’ve got a large brain tumor is just asking for certain death. But not all cases are black and white, and IMHO, there is a legitimate place for homeopathy in the medical field. All in balance, of course. I have a few homeopathic medicines myself, mostly for plain stuff like the common cold, or something as mundane as a plant-based ointment that stops mosquito bites from itching. Great stuff: nature DOES have a lot of answers, and we shouldn’t close our eyes to them. But yeah: all in balance. I wouldn’t turn my back on conventional medicine when the situation called for serious help.

Astrology… well, what can I say. I think it’s a load of bollocks, but if there’s people drawing strength from it, who am I to judge?

I have tons of friends whose belief systems don’t coincide with mine. This can be politics, religion, general ethics. The challenge is to bridge the gaps without losing sight of the others feelings. It’s all about respect.

Homeopathy is not treating ailments with herbs.


Herbs may be involved, but don’t confuse homeopathy with simply taking an effective dose of an herbal remedy. An herbal remedy might actually work beyond the placebo effect.

Homeopathy and conventional medicine can both be applied incorrectly. It is no secret that in North America, a lot more antidepressants are prescribed than in Europe. I’d say in a lot of those cases, doctors are merely evaluating the insurance status of the patient, and opting for a quick cover-all of Prozac pills rather than the more in-depth psychological treatment the patient may actually need, lack of insurance coverage notwithstanding. The result: an essentially good drug used in vain.

Yes, you can say similar things about homeopathy, and its less established status will probably yield more examples of wrong applications than conventional medicine will. But that doesn’t mean it’s all without value: it’s caveat emptor in both cases.