Nama Kirtan

Existence of God, Janma, papa, punya, life after death -- in all these matters, only the Shastras are to be considered the final verdict and not talent, intellect or your friend's argument. The Shastras clearly say that one can attain the highest state by Nama Kirtan alone. Any amount of other Sadhanas will not give liberation. It is only by Bhagavan Sri Krishna's grace that it can be attained. One day He will be pleased with the Nama Kirtan and provide us with the highest state of bliss.
Yes, Nama is definitely more significant than ‘Rupa’.
The One who discovered the world discovered Nama too.
Involving body, word and mind in God alone is called bhajan.
If you are not able to perform Nama Sankirtan, at least listen to Nama Sankirtan. Hear the Nama regularly or go and sit in a place where Nama is being chanted. That will also give you spiritual advancement.