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Pretending To Be Christian


Wendybabe
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For the last year I have been living a lie. I started a new job (I am a schoolteacher) last year. All the other teachers in my grade level are Christians. I left a school where I had no friendships (Mostly because of personality) So I made a point to really watch my words, etc.... Currently I am attending School at night, trying to get my masters degree. I have been assigned projects with Christians. Again in order to get along and ahead I have been just pretending to agree with everyone. My question is, Do you think I am doing something wrong?

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For the last year I have been living a lie. I started a new job (I am a schoolteacher) last year. All the other teachers in my grade level are Christians. I left a school where I had no friendships (Mostly because of personality) So I made a point to really watch my words, etc.... Currently I am attending School at night, trying to get my masters degree. I have been assigned projects with Christians. Again in order to get along and ahead I have been just pretending to agree with everyone. My question is, Do you think I am doing something wrong?

 

I wouldn't say you are doing something "wrong." But it is a sad society/situation if you are required to suppress your feelings and thoughts for others who are less accepting of others. America is clearly different, in OZ (and Japan) no-one would give a second thought to what you do or do not believe. What difference does it make to others what you believe or don't believe?

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Obviously, you don't trust these people with any information about your beliefs. Why should you be compelled to share it with them anyway, it's not any of their business. I wouldn't say that you are agreeing with them, you are just being polite. Who cares if they think you are agreeing? Let them think what they want.

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For the last year I have been living a lie. I started a new job (I am a schoolteacher) last year. All the other teachers in my grade level are Christians. I left a school where I had no friendships (Mostly because of personality) So I made a point to really watch my words, etc.... Currently I am attending School at night, trying to get my masters degree. I have been assigned projects with Christians. Again in order to get along and ahead I have been just pretending to agree with everyone. My question is, Do you think I am doing something wrong?

 

I feel your pain. I was forced to be a pretend christian for a long time. I became an Athiest somewhere around 10-11 years old. I spent upwards of eight years, putting up with the most offensive, self rightious, tripe that a church can dish out. I was forced into Boy Scouts, weekly youth meetings, and had a family who were very active and regular church goers.

 

I sometimes wish my family was part of some other cult. Roman Catholic services are as boring as they come.

 

On the one hand, you're not doing anything wrong by dodging 'punishment'. I knew my fate if I was found out. I'd have been attending Jesus Camp until my eighteenth birthday, and strict christian private school the rest of the year. They'd only stop short of drilling a hole in my head before taking the time to read a paper while sitting on it.

 

In the right circumstances, taking it is fine. However, in the work place, you have the right to tell them flat out, "I don't want to talk about Jesus." You're giving these people your rights, just to avoid confrontation. To put it simply, if you are an adult, and not expecting dire consequenses, tell them to shut it. Don't get into a debate about it with them if you don't feel you're strong enough for it. Just tell them to shut it.

 

If they press and ask why? Inform them, politely, that it's not relevant to your job/class why or what you believe. You don't need to explain yourself, or your beliefs to them, and you would apreciate not hearing about theirs.

 

I personally don't like the idea of 'hiding out' without a real good reason. EX: Fearing death, possible imprisonment, total solitude.

 

I feel I should add, the last one isn't likely to happen.

 

We need all the voices we can get, all the faces we can have, and we need them to know that there are a lot more of us than they think. It's a disservice to yourself to give up your civil liberties for nothing more than not stirring the chicken coop.

 

If these people are your friends, and you're this afraid to speak to them about something like this, you need new friends. If they're making you feel this way, maybe they're not good friends? Maybe they're just not good for you?

 

You might be surprised how little it matters to some of them, and you might find more support than you might think. Most Christans are normal people who think a lot less about what God wants than they'll admit. I'd say at least 1/4 of their numbers are just people who 'say' they're Christan because it's expected of them. The same reason they go to church twice a year.

 

In the end, it's a matter that only your particular circumstances can dictate. You should do what you feel is best for yourself.

 

However, escpecially considering the environment described, you do have the right to tell them not to bring it up with you. Stand there and take it isn't an option I'd reccomend.

 

You should be free, don't let them try and return the chains of illogical, indoctornated thinking.

 

If you're going to stand up, do it for yourself, not your beliefs.

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Well there is supposed to be separation between school and religion. I wouldn't imagine you wanting to hang out with them in a private setting outside school so technically the subject should not come up too much. If it does....you could just say you are not comfortable talking about it and limit your exposure to them to only functions you have to attend together for the job.

If it were me, I wouldn't make any false statement to get along with others...but you could always gently sway the subject to something else when in their company. Ask about thier children, etc. etc...any other areas where you may have some common ground. People love to talk about themselves. Just hang in there!! You're not alone!

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My question is, Do you think I am doing something wrong?

 

Absolutely not. I think you are doing everyone a service to keep your beliefs to yourself. If being Christian is assumed unless otherwise stated, I can see only problems for yourself and the kids if you come out.

 

I'm reading your post again. I thought you were talking about your work as teacher. Does part of your question refer to your own classes that you are taking for your own benefit? I deconverted officially in early September last year. That meant spending an entire academic year in seminary classes as a nonChristian to finish my degree on theology.

 

I informed my professors because I didn't want to find myself in an embarrassing situation. Also, I did not want it to be too puzzling for them, depending what questions I asked in class. Of course, I knew the school's policy on tolerance. I had been a "different" type of Christian all along.

 

They knew I did not hold to traditional Christian beliefs and no one punished me for it; not even ostracizm. I did get asked once or twice why I was in seminary but no one insisted on an answer. According to the school's policy no one had a right to ask. My answer was that I had found myself in a situation where my options were rather limited and registering at the seminary was one option that was viable so I took it. That was several years ago.

 

I am not sorry that I am studying theology. It is very helpful for me as I seek to understand why people do and say the things they do. I am telling you about this about myself so you can see how similar or disssimilar your and my situations are. Perhaps that will help you decide what to do in the classes you are taking.

 

I do not feel that I am lying. It is a common human condition that people disagree about larger or smaller issues. I have always been in a serious minority and I have learned to be happy so long as others don't ask me personal questions, and so long as they tolerate me no matter how different I am. I told one or two classmates. I have no idea if they told others or not.

 

I think if ever anyone pretended to be Christian, surely it was me working on a degree in theology this past year. Since no one asked me my beliefs, I did not tell. Nor did anyone else talk about their beliefs unless they chose to do so. Some people talked about where they go to church and some did not.

 

If I am in a "dangerous" social situation where my religious position might cause serious problems for me, I just don't state my position. If others choose to believe a certain thing about me, I think that is their prerogative.

 

Perhaps some of my values around this come from my upbringing. I was raised on stories about Anabaptists. Some of them had to practically lie about their religion in order to be tolerated by their neighbours. My dad praised any tricks of deceit they came up with. He drew the line at stating outright falsehoods.

 

Here's one example: A man knew he was being hunted by the authorities. His wife hid him behind a cupboard and just passed food to him. The authorities came to the door and asked for him. She told them she had not seen him for three days.

 

Factually, that was the truth. She had not seen him with her eyes. They went away and left them to themselves.

 

Dad thought that was a really good story. There are others like that from the Anabaptists. Menno Simons (the Anabaptist for whom the Mennonites are named) was riding along on the front seat of a coach. The authorities came along and asked, "Is Menno Simons in your coach?"

 

Menno affirmed that he was not. I am not sure whether or not the driver knew who his hitch-hiker was. However, the authorities insisted on searching the coach. Menno got off the front seat and helped search the inside of the coach. When the authorities were satisfied that he was not inside they went their way and so did Menno. NOTE: He was not *in* the coach, he was *on* it, or on the front seat. This was considered honest.

 

That scene is shown in a video that the Mennonite Central Committee put together about Mennonites. Whether or not you choose to cut honesty so close to the bone is not for me to decide. All I've done here is show what some Christians have considered honesty.

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I don't think you're necessarily doing something wrong by playing along, if the ultimate goal is your own self-protection. Sometimes it's worth it to speak up, sometimes it really isn't.

 

Something I've found kind of fun to do, though, is to spend some time getting to know someone without bringing up the issue of religion at all - just doing everything I can to be a decent, honest, kind human being to them. And then eventually letting them know that I'm an atheist. This has happened a couple of times in the 16 months or so that I've officially been an atheist, and somehow I find it kind of interesting - because people are always surprised to find that they didn't have the slightest idea that I was a godless unbelieving heathen.

 

I like it when that happens because I like to be an agent for destroying people's preconceived ideas, about atheism in this case, but about anything, really. So far nobody's turned their back when they found out, either, although I realize that in a lot of contexts that's a very real possibility.

 

Anyway. Food for thought...

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My question is, Do you think I am doing something wrong?

 

I would say that in the spirit of being honest not only with other people but with yourself yes you are doing something wrong. Pretending to be someone you are not is being dishonest.

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I DO watch my mouth at times, I really do because I honestly can say something totally to tear down the wall. I know what I have learned, said about Christianity can make people dislike me and not do that. How I approach it I say I am an atheist and this is why....and I play open minded wanting to hear their arguments. I prove that I am calm about my arguments and don't get worked up but show them something special...free minded. When I do reveal my atheism I like the shocked look on their faces, because me its not possible I am too nice of a person. :HaHa: I really enjoy seeing that shocked look. Next year my best friend I have known through school is coming to my college it will be great to see his shocked look, he may not be shocked he always knew I blasphammed the Lawd and called him gay. He hated me for that last year also when I told him the end times are not happening in his lifetime, my lifetime any lifetime.

 

PS

Don't snap....

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I have to ditto Asimov here.

 

You are doing something wrong by lying to everyone and yourself, your also doing something wrong to let other people dictate your life. It's not their thoughts and opinions that matter, it's your own!

 

You need to stand up for yourself. I never hesitated to tell anyone I was an atheist. I got some shit about it from my friends and family at first, but they come around.

 

 

It reminds me of what my grandmother, one of the most Christian people I know, told me when I told her I was an atheist. She lectured me to death for about an hour on the phone but kind of changed views all the sudden and said "God comes into peoples lives by showing them that He's there and He cares for them. If He hasn't done this for you then it's His fault." and I asked her later if she hated me and she laughed and said "No way! Your my grandson before your an atheist or a Christian, and I can never hate my grandson"

 

Moral of the story: You don't know how people will take it until you reveal them, and you have every right to do so, and you should never be afraid.

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All I can say is every situation is different. You know right from wrong, but that don't mean your fellow coworkers also know "true" right from wrong.

 

In other words, if some arsehole is pointing a gun at my head, I will tell them whatever they want to hear. :shrug:

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In other words, if some arsehole is pointing a gun at my head, I will tell them whatever they want to hear. :shrug:

 

If some asshole is pointing a gun at your head, anything you do is amoral.

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In other words, if some arsehole is pointing a gun at my head, I will tell them whatever they want to hear. :shrug:

 

If some asshole is pointing a gun at your head, anything you do is amoral.

Thanks, that was the point I was trying to make.

 

I work in a place where I am an open atheist when people talk to me about their god. I have been passed on two promotions. I am not sure if me being an atheist has anything to do with it, but it sure is strange that I was the most qualified, with more experience in both cases in a work place where most of the upper management all goes to the same church. To me, taking my quality of life away is a lot like pointing a gun at my head. So maybe I would be better off lying about my disbelief in an invisible,,,,,thing. What ever that may be.

 

I can see both sides of this and both sides suck shit.

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To me, taking my quality of life away is a lot like pointing a gun at my head. So maybe I would be better off lying about my disbelief in an invisible,,,,,thing. What ever that may be.

 

I can see both sides of this and both sides suck shit.

 

Well, you have two choices:

 

Stand by the values that you hold because being valueless is worse than being "more wealthy".

 

or

 

Do whatever it takes to get ahead, even if it means creating false relationships with people.

 

I know it's not that absurd, but I'm trying to give two distinctions.

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I wouldn't say you're doing something wrong, but is what you are doing working for you? If it's bothering you, you should do something else.

 

As the others have pointed out, you've got a lot of options in this situation. You could outwardly agree and just not let it bother you. You could tell them to be quiet. You could tell them your an atheist and not interested.

 

My suggestion is you could master the art of subject changes. If they start talking Jesus or whatever, just make a non-commital noise and say something like "The next teacher's meeting is on the 3rd, right?" or "Your hair looks great today. Did you just get it done?"

 

Nothing will kill god-talk faster than the chance for them to talk about themselves.

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The "friendships" are obviously shallow being that you cannot confide in them your true beliefs. So I would not tell them anything, personally. You really don't have to lie. Your beliefs will not effect your work.

 

I on the otherhand do lie. My mother still thinks I am a Christian, but I do it for her sake. That is something that is completely irrelevant to me, but dire to her. So for the both of us I simply fake it.

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One one hand, if you're going to catch tons of shit and possibly lose your job over it, then putting on false pretenses is fine. You get one life and there's no need to make yourself a target.

 

But on the other hand, it sucks having to lie to people and be dishonest about what you are. Catching shit for coming out about your own religions opinions would suck, sure, but you'll feel good about yourself and will have done something that you objectively ought to do. Letting others cow you into putting on a fake mask is harmful to yourself in the long run.

 

However, you have to do what's best. If the consequences of coming out won't amount to more than some attempts to reconvert you and a barrage of confused questions now and then, by all means step out of the closet. Stay in it only if you could end up standing in the unemployment line for coming out.

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I think my thoughts align best with Kurari.

 

I value self-preservation which I consider contrary to fundamentalist thinking and seems to be an idea foreign to our culture.

 

If this is what you need to do to survive mentally then... **please** do it without guilt.

 

Asimov makes a good point in principal and he describes what I would call a "best practice" but not a practice that is best in all situations.

 

As to whether you will snap or not are merely guesses which may be right or wrong. What **you** think about this question is more relevant. I can't figure out how badly you feel about lying or the stress of living this lie.

 

What I find curious is that you left a school (where you studied I presume) where you had no friends and now you seem to not have "friendships" at your new location. This may not be a problem if you are more or less like me. I have no friends where I live today and the only person I consider a buddy is a guy who lives in another city I used to live in.

 

I guess what is confusing is that you have posed a moral question and many people are responding in the context of a mental well being question.

 

Regardless... if something is not working for you, then it is time to plot out a change in direction.

 

Mongo

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would say do what you have to do. My advice is be careful who you tell. You never know how people are going to react. I kind of glossed over the topic to a certain extent with some people and was more open with others. You have to do what is right for you.

 

I wish I hadn't shared as much with some folks, but then I never would have learned how narrow minded and creul some xians can be as well as that some aren't so bad.... but it always is in the back of your mind are they just wanting me as a friend so they can win me back and get another jewel in their crown?

 

With some friends even when I was a xian I disagreed on certain subjects and I just kept mum, and didn't really say too much. Sometimes there is no point arguing with certain people.

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At my last job I let it all hang out. I said out loud what I believed and thought about politically. What I discovered was for the most part people wouldn't even discuss these issues with me. Instead I got a very cold shoulder. My opinions no longer mattered at staff meetings. People would shy away from me in the break room. If two people saw me coming they suddenly got very quiet and turned their backs. At first I thought, "Who gives a shit." Yet after a while I hated this kind of treatment. I now think that this is what it must be like to be a minority! A person who works in an environment where almost the whole staff hates you can end up getting fucked. Someone can give you a job that blows up and you get blamed for it or you can really work hard on something and when it come time to be congradulated instead you get no recognition, no thank you. I now have an environment where almost all of the other teachers look at me and say something kind when I see them in the hall or have lunch in the break room. Yet most are Christians, most are very conservative people who spend a lot of time exercising a pecking order that keeps things going in one direction. I know I am not open with them, I know I am not winning converts to the truth as I see it it but It is a lot easier to go to work each day.

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Guest Fullmetal Atheist

If you're a good enough actor to pull it off, I'm impressed. I'm awful at pretending to agree with people whose beliefs I find abominable. For your sake, I really hope you don't have to put up with this for long. Cognitive dissonance is a real bitch.

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Thanks for the background.

 

Listen... no matter what anyone else says, don't beat yourself up over consealing your views.

 

I'm curious what strategies you are using, that is, how do you present yourself.

 

If I were in your shoes, I'd might try to deflect any kind of question so that I never had to actually say anything commital.

 

Eg.

Coworker: What church do you go to Wendy?

WB: I don't go to church. I don't think people need to go to church to know god.

WB: I was raised in an "XXX" church in "location". Has anyone seen the Phil? Is he out sick to day?

 

Coworker: I don't know what I'd do without god.

WB: You know what they say, "Those who seek the truth sincerely will always find it"

 

Coworker: So what do you believe?

WB: I believe I don't have time to discuss this right now.

WB: I think you and I have many of the same beliefs but quite frankly, I don't think the work place is an appropriate place to discuss anyting we might disagree on.

 

I would certainly politely remove myself from any conversations where religion came up... "Oh look what time it is!"

 

Just blend in and offer lame responses to religious topics. Dull and boaring.

 

When someone gets persistant, you might have to try something else. There is another thread here where a hairdresser is surrounded by constant religious chatter. One person suggested asking these people some difficult questions. By doing this, you turn an enquiry about you personally into a discussion about theology. Most of these xtians hate a complicated discussion about things like whether they are saved by works or grace or whether they believe in predestination.

 

Since the apostle Paul doesn't answer the question clearly, you have lots of fodder to keep them at bay.

 

Good luck,

 

Mongo

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