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Should I Shut Up?


JadedAtheist
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Background:

 

At this workplace everyone is under the impression I'm a Christian (not because I told them I was but their last contact with me was while I was still a Christian and I haven't bothered clarifying the issue) and if they caught wind of me not being one I suspect things will turn ugly.

 

Long Story Short:

 

Now, a girl who works there (and is related to the owners) is going to a Christian university. She's studying to be a teacher and is majoring in Theology. She knows of me going to Bible college and every now and again will ask me questions with the expectation of an apologetical answer (i.e. do we have any evidence for Jesus' existence?). The other day she asked me if I knew who Horus was. My ears instantly twitched and my heart started pumping "Sure, I'm aware of him" I replied. "Some boy at school told me he was exactly like Jesus" she said in horror. I then reassured her that he wasn't like Jesus (for the most part) and that the boy probably watched Zeitgeist and thought he was a scholar now. She then told me how he mentioned that there are other religions that were like Christianity and if that was true. I clenched my teeth and simply replied that Christianity does have similarities to other pagan religions but everyone must work through these problems themselves and decide whether or not it's an issue that should concern them (or something to that effect).

 

After this point she has been asking a lot of questions (at one point I said I'm probably the wrong person to ask these questions if you're seeking reassurance and when she wanted me to clarify that statement I changed the conversation). Should I quit pussy-footing and tell her how it is and face the consequences or just keep it all on the down low? My MO is to keep things on the down low but I am finding it sooo hard. (I can barely keep my opinion to myself as it is when I hear something that sounds so false to me, let alone when they are willingly asking my opinion!) Would love to hear what y'all would do in a similar situation! :)

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Jaded, it sounds to me as if this girl wants some answers??? Maybe -she, herself is questioning? I would certainly go as far to tell her that you have done much study on this issue and it has changed your mind a bit? Maybe?

 

I guess you will intuitively know what to do, cause you sound like a smart person to me! :grin:

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I agree with Margee. The girl is asking. Tell her! You can say "I KNOW, RIGHT....these are some of the reasons that I am no longer a christian!"

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I think you discuss matters of religion at work to your peril. There's a good reason why lots of places have the policy, written or just understood, about not discussing religion or politics. The fact that your co-worker is curious and asking questions doesn't mean that it couldn't cost you professionally in the future should someone else with hiring, firing and contracting authority catch wind of your "whacko beliefs."

 

If you do decide to be more open with the lady, I would suggest that you make sure to have the discussion outside of work time and the work environment.

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I would tell her that you are working through some doubts yourself but that you don't like to discuss religion at work.

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From personal experience I would say NO!!! Me and my wife have both been fired from our jobs (different company’s, different times) because of our religious (or in my case) non-religious or Atheist view. I have found religion and the work place DON’T MIX. So if your Boss is a fundie and you like your job, take it from me, KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT!:nono:

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well if she is asking you at work....just say I'd rather not discuss it.

 

If she keeps pressuring you, just say you have read many things and are working on your own doubts. So your answers would reflect that.

 

If all else fails just ask her to stop asking.

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Well Jaded, no one can tell you what to do, but if it were me in that situation, I would not be hesitating to tell her who I really was. But there are so many factors at risk, that I don't think anyone not familiar with the situation can really comment on it. And I'm certainly not familiar with the situation. I'm not in much threat of openly talking about my atheism, but if you are (as far as your job security goes), then I guess it's best to 'shut up'. You can always talk about it and unload here, or with others, if you have an atheist friend base somewhere.

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I think you discuss matters of religion at work to your peril. There's a good reason why lots of places have the policy, written or just understood, about not discussing religion or politics. The fact that your co-worker is curious and asking questions doesn't mean that it couldn't cost you professionally in the future should someone else with hiring, firing and contracting authority catch wind of your "whacko beliefs."

 

If you do decide to be more open with the lady, I would suggest that you make sure to have the discussion outside of work time and the work environment.

I worked for our federal government in Colorado, several years ago and during that time a lady, Catholic, believed that a local shrine had daily visitations from Mother Mary. She took her camera up and took pictures of the sun which makes a bright cross of light across the lens when pointed into the sun. To her it was a miraculous picture of the cross of Jesus across the face of the sun. I said it was a reflection on the lens and the fight was on! I had Protestants bitching on one side and Catholics who believed in the miracles of the shrine, Mother Cabrini(?) Shrine? Just because I did not believe it was a miraculous vision captured on film, I had both opposing parties on one side verbally bashing me over my nonbelief. Which in return only strengthened my resolve to leave the cult of lunatics. The lady quit talking to me all together. Religion makes nice people friggin' crazy!

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Since you have already opened the door a crack, if you don't want to out yourself, you could say (if she presses) that those particular issues are not ones you've worked through, but you are aware of them.

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Very sticky situation! Personally, I don't discuss my (lack of) religion with anyone other than very good friends & family (and anonymously on the web). Most people I know at work and in the community are christians and I don't want them judging me because I am different from them.

 

I was an elementary school teacher for 15 years and when students would come to me with belief questions (about god, santa, death, etc.), I would always tell them that they need to talk to their familes about these issues. I never want to be accused of trying to convert someone to my beliefs 'cause that's what I hate most about christians!

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If you lived here I would say tell her, our constitution protects folk from being discriminated against for beliefs.

 

That said, even a nominal xian here will take exception to the idea that you are an atheist as if you have some disease. When you work for yourself, you never talk religion and try keep it professional.

 

From what seems to be the norm in the USA, best to keep quiet on the matter, problem is you were at bible school and you are seen as a sounding board.

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Thanks for the replies guys. I don't have to worry about losing my job because I am protected that way pretty much but the environment will turn ugly, I know of someone who told my employer he was an agnostic who was treated with contempt until he left. He never realized it was because of his (lack of) religious beliefs that was causing the problem because over here you don't run into too many (bigoted) religious folk.

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. Maybe she's doubting her religion and you're just pushing her back into it. How fucked up is that? I would either grow some balls and tell her how you really feel, or simply say that you don't feel comfortable discussing it at work. If you wanted to actually help her, you could discuss it via email or something.

 

 

From personal experience I would say NO!!! Me and my wife have both been fired from our jobs (different company’s, different times) because of our religious (or in my case) non-religious or Atheist view. I have found religion and the work place DON’T MIX. So if your Boss is a fundie and you like your job, take it from me, KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT!:nono:

 

 

It's one thing to push your beliefs on others, but if you get fired simply for being an atheist or for answering a question, then that company has a problem and they should be sued.

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Guest Valk0010

You need to worry about your own stuff, keep confidential. If she is really curious point her to a good book on the subject and leave it at that. You don't want to bury yourself.

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You have handled the issue in a very professional manner Jaded.

 

When you said that people needed to work through these problems for themselves, that was ever so subtly suggesting that she should do her own investigation.

 

I reckon that you you should just reflect her sentiments back to her or ask questions that are very gently leading her down the path to thinking for herself if she continues to raise these issues.

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My brother started down the path to become a minister. He went off to college and started taking all the courses. Before we all knew it he switched to computers and dropped out. He finished elsewhere.

 

Years go by. Lots of years. I deconvert. He finally tells me that in one of the courses he finds out that xianity wasn't all that unique. He starts finding out lots of shit about his religion. He went to a xian high school but real theology courses are different. His world view gets fucked around and he drops the whole minister thing. He still believes in "jesus" and all that but not so much. He's barely there and only because I'm pretty sure he's not sure where else to go. He couldn't justify going into something he didn't truly believe in though.

 

So if your job isn't an issue I say tell her. If she's going to a real school that teaches real classes in theology and not one of these apologetic brain washing centers then she's going to be hit with it real soon. And if she has these issues now she's going to be hurting then. May as well be you.

 

mwc

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I've decided that I'm going to go about this how I have been doing it so far. If she asks me a question, I'll answer it as neutrally as possible and offer both viewpoints on the issue and encourage her to study it out. If she outright asks me what I personally believe I'll tell her. Life is more interesting this way too I guess.

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. Maybe she's doubting her religion and you're just pushing her back into it. How fucked up is that? I would either grow some balls and tell her how you really feel, or simply say that you don't feel comfortable discussing it at work. If you wanted to actually help her, you could discuss it via email or something.

 

 

From personal experience I would say NO!!! Me and my wife have both been fired from our jobs (different company’s, different times) because of our religious (or in my case) non-religious or Atheist view. I have found religion and the work place DON’T MIX. So if your Boss is a fundie and you like your job, take it from me, KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT!:nono:

 

 

It's one thing to push your beliefs on others, but if you get fired simply for being an atheist or for answering a question, then that company has a problem and they should be sued.

 

 

Easier said then done my friend, We talked to several attorneys and in both our cases it comes down to this, your word against there’s, they will always fire you for (another reason) to cover there ass. Plus having someone in that company (a coworker) that will stand up in court (on your side) isn’t going to happen, they know they will be fired too.

 

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OK, my first post since joining.

 

I had a friend who accepted what appeared to be a lucerative job offer and moved to Texas. He returned back in a bit over a year. Appafrently there was so much pressure on him to 'go to church' that when he didn't, rumors started about his being wiccan, or something. His kids were bullied eventually and they packed up and moved back. It seems incredible but there are entire areas of the USA in which nonconformity equals evil.

 

My advice to the OP is to play it careful, much depends on the dynamics of where you live but nom matter, do your best to extract yourself from this toxic situation.

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If you lived here I would say tell her, our constitution protects folk from being discriminated against for beliefs.

 

You're in South Africa, right? Isn't that where there's been a lot of problems with men gang-raping lesbians and claiming that they're trying to change them into straight women?

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