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My Visits To A Shop Owned By Christians


Deva
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I have visited a store specializing in reptiles and amphibians a couple of times recently. I am not in a rural area, but shops like this are few and far between and this one is 10 minutes from my office.

 

The owner is obviously Christian. Bible on counter, Bible verse on door, the whole obvious thing. I say to myself that the selection of animals and supplies in this shop is unparalleled so I have to stomach it.

 

The employees (all men and teenaged boys I think) are super friendly. They all are smiling and its usually only a matter of a few minutes before I am asked if I need some help. This is in stark contrast to other shops where the employees don't want to give you the time of day and look like they are terminally bored.

 

I came in there today (my third visit) and I dropped my sunglasses on the floor. One of the employees said "I'll get it". Well, I was shocked. This hardly EVER happens. Of course I had already bent down and retrieved my glasses.

 

I just had the weirdest feeling that it would be SO EASY for me to go back into this Christian thing. I won't, and it isn't, but the thought crossed my mind and I felt like sharing it.

 

I know its brainwashing but you seldom see this level of happiness, helpfulness and it was probably seeing their smiling faces. Darn, wish I was happy.

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DARN! I wish you were too.

 

I think among whatever ingredients go into making those people happy, Christianity only plays a superficial role. They would probably be happy as Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists or even Pastafarians.

 

Friendliness and attentiveness to customers who may be spending money in their shop is lacking for many places. But it's not a state secret that those who project friendliness and helpfulness are more likely to have repeat customers. It's just a matter of business vision, treasured values and organizational leadership - even if that organization is a family business.

 

There is a mechanic's shop I love to take my car to. The patriarch has been a mechanic for 56 years. His two sons run the shop now, but the father is always hanging around, greeting the customers and even giving them rides to the nearby Starbucks or Wendy's while they wait on their car to be looked at.

 

The son that runs the office is enthusiastic, friendly and honest. The father reflects great pride that they are a small business that never tries to do more than you really need. I have never had a complaint about their competency. I have never had to take my car to them twice for the same issue.

 

They are a wholesome bunch of folks who make every effort to go the extra mile. Are they Christians? To this day, after over 8 years of getting my car serviced there, I have no idea.

 

I'd loved to find a place with people to gather with that have a friendly, family-like atmosphere. But it doesn't have to necessarily be overtly Christian.

 

I'm just telling you this, Deva, to broaden the horizon a bit. Christianity is no guarantee of happiness. People who don't find happiness in churches slip away quietly for the most part. Few of the remaining members ever refer to them.

 

And every church tries to project friendliness and caring but only a few are actually recipients of it.

 

Of course you know this. The association between Christianity and happiness has been hammered into people's brains with a hammer named Confirmation Bias. On the handle is engraved the words "Market the Church!" That is what you seem to be encountering.

 

That's just my two cents worth.

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The friendliest store I've ever been in (several times, too) was a Pagan place selling everything from the Satanic Bible to herbs and candles. Definitely NOT Christian, but such nice people.

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As long as you're not uncomfortably prostheltysed to within the doors of a given business, I would not recommend avoiding Christian businesses unless you're also going to be ok with Christians boycotting secular businesses.

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I just had the weirdest feeling that it would be SO EASY for me to go back into this Christian thing. I won't, and it isn't, but the thought crossed my mind and I felt like sharing it.

 

I know its brainwashing but you seldom see this level of happiness, helpfulness and it was probably seeing their smiling faces. Darn, wish I was happy.

I don't drink, I have drank in my life (when I was younger...I could probably count the times on both hands), but I don't drink. Every so often I just happen to say that I should start drinking so I could be <whatever> mood instead of the mood I am. Or I should take some drugs (don't do them either) so I could feel <better, worse, etc.> or at least have a reason for being in the mood I'm in instead of being totally sober and feeling shitty or what-have-you. I obviously don't mean it (or I'd have done it by now) but the idea is the same. I know it won't do anything. I'd just feel shitty and be drunk too. Odds are I'd be worse off since my meds don't mix with alcohol.

 

Anyhow, I kind of get how you feel. Sometimes you're just looking for that "fix" but you know it's not really going to fix anything. But why does it seem to work for "that guy?" <sigh> Ahh well. The mysteries of life. I have my kitty. He's not always a pain in the ass.

 

mwc

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Mwc, that's exactly what I am talking about. I have the idea that something fixed these people and something can fix me. It is part of the Christian brainwash and I guess it goes very deep. Also that I need fixing. But, I would like to be a happier person.

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I know its brainwashing but you seldom see this level of happiness, helpfulness and it was probably seeing their smiling faces. Darn, wish I was happy.

 

In my experience, the happiness and helpfulness are what's expected from the church. All too often when I got to know them personally, they were really unhappy. Their happiness was a facade and it was forced, because they must maintain it to be accepted in the church. I don't take what I see and hear at face value since people may be very different than they want you to believe.

 

When I began to accept myself for exactly who I am, I felt happier. I had to learn not to be so hard on myself in order to feel happier. I also needed to understand I couldn't be like anyone else, but I could reach out to others with an accepting attitude that was impossible for me to do as a christian. I'm not saying you don't do this yourself, or that you need to. I'm just sharing what I had to do for myself that religion failed to do for me.

 

The feeling of happiness we long for is elusive. Humans long to be happy 100% of the time, but it's not possible. Christianity promises that we can be now, and will be forever, but that would be boring in the end. When we're hungry, all we want is to eat good food until we're full. But that full, satisfied feeling is temporary. We get hungry again. It's the human condition.

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There are just as many happy agnostics, freethinkers, and atheists. I would also make the wager that an agnostics happiness is real as opposed to the fucking fake superficial surface level nut job fundy. And that is exactly what it is, surface level.

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From my experience people who act all happy and make it their goal to be overly nice and helpful, are miserable inside. They are taught that true christians are supposed to be happier than us sinners, so they hide their misery and put on a happy face.

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I can't judge whether any certain person is truly happy or not, but as for me, I feel like I finally discovered true happiness after being deconverted for about a year. When I was a Christian, I acted happy and peppy all the time, but I was really covering up severe depression.

 

I think one important thing I've learned as a heathen is that all emotions are acceptable. I don't try to fight anger and sadness like I used to. I have found that accepting those emotions shortens the length of time they stay.

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I think much of happiness is simply a decision we have to make. We can carry a negative, critical attitude over trivial things that happen to us during the day, or we can choose not to sweat the small stuff.

 

 

I wish most people had the social skills of christians. Obviously not all of it is genuine, but at least they're trying as per their doctrine. At least many christians by default have a cheerful, courteous disposition, rather than living life down in the dumps until someone proves to us why we should have a better attitude.

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I still use "Christian" tricks to make myself happy some mornings. I think, "Yuk, I'm miserable this morning." So I think about things for which I can be grateful. I don't know to whom I am grateful. I just think that no matter how bad it is, it could always be worse.

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I guess I feel a constant sense of dissatisfaction in life and I am looking all the time for something to fix it. I am not entirely sure, maybe its genetic or something, but I suspect it is the early Christian training. You know, drilled into you as a child that this world is "of the devil" and that the devil is the "prince of the power of the air" - I had that stuff thrown at me for years. If everything is tainted, unsatisfactory, and wrong, how can a person be happy?

 

You all know what the Christian answer is. But what if you aren't Christian, can't believe in the "answer" yet the problem remains? Not that I believe in the devil or the corruption of nature as depicted in the Bible, but sometimes I do think something is fundamentally wrong with human life - like the philosopher Schopenhauer said.

 

I don't know. I have had many disappointments in life: excessive shyness to the point I couldn't see an academic counselor in college (literally was outside his office and COULD NOT go in), career failure, divorce, loss of people who cared about me (my grandparents are all dead, one of my brothers is dead). It could be the stage of life I am in now, sort of seeing how things haven't worked out and then looking around at many others who seem to have marriages that stay together and seem to be happy. It could all be a sham or a facade. I don't know what these people are really like, of course.

 

Maybe the answer is to lower one's expectations. Its rather difficult when you begin to realize you can never have the standard of living you were raised in-- and I am not considered "poor" by the government's standards. No, evidently that will be reserved for my old age.

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Deva,

 

Many of us who had shitty things thrown at us in life never had the advantages of those who were given what they have on a silver platter. I see a quite few people who rode on their parents coattails to "success", but who knows if they are happy.

 

I have an article written by someone from a newspaper. I don't have the guy's full name or the whole article anymore, but he something like said this:

 

Success, wealth, power, and prestige, appear to be the payoff of being more committed to malice, injustice, treachery, and getting ahead at any cost. There are a lot of casualties and very few winners in that race. Nice guys finish last there. But if we believe that life's meaning is found in values like love, justice, caring, etc. we probably won't do well in that race because winning it will probably cost us to abandon those values. We can choose to run a different race. The giving and receiving of love and caring, among other values is what makes our lives meaningful and worthwhile. So nice guys/girls are not finishing last because they are running a different race.

 

I don't know if this is helpful to you, but it helps me in that I realized what I value trumps what most people I know believe about who they are, and what they should be. Materialistically, whenever I got what I wanted, it turned out not to be as I imagined. Eventually I sold and gave away most of my "things". Not that I had a lot. Now all the little things I took for granted are most important to me. And they are more satisfying as I grow older.

 

Maybe I no longer feel like I need to be fixed, because I see too many others with problems worse than mine. I realize I'm not perfect, and I am the way I am because of everything I've experienced. No one else can know what I've gone through. I will always have those tendencies in my personality that I want to improve, but I can now accept where I am, unlike before when I was a christian. Believers can't accept who they truly are, faults and all, because they are supposed to give themselves over to a miraculous handy man that will fix everything to perfection. Caca!

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I think much of happiness is simply a decision we have to make. We can carry a negative, critical attitude over trivial things that happen to us during the day, or we can choose not to sweat the small stuff.

 

 

I wish most people had the social skills of christians. Obviously not all of it is genuine, but at least they're trying as per their doctrine. At least many christians by default have a cheerful, courteous disposition, rather than living life down in the dumps until someone proves to us why we should have a better attitude.

 

Again, for the most part, this is simply not true. Like I said before, Christians have a superficial surface level happiness at best. I am sure some of them are genuine happy, but so are some non Christians.

 

I can tell you from being on the inside of a Christian Therapists practice, that most of them are anxiety filled,miserable people

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I had the idea that non-Christians had a "god shaped hole" in their heart drilled into my head constantly through my 11 years of baptist school. That non-believers were never as happy or fulfilled, and didn't have the "glow" of the holy spirit.

 

Basically, that everyone who wasn't like us wasn't as happy or fulfilled as we supposedly were. Imagine the effect that has on a child... the question of why others don't believe becomes one of pure rebellion and desire to live in sin, because duh, they can feel that jesus is missing from their hearts! So obviously they know, even if they live in a jungle somewhere and have never heard of jesus. So clearly, yea, they deserve to go to hell.

 

Of course, I'm not sure how someone who has been a fundie their whole lives knows what it feels like to not be a fundie... but you don't think of such things when you're in the bubble.

 

Today, I had this messed up concept come back to me. All these old concepts that I thought I buried a long time ago are coming back these days. I guess this is just part of the post deconversion process. ugh.

 

But I do see the cheeriness, but thinking back on it, it seems as if you're "inspired" to be in a better mood than you actually are because everyone else thinks they're supposed to do the same, etc. There were times of happiness and "joy" during church services, but it was really temporary. When you went back home, you were back to normal. Anxiety, guilt, shame, and worry. Constant worry. When i was small, I would often worry about whether i was "really saved." I was always terrified that maybe I didn't really mean it and so maybe I wasn't saved! Terrifying.

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I guess I'm somewhat cynical but I generally take Christian niceness as simply a tool in their evangelistic arsenal. Just like Mormons and JWs.

+1.

 

The people in that store are on a mission, which is to get people's defenses down so they can talk about Jesus.

 

I guarantee you they are false friends in the long haul, which is where it counts. If you don't buy their particular brand of evangelical fervor, you are of the devil. Happens every time.

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