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How To Respond In Public When Asked If You Are A Christian?


jefflives
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Today, I was asked by an acquaintance, "Are you a Christian?", in front of others who know me well but are unaware of my deconversion. Aside from telling them it's none of their business (it isn't), how would you respond? I'm not ready to start debates, though I'm growing more confident. Sometimes it's not the place for that anyway. Even more challenging, is responding to Christians' questions/discussions prior to actually "coming out" about your deconversion.

 

 

How have you responded? While I know it's probably easier just to come out than to live the lie, I still need to forge these fields with my wife and my family before I break the news publicly.

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If you give them a straight "no" there will be more probing. The next question will most likely be "Are you Jewish?"

I usually say I'm a Nonbeliever, and then answer any questions that follow.

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How about responding with, "To some yes. To others no. There are 30,000 sects of Christianity. To many of them, you're probably not a Christian."

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I would probably answer "That's an interesting question"...and then change the subject; throwing the light ON THE QUESTION rather than on my stance on it. That is a RUDE question. If I were really ticked off by it and it was someone I did not know, I think I might ask "That's a personal question; it sounds almost like I am asking YOU if you are gay....are you?" Again, switching the conversation and focus BACK ONTO THEM. how rude!!!

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It would depend on the context. I have no shame in being honest about what I do and don't believe, especially when I would presume my beliefs are much more grounded in evidence than theirs. But yeah you want to be careful not to get mobbed, either physically or verbally.

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It depends. If this is someone that could fire you or have any kind of hammer over your head, it is best to answer the question with a question: "Are you sure you are going to heaven if you die today?" By asking that question, you are not answering his/hers. Try to avoid a direct answer, but if you have to, tell them you don't want to discuss how loving God is. (That is if you can say it without gagging.)

 

If it is a family member, I at first avoided it, but eventually told them. My SIL hates my guts for not believing. She made that quite clear and I just said: "Thanks, you just reminded me why I quit believing in nonsense."

 

But again, especially if you live in the South, be very careful. Most people are nice enough, but there are some really weird ones too who will try to save you every second. UGH!!!

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answer with:

"what's your social security number?"

"that's personal information"

"exactly"

 

This is a great line. Avoidance at its best. For now, that's all I care about. Once the word is out, I'm game for entertaining deeper discussions. I just need to make sure my wife and my family know first.

 

@Kaiser -- I can't stomach saying that I am, though I have.

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If I really just want to exit without discussion, I'll just say "I'm not the real religious type." Lets me be honest and them feeling well, maybe he's just religious enough.

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I've only been asked in work situations (by clients, not bosses or coworkers), so I generally say that I don't talk about religion in work situations.

 

Of course, one client cancelled on short notice after that and I haven't heard anything more from them.

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In increasing probability of causing a discussion:

 

"Ah, we're having such a good time, let's not do religion or politics."

 

"Oh, I'm not a religious fella. Hey, have you tried the chicken salad?"

 

"No. Is that a problem?"

 

"Depends on what that means to you." (Put it back on them, might create enough discussion to let you avoid answering.)

 

"I'm was a Christian for many years, but I'm not now." ("Why not?" You're on your own after this...)

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I'm finally at the point now where I can just tell people that I'm not a Christian without any qualifications or qualms. Did so in fact just a few days ago. Felt good.

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I'm finally at the point now where I can just tell people that I'm not a Christian without any qualifications or qualms. Did so in fact just a few days ago. Felt good.

I don't know about you, but It felt really weird the first time I said I wasn't Christian to somebody. For the longest time I'd just say I was lax-Catholic and be done with it (most fundies know lax-catholics don't give a shit enough about religion to want to hear your pitch), but when I finally said I was a non-believer to them it felt really good.
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"I'm not religious" - polite, answers the question, nonspecific, in a calm, matter of fact voice, just like saying "I prefer chicken" "I don't like broccoli" - without the scary "A" word!

 

That's generally for the public - if it's in a conversation about religion with friends or family, unless I'm in the closet with them for some reason (right now that's no one), I mention it as a simple fact, "I'm an atheist".

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I answer: "I'm an atheist."

 

Usually they have a follow up question and I answer that with "Because I don't see any reason to believe any of that stuff."

 

It's not my job to change what they believe so I don't worry about the rest of it. If they want to talk more about it I ask them "What's the point of talking about it?" If they are struggling with deconverting then I will help if I can but I'm not going to play chess with a pigeon.

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