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How Do You Handle The Religion Question With People You Just Met?


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I'm going to preface this by saying I have only recently come out to people besides my husband, brothers, and about 3 friends (who have always known and don't give a crap). I do not talk about my atheism to people who don't know me, to me it's nothing they need to know about. I'm not interested in my kids being ostracized or told they are going to hell because I don't believe in the pretend magic sadist that is called god. I'm not interested in anyone knowing much about me or my family in general anyway. I like a nice private life where people leave me alone. I'm not interested in questioning or antagonizing others about their beliefs, I don't care what other people believe. I just want to be left alone with what I believe and that's it. 

 

We were at the pool today and some woman was sitting near me and struck up a conversation, being a non-devil worshiper I was polite and kept in with the conversation. She was elderly and then brought up the topic of "oh we go to this church. Where do you go?" I was unprepared for this and muttered something ambiguous. Then she said something about how important religion is  for the kids (HA!) and welcomed me to her church. She even stated that I'd get cookies delivered to me for joining...(ummm, ok?). I somehow managed to ditch that part of the conversation and get onto something else. 

 

How do you handle people, who are essentially strangers, who bring this stuff up? Have you had any similar scenarios? Not only that, does the persons age make a difference to you in your discussion? I'd think the senior population is much more rigid in their religious thoughts and beliefs than someone younger (depending on the person)

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Younger people frequently ask this question as well in the South.  I just tell that we don't currently belong to a church and try to change the subject.  It doesn't always end well.

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Religion is not a topic that I'm likely to raise in conversation, particularly not with people that I barely know. Such conversations tend not to end well. But if I'm asked about it directly, I don't refuse to answer. I have nothing to hide. I usually just say I'm not religious and leave it at that. If I'm invited to attend a church, I politely decline. If they really want to know why I'm not religious, then I will have that conversation, but it's not something I'm going to go out of my way to discuss.

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I've come out to everyone now, in my social circle, family circle. There should be some sort of Hallmark card for this special occasion...like announcing a new home or new baby to people or something like that. lol ''Hey everyone...I'm an atheist!'' Mail it out to all your closest friends and family, and call it a day. :lol:

 

Wait, that idea could catch on.

 

To your point, with strangers, and say it comes up in conversation, I tend to not discuss it much. I don't ever want to become a noisy atheist, so to speak. I don't think religion is important anymore, so to discuss it, it would be tantamount to discussing Santa Claus.

 

That said, and I never thought this would happen when I first departed from Christianity...but...I tend to mainly hang out socially with my atheist friends now. I have dear Christian friends, whom I'll always cherish, but nearly everytime we get together, they are talking about church functions, and who's getting married in so and so church...and oh, dee...are you going to so and so's wedding...it's going to be in a church you know. lol Yea, kinda tired of all that.

 

So, it doesn't come up as often anymore, because my social circle is mainly made up of atheists now, and it's growing. :lol:

 

I think you handled everything fine. You don't need to tell people who don't know you about your views on faith, unless you wish to.

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Fortunately I've never been put in a situation like this and its unlikely I would be.  But I certainly empathise with you and others who are living in the American South.  I think you handled it well.

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When I'm in this situation I just say "I was raised Presbyterian" because it's frankly not worth the effort to have the atheist conversation with a stranger. I know there are those who will disagree but I just don't need drama with a stranger.

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For the casual acquaintances I don't talk about it.  If it comes up, I do say I'm an atheist.

 

For high ranking bosses at the workplace or if said casual acquaintance turns out to be a member of the clergy, I get a loudspeaker, put it to their ear, and yell:

"I'm an agent of satan, fear us, we are indoctrinating your spouse and children right now at our weekly occultist gathering filled with ritual orgies, animal sacrifices, and death metal music."

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I'm going to preface this by saying I have only recently come out to people besides my husband, brothers, and about 3 friends (who have always known and don't give a crap). I do not talk about my atheism to people who don't know me, to me it's nothing they need to know about. I'm not interested in my kids being ostracized or told they are going to hell because I don't believe in the pretend magic sadist that is called god. I'm not interested in anyone knowing much about me or my family in general anyway. I like a nice private life where people leave me alone. I'm not interested in questioning or antagonizing others about their beliefs, I don't care what other people believe. I just want to be left alone with what I believe and that's it. 

 

We were at the pool today and some woman was sitting near me and struck up a conversation, being a non-devil worshiper I was polite and kept in with the conversation. She was elderly and then brought up the topic of "oh we go to this church. Where do you go?" I was unprepared for this and muttered something ambiguous. Then she said something about how important religion is  for the kids (HA!) and welcomed me to her church. She even stated that I'd get cookies delivered to me for joining...(ummm, ok?). I somehow managed to ditch that part of the conversation and get onto something else. 

 

How do you handle people, who are essentially strangers, who bring this stuff up? Have you had any similar scenarios? Not only that, does the persons age make a difference to you in your discussion? I'd think the senior population is much more rigid in their religious thoughts and beliefs than someone younger (depending on the person)

 

I solve the problem by simply not talking to people. 

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I'm going to preface this by saying I have only recently come out to people besides my husband, brothers, and about 3 friends (who have always known and don't give a crap). I do not talk about my atheism to people who don't know me, to me it's nothing they need to know about. I'm not interested in my kids being ostracized or told they are going to hell because I don't believe in the pretend magic sadist that is called god. I'm not interested in anyone knowing much about me or my family in general anyway. I like a nice private life where people leave me alone. I'm not interested in questioning or antagonizing others about their beliefs, I don't care what other people believe. I just want to be left alone with what I believe and that's it.

 

We were at the pool today and some woman was sitting near me and struck up a conversation, being a non-devil worshiper I was polite and kept in with the conversation. She was elderly and then brought up the topic of "oh we go to this church. Where do you go?" I was unprepared for this and muttered something ambiguous. Then she said something about how important religion is for the kids (HA!) and welcomed me to her church. She even stated that I'd get cookies delivered to me for joining...(ummm, ok?). I somehow managed to ditch that part of the conversation and get onto something else.

 

How do you handle people, who are essentially strangers, who bring this stuff up? Have you had any similar scenarios? Not only that, does the persons age make a difference to you in your discussion? I'd think the senior population is much more rigid in their religious thoughts and beliefs than someone younger (depending on the person)

"I don't go to church anymore but thanks for the invite. I don't think church is really good for children."

 

After a few refutations of her religion she'll probably stop talking to you. Yayyy.

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I don't get asked this question a lot, than again I live in the north, and I prefer listening to people on what they believe.  So I direct the question back on them, they must care about religion if the speaker is the one bringing it up.  I am comfortable enough to say atheist (simplest way to describe my current view), but I'm not getting out the loudspeaker.

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We were at the pool today and some woman was sitting near me and struck up a conversation, being a non-devil worshiper I was polite and kept in with the conversation. She was elderly and then brought up the topic of "oh we go to this church. Where do you go?" I was unprepared for this and muttered something ambiguous. Then she said something about how important religion is  for the kids (HA!) and welcomed me to her church. 

 

It depends on my mood, but when people just flat out ask me "where I go to church", Im usually offended at the assumptions, and I have been known to reply "Oh, I don't belong to any discriminatory groups or organizations"...  

 

It shuts down the topic every time Ive said it so far, because they are not prepared for an answer like that.  I once had a young man come back with "church is not discriminatory", to which I only smiled and laughed lightly while going back to my work...

 

Other times I may jus reply that I am non religious.  I also have no issue with the word Atheist and have used it with people Ive just met.

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If someone is super churchy and I don't feel like getting into it, I might say I'm "between churches" or maybe, "I've attended such-and-such church" ... otherwise I don't mind saying I'm not in church.  It just depends on the person and what mood I'm in.

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I'm going to preface this by saying I have only recently come out to people besides my husband, brothers, and about 3 friends (who have always known and don't give a crap). I do not talk about my atheism to people who don't know me, to me it's nothing they need to know about. I'm not interested in my kids being ostracized or told they are going to hell because I don't believe in the pretend magic sadist that is called god. I'm not interested in anyone knowing much about me or my family in general anyway. I like a nice private life where people leave me alone. I'm not interested in questioning or antagonizing others about their beliefs, I don't care what other people believe. I just want to be left alone with what I believe and that's it. 

 

We were at the pool today and some woman was sitting near me and struck up a conversation, being a non-devil worshiper I was polite and kept in with the conversation. She was elderly and then brought up the topic of "oh we go to this church. Where do you go?" I was unprepared for this and muttered something ambiguous. Then she said something about how important religion is  for the kids (HA!) and welcomed me to her church. She even stated that I'd get cookies delivered to me for joining...(ummm, ok?). I somehow managed to ditch that part of the conversation and get onto something else. 

 

How do you handle people, who are essentially strangers, who bring this stuff up? Have you had any similar scenarios? Not only that, does the persons age make a difference to you in your discussion? I'd think the senior population is much more rigid in their religious thoughts and beliefs than someone younger (depending on the person)

 

Boundaries. Strangers should respect them.

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I live in a pretty tolerant area -- Portland Oregon. That said, coming out to strangers up here is easier than coming out to some "funny mentalist" family. My reason for doing so is usually to deflect people from engaging in that type of conversion conversation. But again, I've only been asked in the context of philosophical discussions at a pub or something. Not "What religion are you," but affects of supernatural forces and things. This is Oregon, People. Serious amount of Bigfooters and Ancient Aliens types. Both I find entertaining. But I generally operate under the principle of "when in doubt, don't." Or at least, "When in doubt, find out first." Safer practices and all that. If my daughter was still little, and we still lived in Florida, I would go to great lengths to not come out with my beliefs and compromise her environment. Oh wait, that's a lot of what I did do back then, even though I considered myself a Christian. Just not the "right kind" of "mature" Christian that gulps the party line and can look and sound smart while doing so.I definitely agree with not being a "noisy atheist." I was never a missionary Christian, so I don't see myself becoming a missionary atheist. But declaring yourself is not noisy. A Lesbian woman declaring herself Lesbian is not noisy. News to some men who found her attractive? Sure. But that isn't noisy. Noisy is when people start telling other people how they should or shouldn't behave. Hmm, but that sounds an awful lot like ... a lot of theistic groups, and the little specialtons operating as social justice warriors on Tumbr ... in other words, I'm too old for that sh*t.

But it's not fair to call yourself noisy for declaring yourself. It's only fair to people around you to declare yourself as an atheist, in context. I did the paleo thing for a couple years. I wasn't running around screaming paleo paleo, but in context, sure, I said I was doing the paleo thing. Would've been noisy if I had been expecting others to modify their behavior to suit my specialton needs. But you, I and others who are not plugged into the Xian matrix are not the ones out there telling others how to conduct themselves, and creating endless lists for controlling other people's behavior.

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This hasn't happened yet, but I dread the day it does. I'm a bad liar and I hate lying so if I'm put on the spot I'll try to tactfully tell the truth. I just hope it doesn't give them what they think is the green light to try to "save" me. I recall the years I was adamant I was never having children, and how that answer made it everyone's personal mission to convince me that being a parent was the greatest thing in the world.

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"I don't go to church anymore but thanks for the invite. I don't think church is really good for children."

 

After a few refutations of her religion she'll probably stop talking to you. Yayyy.

 

 

I think this is an excellent response to someone you've just met. You can be forthright and honest without being rude. But if the person does mistake your honesty for rudeness and takes offense, who cares? It's not like it's a family member, friend, or anyone you'll ever have to have a conversation with again.

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It depends on who is asking the question.  If it's a christian asking, I will immediately tell them I'm an ex-christian.  If it's not a christian asking I might have a conversation about religions and spirituality.  When you tell a christian you're an ex-christian, they're usually not sure how to handle it.  The moment's hesitation gives you a chance to change the subject or to get the hell out of there before they start talking.

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I reply to such inquiries with "I'm not religious". Doesn't have the same bad connotation in the south as the baby-eating devil -worshipping ATHEIST!

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I can't ever remember when someone I just met asked me what religion I am or what church I go to.  To me this seems like a totally inappropriate topic to bring up when meeting someone for the first time.

 

Having said that, if someone was stupid enough to ask me this I have no problem telling them I am not religious and I don't go to church and I would prefer being strapped in the electric chair than have to be tortured with 5 minutes of church.  

 

Lets face it - religion is bunk and church is boring as fuck.  Why hide it or lie about it?  Wendyshrug.gif   Be proud that you're not a moron!

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I can't ever remember when someone I just met asked me what religion I am or what church I go to.  To me this seems like a totally inappropriate topic to bring up when meeting someone for the first time.

 

Having said that, if someone was stupid enough to ask me this I have no problem telling them I am not religious and I don't go to church and I would prefer being strapped in the electric chair than have to be tortured with 5 minutes of church.  

 

Lets face it - religion is bunk and church is boring as fuck.  Why hide it or lie about it?  Wendyshrug.gif   Be proud that you're not a moron!

 

Yes! I agree. I think some people are entirely too concerned about what strangers may think of them. Who cares?

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Hey Mommy,

 

That's a tough one, especially for us polite people, who in all honesty just want to be left alone to enjoy our moments in life freely. Politeness is one thing, and if it is just a quick conversion, I think you can say anything you want; however, if the person keeps pressing the point you have to allow yourself to stop the madness. A firm, "I do not share your faith. Thank you," and turn your attention elsewhere. Don't even engage them any further than that. Its utterly a waste of time. I think we are in the same boat, I just don't want to waste any more precious moments talking about this nonsense than I have to. Some people do enjoy debates; and there are moments in life were it is important to talk about the effects of religion. But being out at the pool having a fun relaxing time is not one of those moments.

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I respond to all inappropriate questions the same. "Why do you ask?"

 

Whatever their response, I just say, "Oh."

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I respond to all inappropriate questions the same. "Why do you ask?"

 

Whatever their response, I just say, "Oh."

 

That is a brilliant strategy, I'm going to use that.

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I respond to all inappropriate questions the same. "Why do you ask?"

 

Whatever their response, I just say, "Oh."

 

That is a brilliant strategy, I'm going to use that.

 

I'd like to take credit, but here's what happened.

 

Many, many years ago, someone asked my wife why we didn't have any children yet. That was her response and I also recognized the brilliance of it. Honestly, it works a treat.

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I respond to all inappropriate questions the same. "Why do you ask?"

 

Whatever their response, I just say, "Oh."

 

I love that. It immediately conveys the impression that they should mind their own business without explicitly saying that. 

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