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Joshpantera

An atheist abroad!!!

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Yes, yes, this is to the tune of, "An Idiot Abroad." ¬†ūüėā

 

I just wanted to make a thread where I can catalog some of the real world interactions I go through with christians abroad, at work, or where ever. As an atheist abroad. And invite others to offer stories of their own interactions if they'd like. This is an introductory post, I'll start the stories below. 

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I was posting to @TABA and others in the rants section about a funny interaction at work with an HVAC. Long story short, he felt like throwing in some plugs about how he's a christian. But he's not good with reading. He will fall asleep if he reads the bible, he told me. Then he went in to some unrelated direction about how he teaches HVAC at the college. And how he teaches from the book, but then teaches where the book is wrong and real time work force experience differs. The reason, he told me, that the HVAC manual is off is because one person will write one chapter. Someone else will write another chapter. And the two are just expressing personal opinion and will contradict each other in places. 

 

My snappy come back line: Well, if you stay awake long enough to read through the whole bible you may find that the HVAC manual and the bible have a lot more in common than you have been aware of. 

 

I laughed. He laughed. But he didn't seem to comprehend the full extent of the joke. So now I'm leaving it alone. But I wonder if he will read the bible, suddenly see the contradictions, and get what the joke was about. Of course the bible was written not very differently than the HVAC manual - different writers contradicting one another over what are essentially their own personal opinions. If he finally does get the joke, hopefully he'll say something. And if he does, I'll post the response here. 

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So, today was interesting again.

 

While discussing political issues to do with current events (which remain unspecified due to our policy on political discussion), the discussion led toward Israel, Islam, the building of a new temple, and end times.

 

This coming at me from a local GC. I started saying that in terms of a globalist agenda, there's too many people from older generations still around right now to fight it. But, just a few generations down the line, there may not be any die hard nationalist's of any consequence among the current youth. Borders may well dissolve, socialism may well take hold here, and so on and so forth. He agreed. But he added that it may be coming 'much sooner than a few generations down the line.' 

 

And that's when he started drawing out diagrams on a piece of plywood of Israel to near scale, Gaza to the West Bank, tunnels linking the two, talking history, and going into an intricate christian "end times" conspiracy on his part.

 

What am I going to do?

 

I can't make waves with this guy. No smart ass remarks. I have large sums of money that I still need to collect. So I stand there and take the whole sermon. Even act interested to some degree. I was, actually. I like to hear these sort of things out. 

 

So this theory is that Trump is currently fulfilling prophecy as we speak. A tool of the Lord, if you will. This theory included things like due to modern science and genetics, the old sacrificial cows have been bread back into existence again. For this reason. For sacrifices at this new temple by the dome of the rock that Trump is going to make happen. And there's more. He told me that they HAVE the ark of covenant in their possession currently, ready to place in the, "most holy place," of the new temple. I could see the belief in this mans eyes. He's 100% sold. And all in. This is it! It's all happening right now!

 

I told him that I haven't seen any of that in the news. But I'm not paying close attention to the news in general. Just here and there. 

 

What do you say to something like that? 

 

Well, I know what to say to something like that here, at our forums. Or online just about anywhere. But it was rather awkward to get into at work, with a customer. As an atheist abroad. His wife walked up on us and I took that as an opportunity to cut the conversation short and go on my way. 

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WOW!  If he is a valuable customer, I would tread very lightly!  My wife was telling me about a film she saw recently about a secretive  religious(?) world order(?) Organization, and they have an office in washington.   Perhaps it is part of what he is describing.  I will look into it.

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1 hour ago, Weezer said:

 My wife was telling me about a film she saw recently about a secretive  religious(?) world order(?) Organization, and they have an office in washington.   Perhaps it is part of what he is describing.  I will look into it.

 

I did a Google search.  What she is talking about may not be the same movement you are talking about, but is very interesting, and scarry.  It is a book, and Netflix documentary called THE FAMILY.   Book is written by Jeff Sharlet.  It seems to be about some very powerful men who are going to take the world for God.  They are not officially organized, but have a "house" in DC where some of them live.  As I am writing this, I am starting to think it MAY BE part of the same movement.  They are networking all over the world.

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5 hours ago, Weezer said:

 

I did a Google search.  What she is talking about may not be the same movement you are talking about, but is very interesting, and scarry.  It is a book, and Netflix documentary called THE FAMILY.   Book is written by Jeff Sharlet.  It seems to be about some very powerful men who are going to take the world for God.  They are not officially organized, but have a "house" in DC where some of them live.  As I am writing this, I am starting to think it MAY BE part of the same movement.  They are networking all over the world.

 

Thanks. I read a wiki article to get an overview: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Family:_The_Secret_Fundamentalism_at_the_Heart_of_American_Power

 

That is some weird shiznick!!! Like a fundy christian version of Illuminate. I may fish this guy about the book some time and ask if he's read it. Just to see how he reacts. 

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"tool of the Lord" *snert*

 

I've been hearing about the rebuilding of the temple for decades. The Israelis know how to bilk Christians, and stringing them along with hints about actually having the ark and all the sacred spoons and such is part of the scheme. Believers eat that stuff up like manna. The Nazarenes I knew back in the 80s were talking about this back then after visiting Israel. The best cons play off of confirmation bias since it makes their job a lot easier. 

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12 hours ago, Joshpantera said:

The reason, he told me, that the HVAC manual is off is because one person will write one chapter. Someone else will write another chapter. And the two are just expressing personal opinion and will contradict each other in places. 

 

My snappy come back line: Well, if you stay awake long enough to read through the whole bible you may find that the HVAC manual and the bible have a lot more in common than you have been aware of. 

 

I laughed. He laughed. But he didn't seem to comprehend the full extent of the joke. So now I'm leaving it alone. But I wonder if he will read the bible, suddenly see the contradictions, and get what the joke was about. Of course the bible was written not very differently than the HVAC manual - different writers contradicting one another over what are essentially their own personal opinions. If he finally does get the joke, hopefully he'll say something. And if he does, I'll post the response here. 

 

Glad you took advantage of the moment there.  This was too good an opportunity to pass up, especially when you were able to rather gently plant the idea.  It would be great if it sent him down a path of critical-thinking about his beliefs, but I wouldn't hold my breath.  Even people who apply critical-thinking to most areas of their lives can be good at carving out an exception for religious beliefs, especially the ones they were raised with.  I'm an engineer but I did that compartmentalization myself for decades.  

 

Opportunities like that, where we can shine a light on some aspect of religious belief without being a dick, don't come around very often.  Like most of us, I'm surrounded by people who are more-or-less Christian.  If some guy at work starts to say "Yeah, I was dropping my kids off at Sunday School when ..."  I'm not going to go "Dude!  You shouldn't be indoctrinating your kids into religion!".  That wouldn't accomplish anything besides pissing him off.  OTOH, if somebody says "Do you think Hell really exists?" I'm going to jump right in and show how concepts of Hell and Satan clearly evolved through the course of the Bible.  Provide facts rather than one guy's opinion.

 

One "opportunity" that can be uncomfortable if you're not prepared is when somebody asks you to pray for them.  I'm not praying for anybody, and I'm not going to make a promise I can't keep.  Ideally I'd say "I don't pray, but I really wish the best for you. How can I help?".  That pretty well places your cards face up on the table, for better or worse.  The other day Chuck, one of my Army buddies, posted on Facebook "If you pray, I could use your prayers right now".  I replied privately with "Chuck, I don't pray but...".  He thanked me for my support and friendship.  And now he knows I'm not religious anymore, at least.

 

Anyway, good idea starting this thread.  I'd like to hear about other members' productive encounters with believers.  At the end of the day, I think we can do the most good with people who aren't firmly wedded to religious beliefs.  There are lots of semi-serious believers who are more likely to react positively to challenges to Christianity.  People who - especially in this day and age - could think their way out of the religion.   If I can sow some seeds that result in somebody deciding to raise their kids without religion, that's something worth doing.

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12 hours ago, Joshpantera said:

So this theory is that Trump is currently fulfilling prophecy as we speak. A tool of the Lord, if you will. This theory included things like due to modern science and genetics, the old sacrificial cows have been bread back into existence again. For this reason. For sacrifices at this new temple by the dome of the rock that Trump is going to make happen. And there's more. He told me that they HAVE the ark of covenant in their possession currently, ready to place in the, "most holy place," of the new temple. I could see the belief in this mans eyes. He's 100% sold. And all in. This is it! It's all happening right now!

 

I told him that I haven't seen any of that in the news. But I'm not paying close attention to the news in general. Just here and there. 

 

What do you say to something like that? 

 

Well, I know what to say to something like that here, at our forums. Or online just about anywhere. But it was rather awkward to get into at work, with a customer. As an atheist abroad. His wife walked up on us and I took that as an opportunity to cut the conversation short and go on my way. 

 

This is the same guy, the HVAC guy?  He's in pretty deep then.  Probably not somebody who's ready to listen to evidence against his faith.  Might be fun to engage him though...

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21 hours ago, Joshpantera said:

 

So this theory is that Trump is currently fulfilling prophecy as we speak. A tool of the Lord, if you will. 

 

"The Family", also called the Fellowship, believe in using anyone who can help them achieve world domination.  I normally take conspiracy theories with a grain of salt, and not sure this would be considered conspiracy, but it helps to explain why some Evangelicals are backing Trump, coddling white supremacist,  and courting world dictators, which would all be thrown under the bus if the movement ever gained enough power, or they no longer needed them.  One thing for sure, they have figured out how to keep the money flowing to the top.  It is certainly not trickling down.

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20 hours ago, TABA said:

 

This is the same guy, the HVAC guy?  He's in pretty deep then.  Probably not somebody who's ready to listen to evidence against his faith.  Might be fun to engage him though...

 

No, this is a general contractor. I'm going to add any similar religious run in's that I get in to as they pop up. 

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On 1/30/2020 at 8:46 PM, Weezer said:

"The Family", also called the Fellowship, believe in using anyone who can help them achieve world domination.  I normally take conspiracy theories with a grain of salt, and not sure this would be considered conspiracy, but it helps to explain why some Evangelicals are backing Trump, coddling white supremacist,  and courting world dictators, which would all be thrown under the bus if the movement ever gained enough power, or they no longer needed them.  One thing for sure, they have figured out how to keep the money flowing to the top.  It is certainly not trickling down.

 

This is where my thoughts on boomer's dying off comes into view. These religious beliefs greatly downscale beyond that specific generation. We hit some sort of tipping point afterward with my generation, Gen-X. These fundies may be able to pass some of it along, but again, what's getting passed along is waning. That's why I say two or three generations. The waning trend will have taken more effect by then. 

 

 

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On 1/31/2020 at 7:45 AM, Joshpantera said:

 

 These fundies may be able to pass some of it along, but again, what's getting passed along is waning. That's why I say two or three generations. The waning trend will have taken more effect by then. 

 

I hope you are right.

 

A relative told me the restoration of the temple fits in with the Family's beliefs.  It needs to happen so Jesus can return??  This is very interesting and I have ordered the book.

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On January 30, 2020 at 12:44 AM, Joshpantera said:

...  A tool of the Lord, if you will. 

Yup...a tool... ūüėú

I got a short story...my employer is a deeply religious man. A while back he asked me how I spent my Sunday afternoon. I told him my wife and I went for a hike in the woods. His response was, "Why weren't you in church?" My reply..."maybe I was". He said nothing else.

 

The end. :)

 

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16 minutes ago, Derek said:

Yup...a tool... ūüėú

I got a short story...my employer is a deeply religious man. A while back he asked me how I spent my Sunday afternoon. I told him my wife and I went for a hike in the woods. His response was, "Why weren't you in church?" My reply..."maybe I was". He said nothing else.

 

The end. :)

 

 

Cuz church is on Saturday. :) haha

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On 1/31/2020 at 8:45 AM, Joshpantera said:

 

This is where my thoughts on boomer's dying off comes into view. These religious beliefs greatly downscale beyond that specific generation. We hit some sort of tipping point afterward with my generation, Gen-X. These fundies may be able to pass some of it along, but again, what's getting passed along is waning. That's why I say two or three generations. The waning trend will have taken more effect by then. 

 

 

I've seen the documentary. If the Family is a thing it's more about power, disguised as religion. And I don't see that "downscaling", or being less of a draw - power. If I understood your point correctly. 

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4 hours ago, Derek said:

Yup...a tool... ūüėú

I got a short story...my employer is a deeply religious man. A while back he asked me how I spent my Sunday afternoon. I told him my wife and I went for a hike in the woods. His response was, "Why weren't you in church?" My reply..."maybe I was". He said nothing else.

 

The end. :)

 

 

 I saw the HVAC again. He wasn't talking religion this time. But my wife mentioned that she's vegetarian and on Keto, as we were talking about restaurants in town. Take a limited selection and then limit it even further. So I chimed in that we were raised in the SDA church. And they push vegetarianism strongly. 

 

Enter Midnite: 

4 hours ago, midniterider said:

Cuz church is on Saturday. :) haha

  

His response was, 'so you shouldn't be out here at the job site today (Saturday).' I responded back that my family had a falling out with SDA conference. And that I don't follow or believe it any more. I didn't go further, I just left it there. That's a tool (no pun intended) that I pull out when people start talking religion. Most christians usually back off when I bring up the SDA issue. It will be interesting to see if he comes with anything. Like questions about where my beliefs have led. 

 

3 hours ago, TruthSeeker0 said:

I've seen the documentary. If the Family is a thing it's more about power, disguised as religion. And I don't see that "downscaling", or being less of a draw - power. If I understood your point correctly. 

 

Well, put it this way. Power plays based on religion only have power in so much as religion is dominant. If it wanes and loses dominance, the power plays have to look elsewhere. No doubt they will. If they could find a way of exploiting non-belief I'm sure they will. 

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43 minutes ago, Joshpantera said:

 

 I saw the HVAC again. He wasn't talking religion this time. But my wife mentioned that she's vegetarian and on Keto, as we were talking about restaurants in town. Take a limited selection and then limit it even further. So I chimed in that we were raised in the SDA church. And they push vegetarianism strongly. 

  

His response was, 'so you shouldn't be out here at the job site today (Saturday).' I responded back that my family had a falling out with SDA conference. And that I don't follow or believe it any more. I didn't go further, I just left it there. That's a tool (no pun intended) that I pull out when people start talking religion. Most christians usually back off when I bring up the SDA issue. It will be interesting to see if he comes with anything. Like questions about where my beliefs have led. 

 

 

So if his next question is "Where do you go to church now?" or suchlike, are you going to just answer "nowhere" and wait for him to follow up from there, or do you place your apostate cards face up on the table?  Just wondering how you hope to see this pan out...

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On 1/29/2020 at 8:14 PM, Joshpantera said:

So, today was interesting again.

 

While discussing political issues to do with current events (which remain unspecified due to our policy on political discussion), the discussion led toward Israel, Islam, the building of a new temple, and end times.

 

This coming at me from a local GC. I started saying that in terms of a globalist agenda, there's too many people from older generations still around right now to fight it. But, just a few generations down the line, there may not be any die hard nationalist's of any consequence among the current youth. Borders may well dissolve, socialism may well take hold here, and so on and so forth. He agreed. But he added that it may be coming 'much sooner than a few generations down the line.' 

 

And that's when he started drawing out diagrams on a piece of plywood of Israel to near scale, Gaza to the West Bank, tunnels linking the two, talking history, and going into an intricate christian "end times" conspiracy on his part.

 

What am I going to do?

 

I can't make waves with this guy. No smart ass remarks. I have large sums of money that I still need to collect. So I stand there and take the whole sermon. Even act interested to some degree. I was, actually. I like to hear these sort of things out. 

 

So this theory is that Trump is currently fulfilling prophecy as we speak. A tool of the Lord, if you will. This theory included things like due to modern science and genetics, the old sacrificial cows have been bread back into existence again. For this reason. For sacrifices at this new temple by the dome of the rock that Trump is going to make happen. And there's more. He told me that they HAVE the ark of covenant in their possession currently, ready to place in the, "most holy place," of the new temple. I could see the belief in this mans eyes. He's 100% sold. And all in. This is it! It's all happening right now!

 

I told him that I haven't seen any of that in the news. But I'm not paying close attention to the news in general. Just here and there. 

 

What do you say to something like that? 

 

Well, I know what to say to something like that here, at our forums. Or online just about anywhere. But it was rather awkward to get into at work, with a customer. As an atheist abroad. His wife walked up on us and I took that as an opportunity to cut the conversation short and go on my way. 

 

Wow, what a nutcase. Just keep in mind that you wont be working with this guy forever, right? I have much shorter contact with my crazy clients... like 15 minutes maybe. :) But crazy money spends exactly like sane money! Pretend you're a psychiatrist and your client is really a mental patient. :) Shine em on....

 

One of my relatives used to go on and on about the Muslims destroying America , and this party destroying America and other stuff I didnt agree with. 

 

One friend now is concerned about a particular  'piece of shit' elected official we have in an undisclosed office, mostly because he is of the 'wrong' party. It's kind of amazing how much energy is put into this stuff. 

 

Maybe just change the subject if you can. I have inlaws that like politicians I dont, so I become either neutral or pro-whatever-they-are for a short while. 

 

I havent had to become a fundy yet at work, but I's ready. Praise Jesus and gimme yo money. LoL. 

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2 hours ago, TABA said:

 

So if his next question is "Where do you go to church now?" or suchlike, are you going to just answer "nowhere" and wait for him to follow up from there, or do you place your apostate cards face up on the table?  Just wondering how you hope to see this pan out...

 

Have a megachurch name ready to spew. One that's verifiable but large enough where you can plausibly be unknown to the staff. 

 

 

 

 

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4 hours ago, Joshpantera said:

 

Well, put it this way. Power plays based on religion only have power in so much as religion is dominant. If it wanes and loses dominance, the power plays have to look elsewhere. No doubt they will. If they could find a way of exploiting non-belief I'm sure they will. 

 

 

Very true! 

The book came in the mail today.  Reading material for cold days.  I think some politicians from Kansas are part of this group.

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4 hours ago, TABA said:

So if his next question is "Where do you go to church now?" or suchlike, are you going to just answer "nowhere" and wait for him to follow up from there, or do you place your apostate cards face up on the table?  Just wondering how you hope to see this pan out...

 

I could just say that we haven't found anything convincing enough to want to join. And then leave it up him to try and convince me if that's where he's headed. I can politely point out why I find the arguments not so convincing. That seems fair enough, if done respectfully in real time. It puts the onus on them to provide convincing evidence. 

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37 minutes ago, Joshpantera said:

 

I could just say that we haven't found anything convincing enough to want to join. And then leave it up him to try and convince me if that's where he's headed. I can politely point out why I find the arguments not so convincing. That seems fair enough, if done respectfully in real time. It puts the onus on them to provide convincing evidence. 

Is it really not ok to just disclose that you're non religious?

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23 minutes ago, TruthSeeker0 said:

Is it really not ok to just disclose that you're non religious?

 

I have had other people ask me where I go to church after leaving SDAism. And I've told them that I don't go to any church. Or that I'm no longer a fan of organized religion. I haven't had anyone try and press further. I generally like to avoid being too abrasive in business contexts. 

 

This HVAC wants remodeling done at his home, so I'll be there either doing some of it myself or at least sending subs to take care of it. I suspect there will be further dialogue. And I'll post whatever comes out. 

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The contractor got into some interesting stuff tonight. He explained how all dinosaur fossils and eggs are a hoax, made in China. To the extent that Lucy is a hoax. And all similar fossils given as evidence for evolution. Museum fossils, fake news basically. The devil being behind the whole shebang.

 

There's no reason to even argue or disagree with this guy. He's sold 100% I just took in the information. And it was wild! No mention of the Family. But he is Baptist. He was a non-religious guy who was baptized by SDA's originally after attending one of their revelation seminars. He eventually saw holes in the theology. Then moved on and wound up settling down as Baptist. There's even more, but I'm not going to post it on the public forums until I try and verify what was said. It was over the top, I'll say that much. 

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