living in jeebusland

For help in being a non-believer or campaigning for secularism while beset by believers. If believers post here they should remember that this is a support forum. There is also a members-only subforum.
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Jobar
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Post by Jobar » Sun Oct 02, 2016 3:37 pm

I make it a policy not to discuss religion or politics with my customers- often I have no idea what they believe, or how they vote. Nor do I need to, of course.

On the very few occasions I've had a current or prospective customer ask about my religion, I usually say I was born in a Southern Baptist family, but don't currently attend any church. But most people, even here in the South, don't make an issue of it.

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Jackrabbit
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Post by Jackrabbit » Sun Oct 02, 2016 7:01 pm

I never discuss religion IRL, except with my brother, the only person who knows for sure I'm atheist.

Just on the internet.

Though it doesn't matter so much now that my parents are gone. The extended family isn't as hard core as they were.
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pobblebonk
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Post by pobblebonk » Sun Oct 02, 2016 7:12 pm

[quote=""Jackrabbit""]I never discuss religion IRL, except with my brother, the only person who knows for sure I'm atheist.

Just on the internet.

Though it doesn't matter so much now that my parents are gone. The extended family isn't as hard core as they were.[/quote]

I have a small family and am far, far away from all of them (both geographically and emotionally). I honestly couldn't care less what they think of my religious views, but there are only a couple of people I'm in contact with, anyway.

I'm part of an atheist Meetup and also a humanist group, so religion is discussed a lot within my circle of friends and acquaintances. Have also had those discussions with a few colleagues (mostly because the biggest a-hole in our department is also a bible-banger.....go figure....)
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Jackrabbit
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Post by Jackrabbit » Sun Oct 02, 2016 8:44 pm

I have a fairly good relationship with my family. I want to keep it that way. Though I won't be seeing them much now that my mom is gone. Most of them are in the Dallas area, and I don't have a place to stay up there now. I do keep in contact on facebook, though.
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DMB
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Post by DMB » Mon Oct 03, 2016 8:54 am

[quote=""Jackrabbit""]
sohy;656075 wrote:I would have felt I was being a jerk if I told this man I didn't believe in his god, when apparently he was motivated by his beliefs to do a good deed. We just let him tell his story without bursting his bubble.
If he really is one of the "good ones", it wouldn't bother him to know that.

That said, there would be no reason to bring it up, unless he wanted you to pray with him or something. So I'm not sure why it was necessary to point out that you didn't tell him. There was no reason to.

This one time (not at band camp, to make a movie reference) I was in a line at Fry's, the electronics place, and got to talking with this guy and his son. It was a long line, so we went on quite a while about computers and shit.

It continued in the parking lot for a while longer, and then he had to go and invite me to his damn church. I was a nice guy, had to be another biblebanger, right? I didn't respond right away, but my negative reaction was pretty obvious. Finally, I said something like "thanks, but I don't go to church. Sorry. Nice talking to you." Continuing would have been awkward, so I went to my car.

There was no need to bring up atheism. There are believers who don't go to church.[/QUOTE]

When I moved to where I currently am, a 90yo woman urged me to accompany her to the local church. She was very keen on the vicar and thought I ought to be too. My reply was my standard "I'm not religious". I like that because it doesn't say anything about my actual beliefs and is fairly noncommittal.

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Ozymandias
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Post by Ozymandias » Mon Oct 03, 2016 1:02 pm

I hate it when people in shops tell me to "have a nice day". I want to tell them to mind their own fucking business. But my wife gets angry at me when I do that.

My wife is religious and I occasionally accompany her to church. I went yesterday in fact. I don't really find it any more irritating or annoying than any other social activity.

In fact, if I am honest, my anger/irritation usually goes in the other direction. When people (e.g. here) claim that all religious people are assholes, I get protective of my wife and feel the need to argue on her behalf.

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Jackrabbit
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Post by Jackrabbit » Mon Oct 03, 2016 2:01 pm

I don't claim all religious people are assholes (though I do think they are clueless). The religious people I consider assholes can be demonstrated to be assholes, based on the things they do: interfering with birth control and LGBT rights, for instance. And all other cases of trying to dictate their warped version of morality to other people.

As rabid as I am regarding religion, I actually had a religious wife too, and we were together ten years.

But she didn't do any of those things and she never boddered me with it. She went to church on sunday morning and that was it. She told me before we were married, accepted the fact that I didn't give a shit about religion, and I never heard a word about religion the entire time we were married.

If all religious people were like that, there would be no reason to pay attention to it at all. It would be like believing in unicorns.
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Jobar
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Post by Jobar » Mon Oct 03, 2016 2:30 pm

Ozy, you may never have experienced it, but there are places where not being part of the proper religion can be not just a source of annoyance, but bloody damn dangerous. Those of us here in the US very seldom even get annoyed any more, although many of us well remember our lack of religious belief being a serious social handicap.

Of course none of us here have experienced anything like the hazards and persecution that a Muslim apostate in an Islamic country might suffer- but that's a difference of degree, not of kind. We know that religion can lead usually good people to do monstrous things.

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Post by sohy » Mon Oct 03, 2016 5:12 pm

[quote=""pobblebonk""]
sohy;656138 wrote:I'm very outspoken about my atheism, when the situation is appropriate. I think it's good for atheists to be open about their atheism. It's best to be open after a person knows and likes you, but there are times when it's appropriate to just blurt it out.
I get sooo aggravated when patients try to talk about religion or politics with me. Actually, I get kind of annoyed when they try to get personal with me at all. Depending on the exam, I could be with a patient for an hour or more, just the two of us. It's not like an MRI where I put you in a machine and stand far away while the machine is working; I'm right there, touching you. It's quiet and dark and largely boring for the patient, so some of them get super chatty. It's distracting at best, but I try to accommodate them to the best of my ability.

A couple of years ago I had an elderly Hispanic man straight out randomly ask me if I believe in God as I was examining him. I was honest; I said no. He looked sad, didn't say much about it other than that we were both doing our jobs (turns out he was a pastor). Typically I don't volunteer that sort of information during patient care, but it was a direct question and I'm not going to lie. The funny thing is that halfway through the exam, I got a nosebleed. He probably thought it was God's wrath! :p [/QUOTE]

The relationship I have with my patients is very different from most nursing jobs. I get to know them very well and sometimes, when they lack a social support network, I am their only close friend. We do discuss politics, but only if they tell me they are Democrats. I have told a few patients in the past that I am an atheist, mostly out of desperation. I do remember one, who died several years ago. She was going on about how Jesus sacrificed his life for us, yadayadayada. I finally told her I didn't believe in god, but I did believe it was important to try and be the best person you could be. She seemed fine with that and we never discussed reliigion again.

I currently have a male patient that I've become friends with, mostly because he is so frustrated that Trump is running and his children as well as most of the other families that visit are Trump supporters. We have a good time discussing politics. He's not at all religious but did say he believes in god. I haven't felt it was appropriate to tell him I'm an atheist since religion has never come up in any of our conversations.

Most of the office personnel know I'm an atheist. It's never caused any problems. There is one older Catholic that I joke with about it. The other older worker is also a Catholic, and a really good person too. We know what each other believes but we enjoy working together, so we never bring up the topic of religion. If they don't start. I don't start. Now that I think of it, several years ago, I had a letter published in the Atlanta Journal concerning my atheism. One of the office people told me she was proud of me. I guess she meant she was proud that I wasn't afraid to say what I thought and also had a letter published.

Speaking of business and religion. We have a plumber in town that has a huge sign on his truck that says "Christian Plumber." My friends and I appreciate the warning. I do find it inappropriate to wear your religion on your sleeve or on your truck. :D

Oh and to DMB's comment. I often say, "I'm not religious" too, if I don't want to get into it with someone. If they ask more, then I tell them the truth but they rarely ask.

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pobblebonk
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Post by pobblebonk » Mon Oct 03, 2016 6:53 pm

When I lived in the southern part of the USA, I noticed a lot of "Christian" businesses. I assume they only want "Christian" customers, so part of me likes that they're so blatant about advertising their faith....I know to take my money elsewhere.

Yeah, I guess I will chat a bit about religion or politics with patients if they initiate and we are like-minded. But if they start in with some diatribe that's the complete opposite of what I believe, I just stay quiet and let them rant. If they ask my opinion, I usually say that I can't give their exam my full attention if I'm talking. That typically quiets them down.

And if they are talking about God because they're sick, scared, or dying, I just let them ramble, of course. My aim is not to take away their comfort.
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Tubby
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Post by Tubby » Mon Oct 03, 2016 7:05 pm

[quote=""sohy""]... so we never bring up the topic of religion. If they don't start I don't start. [/quote]

That's been my face-to-face policy from my mid-30s on.

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Jackrabbit
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Post by Jackrabbit » Mon Oct 03, 2016 7:53 pm

[quote=""sohy""]
Speaking of business and religion. We have a plumber in town that has a huge sign on his truck that says "Christian Plumber." My friends and I appreciate the warning. I do find it inappropriate to wear your religion on your sleeve or on your truck. :D
[/quote]
There's a car repair chain called Christian Brothers Automotive, with a location not that far from me. I often wonder how their rip-off rate compares with heathen facilities. Prolly far higher, since they have customers who have already proved they are gullible before they even show up. :D :D
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MattShizzle
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Post by MattShizzle » Mon Oct 03, 2016 8:29 pm

[quote=""Jackrabbit""]
sohy;656224 wrote: Speaking of business and religion. We have a plumber in town that has a huge sign on his truck that says "Christian Plumber." My friends and I appreciate the warning. I do find it inappropriate to wear your religion on your sleeve or on your truck. :D
There's a car repair chain called Christian Brothers Automotive, with a location not that far from me. I often wonder how their rip-off rate compares with heathen facilities. Prolly far higher, since they have customers who have already proved they are gullible before they even show up. :D :D [/QUOTE]

There's a used car dealership around here that ALWAYS has a bible quote/christian message on the sign. Someone my dad used to work with said he took his car there to try to sell it and the guy tried to rip him off.

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DMB
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Post by DMB » Tue Oct 04, 2016 8:43 am

[quote=""pobblebonk""]
A couple of years ago I had an elderly Hispanic man straight out randomly ask me if I believe in God as I was examining him. I was honest; I said no. He looked sad, didn't say much about it other than that we were both doing our jobs (turns out he was a pastor). Typically I don't volunteer that sort of information during patient care, but it was a direct question and I'm not going to lie. The funny thing is that halfway through the exam, I got a nosebleed. He probably thought it was God's wrath! :p [/quote]

That reminds me of something that happened to me 42 years ago. Mr DMB and I were then living in England and he had never visited Switzerland, so we had a two-week holiday. We went to see my Swiss relations and we visited places where I had lived in the early 1960s. One place I took him was Sion in the canton of Valais. There are two hills, each surmounted by a mediaeval building and we walked up a rocky path on this one:

Image

It was a centre of power for the Catholic church. I said something to Mr DMB about "the dead hand of the Catholic church". The next moment I stumbled on a rock and sprained my ankle very badly. We always said that the hand evidently wasn't that dead.

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Jackrabbit
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Post by Jackrabbit » Fri Oct 14, 2016 3:01 am

[quote=""Jobar""]though I do like your 'Force be with you' reply. :)
[/quote]
I used it again today. The girl at Whataburger was too startled to respond the first time, but today she said "It is, thanks."

Much more fun when we are simply exchanging different forms of silliness.
Moe: "Why don't you get a toupee with some brains in it?" <whack!>

sohy
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Post by sohy » Sat Oct 22, 2016 12:08 pm

I was a somewhat annoyed atheist at work this past Thursday. Since I live in Jebusland, I thought, I'd put the experience here. :)

So, I'm sitting in the office with the manager and in walks the medical assistant that works with the PA. She sits down and tells us that she accidentally stuck herself while putting a needle in the sharps container. She wanted to know if any of the people she had drawn blood on had Hep C. I tell her that as far as we know none of them do, but of course, not everyone has been tested for Hep C.

Then, she goes on to say how one of the residents put her hand on the place where she stuck herself and said something like, "Jesus, don't allow the demons to enter her skin... blah blah blah." Then she tells the office manager, who had some blood in her stool the other day, that all she needs to do is pray and Jesus will make it better. :rolleyes:

I can't take it anymore so I tell her that I think the manager needs more than prayer. Then I tell her that I don't think it's appropriate to bring up politics or religion in the work place unless you are sure that the other person believes the same thing that you do. I add that I'm an atheist. She tells me that she and the manager do believe the same things. I look at her and say, "Yeah but, I don't believe those things and I'm sitting right here too." She gives me a nasty look and then proceeds to discuss something with the manager that is unrelated to work. I interrupt her to ask some work related questions and then leave to visit the residents that I have scheduled for the day.

Later, I feel a little bit guilty because the real reason the manager isn't going to the doctor is because she doesn't have health insurance and her pay is so low that she can't really afford to get the medical care she might need. The woman is only 37 years old and has four children to support. I tell myself that is why so many like her have these strong beliefs. Perhaps false hope is better than no hope at all. At least it helps them cope. I was going to talk to the manager later in the day and encourage her again to see a medical professional about the symptoms of a GI bleed. She left work early so it will have to wait until next week. I hope she will be okay.

If you had the patience to read all of that, how would any of you have reacted if you were sitting in my place? I don't give a shit who knows I am an atheist, and in the past most of my coworkers have respected me, regardless of our different beliefs. Maybe I should have just walked out and let them have their Jesus fest, but I am worried about the manger and this is the second time in a month or two that someone has asked that Jesus heal someone who needed medical care. The other situation happened at the senior center. The woman they prayed for died three weeks later. I guess it's my fault because I refused to participate in the prayer. ;) Actually in that case, the woman was receiving excellent medical care so you could say that both Jesus and science failed her.

Anyway, every once in awhile it can be difficult living in Jebusland, even though I do understand why these folks are the way they are. They need hope and their religion is the place they've been taught to find it. Perhaps the real problem isn't religion, but a lack of access to health care. It's really sad that two people that work in health care have such limited access to care for themselves.

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Jobar
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Post by Jobar » Sat Oct 22, 2016 1:32 pm

I usually don't wear my lack of religion on my sleeve; not because I am in any way ashamed of it, of course, but because I know it disturbs some people. And if they aren't disturbing me, I try not to do it to them.

In your situation, I might have just walked out- but I also might have done just what you did, depending on her tone, and previous interactions with her.

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Post by sohy » Sat Oct 22, 2016 6:16 pm

I don't know her well, but from what others have told me, she can be obnoxious. Of course, we don't plan how to react to such situations, but I tend to think that we do other atheists a disservice when we are silent about our atheism. That is why I tend to be fairly open about what I belief or don't belief. If more of us were open about our atheism, in a respectful way, of course, then perhaps others would be more respectful and understanding that not everyone believes the same things that they do.

I kept thinking to myself, how would they feel if two Muslim women were talking about Allah healing the sick and how important it was to wear the head scarf in front of them or how would they feel if two atheists were sitting there mocking religion. I do have one office friend that refers to herself as a "casual Catholic." She and I sometimes tease each other about our beliefs but it's always done for fun without any bad intentions. I wish we could all do that.

Anyway, I'm going to talk to the manager again on Tuesday and see if I can get her to at least have a stool test done. There is a history of colon cancer in her family and she has had quite a few medical problems. It just pisses me off that so many people in the US have such limited access to health care.

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DMB
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Post by DMB » Sat Oct 22, 2016 10:21 pm

I suppose it's a female thing, but I do try to avoid rows. So for me it doesn't matter if the casus belli is religion or something like more general woo, I still try not to come straight out with what I think.

I won't ever pretend to agree, and if I am directly asked then I'll be open about my views.

Mind you, I do go for the company of people who, like me, enjoy arguments.But that's not the same as being in a work environment where there is not much choice of company.

sohy
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Post by sohy » Sun Oct 23, 2016 1:02 pm

I don't argue about religion at work, although I often tell people that I'm an atheist when religion is thrown at me. That usually works out well for me. In the above case, I was just pointing out that making a big deal about one's beliefs in front of people who may not share those beliefs is rude.

Using prayer in addition to medical treatment is fine. Prayer has been shown to be an effective placebo in some cases. For example, some people have experienced pain relief by praying or meditating. But, I'm quite sure that prayer isn't going to cure a GI bleed, or cancer.

Anyway, I doubt the person understood the point I was trying to make, and luckily I don't have to interact with her very often. I will be very polite the next time I see her. I'm not too worried about my relationship with the manager. It's been a very good one so far and if anything seems different, I will have no problem having a discussion with her and reassuring her that our different beliefs will not have any negative impact on our relationship.

Considering how people in an office environment like to gossip, I'd be surprised if anyone doesn't already know I'm an atheist. I know most of them, probably all of them are Christians because most of them don't make a secret of it. Why should I make a secret of what I believe? I guess the double standard is my primary objection. If they don't talk about it, neither do I. If they don't have a problem talking about what they believe, why should I have a problem talking about what I don't believe? :D

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Jackrabbit
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Post by Jackrabbit » Sun Oct 23, 2016 1:18 pm

The reason for the double standard is because so many people look down on atheists, think they have no morals, think they can't be trusted, yadda yadda. Once they know, they know. And it can affect the relationship.

Sure, not everyone reacts badly to it. But many do. And you don't know which it will be until the information is out. And then it's too late.

It's not us. It's them. I don't care one way or the other about religion unless it's in my face or causing more serious problems in society, i.e. reproductive rights or sexuality issues. But many of them despise atheists. Just because. I see no reason to deliberately open that can of worms. I'd rather just avoid the person(s) involved, or refuse to discuss religion if I can't.

I'll discuss religion online or in the presence of other atheists. That's it. Period.
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DMB
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Post by DMB » Sun Oct 23, 2016 5:32 pm

If the USA continues to follow the path taken by western Europe, in another 30 years the proportion of religious people may have sunk so much that the ones who are left may shut up a bit.

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Jackrabbit
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Post by Jackrabbit » Sun Oct 23, 2016 6:49 pm

Yes, there has been discussion about the steady decline of religion here. Unfortunately for me, by the time religion is no longer a problem, I'll be gone and won't get to enjoy it.
Moe: "Why don't you get a toupee with some brains in it?" <whack!>

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Jobar
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Post by Jobar » Sun Oct 23, 2016 7:59 pm

[quote=""Jackrabbit""]The reason for the double standard is because so many people look down on atheists, think they have no morals, think they can't be trusted, yadda yadda. Once they know, they know. And it can affect the relationship.

Sure, not everyone reacts badly to it. But many do. And you don't know which it will be until the information is out. And then it's too late.

It's not us. It's them. I don't care one way or the other about religion unless it's in my face or causing more serious problems in society, i.e. reproductive rights or sexuality issues. But many of them despise atheists. Just because. I see no reason to deliberately open that can of worms. I'd rather just avoid the person(s) involved, or refuse to discuss religion if I can't.

I'll discuss religion online or in the presence of other atheists. That's it. Period.[/quote]

I've known and talked to atheists that hate the religious. Who would go so far as to repeal the US First Amendment, and persecute priests of all faiths for fraud. Not just secular, but actively anti-religious.

That sort are more rare, and less voluble, than are believers who would really like to see a new Inquisition of some sort, complete with public hangings and burnings of atheists. But they do exist.

As to discussions with believers- I have known a few, IRL and online, that seem to honestly enjoy religious disputation with an unbeliever, and can carry on such disputes civilly. But not many.

I enjoy deep discussion, and argument done in ways that may change my mind in beneficial ways- or which might so benefit my interlocutor. Dispute is worthwhile if there's some chance someone gets educated or enlightened. So I regret how hard it is to talk to most believers about these things. I wish there were more believers willing to post at SC and other skeptics' boards, and that we were made more welcome at the ones they run. And I wish there were more believers I could talk to productively IRL.

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Tubby
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Post by Tubby » Sun Oct 23, 2016 8:12 pm

[quote=""Jobar""]I wish there were more believers willing to post at SC [/quote]

I feel we're disappointingly low on believers this year. Two or three active ones would be fun. Also wouldn't mind seeing some political conservatives (with whom I actually agree on a few issues) here as well.

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