I’ve been working out of town, in Lynchburg Virginia, the past two weeks and staying in a motel. Every morning I go downstairs to have my breakfast. This past Sunday I was eating breakfast and there was a woman standing by the microwave which was close to my table. “How are you this morning?” she asked.  “I’m fine, thank you” I responded, I’m the type of person who doesn’t like to talk in the morning. I’m also a live and let live person and am always polite, but I wasn’t interested in getting into a conversation.
    “We came here to go to the church across the street,” (Thomas Road Baptist Church, the one Jerry Falwell founded) “we came to hear (somebody?) Sing.” I didn’t say anything.
    “Are you going to church today?”
    “No I’ve got to work today.” I said, hoping she would get her food and go sit down somewhere.
    “Well you know the lord don’t you?”
    Oh brother, I thought, I really didn’t want to go there. “Oh yeah, “I lied wishing this to be over. I was getting irritated now. I really didn’t want  to get into a discussion about beliefs .
    “That’s what I’m all about, this life isn’t all there is you know.”
    This whole encounter I felt like was an invasion of my privacy. I would have liked to have told the woman to mind her own business, but I really just wanted to finish my breakfast in peace.
    I’m just wondering if any of you have had a similar experience, and how you handled it, or how I may have handled this differently.

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Just today I was interrogated about my religious beliefs at work. I work with the public. I ended up coping out and saying "I was raised Catholic," and grunting and "ummm-hmmm-ing" in affirmation through the rest of the conversation. I felt a little shitty for lying but I did not need to be evangelized today, which was already a tough day. I also do not need to deal with any blow-back at my place of work either. Apparently I am very good at lying (for shame, damnit!) and swallowing my frustration--the customer thanked me for being "so genuine." Christ on a fucking unicycle!!!

It really pisses me off. I'm working. I'm a captive audience. I have to be polite to you. Part of my job is to steer conversations away from heated topics like religion, so I can help my customers. It's not the time or place. In addition, why do people feel it is appropriate to ask such personal questions of strangers? If I weren't working, I might have decided to grill him on his voting record, his diet, or his spending habits.

Thank you, Keith. Thank you TA. I really needed to get this off of my chest. 

I wonder what would happen if you leered at them and said, "I'm a Moonie".

Not surprised.  Lynchburg, VA is Falwell territory with Liberty University being there and a strong presence of the SBC.  If you've ever been on the Liberty Campus, they have an area in the student Union that is like walking into religious temple dedicated to Falwell - very idolistic and disgusting how they worship that man.  The only voices critical over there seems to be their local newspaper, which I understand gets negative attention from the community when they expose something hypocritical about the university and the faculty - at least, that was my interpretation from speaking with a professor there that held an obvious disdain for the paper.

I was there a few years ago because the university does a New Years celebration there and the first church I had worked at liked having there youth go.  The youth and I didn't exactly "fit in" with that crowd.

Perhaps she was just trying to make conversation. I'd have likely continued the conversation to the extent she wanted, but been honest about my atheism to the extent it was relevant. I don't particularly like small talk or church talk, but it feels like people are becoming too cloistered and too unable to meet with disagreement. This would be an opportunity to act contrary to those trends.

"Oh no, ma'am. I'm not Christian." in a completely polite voice. Just like telling someone you're allergic to shellfish or you don't eat meat. If pressed, I usually follow up with, "We don't associate with any religion that condones blood sacrifices or bigotry, but thanks so much for your concern. I know it comes from a good place. "  And look apologetically horrified while backing away.

Excellent!  They probably are still realizing what it is you've said waaaaay after you've finished saying it.

"I avoid religions that promote ritualized canibalism."

I would have just simply told her, "Thank you for that, but I'm an atheist and not really interested. Thanks all the same, have a nice day"

@Kieth, I think I'd have done exactly the same.  Its nice to think up witty quips, and they're fun, but faced with reality, I think I'd feel too unkind if I was rude.

When confronted by like minded people I say: "Please take your delusions to someone more credulous than I".  It usually confounds them and they simply wander away.

I believe these people who ask if you know the lord somehow think they will get an extra fluffy pillow to lounge upon on that cloud in the afterlife. It is socially responsible to be polite I suppose but it's much more rewarding to "blow their hair back" with a retort about your pastafarian membership in the FSM church.

Hehe...I love how the first thing you said sounds so much like that Serenity clip.

"You best make peace with your dear and fluffy lord."

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