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.
I find myself in that situation often. To be honest I simply dread meeting new people because of it. I'm not in the least ashamed of my atheism. What I don't want is another imaginary friend situation. But it's inevitable for the most part. I always do try my best to be as polite as possible on a first meeting/impression with someone. Further interaction will of course reveal my non-belief. After knowing anyone past a first meeting I do come out quickly as a non-believer when I hear the "oh, thank god" salute. I usually ask a perfectly rational question which sometimes gets accepted for what it is. Like, "Do you really think that god works on such a molecular level that he made me find your roof leak, while children get cancer, or beaten, or raped or murdered?".
Sometimes the replies can be really sickening though. "That's the devils work, That's not god's work". Makes me want to shake them, shake them really hard.
I actually found myself refraining on Saturday. Met a new client for yard work who kept telling me "god bless you for doing this". Must have been ten times. But she never did ask me about god. She's just not able to do the work herself any more. There should be future meeting as the clients were very happy with the work and plan to use us on a regular basis. It's gonna come up eventually.
Thanks for a great topic. It's got me thinking about something I normally don't. I just kinda roll on instinct.
RE: "That's the devils work, That's not god's work" - have you asked them who created "the devil"?
I have. The phone number I have right now, apparently belonged to someone who did a lot for this church, not far from where I live. Every now and then I get a phone call from someone looking for this person that I've never met. For the purpose of this will call him Bob.
The phone call goes something like this, "High this is (the church, I don't really care about the name so I don't bother to remember it) Is this Bob?"
In a very polite and cheerful tone, I answer, "No, I'm a gay, liberal, Atheist, May I help you understand the world today?"
The ensuing stutters or stupefied silence always brightens up my day. :D
I feel inspired now to design some kind of Pastafarian business card that takes a loooong time to read and comprehend, or is written in some kind of made-up language that can't be understood. A graphic on it might look like a church, but with an FSM logo. And one or two appropriate web addresses.
"Sorry, no speak English. Here, my church, on internet... I eat now..."
I actually enjoy when someone feels compelled to "Share the good word". To me they are just asking to be disabused of their faith and I am usually happy to share my viewpoints on the subject since they were so eager to share theirs.
When someone asks me if I am going to church I have no qualms in saying "No, I don't feel the need to waste my time on a man made deity, I much rather just spent the morning with friends and family or if need be, by myself. Good Day."
I am usually happy to talk to anyone but I find that usually shuts them up pretty quickly.
Just reply with.. "Did you know you can make money selling Amway"? Then ask her if she and her husband would like to get together after church to talk about it.
She'll run away!
Not all of them will run in the other direction. There's an Amway group in Virginia that holds worship service right before their big regional "business meeting". Thus, where there is one, there is bound to be another.