I am sure this is not a new issue to most.  It was tough getting through December.  It seems like everyone at work is Christian.  I get along get with my co-workers, but feel if they knew I was Atheist, some would treat me differently.  I am usually not afraid to speak my mind.  But, since this is a new job, I have been avoiding discussing religion.  When people would wish me "Merry Christmas",  I would just say same to you and walk away.  But this made me feel bad, because I felt I was not being true to myself, like I am an "in the closet Atheist".  I don't feel a need to annouce to everyone my beliefs.  Though if someone at work were to ask me what religion I am or if I go to church, I would tell them the truth.  Do you think it is better to avoid situations?  I don't like confrontation. 

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Remain silent and be firm atheist
Good advice.  I am happy with who I am.   

Jean Marie,

I am nurse at a outpatient clinic now.  I worked quite a few years in Long Term Care.  I think it is different for nurses in the workplace.  When I used to work with patients dealing with end of life issues, I too did not discuss my views with them.  I just usually listened and let them talk.  I agree with you and wish everyone would leave their religious and politics at home.  Work should just be work. 

In my experience it was when I was asked by a co-worker if I believed in god I couldn't lie, I told him NO, and thats when it started. They do treat you differently. It was hard for me to do it and im not sure it was a good idea. I was shuned like a leppor and systematically preasured to leave my job. It was an injury that was my final doom, but that was five years ago and Im still not sure I made the rite decision.

I'd have told him : sure I do, but I spell it differently - NATURE.

Maybe is was your spelling that caused your downfall.   :-)

Cheryl, I'm pretty much in the same boat.  I work in an office building with hundreds of christians (and being in IT I end up interacting with most of them), so to wear an Atheist Badge of Pride (so to speak) at all times would be social suicide, they say they won’t treat you differently...but they do...especially in the South.  Now that being said I don’t hide it if I’m asked, I’ve told a few people here that I am an Atheist but that was only after they asked me.  I think its better (or at least more peaceful) to not advertise it, but you don’t have to hide it.  No need to shake the boat if that not your intention.  I was shy about coming out at first, but after years I just got tired of pretending that I shared in the belief of a Sky Daddy.  Now in my personal life and outside work, oh hell yeah I wear my tattoo with pride, but as the saying goes, don’t shit where you eat, and the workplace is a huge cafeteria… only because you need a job…you know to eat and stuff.

HEHE- It's a ship....the boat is what you get on when the ship is sinking.

Working on a cruise ship especially around the X-mas season can be very demanding, as many people miss home and family get togethers around that time- religious, or not, as in my case.

With up to 4000 + passengers and 1500 crew on some of the biggest ships, there is almost every belief represented onboard. Plus we have to be very PC around the guests (holidays or not). Many of the guests are out cruising to get away from the season at home- others on a cruise bought by their kids because they don't want Mom and Dad to ruin x-mas at their house again this year.

It's amazing to see people pay thousands of dollars and travel thousands of miles - just to have a new place to complain.


When passengers or crew say Merry Christmas, or Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa etc... I say it back to them and add all the rest including Happy Winter Solstice, Reasons Greatings, Merry Mythmas, a few other Pastafarian references and a HEMPY New Year- they go by so fast they say thanx and move on. 


As a musician, I have to play music with religious words at times- X-mas being one. I just make up my own lyrics.


I wasn't brought up religious and I love what is called Christmas by some. It never had anything to do with Chist, Virgins, Reserection, or religion in my house.

Family, food and toys- it's still about that- just my toys are more expensive and I have to buy them myself.


I have also been Athey Claus on the ship 4 times. What would the audience say if they knew- Santa was an atheist?!?!?!

One time as Santa, after the whole "show"  with kids and kids of all ages, a very pinched face lady came up to me (Atheist Santa) and said:


Yes- Ho Ho Ho- How can I help you?

-You do realize that one of "those" kids that sat on your lap was JEWISH don't you?

Ho Ho No I didn't- why would that matter to me?

-Well he's JEWISH!!!

Um Ho Ho Ho- Your point being?

-Well he's Jewish and the only reason he sat on Santa's lap was to get a free t-shirt!!! He's Jewish and your Christian, you shouldn't have let that kid sit on your lap!!!

Well actually. I'm part of a lot of myths rolled into one around the Winter Solstice and dress in the red outfit after a Coka-Cola Ad. And well, Ho Ho Ho - I see where you are going with this and all I can, and must say is "How very Christian of you, have a good life Ho.....ho ho" and strolled around the ship singing "Here Comes Athey Claus" right down Athey Claus Lane. Spreading Reason, Spreading knowledge, with science as his game- along with the children and parents...

I'm quite surprised she did not report that to the Cruise Director - Hopefully I shamed her enough.


Also working on a ship- you don't get to go "home" after a day at work- the ship is home for anywhere from 4-10 months a contract- so talking politics and religion are frowned upon- but it gets brought up. Religious people just can't help themselves.


I don't usually start a "conversation" about religion "at work"- but I speak my mind if asked..

I guess like all situations, use discretion about what you say and to whom.







If I were you I'd take Gopi's advice up above.  Unless the workplace dominates your life and/or coworkers happen to be close friends, the people you work with have no business knowing your religious preferences.  It's like picking battles; if you were to share all your convictions with every stranger you met than of course you run into arguments and stress yourself out needlessly.  It isn't worth your time, your energy, or your job security to confide in people who may not respect you and definitely won't see things your way after just one conversation (people almost never do).  So what if you have to be a little dishonest from time to time?  I've flown under the radar like this at my work for four years.  My closest friends, my family, and my girlfriend know that I'm an atheist and my coworkers are none the wiser.  Works for me just fine.

Tell them that you 'belong to' a church which doesn't exist in the town in which you live. Maybe Unitarian or Pastafarian. :-)

Work is not the place for religious battles. I think your approach is appropriate. Unless someone confronts you directly about your beliefs, I personally wouldn’t feel obligated to say anything. As for the “merry Christmas” thing… I usually respond “happy holidays.” If you think about it, it’s really not a big deal. Christmas has become rather secular. It’s just an excuse to be with family and to buy shit, and for kids it’s a break from school and a chance to get the latest shiny object. Even a lot of the Christmas songs are secular. Pick and choose your battles.


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