Maybe it's just my perception, but it sure seems that recently religion is getting pushed into my life (and home, and work, ...) more and more. Or perhaps my awareness of it is going up. I would consider this a good thing (increased awareness is good, regardless of topic) but I'm finding it more difficult to cope.

Just a few examples:

I've hinted to my mother (but only gently, because I'm not yet ready to catch those pieces) that I'm an atheist. And yet she sent me a holiday card with "JESUS" embossed on the front. Okay, perhaps that's the reason for your season, but not mine, thanks anyway. What to say? Nothing? I have a hard time denying who I am, and not responding seems to be exactly that.

I work in technology. Currently I'm troubleshooting reliability problems we are having with microSD cards. During a meeting yesterday I stated my progress on what I termed the "SD card revival test" (meaning, is it possible to automatically fix these cards in the field?). The hardware guy commented "Sounds religious to me", which might not mean that much other than the fact that he's got his religious books on his bookshelf at work, and everyone else in the room belongs to the same religion, and his comment was specifically intended to get a knowing chuckle from his fellow church members. I'm the one outsider. I wanted to comment back with a zinger, but for some reason refrained. I'm secure (valuable) enough in my work that I could get away with any retort I wanted. But I am logical, and logical retorts take longer to make than brainless religious ones. Or am I missing something?

My son's great-grandparents just sent over Valentine's candies taped to cards with a cute kitty and puppy snuggling, and the words "God made us friends" on the front, and "God is love" on the back. I hate the tendency to attribute everything to god. If we're friends, that's due to our own commonalities and our work at building the friendship. And god most certainly is not love, at least not the Christian god. I would love to point out a few contrary verses to these people, and yet they are in their 70s.

I've even had a coworker say to me, after I expressed some skepticism on a religious thing he was saying, (and I quote), "Tsk, tsk, tsk, Chuck, you'll learn." How condescending is that?

Perhaps my difficulty is that the social norm seems to be that religious people are free to push their views, but pushing back is somehow... hurtful (in the case of family)? Or perhaps inappropriate (in the case of work)? But it should be a two way street.

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Comment by Jonel Burge on February 16, 2011 at 4:15am

I will assume you have seen Fight Club.

But in case you haven't, I will avoid the major spoilers in it, and focus on the bits and pieces that are important for this point.

In it, he starts a club for fighting with Tyler Durden. Durden is important later, but at one point, midway through the movie, a claim is made "Yes, these bruises are from fighting, yes, I'm okay with that. I am enlightened.". The movie itself starts with the distaste the narrator has for the consumer society, single servings, the ikea furniture he owns(which I gotta say, is amazingly well done, even if I hate the movie), but, the idea of pain, of sacrifice, of their fighting each weekend being their "enlightenment" or for all of them, their coping mechanism with how unsatisfied they are with their life.

Now, would you say it's okay for a bunch of grown men to get together in a room and beat each other to bleed and break bones, is an okay coping mechanism?

How about a coping mechanism where they fast, for days on end, and eat an unbalanced, limited diet?(pro-ana websites claim their disease as a coping mechanism)

How about their "god"? I say, it would be fine, if it couldn't be used to control, influence, and destroy other people's lives based on what the moral minority wants the majority to conform to. It'd be fine, if this coping mechanism wasn't used to cast out people from the community based on looks or small, tiny things--such as the belief in jesus. I've never, ever, ever believed that such an individual existed, so for lots of christians, even if I believed in god, you know, that's NOT ENOUGH, it's that tiny thing, that's all that matters, and of course, beyond that, it doesn't matter how you act--you believe in their fictional slaughtered pig or you don't get to live in their world.

As well, in Fight Club, women are excluded, women cannot fight, women cannot know about it, it is a boys-only, testosterone-fueled race to status and manlines

Comment by Bryan B on February 16, 2011 at 9:21am
You have a right to demand respect for your beliefs and to demand it from your friends, family and coworkers. Its a two way street. Maybe remind them that "Due onto others..." is very true. If they aren't going to respect your beliefs (or lack of) then you are under no obligation to respect theirs.
Comment by Heather Spoonheim on February 17, 2011 at 5:46am
You sound young and so I must say that it has been my experience that over the years I've found it necessary to be really choosy when picking my battles.  You'll never get respect for your beliefs from any of the serious born-agains because that's not what they are about.  Often the best you can do is make them uncomfortable enough with their religious references to at least keep them to a minimum when you are around.  As for family, well they will feel it's their job to 'save' you and if they are really religious then they will actually push until you cut off all communication with them.  Even years after I stopped all communication with my mother, she would have strangers from other churches write me letters telling me all about god's love and stuff like that.  I managed to put a stop to that, and haven't spoken to her since the mid-nineties, but if I saw her in the street the first words out of her mouth would be something about god.  I've just come to accept that some of them are so indoctrinated that they are no longer capable of reason or appropriate interaction with anyone outside of the cult.  It's best to just focus on your sane friends as much as possible.
Comment by Chuck C on February 17, 2011 at 9:38pm

Thanks for the comment, Heather.  I suppose my hardest problem is family; my mother in particular is a fundie and thinks I need to be saved, and yet she avoids conflict, which means she won't talk.  I hate that.  I want things out in the open, and I want to use reason to hash through things.

Agreed that it's best to focus on the sane friends.  I suppose I'm still working out the transition, so to speak.  Sane friends are few and far between!

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