In responding to a phone message left by a potential customer I called back to see what they wanted. We discussed what they were looking for and whether I could accommodate their woodworking request. Then there was this: "So what church do you go to?" I explained that I was not religious and therefore had no need to attend any church. They commented that they would leave a "pew" open for me.

Is it just ignorant southern U.S. fundamentalist Christians that make these assumptions about individuals they have never met or spoke with or does this go on throughout the world? Do Hindus and Sikhs in India make similar inquiries with their fellow citizens? These people are so brainwashed and indoctrinated with their feeble ideologies that they make stupid assumptions without realizing the error of their thinking. Around here saying you're a Wiccan is almost like saying your father was Anton LaVey; I think I might start using that line in response to these fundamentalists.     

Views: 467

Comment by Belle Rose on February 16, 2015 at 1:11pm
It's only in the south Ed, lol!!

I've never lived in the south (only traveled there)....but I have lived in the southwest and pacific northwest, and from my experience (although my experience may be limited) people don't do that. It's almost considered rude, especially during a business call.

Only in the south......

Comment by Davis Goodman on February 16, 2015 at 1:17pm

In the Muslim world I got asked this question all the time...Iran, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Morocco though far less in the UAE (Dubai) and Turkey. Dozens of times a day in Iran rarely in Istanbul. However during all those months I was in numerous muslim countries only a handful of times did anyone really try to play up Islam and tell me how truly amazing it was. Zero pressure at all in terms of converting. I experienced way more of this in the United States. However, if I said I was an atheist I got a look from people as though I had just taken their scarf and blown my nose into it. It wasn't evil in their mind or necessarily awful...just so odd and slightly scary that it took a really long time to get to grips that it was possible and there might just maybe be an explanation behind it.

I was never asked in India or Sri Lanka (during three months). Nor was I ever asked in Oriental Asian countries (Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia). No where in Asia outside of the Muslim world did anyone talk about their faith unless asked and even then they didn't really care much to talk about it.

In the United States and very once in a while in Canada...Christians would start talking to me about god on a street corner, on a bus or plane, in a shop.

In Europe I almost never get asked such a question by someone I haven't gotten to know as a friend and I almost never ask it. I don't bring up religion or atheism unless someone else does. Almost always we talk about the silliness of religion (I can count my really religious friends and colleagues on one hand) and if a respectful Christian points out they are Christian but doesn't argue or defend or play up their world view...we stop talking about it all together.

Comment by Reg The Fronkey Farmer on February 16, 2015 at 4:46pm

On a visit to Atlanta about ten years ago I was admiring an old Cadillac (1959) and engaged in a conversation about it with the owner. Within a few minutes he asked me “was I saved”? I asked him “from what”? He gave me a disdainful look but continued to explain what he meant. I still looked confused and said I did not know who “Our Lord” was because I had only arrived in America about 45 minutes earlier.

 He did not know what to say next and I started to slowly back away. He tried to explain more about what he meant but I wished him a great day and walked away more quickly before my inner grin hit my face. He had assumed that I knew what he meant by God and Jesus and was baffled that I knew nothing of what he was talking about. The look of confusion on his face was priceless.

Christians make this assumption everywhere. They assume we know about their God because they think that his existence is obvious. It is that assumption that makes them say dumbass things like “Why do you deny God’s existence”.

I think it is only the Evangelical types that are so forthright in asking direct questions like that or assuming that I (we) are Christians because almost everyone they know is one. They define themselves with this delusion they believe to be real and it becomes their raison d’etre.  

On a more recent visit to Georgia (last Nov.) my nephew asked his father what the “Bibble” was (yes Bibble).  His father was delighted (as was I) that he had not yet heard of the Bible after spending the last number of years in a local school. So there is hope. I will tell my Alabama story another time :-)

I once spent Christmas Day in a Mosque on the edge of the Sahara and had a pleasant day with the local Muslims as I encountered them. They did not care to ask what I did or did not believe.

Comment by James Cox on February 16, 2015 at 11:27pm

The sense of superiority, or the 'chosen', needs not to be the purogative only of 'theists'.

Comment by Reg The Fronkey Farmer on February 17, 2015 at 2:55am

I once heard the reason why they wear crucifixes is to remind themselves that Jesus died for their sins….just in case they were to forget that part :-)

Comment by Ed on February 17, 2015 at 8:33am

@ Davis

It was surprising to hear that Muslims do, in fact, act similar to Xtians in regard to questioning a stranger about their religiosity. I know this will sound odd, but I don't think a Muslim or Hindu would annoy me as much as these southern Christians.

As a sidenote- I listen to an ESPN sports talk station (not much else to choose from, unfortunately) in my workshop, whenever the local sports jock is on he always manages to find an opportunity to interject something about church; like visiting a mega church when attending an out of town game. They always want to keep Jebus at the forefront with the numerous local religious commercial spots and what not.  I have often thought about calling in and asking whether them whether they believe their god gives a shite about who wins a sporting event.

Comment by Davis Goodman on February 17, 2015 at 8:47am

There is a fundamental difference between how I was questioned by a Muslim in Iran and a stranger on a street car in Seattle. 

Tehran: So what do you believe?

Seattle: You know that Jesus is in your heart right?

This is basically how the conversations went most of the time.

Iranian: What do you believe?

Me: Well I believe in many things.

Iranian: Okay.

That could be the end of the conversation.

On a plane in the US:

Stranger: Have you found Jesus.

Me: I have a friend from Spain named Jesus.

Stranger: No. I'm talking about the Lord Jesus Christ.

Me: Oh...that character from a book.

Stranger: He is so much more than a character.

Me: I do not want to and will not talk with you about your religious beliefs. Please stop.

Stranger: It's not just a belief.

Me: I will go ask a flight attendant to move me if you don't leave me alone.

Stranger: Fine fine. It's your own soul. Would you like a peppermint patty? I have a whole bunch of those.

Me: Yes. I'd like one. As long as there are no conditions.

Stranger: No can have a whole bunch of peppermint patties.

Me: Thanks

Stranger: So........................


Eventually I changed seats and I was moved into an economy plus seat (a small upgrade with more leg room) for free.

Comment by Strega on February 17, 2015 at 9:42am
I think I usurped Jesus once. I was on a small plane headed London to Cologne, and the air turbulence was spectacularly prevalent. There were about 60 passengers on the plane.

After a pretty significant gust and rattle, people around me started crying and wailing and praying. I yelled out "don't worry, *I* am NOT going to crash so just hang on to me because I will be fine". Two girls to my right grabbed my arm, as did the girl across the aisle. Then people started grabbing their arms and we had a virtual network of arms all clutching other arms, all leading to mine.

Clearly we didn't crash. Ironically, the pilots announcement after landing was the usual "thank you for choosing Lufthansa, we hope you enjoyed your flight, and look forward to flying you again". Most of those people were probably never going to get into an aircraft again, judging by the runway kissing that went on outside the plane.
Comment by Davis Goodman on February 17, 2015 at 11:24am

Your story is awesome. :)

Comment by James Cox on February 17, 2015 at 12:46pm

As a student, I was a philosophy minor and coordinated the campus 'SOS'(campus Atheists, ~1982) group.

During a park blocks 'campus groups' fair, our SOS group held our 'Pop God' display. We sold for $.25, a balloon with a pin attached by thread, with the words 'Pop God' writen on it. These sold rather well, but then the campus Christian group noticed and they were not pleased. Then a very funny thing happen, the campus Muslim group came over and tried to protect us from the Christians! I stood dumbfounded, trying to understand, with the hope that they would not come to blows!

I still wonder what came over the Muslims to care? Were they looking for our future conversion? Did they hate the Christians more than I could could ever muster? Did 'Pop God' mean some thing different to Muslims, than to Christians? Was the moon to be full that night, and crazy had begun to increase? Did the tuna in the caffeteria go bad?

We never did this again, and I think I missed the opportunity to discuss deep matters with the Muslims, before Bush and crew messed it up.



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