Kindness mistaken for Christianity
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07-08-2017, 02:55 PM
Kindness mistaken for Christianity
TL;DR:
I gave a homeless guy money and as a result he assumed I was a christian. When I told him I was an atheist, he nearly shat his britches.

My office is near a park where a lot of homeless people hang out during the day. I usually use my breaks to take walks and often stroll through that park. As a result, I have gotten to know several of the regulars on a first name basis. I rarely give out cash as I rarely carry any on me. The regulars know this and have stopped asking. But they also know that if they catch me around lunch time that I will often buy them lunch and sit and eat with them. This has made me somewhat popular there and as a result I often question whether my motive is true altruism or ego. To be honest, I suppose it is a little of both. Nevertheless, I've never discussed religion with them. One or two of them know I am atheist and couldn't care less, but most of them just get a polite nod when they instruct me to "have a blessed day" or whatever. Anyway...

This afternoon, I was sitting on the curb outside of my place of work having a smoke when this homeless guy comes walking by. As most of the non-regulars do, he goes into his pre-begging spiel about being a wounded veteran, down on hard times, etc, etc. I listen to him finish up his story and assure him that, while I appreciate his service and sympathize with his plight, he doesn't have to convince me that he deserves help. A little perplexed by this revelation, he nonetheless soldiers on to the real point of his story which is to ask for directions to the nearby salvation army and for anything I can spare for a meal. I just happened to have a couple of dollars on me, so I looked up directions for him on my phone and then pulled out a couple of dollars. He was quite lavish with his thanks and rounded it out with "Thank you, sir! You are a good christian man!"
I replied matter-of-factly, "Actually, I am not a christian. I am an atheist. And, I believe in helping others any time I able."
He just stared at me for a moment as though I had suddenly grown an extra head. Then he blinked, regained his senses, and nervously said "Well, thank you anyway."
This last was said even as he was performing a crisp about-face maneuver before speed walking in the general direction of the salvation army. I can only presume that he must be thinking I was about to sprout horns and consume his soul at any moment.
It took quite a bit of self-control not to call out "Have a blessed day!" at him as he scurried away. Because that would have been mean, I guess.

Just another reminder that, here in the deep South, atheism is still akin to demon possession or devil worship and charity is assumed to be divinely inspired. Gotta love it.

I just wanted to let you know that I love you even though you aren't naked right now. Heart
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07-08-2017, 05:51 PM
RE: Kindness mistaken for Christianity
I do those random things too when I can and get a lot of "bless you" things in return.
Just appreciating the thought. They mean well I guess. I haven't felt the need to say that I am not a believer.

"Freedom is the freedom to say that 2+2=4" - George Orwell (in 1984)
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07-08-2017, 05:53 PM
RE: Kindness mistaken for Christianity
It's interesting that the converse of this situation never seems to arise. If a believer is being bastardly nobody says that they're acting like an atheist. Consider

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07-08-2017, 06:46 PM
RE: Kindness mistaken for Christianity
(07-08-2017 05:51 PM)Leerob Wrote:  I do those random things too when I can and get a lot of "bless you" things in return.
Just appreciating the thought. They mean well I guess. I haven't felt the need to say that I am not a believer.

No, I normally just accept the "god bless' comments with a smile and a nod. It was his incorrect assertion "You are a good christian man" that triggered my response. I just felt I needed to correct him and let him know that non-christians are good people too. I didn't mean to scare him. But his response was quite comical.

I just wanted to let you know that I love you even though you aren't naked right now. Heart
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07-08-2017, 07:14 PM
RE: Kindness mistaken for Christianity
It's part of the narrative of so many, especially in the US...Christian=good and good=Christian...'cause only belief in God can guide you to be a good person. Facepalm

Good on ya for helping people out and most of all showing them respect that they probably don't get very often. Thumbsup

See here they are the bruises some were self-inflicted and some showed up along the way. - JF
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07-08-2017, 08:40 PM
RE: Kindness mistaken for Christianity
(07-08-2017 02:55 PM)TurkeyBurner Wrote:  TL;DR:
I gave a homeless guy money and as a result he assumed I was a christian. When I told him I was an atheist, he nearly shat his britches.

My office is near a park where a lot of homeless people hang out during the day. I usually use my breaks to take walks and often stroll through that park. As a result, I have gotten to know several of the regulars on a first name basis. I rarely give out cash as I rarely carry any on me. The regulars know this and have stopped asking. But they also know that if they catch me around lunch time that I will often buy them lunch and sit and eat with them. This has made me somewhat popular there and as a result I often question whether my motive is true altruism or ego. To be honest, I suppose it is a little of both. Nevertheless, I've never discussed religion with them. One or two of them know I am atheist and couldn't care less, but most of them just get a polite nod when they instruct me to "have a blessed day" or whatever. Anyway...

This afternoon, I was sitting on the curb outside of my place of work having a smoke when this homeless guy comes walking by. As most of the non-regulars do, he goes into his pre-begging spiel about being a wounded veteran, down on hard times, etc, etc. I listen to him finish up his story and assure him that, while I appreciate his service and sympathize with his plight, he doesn't have to convince me that he deserves help. A little perplexed by this revelation, he nonetheless soldiers on to the real point of his story which is to ask for directions to the nearby salvation army and for anything I can spare for a meal. I just happened to have a couple of dollars on me, so I looked up directions for him on my phone and then pulled out a couple of dollars. He was quite lavish with his thanks and rounded it out with "Thank you, sir! You are a good christian man!"
I replied matter-of-factly, "Actually, I am not a christian. I am an atheist. And, I believe in helping others any time I able."
He just stared at me for a moment as though I had suddenly grown an extra head. Then he blinked, regained his senses, and nervously said "Well, thank you anyway."
This last was said even as he was performing a crisp about-face maneuver before speed walking in the general direction of the salvation army. I can only presume that he must be thinking I was about to sprout horns and consume his soul at any moment.
It took quite a bit of self-control not to call out "Have a blessed day!" at him as he scurried away. Because that would have been mean, I guess.

Just another reminder that, here in the deep South, atheism is still akin to demon possession or devil worship and charity is assumed to be divinely inspired. Gotta love it.

I've had Christianity assumed of me simply because I'm being decent. Like you, I give a polite "No, I'm not a believer, but I do like to help" and let them figure it out on their own time.

Their assumptions say much more about themselves than me. I'm good with that.
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07-08-2017, 08:42 PM
RE: Kindness mistaken for Christianity
(07-08-2017 08:40 PM)Thumpalumpacus Wrote:  
(07-08-2017 02:55 PM)TurkeyBurner Wrote:  TL;DR:
I gave a homeless guy money and as a result he assumed I was a christian. When I told him I was an atheist, he nearly shat his britches.

My office is near a park where a lot of homeless people hang out during the day. I usually use my breaks to take walks and often stroll through that park. As a result, I have gotten to know several of the regulars on a first name basis. I rarely give out cash as I rarely carry any on me. The regulars know this and have stopped asking. But they also know that if they catch me around lunch time that I will often buy them lunch and sit and eat with them. This has made me somewhat popular there and as a result I often question whether my motive is true altruism or ego. To be honest, I suppose it is a little of both. Nevertheless, I've never discussed religion with them. One or two of them know I am atheist and couldn't care less, but most of them just get a polite nod when they instruct me to "have a blessed day" or whatever. Anyway...

This afternoon, I was sitting on the curb outside of my place of work having a smoke when this homeless guy comes walking by. As most of the non-regulars do, he goes into his pre-begging spiel about being a wounded veteran, down on hard times, etc, etc. I listen to him finish up his story and assure him that, while I appreciate his service and sympathize with his plight, he doesn't have to convince me that he deserves help. A little perplexed by this revelation, he nonetheless soldiers on to the real point of his story which is to ask for directions to the nearby salvation army and for anything I can spare for a meal. I just happened to have a couple of dollars on me, so I looked up directions for him on my phone and then pulled out a couple of dollars. He was quite lavish with his thanks and rounded it out with "Thank you, sir! You are a good christian man!"
I replied matter-of-factly, "Actually, I am not a christian. I am an atheist. And, I believe in helping others any time I able."
He just stared at me for a moment as though I had suddenly grown an extra head. Then he blinked, regained his senses, and nervously said "Well, thank you anyway."
This last was said even as he was performing a crisp about-face maneuver before speed walking in the general direction of the salvation army. I can only presume that he must be thinking I was about to sprout horns and consume his soul at any moment.
It took quite a bit of self-control not to call out "Have a blessed day!" at him as he scurried away. Because that would have been mean, I guess.

Just another reminder that, here in the deep South, atheism is still akin to demon possession or devil worship and charity is assumed to be divinely inspired. Gotta love it.

I've had Christianity assumed of me simply because I'm being decent. Like you, I give a polite "No, I'm not a believer, but I do like to help" and let them figure it out on their own time.

Their assumptions say much more about themselves than me. I'm good with that.

Wasn't there something in the Bible about not judging people? Oh right, the Bible also says atheists are bad by definition. Nevermind.

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07-08-2017, 10:14 PM
RE: Kindness mistaken for Christianity
It's similar here in Kentucky. Facepalm

One day in class my Junior year I was talking to a friend who wanted a certain teacher to help coach the football team. This girl was listening and jumped in saying, " But he's an atheist!" My friend laughed and told her that had nothing to do with it Laugh out load. I guess some people just can't see an atheist functioning in society.

Anyways, good move on your part. It was the right thing to do Thumbsup.
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07-08-2017, 11:06 PM
RE: Kindness mistaken for Christianity
Yeah, that's far too common. I was really good friends with a nice lady and her two daughters. The older daughter has two kids, and her son has the same speech impediment as I do.

I compiled a lot of info for her. The grandmother was thanking me a couple days later, and she said I was a nice Christian boy. I laughed and joked that I had her and her daughters fooled. She thought it was funny because she'd tease me anyway. If only she knew.
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08-08-2017, 08:11 AM
RE: Kindness mistaken for Christianity
My sister has this happen to her pretty often. She doesn't give money to the homeless, but she does hand out water bottles occasionally. (I wonder how they'd react if they found out she's also a lesbian)
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