Pretending to be a theist/neutral
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03-02-2016, 08:00 PM (This post was last modified: 03-02-2016 09:42 PM by smileXsmileXsmile.)
Pretending to be a theist/neutral
Today was interesting, and I thought some people may appreciate another story.

I was closing a decent deal today at work and, being in a people's business, casual conversation often comes up. Today the topic of religion arose again. The prospect is obviously religious; every time we previously met, a religious reference came up. Anyway, today a more in-depth convo came up, and I ended up omitting the fact that I was not religious because I didn't want to jeopardize the deal. Then, the prospect proceeded to bash the non-religious. They brought up the same old arguments: where do you get your morals from, and Pascal's wager, and the argument that the world is so beautiful [child birth] that there must be a designer. Feeling awkward I chimed in saying that religion is comforting, ...which is true. ...We did end up closing the deal.

Just thought I'd share because it was an interesting experience. Up until today I would've called myself "openly atheist", but I guess not anymore because, if asked, I would've definitely said that I believe in God ...so I didn't rock the boat/ruin the deal. ...I know they obviously frown upon people being non-religious. I wonder how many times the religious think they're talking amongst themselves when they're not.

Anyone else ever had a similar experience? I'm sure people omit personal beliefs for less extreme circumstances, but I'd be interested to hear the story.

"If you cannot explain it simply, you don't understand it enough" -Albert Einstein
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03-02-2016, 08:25 PM
RE: Pretending to be a theist/neutral
I have to play along for work myself right now. When I started at my current place of employment, I was a Christian. I wore a cross everyday and would do the whole I'll pray for so and so thing, God bless, thank god for miracles thing. I work with many older adults--not co-workers--clients. I also work closely with their families and have built a relationship with them (many of them are Christians). I am going to be leaving my employment in a few months due to relocating, but until then, I am still playing along like I am Christian. I don't wear a cross anymore and I don't go out of my way to do anything overtly Christian, but just haven't said I don't believe anymore. I don't love that I have to do that, but it is what it is. My co-workers, on the other hand, know I do not believe.

"Let the waters settle and you will see the moon and stars mirrored in your own being." -Rumi
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03-02-2016, 09:34 PM
Pretending to be a theist/neutral
To make things worse, they challenged evolution, which is one of the hardest things for me to bite my tongue on, but I did. They talked about evolution as if it explained genesis. This all happened in a matter of 4 minutes.

I haven't told my co-workers I'm an atheist. I'm somewhat new, and want to avoid those topics. It may or may not matter to them, so I avoid it. Doesn't really have to big of an impact on my life, so no big deal. I don't talk religion, politics, or marijuana. I'm not yet sure if I can trust them not to judge ...or tell others. I'm totally "playing along at work" myself.

My boss is a trump supporter too. Don't get me started haha

"If you cannot explain it simply, you don't understand it enough" -Albert Einstein
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03-02-2016, 09:51 PM
RE: Pretending to be a theist/neutral
(03-02-2016 09:34 PM)smileXsmileXsmile Wrote:  To make things worse, they challenged evolution, which is one of the hardest things for me to bite my tongue on, but I did. They talked about evolution as if it explained genesis. This all happened in a matter of 4 minutes.

I haven't told my co-workers I'm an atheist. I'm somewhat new, and want to avoid those topics. It may or may not matter to them, so I avoid it. Doesn't really have to big of an impact on my life, so no big deal. I don't talk religion, politics, or marijuana. I'm not yet sure if I can trust them not to judge ...or tell others. I'm totally "playing along at work" myself.

My boss is a trump supporter too. Don't get me started haha

Unfortunately, the term atheist has bad connotations attached to it for some people. I think as a general rule, it is a good idea not to talk politics or religion at the office, even if you are Christian. I also think some creationist Christians will just get angry if you challenge their views on the Bible and will completely tune out anything you have to say and any kind of rational thought (at least this is based on my experience). I just typically let talks like that fizzle out like you did, since the office is not really the place for these types of debates, imo.

"Let the waters settle and you will see the moon and stars mirrored in your own being." -Rumi
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04-02-2016, 12:29 AM
RE: Pretending to be a theist/neutral
I don't hide my atheism when it is relevant to conversation, though to be fair I do not often talk with religious people about faith as I see this as futile. I tried about month ago and only answer that I received was that everyone must believe[in Jesus] without shred of an evidence for so bold statement.

The first revolt is against the supreme tyranny of theology, of the phantom of God. As long as we have a master in heaven, we will be slaves on earth.

Mikhail Bakunin.
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04-02-2016, 04:14 AM
RE: Pretending to be a theist/neutral
I think this is a very cultural issue and varies tremendously on where you live in the world.

In my experience as someone who lives in the UK, religion is a big no-no in polite conversation. Unless you know someone really well the subject is not really brought up except in instances where there is genuine curiosity and someone wears their religion "on their sleeve" so to speak.

Also given the fact that in the most recent (2015) survey less than 42% of the British public identify as Christian and around half are non-religious, there's little need to pretend to be a theist/neutral.

The invisible and the non-existent look very much alike
Excreta Tauri Sapientam Fulgeat (The excrement of the bull causes wisdom to flee)
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04-02-2016, 08:16 AM
RE: Pretending to be a theist/neutral
You took a pragmatic approach in the situation, and that's fine.

I have done the same, but I know that there are limits. Religious beliefs that are truly offensive will not go unchallenged regardless of the business consequences.
Sometimes the evolution denier will get a brief lesson.

I usually try to forestall such discussions by saying I don't discuss religion or politics in business/professional interactions, or that my religious views are personal.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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05-02-2016, 06:47 AM
RE: Pretending to be a theist/neutral
(03-02-2016 08:00 PM)smileXsmileXsmile Wrote:  Anyone else ever had a similar experience?

Nothing that overt, and nothing where I had a financial interest to balance against my (lack of) religious beliefs.

I've had times where someone makes a bad argument, but I don't feel like admitting to not being religious. More often than not, it's because I just want the conversation to end and don't want to drag it out if they think they have a fight on their hands. Other times, it's just to keep the peace.

In these circumstances, I'll sometimes respond neutrally, without stating my beliefs one way or the other. I'll explain why I feel such and such argument isn't a good one and then vaguely note there are better arguments to be made for religion (which is true), without listing them. I'm not going to do their work for them, and this tends to put them at ease. Strictly speaking, this is probably concern-trolling (without stating I share their beliefs), but it's not out of character for me to poke holes in the arguments of people I nominally agree with. Heck, when I was Christian, I argued against the Ontological argument because I thought it was stupid (it still is).

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10-02-2016, 08:42 PM
Pretending to be a theist/neutral
I agree. No debatable topics should come up at work. Where I'm at topics c and very careful to be passive. Plus it's none of their business us know. Only the people you're close with, or people not phased by it should know.

That's pretty much what I do Robby. I keep it neutral. I'm hardly ever in the mood for a full on debate. I'm not about to do the research for em

"If you cannot explain it simply, you don't understand it enough" -Albert Einstein
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10-02-2016, 08:51 PM
RE: Pretending to be a theist/neutral
There's no such thing as being myself out in public. I'll put on whatever mask fits the situation. If I didn't I'd probably end up in jail. If I were without kids and willing to be away from home more, my first career move would be to pretend to be Jewish and get involved in the Jewish community in Montreal in order to have more convenient access to something of a niche market in executive protection.

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