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Topic: Hiding in plain sight

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Subject: Hiding in plain sight
Date Posted: 8/4/2010 11:56 PM ET
Member Since: 8/24/2008
Posts: 1,362
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Does anyone else have to hide in plain sight?  I've been an athiest since I was 8.  I'm not ashamed of my choice of non-faith.  I don't think it should be an issue, but the fact is that living and working in the Bible Belt in my field, it is.  The first year I worked at my job, I was immediately subjected to inviations to go to church functions with coworkers, all of which I politely declined, telling them that Sundays are "family days" in my family (which they always were...we always took the day to spend as a family either on a drive or a mini-vacation).  The past couple haven't been as bad, but every now and then someone will still invite me to go to church with them.  I think this is a good sign that I've managed to keep them all from guessing what my religion is, which is a good thing, as I'm a teacher.  My students are always curious (they're high schoolers and want to know all about me), but so far I've managed to avoid telling any of them that I'm an athiest.  They've guessed Buddhist, Mennonite, and everything in between, so I'm doing my job of separating church and state.  I'm always afraid that I'll reveal that I know too much about other religions (faith has always fascinated me, so I've made something of a study of it), one of my students asked to borrow a book on Buddhism this past year, and I wasn't sure how to deal with that request. 

I guess I'm wondering what other people do?  Do you have to "hide in plain sight" and keep your choice of faith secret?  If so, how do you deal with it?  Or are there actually careers out there that you can be open about what you believe? 

Date Posted: 8/6/2010 5:43 PM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2007
Posts: 5,930
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I get customers who think that the reason I'm fair with them is because I'm a good Christian.  Its not really workplace appropriate to contradict them and tell them that no, I'm an atheist, but that doesn't mean I'm a heartless cretin, so I mostly just wish them a good day.

Date Posted: 8/6/2010 7:18 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2005
Posts: 20,024
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I don't work now but when I did I never cared. One kid would come bug me all the time to come to church with him. That kid got a different tall tale every time I saw him. Sometimes I was wiccan (which I was) sometimes Jewish, sometimes Zoroastrian. The only reason I did that with him was because he was nosey and I hate nosey people. They drive me nuts so I tell them all sorts of lies.

Date Posted: 8/7/2010 6:05 PM ET
Member Since: 4/27/2006
Posts: 11,058
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I have the same problem of not knowing the right way to respond, If it's a situation where Im invited to church I always decline with a varied excuse because even if I believe in God I dont believe in churches.I also always thought its rude to talk about religion and politics so I deflect alot of question by saying I never discus religion or politics and that usually end s any direct questions. I also read alot of books about varied religions it seems some of us non conformist spend more time reading about religion and are more excepting of others religions than those who spend large amounts of time talking about how religious they are but then condeem others religions ,Homosexuals, people of diffrent ethnicities and so on.

Date Posted: 8/7/2010 9:20 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2005
Posts: 20,024
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Usually if someone asks me to go to church with them I'll just say "No thank you." if they press I'll say "Nope I'm a heathen you wouldn't want me anyway." If they press further I have no qualms with saying goodbye and walking away. Especially if it is someone I don't know well. If they are going to be that pushy about religion I don't want to know them well anyway.

Date Posted: 8/8/2010 6:09 PM ET
Member Since: 10/17/2006
Posts: 1,427
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I'm sure Heather meant to write that "some of us non-conformists are more accepting of others' religions . . . . . . ." 

Date Posted: 11/2/2010 10:01 AM ET
Member Since: 10/26/2010
Posts: 1
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I know I'm a couple of months off here but I just recently became a member so decided to throw my two cents in.

On the military side of things, both my active duty and now National Guard, I haven't felt the need to hide it. There always seemed to be a group of us that were non-believers and I never faced any ridicule.

For my civilian side, I work in IT for a human resources center, so there are alot of older ladies (in the HR side) that are deeply religious (on the surface for some of them anyway).  I keep quiet about my religious views so as not to cause a problem at work which I know there would be with some of them.  I do have a Darwin fish on the back of my truck but so far no one has said anything to me about it, or asked about it.  It doesn't bother me to hide it, I just go about my business.  They see pictures of my wife and kids and also know I am still in the military so they naturally assume I'm a God-fearing Christian so I let them keep that assumption up.

Date Posted: 11/3/2010 12:40 AM ET
Member Since: 4/27/2006
Posts: 11,058
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Yes Bonnie thats what I meant sorry if i worded it wrong!

Date Posted: 11/4/2010 6:02 PM ET
Member Since: 9/16/2007
Posts: 188
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I'm lucky that the place I live in now is pretty liberal. I grew up in a pretty conservative town and it is always weird going back for holidays (especially xmas). My family knows I'm not a christian, but I usually end up going with them to xmas eve service anyway, to "keep the peace" and keep everyone happy, and it is always super uncomfortable. When my DD was a pastor, I used to "hide in plain sight" around the church goers so as not to besmirch his reputation. Whenever anyone said anything to me that was too heavy-handed on the religion front I would usually smile and change the subject.

Now I stay as far away from church as humanly possible.