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Old 12-22-2013, 06:58 PM
 
Location: A tropical island
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I've lived in a new area for about a year and a half, and many people here are very religious and outspoken about their beliefs. And in conversations with many people here, it seems they just assume that I OF COURSE believe in god/prayer/Bible etc.

As an example: I work at a hospital, and one of my co-workers became critically ill recently, and spent several days in our ICU. Doctors weren't sure she would survive. Another co-worker was talking with me about our ill colleague, saying things like, "It's completely up to God now. It's all in his hands. We just need to keep praying" And I wanted to say, "Well, I kinda like to think that all of us involved in her health care play a pretty big role in her outcome!" or something to that effect. But I just kept my mouth shut.

Similar conversations happen a lot since I've moved here. I don't know if it's politeness that is keeping me quiet, or if it's a hesitation to "come out of the agnostic closet," or just not wanting to defend my views, or what. I end up feeling like a fake and a coward for not admitting that I don't share their beliefs.

Thoughts or advice on what to say in such situations?
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Old 12-22-2013, 07:05 PM
 
Location: Space Coast
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If someone asked if you believed, and you said yes, then that would be cowardly. Not bandying it about and announcing it to everyone in the bible belt = survival.
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Old 12-22-2013, 07:24 PM
 
Location: City-Data Forum
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Unless you have another job lined up, or your boss is fine with freedom of thought, I would suggest you not show your pride in understanding your agnosticism (or human agnosticism). Sure, the people who don't understand and instead miss-characterize agnosticism will continue to do so, but its not like you need to risk your well-being so foolishly to educate or lecture your co-workers. You can often bend discussions to seem Deist or Scientific since you are in a hospital. Good luck with the pressure and oppression; there are many ways of dealing with it without bottling it in and exploding... perhaps begin writing letters to these people about the hurt they are causing you and give them the letters when you are ready to move away or face and deal with the consequences of their reactions and over-reactions.
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Old 12-22-2013, 08:13 PM
 
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Some people are so stupid you can't address the ignorance that just came from their mouth. Some survives a serious health issue, and go for the 'goddunit', and I have been asked why they even bother going to the hospital then. Most of the time I just bite my tongue, but say that once.

I've seen the medical system work from the onset of a problem, as a first responder providing the first level of care, to hand off to Paramedics for more advanced care and transport, and hear that they were transferred from the ER to ICU.

A month later run into the person's family at the grocery store and ask about him, who tell me that he is home and recovering (abdominal aneurism) only by the grace of god. Well damn, perhaps since the 2 dozen people that came to his aid at 3 AM didn't have anything to do with it, perhaps the next time I'll just reset my pager and go back to sleep.

Of course that was only a passing thought and I never said it, but are these people really so blind to the efforts made to save his life in the first critical hours? Never did thank me or have me give a thanks to the other firefighters and EMS staff that filled their house in the middle of the night, for one purpose, to help.

On the other side we have a patient that were in cardiac arrest when we arrived come by the station a couple of months later to personally thank those that were part of saving his life.

Far too often when you meet someone around here, the first question out of their mouth is "where you all go to church"
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Old 12-22-2013, 09:30 PM
 
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People in liberal states assume you are Christian as well unless you wear non-Christian religious clothing.... This is the way it is. America is the most religious western nation....

Too much "Thank God", "Jesus this and that" speeches all the time
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Old 12-23-2013, 02:23 AM
 
Location: 'greater' Buffalo, NY
3,067 posts, read 2,111,656 times
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The hospital setting seems to actually offer the perfect pretext for challenging these beliefs (an excuse which might be absent in nearly any other context you might encounter). I'd suggest tactfully challenging such people on the professed basis of wanting to do your job as well as possible...tell these people not to adopt a mindset of helplessness until brain death is actually attained. Don't be afraid to explicitly assert a belief that resorting to prayer is nothing more than admitting helplessness. (Tinker with the wording if you want to be more (or less) tactful). See what responses you get then.

Of course, the situation is complicated by whether or not the presumably religious co-worker/patient is aided by hearing that same "it's all in god's hands now" message...given a belief in a benevolent god, then you're (from the patient's perspective) possibly deriving immune system benefits. Aside from having heard this "benefit" of religious faith/positive thinking in general recited on multiple occasions, I'm not sure how strong the science actually is on this front...and that's a different issue, anyway.
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Old 12-23-2013, 02:26 AM
 
Location: 'greater' Buffalo, NY
3,067 posts, read 2,111,656 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Asheville Native View Post
Some people are so stupid you can't address the ignorance that just came from their mouth. Some survives a serious health issue, and go for the 'goddunit', and I have been asked why they even bother going to the hospital then. Most of the time I just bite my tongue, but say that once.

I've seen the medical system work from the onset of a problem, as a first responder providing the first level of care, to hand off to Paramedics for more advanced care and transport, and hear that they were transferred from the ER to ICU.

A month later run into the person's family at the grocery store and ask about him, who tell me that he is home and recovering (abdominal aneurism) only by the grace of god. Well damn, perhaps since the 2 dozen people that came to his aid at 3 AM didn't have anything to do with it, perhaps the next time I'll just reset my pager and go back to sleep.

Of course that was only a passing thought and I never said it, but are these people really so blind to the efforts made to save his life in the first critical hours? Never did thank me or have me give a thanks to the other firefighters and EMS staff that filled their house in the middle of the night, for one purpose, to help.

On the other side we have a patient that were in cardiac arrest when we arrived come by the station a couple of months later to personally thank those that were part of saving his life.

Far too often when you meet someone around here, the first question out of their mouth is "where you all go to church"
Tried and failed to rep...god must be keeping me from repping more than one of your posts made within a certain period of time
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Old 12-23-2013, 07:04 AM
 
Location: Northeastern US
14,197 posts, read 9,094,403 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Marcinkiewicz View Post
Of course, the situation is complicated by whether or not the presumably religious co-worker/patient is aided by hearing that same "it's all in god's hands now" message...given a belief in a benevolent god, then you're (from the patient's perspective) possibly deriving immune system benefits. Aside from having heard this "benefit" of religious faith/positive thinking in general recited on multiple occasions, I'm not sure how strong the science actually is on this front...and that's a different issue, anyway.
I have been thinking about these kinds of issues a lot in the past month in the run-up to, and aftermath of, visiting my fundamentalist brother and his family. What I saw close-up with fresh eyes is that these folks cocoon themselves in their belief-system and don't feel they could cope without it. They would feel exposed, frightened, and panicked. I lean towards not kicking people when they are down; while a hospital would be the perfect setting in one sense to confront them with reality, the reasons they are in that setting are particularly disturbing and frightening and will have them on high alert. They will be especially careful not to offend their god, to do everything "right", etc., lest they lose their loved one or have some other undesirable outcome that will be, in their way of thinking, their fault somehow.

I don't think believers are ungrateful to emergency responders, they see them as tools in the hands of god, and if they forget to thank responders sometimes for BEING those tools, it is less because they are jerks than because they are afraid that god or their fellow believers will think they are not "giving god all the glory". It is better IMO to just pity them in their mental enslavement than to try to change them when you should be focusing on your job -- which, in turn, you should be doing for its own sake and without expectations (other than a paycheck).

There will be times when there are exceptions to this rule, because in personal crisis, people are also open. Once in awhile you'll be able to address things "outside their box" without taking advantage of their vulnerability. Your intuition will tell you when those times are, and how far to go. But in the main, I can't see where it makes any more sense to spout unwanted rational thinking than it is for religious people to spout unwanted religious thinking. I'd rather be happy than right, particularly if I were living in the Bible Belt.
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Old 12-23-2013, 07:16 AM
 
9,877 posts, read 6,747,934 times
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Keep your mouth shut. NO need to announce you are an agnostic in the Bible Belt. Move out of there!
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Old 12-23-2013, 08:50 AM
 
16,300 posts, read 24,978,161 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Julian658 View Post
Keep your mouth shut. NO need to announce you are an agnostic in the Bible Belt. Move out of there!
There is no need to move, and the south has far too much to offer in a way of life. Even with these slaves to superstition everywhere it is more relaxed and friendly.

Though the number of god fearing (quaking in the boots type fear of god) is higher here, there are also many theists that never mention it, and never judge others based on it, and there are also probably the same mix of atheists/agnostics. There are many tiny little churches (mostly fundy, COG, pentecostal) everywhere, but the congregation probably consists of one or two families tops.

After all a city council person, an atheist, just started his third term on council here, and this time there was no outcry that he didn't put his hand on the babble when sworn in. No, I didn't vote for him, as he is such so liberal that he makes me want to vomit.
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