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Old 10-27-2007, 09:34 AM
 
Location: NJ/SC
4,286 posts, read 13,153,744 times
Reputation: 2580

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Rarely do I come into this forum because I have strong feelings about religion and I know others in here also do. I don't want to offend anyone and I have friends on City-Data that are religious and some who are not. Doesn't matter to me, as long as you're nice. : )

That being said...this literally just happened. I heard a knock on the door and I look outside and there's a man with a young boy dressed in a suit. He's holding some literature, so I open the door and say hello. He begins to say something about the Bible and God and starts to hand me the literature. I said no thank you, we're not religious. He says why not?!

Now I think that is very rude, inconsiderate, judgemental and a bunch of other stuff. First of all why would you ask that in front of your son if you really want an answer. Second how is that your business or anyone else's? I would never say to someone, why are you religious? That's their choice. It's exactly what reminds me of growing up Catholic, going to church and having fear put in me to do things a certain way or I'm going to hell. It reminds me that how so many people contradict themselves. I don't want to go on but some people know what I mean. I NEVER question what someone believes and it's terrible that some people do.


I said to him (nicely) it's not really your business and he was shocked I said that and apologized. I said that's ok, have a nice day.

So my questions are...

1. Why does a person think it's ok to ask something personal like that?
2. Where I live everyone is religious and see each other in church all the time. Will this be a topic of conversation, why the people down the street are not religious? I know that sounds paranoid but again you can blame growing up Catholic on that.
3. Should I be offended by this? Is this an isolated case and most people that are religious really don't judge?

This really isn't to start an argument so be nice, please. I just never understood why I'm questioned about my preferences in MY life.

If the moderators think this should be moved to P & OC, no problem.
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Old 10-27-2007, 09:54 AM
 
7,099 posts, read 23,973,062 times
Reputation: 7258
I can imagine how you felt. He was out of line. However, there are people that would see nothing wrong in asking. They are also the type that would ask someone: Why aren't you married? Why don't you have children? Do you and your husband share the same bed? Why not? Do you have on underwear? Blah, blah, blah???

Some folks just don't seem to know when to keep their mouths shut. It's basic rudeness. It just seems worse when it's about someone's faith. We all feel that some things are more personal than other things and we don't feel comfortable talking about them with strangers.

I am almost convinced that this sort of Spreading the Good News and Witnessing turns more people away than it brings in.
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Old 10-27-2007, 09:57 AM
 
Location: The Netherlands
8,567 posts, read 14,556,268 times
Reputation: 1573
I don't understand your dilemma?
Someone asked you a question which you felt was personal, so you told him so.

But I'll try to answer your questions anyway
Quote:
1. Why does a person think it's ok to ask something personal like that?
Because it is better to ask than to presume.

Quote:
2. Where I live everyone is religious and see each other in church all the time. Will this be a topic of conversation, why the people down the street are not religious? I know that sounds paranoid but again you can blame growing up Catholic on that.
I honestly don't know, nor do I care. The only reason I go to church is when a family member or friend has passed away.

Quote:
3. Should I be offended by this? Is this an isolated case and most people that are religious really don't judge?
I am not offended by this. I don't think itís a big deal anyway.
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Old 10-27-2007, 09:59 AM
 
Location: NJ/SC
4,286 posts, read 13,153,744 times
Reputation: 2580
padgett - Thanks and good point.

I'm just happy that my neighbors who are especially nice never ask those personal questions. I don't want to feel uncomfortable living here.
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Old 10-27-2007, 10:00 AM
 
Location: Nashville, Tn
7,916 posts, read 16,450,051 times
Reputation: 5442
I actually wouldn't be offended by it and people have asked me the same question. My response is to give them a very reasonable answer about why I'm an atheist. Because we're a small percentage of the population I think many people don't really understand us and they may just be curious about how we think. I think of that as an opportunity to express my opinion in an open and friendly way and just lay out my thoughts on the subject.
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Old 10-27-2007, 10:03 AM
 
7,780 posts, read 13,276,705 times
Reputation: 3450
It's a good question, Rapture. And I don't think it will turn into an argument.

I've never done what you describe and I'm willing to bet that visitor this morning was probably a Jehovah's witness, but not necessarily so.

Anyway, here's my opinions:

1-Why did they think it was ok? - The person probably thought it was OK because they were standing at your door and religion was the reason they were there. In their mind's eye, the conversation was already started and they were grasping for a way to keep it from ending. I doubt they could ever understand how you think a question like that was offensive. It's odd, isn't it, how two people can see things from such polar opposites. I suppose they felt like they were asking a logical question.

2-Will you be 'labeled'? - Personally, I doubt it. You might get more visitors if they put you on their 'God's most wanted' list. But I don't think you'll see people peeking through drawn shades at the 'non-religious' family out in the yard. I live in NC and when someone isn't religious, they just aren't religious. There may be isolated incidents in some neighborhoods where the residents are 'too close', but I don't think it's a very high probability that anyone will 'find out', if you know what I mean.

3-Should you be offended? - Again, IMO, no. I don't think the visitor meant it that way regardless of who they represented. It's a bit of a pain in the neck but I'm betting you came across so pleasant, they couldn't believe you weren't religious. Many religious folks think non-religious folks are evil, mean, wicked, and nasty. They don't know how to respond to one that acts more like the folks they are familiar with. If the guy could go back and do it over, he might do it differently, and you might too for that matter. But I don't think it's worth carrying around, I'm sure he meant well.

Thanks for sharing the post though, sounds like you handled the whole thing quite well.
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Old 10-27-2007, 10:05 AM
 
Location: NJ/SC
4,286 posts, read 13,153,744 times
Reputation: 2580
Tricky, thanks for your opinions. It's not a dilemma, it's a question.

I was asking because this is not the first time it's happened. I guess w/o saying it I was wondering why people that are religious feel it's ok to ask that when I don't know anyone that isn't religious cares why someone is.

I have no idea what it's like where you live but I moved to an area that's very religious and it does matter because I don't want to be uncomfortable here.
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Old 10-27-2007, 10:28 AM
 
Location: The Netherlands
8,567 posts, read 14,556,268 times
Reputation: 1573
Originally Posted by Rapture
Quote:
I have no idea what it's like where you live but I moved to an area that's very religious and it does matter because I don't want to be uncomfortable here.
Ah, it's more like peer pressure? You don't want to be seen as 'uncool' or not fitting in?
As long they do not falsely accuse me of something, I never cared what other people think of me.
So as long they do no harm (to others or themselves), I've got a live and let live attitude.
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Old 10-27-2007, 10:51 AM
 
Location: Between Here and There
3,684 posts, read 10,862,589 times
Reputation: 1654
I'm one of those people who will ask anything...just don't think it's a big deal. In turn you can ask me anything and everyone I know seems fine with that. But I do think that if you are sensitive to a subject a simple question that wouldn't bother most suddenly becomes rude the the person asked. So I would say that it's no big deal to most but it is to you. At least the man apologized, he should get credit for that.
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Old 10-27-2007, 11:08 AM
 
Location: Pikeville, Ky.
13,473 posts, read 21,263,982 times
Reputation: 17702
Rapture, IMO, you did the right thing, you were honest and you made it plain to them..One time my husbands preacher came to my house.. (I was on a ladder painting the ceiling). We talked small talk for a couple of minutes then he popped the question "Are you a Christian"? I said, I am a believer, he said, "But your dh said you are not a christian, because you refuse to come to church with him"..I said, " Then my dh doesn't know me, and neither do you". He left without saying goodbye...guess he was afraid of ole demon blue ..
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