About a year ago, I started my career in the Federal government. As far as I know, I am the only atheist in my office, and some of the people I work with (including my boss) are VERY expressive about their religious views. I've felt very uncomfortable standing up for myself as an atheist, and even more uncomfortable being constantly (at least a couple of times per week) subjected to religious questions, comments, etc.
These "probes" started with my boss asking me what I want for my unborn son (I'm expecting in a couple of months), then proceeding to tell me, if it was his child, he would want to make sure that his spirit lived on eternally. Other questions/discussions have ranged from relatively harmless ("...you should come play volleyball with my church team...") to complete idiocy ("...in the Old Testament times, people lived to be 400 years old..."). I've also had other co-workers give me a card or a poem for my baby that are religious in nature or that refer to "God's blessings," etc.
While most of the people closest to me know me as an atheist, I feel that, like a person's faith, it is something deeply personal and should stay that way except when in the company of like-minded people or those who can have a rational, unemotional discussion about it. I am irritated by my co-workers'--and more specifically my boss's--assumptions that (a) everyone subscribes to the same world view, and (b) that it is ok to discuss these things in a workplace at all, let alone a Federal workplace. I fear (and not unnecessarily, I don't think) that I will be judged and treated differently if I openly express these concerns.
Looking for a little advice, if anybody has words of wisdom....
I worked with a highly competent network engineer who was a devout Muslim. Time out for prayers, trip to Mecca, the whole bit.
I have a childhood friend who has a law degree and a theology degree. It never ceases to amaze me that he held a high administrative position in a church. I just cannot image a person that smart buying into it. How do they do it?
I am in the same situation, except that I work a Presbyterian (private) facility. My atheist friends understand that I work there because it is a job and I get paid. I hide my opinions on religion to avoid making waves and have to put up with all their religious nonsense.
I don't know any way around the situation. You will almost certainly be treated differently when people stop seeing you as a co-worker, and start seeing you as an atheist (insert insulting names here). I hear how my co-workers talk about atheists and I just roll my eyes. I do my best to defend everyone's beliefs or non-beliefs to try and combat their ignorance but it is fruitless.
A couple of years ago I was called on to settle a Bible based minor argument between two Christians (Catholic and Protestant). Apparently they recognized that I knew the Bible better than either of them.
Somewhat off topic but a twist on your situation. Some years back my ex wife (Jewish atheist) went to help at a flood damaged area. She originally went to work with Red Cross, but left that operation because they were requiring identification from the people they helped (many undocumented folks there) and she wound up working with, of all things the Salvation Army (who helped anyone without asking questions). They all knew she was an atheist and according to her they had plenty of animated discussions, but at no time did it turn ugly.
Agreed, Also keep a log at home of every time someone mentions religion to you or pushes it on to you. This can be used as evidence in court if you feel you got hounded out for not being xtian enough!
Try steering the conversation away from religion if brought up. If you're pressed, let him know that you feel that religion is personal and that you'd rather not discuss it in the workplace. I would not let your boss know what religion you are, it is better for your career if you let him make assumptions.
[sigh] Another one, eh?
Seems like I give this advice a lot, but here we go again: get a hold of the Legal Department of the Freedom From Religion Foundation. Give them a full layout of what's going on. If this were a privately held company, it would be one thing. IT ISN'T ... and the schmuck laying the holy horse manure on you should damned well know better ... especially considering that what he is doing may very well be actionable.
Point on the curve.
I too worked for the Federal Government until I retired four years ago. I never discussed religion unless asked and it did surprise some of my coworkers when I told them I was an atheist. I was never asked by anyone including supervisors as to my lack of belief. If you feel you are being singled out or discriminated against because of your atheism contact the Inspector General for the agency you work for and file a complaint. Keep records of who, where, and when and what was said and if possible a witness. Many times we go along to get along but no one has the right to harass someone for their belief or their non-belief. Good luck
Your fears are exactly correct, so you have to watch what you say in your workplace. I have the same situations in a small shoe factory now gone global with other markets. You might have to smile and nod a lot.
"Making sure your child's spirit lives on eternally" caught my eyes, and such phrasing is a pet peeve with me. These idiots claim to believe that inside you is a "soul" or "spirit" that lives forever. It is missed by them that YOU are the soul and spirit. As such your time will come to an end and you die. Their Bible says this too, but they want to believe other verses by writers like Saul of Tarsus.
As for Old Testament people living 400 years, it's only logical that they were closer to the "creationist times." Over the millenia powers of "sin" have made us weaker and weaker like adding water to a good wine. Not true, but they believe all this stuff. When you study delusional writings you just get more delusional.
gotta get that cash.. tell em' .. hey, we're here as citizens to make that cash ..
jesus or whatever god thing is not 'king' ... nor any gay or hetero person; they're no kings either.
but cash is still king baby~
as if infiltration is not an objective of foreign influences through faith based back doors.. how do you think the majority of non citizens get in from dictatorships? in miami at least; mostly through 'end time.. apocalyptica type baptist shadies.. use to be only catholic back doors back back in the 80s... anyhew...
all about that cash. and .. things..~
I'll never understand how people can equate their shitty 'traditional' (they think) actually slave-control social system called religion.. and just to get that little tizzy high that they're all powerful as their flavor of god megh~ federal religion. corporate religion. dirt religion. black religion. white religion. green diets.. and zombies vs humans.. c'mon.. scam games gotta stop. accountability's been here since some populations decided to break from the king's and their druids pffffft
and i can't do fuddy duddy... mainstream... horse manure tv. the second side of the lame and shitty education sys. coin imho. first with bs fairy tales as law provision. and 2nd the crap ass media overflow! ; P
peace! fragmented but freethinking secular jim says cya!