Coping Skills

Maybe it’s just my perception, but it sure seems that recently religion is getting pushed into my life (and home, and work, …) more and more. Or perhaps my awareness of it is going up. I would consider this a good thing (increased awareness is good, regardless of topic) but I’m finding it more difficult to cope.

Just a few examples:

  • I’ve hinted to my mother (but only gently, because I’m not yet ready to catch those pieces) that I’m an atheist. And yet she sent me a holiday card with “JESUS” embossed on the front. Okay, perhaps that’s the reason for your season, but not mine, thanks anyway. What to say? Nothing? I have a hard time denying who I am, and not responding seems to be exactly that.
  • I work in technology. Currently I’m troubleshooting reliability problems we are having with microSD cards. During a meeting yesterday I stated my progress on what I termed the “SD card revival test” (meaning, is it possible to automatically fix these cards in the field?). The hardware guy commented “Sounds religious to me”, which might not mean that much other than the fact that he’s got his religious books on his bookshelf at work, and everyone else in the room belongs to the same religion, and his comment was specifically intended to get a knowing chuckle from his fellow church members. I’m the one outsider. I wanted to comment back with a zinger, but for some reason refrained. I’m secure (valuable) enough in my work that I could get away with any retort I wanted. But I am logical, and logical retorts take longer to make than brainless religious ones. Or am I missing something?
  • My son’s great-grandparents just sent over Valentine’s candies taped to cards with a cute kitty and puppy snuggling, and the words “God made us friends” on the front, and “God is love” on the back. I hate the tendency to attribute everything to god. If we’re friends, that’s due to our own commonalities and our work at building the friendship. And god most certainly is not love, at least not the Christian god. I would love to point out a few contrary verses to these people, and yet they are in their 70s.
  • I’ve even had a coworker say to me (as I’ve mentioned before, sorry) after I expressed some skepticism on a religious thing he was saying, (and I quote), “Tsk, tsk, tsk, Chuck, you’ll learn.” How condescending is that?

Perhaps my difficulty is that the social norm seems to be that religious people are free to push their views, but pushing back is somehow… hurtful (in the case of family)? Or perhaps inappropriate (in the case of work)? But it should be a two way street.

February 16, 2011
462 words





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