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Liebore's Avatar Joined over 3 years ago
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Prayer at a working lunch? - last commented 15 July 2012 02:13 PM

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Go to: Prayer at a working lunch?

Liebore's Avatar Jump to comment 48 by Liebore

Thanks again to everyone for the continued comments. Sorry I haven't been able to be more consistently active in the discussion, but I've had some recent personal demands that have limited my time on the web.

red dog, #41

"I also think that atheists have to get used to the idea that its ok for us to be open about what we believe as well."

I agree with your statement wholeheartedly. Unfortunately, where it is OK for us to both reject and vocalize our rejection of the God hypothesis, we also must bear the consequences of doing so.
"Imagine if an atheist goes to a business lunch and reads a quote from the God delusion before they eat."

The closest experience I ever to this occurred about 18 years ago (on the US East Coast). I was a member of Toastmasters International at the time, and the local chapter always opened the meeting with an "invocation." In every meeting I attended, the invocation was a prayer. When I was finally asked to give the invocation, I opened up with a very secular statement with something about hard work, friends and open minds, but no God - naively thinking that the interpretation of the work "invocation" was open to the invoker. I took an immense amount of hostile criticism that night for my "interesting choice" and was never asked to open the meeting again. That was just for not mentioning God. I would love to see the reaction if I opened up with "The God of the Old Testament..."

notany, #42

"To the religious it is obvious by your refusal to join in with at least a "praise the Lord" you are, at best, a nonbeliever."

I had not considered that (and I clearly should), but my experience with co-workers has been quite contrary. I have found that the default position of a devout Christian (at least in my section of the world) is to assume any person they like holds similar religious views, unless that person has explicitly claimed otherwise. By way of example, even though I am 100% silent about religion at work, I am consistently brought into conversations where a few traditional Christians snigger at the beliefs of our resident Mormons, as they think I'm "in on the joke." Unless I say otherwise, their only question is, "to what brand of Christianity does Libore owe his allegiance?"

jonathan, #44

"...did you really need to ask?"

Yes. Many of the 43 previous responses contained thoughts on different ways of handling the situation that I had not considered. At least by my account, it was worth the effort.

adiroth, #46

"Let me clarify that. I meant what Liebore said is clear. If he had Jewish/Arabic name, his supplier wouldn't have even asked him if it's OK to pray and would've done it anyway, showing less respect."

Clearly, what I was implying wasn't clear. My presumption is, if I had an overtly Jewish/Arabic name, the supplier would not have broached the subject of prayer or religion at all, as he probably would have assumed that I did not hold similar religious views and may have been offended if he spouted off anything that resembled "Christianity is superior."

Tue, 10 Jul 2012 04:45:17 UTC | #948820

Go to: Prayer at a working lunch?

Liebore's Avatar Jump to comment 26 by Liebore

Thanks to everyone for the comments.

RedDog, #5, I used to employ a strategy where I would use the word "spiritual" in a manner similar to what you suggested. I stopped doing it because it left people with the impression that I was religious, and it felt to much like pretending to be something that I am not. The silence option has worked far better for me as it allows me to remain anonymous without compromising my own values.

Kid, #15, I think you're on to something with the humor tact. I'll probably toy around with a few lines to use in case this ever crops up again.

Adiroth, #21, I have to disagree with you. I do not believe it is "courteous" to ask someone if is OK if you openly pray in such a setting. It is presumptive, and forces the other party to either acquiesce or enter into an unnecessary and uncomfortable confrontation (however small, though certainly not guaranteed to be small). I can't help but wonder if he would have made the same request if I had an overtly Jewish or Arabic last name. Furthermore, as I might imagine he would rightfully take offense if I asked him to listen silently while I waxed poetic about how greatful we both were that no god was presiding over our meal or conversation, I feel I am well within my right to find the experience offensive.

As a follow up, I have selected his company as the vendor due to their undeniable qualifications. I won't even pretend to wonder if he would have done the same if the roles were reversed.

Sat, 07 Jul 2012 02:06:27 UTC | #948712

Go to: [UPDATE]Family conflict: Catholic vs Atheist

Liebore's Avatar Jump to comment 118 by Liebore

Valerie in #104 has the right idea, but I would offer the following edit:

"We'd be thrilled to have you share in our happy day, but we would also ask that you respect our wishes and leave any comments or concerns regarding our choices at home that day."

I know it seems harsh to let him know that his presence is only conditionally welcomed, but you owe it to yourself and your spouse to make sure that no such issues overshadow your special day.

Best of luck with the situation and the years to come.

Fri, 24 Sep 2010 07:06:24 UTC | #524110

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