August 10, 2018 – On August 4, I posted the following query on Agnostic.com, but have received only one response. I wonder if I will get more here?
August 4, 2018 – I don’t know how I attract them, but customers seem compelled to “witness” to me while I am at work. The problem is that I cannot say anything or argue with the people who seem to think that I need their god in my life.
Now if it were a street preacher or someone coming to my door to tell me about their religion, that I can handle. I usually thank them and ask them not to come back for I am an atheist, a nonbeliever, a heathen. I tell them that I have copies of their holy books so do not waste the time, energy or money to offer me another. And, by the way, I have read them.
But it is the customers at my workplace that I get most annoyed with. For example, a gentleman (and I use the term loosely here) decided that he needed to witness to me while looking for a suit and dress shirts. I tried walking away, but he followed me around the department telling me that Jesus loves me. I wanted to tell him “No, he doesn’t” and explain to him that his sky god does not exist, but did not. Though my employer is not a religious organization, I am sure that ridiculing a customer’s religious beliefs would be, at worse, grounds for dismissal.
I also sell jewelry at the store and have had a number of customers looking for Christian cross pendants and pins. Many are already wearing multiple symbols of their belief and another would only enhance the experience for some. A few have told me while shopping how their god came into their lives and “saved them” from so catastrophe. I always look for an excuse to walk away, but there is jewelry out of the case that must be watched. (Interesting enough, the store does not carry a Star of David for our Jewish customers. But I can order one online.)
It happened again yesterday (August 5) at the jewelry counter. A customer asked if I went to church and I said “no,” but he continued to grab my hands and pray for me. I have a slight tremor in my left hand and he called on Jesus to remove the palsy from my body. To say it did not work in an understatement.
I can ignore those who wish me to have a “Blessed day” in their farewell. I usually respond “Have a good afternoon” or evening as the time of the day would suggest. But witnessing…
I am proud to be an atheist and have been for over 30 years. I write about my disbelief and am not afraid to tell anyone who asks. I have even mentioned it in my columns that I write for a local paper. But at work…
Other than ignoring the person and walking away, I really do not know how to handle these situations. Do you have any suggestions on how you would handle the religious customers at your place of business?