Monday Notes: Everybody Is Not A Christian

I’ve held off discussing much about religion on this blog because I haven’t felt the need. However, recent comments have revealed people’s assumptions. Some people think I’m a Christian.

One example comes from a client. I missed her call. I think it was a Wednesday. Because she couldn’t reach me by phone, she emailed. In her note, she mentioned that I was probably busy at church (Bible study). I wasn’t at Bible study. I was at home, sitting on my couch, watching TV.

6739b4f3-6728-4a5f-b619-0be05846a9e2A similar assumption occurred with another client. He was explaining how he’d be in Jacksonville for some type of religious convention. He told me that I’d enjoy it. I just listened as he talked. I think my silence led him to engage in a guessing game of sorts.

“I know. I know Doc. You probably have your own church that you go to and you can’t be fooled up with mine, but I think you’d like to come. I’ll send you the information.”

I laughed and told him it sounded like a place where I could sell some books.

2b958bba-a7d1-458e-ac31-32b51e56dc18-516-000000333c818582This is what I usually do. I listen to the person. Laugh it off and let the conversation die. Past experience has taught me that saying something like, I don’t go to church; I don’t follow organized religion; or I’m not a Christian leads to full-on conversion techniques. Christians, in particular, either (a) ask me to attend their church or (b) outline reasons why I should follow their religious lead.

In the past, I’ve explained my religious background. My mother was a Sunday school teacher. My father was over the children’s ministry, and eventually, he became a Baptist deacon. My paternal grandmother was a staunch Catholic. One of my stepmothers was Apostolic. I know how to finish the phrase, “God is good…” as well as “God of mercy…” I know in some churches, I’m supposed to hold up one finger to symbolize excusing myself out of the sanctuary. I know the difference between AME and Methodist. Jesus Can Work It Out is one of my favorite gospel songs and I was thoroughly offended when Google Chromebook sampled it for a commercial. I’m familiar with hymnals, scripture, and all other manners of church behavior. But I am not a Christian.

What I’ve tried to explain to others is that it is because I’m well versed in Christianity that I choose not to participate.

The notion that my choice is not out of ignorance of the faith seems to baffle some people. In fact, it causes downright cognitive dissonance.

One day, my dad actually said to me, “I know you at least still pray because you’re doing so well.”

He couldn’t believe that my perceived success could be due to anything, but the Lord Jesus Christ, the Holy Bible, and some sort of private conviction.

d9149271-a384-4edd-944a-c18da7b625a7-516-0000003386e4911eListen. I get it. There are 2.3 billion Christians in the world (Hackett & McClendon, 2017). Seventy percent of Americans are Christian (Religious Landscape Study). So, if you were to assume, then statistically speaking, you’d probably be right.

I guess my point is, as long as there are six other options that I could’ve chosen, the best thing to do is not to assume. While I’m at it, the most respectful act is also not to try to convert people once you learn they have other beliefs. Non-Christians are not wanderers who’ve lost their way. They actually might be thinking individuals, who’ve chosen a different path.

84 thoughts on “Monday Notes: Everybody Is Not A Christian

  1. Thank you for sharing your views and experiences. I enjoy seeing different perspectives.
    If I may ask, what do you believe? I’m aware this is a loaded question should you choose to answer. Everyone has the ability to express, define or not define their thoughts.

    Just curious is all,
    Good day!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re welcome and thanks for reading and asking.

      I believe that all organized religion are simply philosophies of life, like suggestions.
      I believe that we’re all energy and connected and probably connected to a larger source.
      I believe we are having a spiritual experience and we just have this body in this dimension so that we can move around and communicate.
      I believe that all of this is an illusion.

      I do not believe that someone is coming to save us after an apocalyptic situation.

      These are just based on how I feel today. Next year, I may have different answers because I’m always thinking and experiencing life in new ways 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I think because I’ve been introduced to so many different types of religions and denominations within the same religion that I’m able to see it all the same, you know? I just view them as philosophies for living and ways to explain life. Glad you can relate somewhat 😉

      Like

  2. Very interesting discussion Kathy. My background in religion seems similar to yours although I wasn’t exposed to other religions and was even told that meditating was a gateway or invitation to satan. Fear was the tool that was used to bring me into religion and it’s had lasting effects that still bother me today. I think I began to change a few years back after being exposed to all the ugliness of closemindedness, judgment, and outright hatred for others who do not believe the same way. Thanks again for writing this.🤗

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for commenting Steph! I think fear is the underlying motive of many religions. I’m glad this resonates with you, but I’m sorry to hear that something as simple as meditating was described as an “invitation to satan.” I’m not surprised.

      Thank YOU for reading and commenting.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This right here needs to be etched into concrete or marble: “Non-Christians are not wanderers who’ve lost their way. They actually might be thinking individuals, who’ve chosen a different path” Thank you for writing this. I’ve tried to convey a similar message but haven’t yet found a way to verbalize my feelings and your post is so articulate.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Hey yourself Kathy!!! I just launched right in to conversation mode without a proper greeting but in my defense this was such a well written piece I couldn’t help myself. Thank you again for sharing as I thought about throughout the day yesterday.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Fantastic read again. Yes, assumptions are easily made and going into a conversation without a personal agenda is difficult. However, so worthwhile to actually listen to another. Empathically, even better 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Thank you for sharing!… I, personally, am not into religion and think that everyone has a right to believe what they wish to…. just before her passing, my late wife were visited by a Chaplain… the chaplain ask her if she had a religion and she said “No”… the Chaplain then ask her if she believed in the hereafter and she said “Yes”.. the Chaplain then said “Good, it is what is in the heart that matters, not a name above a door”… 🙂

    “I would rather have a mind opened by wonder than one closed by belief” Gerry Spence

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Happens to me far too often! I come from a similar background and know the ins and outs of these sort of things. Likewise, wonderful things have happened to me, and people assume I’m ‘blessed’, but that can’t be possible because I shut the door on ‘God’ almost ten years ago, and haven’t looked back. I found my life to be richer, less full of fear and self-hatred, and more stable because of it. Not saying there haven’t been dark times, but that’s life. I certainly don’t want to blame, or honor some entity for it.

    Thank you for sharing this! I think it’s wonderful knowing how many of us have the same experience. It gives us a certain ease of solidarity knowing we aren’t so different…

    Meno<3

    Liked by 3 people

  7. I know what you mean! Whenever the talk turns to religion, or politics (which basically elicits the same conversion response) I simply smile and nod, and let people draw their own conclusions. Because I have learned the hard way that those are two areas where people simply can’t stand that someone they like and respect doesn’t share their beliefs…absolutely and completely.
    For the record, I am a Christian, but I don’t often say so because there are SO many versions of Christianity, and I don’t like people assuming they understand my theology. Fundamental Christianity is very different from Progressive Christianity (except for the assumption that they are completely right and everyone else is completely wrong). I use my own intelligence and heart to work out my own beliefs, and I completely respect everyone else’s right to do the same thing. We each get to choose what we do and do not believe in this life, and it would be arrogant of me to think that my beliefs are superior to anyone else’s!

    Liked by 5 people

    1. That’s it Ann…”someone they like and respect doesn’t share their beliefs.” It’s unbelievable to many that you could be the nicest person, yet espouse a different view!

      You’ve also brought up a good point about different versions. Until recently, I didn’t realize Jehovah Witnesses were a Christian sect, and I imagine it’s because of the way they’re devalued in society, just for example.

      Thanks so much for adding these points maybe one day we’ll all respect one another’s choices.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. This right here got me and I wish we all could do likewise: “I use my own intelligence and heart to work out my own beliefs, and I completely respect everyone else’s right to do the same thing. We each get to choose what we do and do not believe in this life, and it would be arrogant of me to think that my beliefs are superior to anyone else’s!”

      Liked by 1 person

  8. So my parents were religious , mom was like mormon , dad was like catholic. I went to a Catholic school even , would go to my friends different churches as well growing up . But as of today and most of my adult life I’m not a Christian at all . Definitely hits home with knowing some of the traditions of the churches but not participating.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. I kind of just let people assume what they want sometimes . Last time I saw my Dad even he wasn’t entirely sure until I asked . My mom’s family is white and I think they just assume I’m the same religion . My Dad’s half in Mexico has a mix of athiest and Catholic lol So I probably fit in more with his side .

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Amen 😂

    The thing is you do go to church and you do pray…it just isn’t in the way these folk assume it to be. I wonder how many that make up those stats are ‘Christian’ simply in a check box because ‘…duh, that’s how I was raised’ as opposed to applying critical thinking and choosing to embrace Christianity because it aligns with their truth. Either way I have no problem with it but am averse to assumptions, judgements and attempts at showinh me the light. The light is within us all guys, regardless of what you call it or what man made construct you subscribe to.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. LOL

      So, yes. I do certain things religiously, but they aren’t a part of Christian rituals/doctrine. And right! It’s the assumptions, judgments, and conversion techniques that are so off-putting. Love that message at the end ❤

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Yeah self care, yoga, meditation etc. Body is the temple, soul is the guide, mind is where intentions are set via thought. Ok i just made that up but seems right to me 😊 Namaste 💛

        You know what? The english language could do with a word that has the meaning and open-ness of ‘namaste’

        Liked by 3 people

      2. I guess my point is…you can say hello and still have the same meaning. Namaste is a greeting that shows that we see each other. However, can’t we just actually see each other? To me, that’s the point.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. lol yes. I’ve heard that too. And I’ve also heard we’ve blown it out of proportion…that’s it’s just a greeting. Either way…I just want us all to act more lovingly regardless of who we are. Mmmkay I’m done for real lol thanks for commenting 💕

        Liked by 1 person

  10. I respect your position on religions, Kathy. With my churchgoing friends, I’ve made it clear that I respect their religious beliefs but don’t wish to attend or join their church. I also avoid getting into religious discussions with them.

    For several years here on WordPress, I remained silent about my former Christian affiliation. In 2017, with the conclusion of my second novel about the hypocrisy within the hierarchy of the Catholic Church–inspired by events that took place during my final year in a convent–I felt that the time was right to reveal this part of my life to my readers.

    Liked by 5 people

  11. Everything you wrote resonated for me, Katherin. Recently, when a good friend gushed that she would like me to join her for a religious event, I found my courage to tell her the truth – I did not enjoy what she did. I was happy that she got so much out of it, but for me it was honestly like torture. I said it! I thought she would know by now and she was surprised to hear me say it that way. It led to a very deep conversation and I was proud that I didn’t just avoid expressing myself.
    Sometimes, it takes courage to say how we really feel, but it is so liberating!

    Liked by 4 people

      1. Not only was I heard, it led to such an intimate conversation. I shared with my friend that I was fondled by a boy during a religious school class. Then she shared some experiences that were similar. It was really a revelation and led us both to a lot of insight and better communication.

        Liked by 3 people

  12. We live in a ‘reasoning’ world. It gives people comfort to have a reason, but there doesn’t have to be one. I do believe that God has a plan for each of us and by choosing to walk that path, that’s all the reason I need for whatever occurs. In every instance of what looked like disappointment in the natural, turned out to be a better plan than I could imagine.

    Even the age old question of, “Where do you want to spend eternity?”, doesn’t phase people today. Many are already living in their own personal hell, so heaven is laughable. It’s sad.

    It seems that God doesn’t get the glory anymore. I still thank Him every morning I get to wake up and throughout the day for accomplishing what gets done. It’s not me….it’s Him. ❤

    Liked by 3 people

    1. It is entirely possible to share your views and not be a Christian or a practitioners of any other religion, or ascribe it to ‘Him’, in fact I do, but in making generalisation about the inner journey’s of others and their thoughts on ‘eternity’ and calling these assumed thoughts ‘sad’, we diverge. I don’t think ‘God’ is keeping counts of likes and ‘glory’.

      Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you V.J.! I think that’s the most offensive part to me, sometimes. It’s as if some people cannot fathom that others have thought critically and decided against it lol

      Anywho, I agree with what you’ve said in the end ❤

      Liked by 3 people

  13. Beautifully said.

    It is actually quite interesting that my born-again very devout Christian friend in Germany (whom I went to high school with in Canada) assumed right up to 9/11 that I was at least in some shape or form a Christian. I mean, I have an Italian last name, people always assume I’m Catholic.

    I am not.

    It was with trepidation when, during a particularly emotional email chat about the events of 9/11, I finally came out and told her I didn’t believe, I chose to not believe. She was stunned. She kept, up to that point, try to guide me because it is what helped her in times of turmoil. I must say, unlike most others, she did stop once I came out with my declaration. I respect people who don’t try to convert their belief system on others.

    You said it much better than I ever could. 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thank you Claudette! I can relate to your story; it’s fascinating, really! It’s like a little bubble forms and it’s impossible to see any other way. I am glad to hear she didn’t try to convert you.

      And thanks for that end part. I’ve been thinking about it for a very long time.

      Liked by 2 people

  14. Reading Ta nahisi Coates’s “Between the World and Me” reminded me of the cognitive dissonance you brought up. My college friend and I were discussing the other day how although every black person (any person of people of color for that matter) isn’t a Christian, the religious identity is hard to get away from.

    My mother is very religious. In fact, she still tells me to read Psalm 91 whenever I have a problem. I was raised to attend church and read the Bible but I’ll admit I rarely do any of those things!

    My husband is not a fan of churches either. I’m not even sure if he believes in God. Now that we’re raising our son, I’m not sure what role I want Christianity and faith to play in his life. I certainly don’t want to force it on him.

    Thank you for this read!

    Liked by 5 people

    1. I hear you. And it’s hard to say to those parental family members, like hey! I don’t do that. I once told my father it was disrespectful to continue to try to convert me the same way it would be disrespectful for me to try to get him NOT to be a Christian. He seemed to understand that POV.

      Best of luck as you determine what to do, especially with your own child. I think this will be a non-issue with the next generation.

      Like

    1. Thank you girl! Yeah I’m not even sure there’s an awareness around those assumptions/conversions. They just…exist lol

      And don’t get me started on that last sentence…I’m evoking my zipped-lip emoji on that one lol

      Liked by 2 people

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