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Posted by on Mar 14, 2014 in Atheism, featured, Jehovah's Witnesses | 8 comments

Proselytized At Work… Again

proselytize1I work part-time in retail and the other day I had a woman ask me about how I viewed the Bible. She then handed me a Bible tract titled with that same question and told me that it would only take a few moments of my time, but it could change my life.

This wasn’t the first time I was proselytized at work either. Last year a similar incident occurred and my reaction to both incidents was the same. I took the tract and thanked the person for giving it to me.

As much as I wanted to stand there and debate a customer about religion, I also don’t want to get fired. My job is to make the customer happy and to do my best to insure that they have a positive shopping experience.

Unfortunately, I might have done my job too well this time around because after she had handed me the tracts and walked off, she came back to find me to ask me if I could help her friend who reads the Bible to the blind. She wanted to know if I knew any blind people who could “benefit” from that service. I tried really hard not to laugh out loud at that one. I just smiled and informed her that I did not know any blind people who could… benefit… from that service.

How rude was it that this person came over to me while I was working to proselytize? I am a pretty outspoken atheist and yet I would never even consider doing anything even remotely like that.

In retrospect, I could probably have handled that situation better. I think that next time (and there almost certainly will be a next time), I should thank the person for the tract, but decline to take it (even though I love reading those things), and inform the person that I am not allowed to solicitations.

How would you handle a situation like this? Have you experienced similar situations and if so, how did you handle them? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

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  • Vandy Beth Glenn

    I think if you believe anything strongly and want others to be convinced of your point of view, it’s okay to proselytize about it. Laudable, even.

    • http://skepticink.com/dangeroustalk Dangerous Talk

      Yes, I completely agree with you… however there are certain times and places where that is inappropriate. Someone’s workplace is one of them. It puts people in an awkward position and they are a captive audience.

  • Miika H

    Based on what you’ve written recently, you seem to deal with proselytizing Christians more or less on a daily basis. That contrasts pretty starkly with my own experiences from southern Finland. It’s been years since anyone tried to convert me IRL, and the last time it happened, the young gentlemen in question were from Utah. Do you live in some sort of a religious hotspot or something?

    • http://skepticink.com/dangeroustalk Dangerous Talk

      America is definitely an religious hotspot. I live in the suburbs of Philly, but the further south you go, the bigger the religious hotspot gets.

  • ChuckV

    It hasn’t happened to me, but I don’t deal with customers. I write software, so my day to day interactions are with other engineers. In my field, people rarely proselytize their coworkers.

  • http://www.atheistrev.com/ vjack

    It sounds like you handled it pretty well. It doesn’t seem like it was worth losing a job over.

  • guerillasurgeon

    In my country I don’t think anyone would proselytise as a customer. Occasionally been proselytised by a co-worker, and once when I WAS a customer. Religion’s largely regarded as a private thing thank goodness.

  • Ann

    I also love reading those absurd tracts. A lot of my friends collect them for me (with a shrug. LOL!)

    So it’s no problem at all for me to snatch one up, and say, “Thanks! I LOVE these things!”

    If I owe the person or the circumstances a greater-than-normal duty of politeness, I stop there. Otherwise I add, “I’m an atheist, and I think these things are hilarious!”