I spend large amounts of time making this decision each and every time I step out of my house. Religion permeates every part of our society. Even in a causal conversation, people project their beliefs on others. Most of the time I just nod my head and keep it moving. It’s just not worth the energy most of the time.
At work, I don’t bring up my disbelief. Everyone I work with are hardcore members of their congregation. I get invites all the time when it comes to the church. Sometimes, they even try to set me up to attend a church event. I am at the point where I just shake my head and say “yeah, yeah, yeah, let me know.” I also try to hide my facial expressions because they do give me away.
The other day, my facial expressions were being checked by a student.
“I see your face when people start to talk about Jesus, Mr. Omi,” This one student pointed out.
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“I can tell you are like, ‘please stop soon,’” she continued.
“You think?” I asked sarcastically.
“I’m not stupid, Mr. Omi, I know you are just going through the motions. You don’t buy that Jesus stuff. You never talk about it like everyone else does here.”
“Yeah I try not to put my stuff on other people you know? I think it’s not appropriate for me to bring it up.”
“What? That you don’t believe in Jesus?”
What followed was an awesome conversation. She revealed to me that she was an atheist and pegged me for one as soon as I walked through the doors of that job. She said my body language gave me away. She admitted that she is frustrated when it comes to finding other atheists to talk about. She also said she wish she could attend more programs that are secular. We exchanged information and invited her to our organization. She was really excited and admitted that she rarely has conversations like the one we just had.
I learned that maybe its a good idea to be more vocal about it because you never know. Again, I have to choose my battles more wisely.