Are Christians getting louder?

Oh, man.

I have a new coworker. She is the sweetest girl – very open and genuine, and although she is much more outgoing than I am, I really like her. 

But she talks about god – a lot. It’s pretty uncomfortable. She sits right next to me.

It’s not just her. There’s been a lot of god talk at work lately – and from people I work with directly on a regular basis.

I mentioned the other day that I’m not a fan of Christmas and my coworker made a point to tell me that he always says “Merry Christmas” to everyone. I didn’t think of it at the time but I wish I had said, “I always say ‘Happy Holidays’ because I want to be considerate of EVERYONE.” I always think of these things after the fact.

Yesterday, I co-facilitated a women’s support group with a coworker who actually advised people to pray. We are not a faith-based organization and I just assumed she knew it was against the rules. I went straight to my supervisor after the group because I’m too scared to confront her myself. Things are going to get really awkward but I just can’t let this one slide.

Last year, when my atheist poetry book was released by Freethought House, several of my coworkers knew about my book, including my supervisor and HR director. I was really nervous to tell them about it but they were surprisingly accepting of it. In the end, I was really happy I told them because I became more confident and relaxed.

But since then, things have gone downhill and I have retreated to my little shell, frightened of my coworkers. Quite frankly, frightened of everyone. 

My husband and I are big fans of The Voice and it just seems there was a lot of religious music this season. In fact, I’ve seen it on a lot of shows lately. It’s just everywhere.

It doesn’t help that it’s Christmas time. I fucking hate Christmas.

I realize I live in a conservative state where Christianity is just a part of life, but I just feel like I’m surrounded – more than usual – and I’m scared. I wouldn’t have a problem with Christianity if Christians didn’t feel so threatening. I just want to go to work and not have to hide who I am. 

I don’t really know how to make this situation better.

Is it just me, or are Christians getting louder?

I’m guessing with this post people are going to suggest I move. I would like to move but unfortunately, with my family’s current financial situation, it just isn’t an option at the moment. Maybe in the future. A girl can dream, right?


  1. StonedRanger says

    They arent getting any louder here. They seem to always be annoying. Dont be afraid to speak up and tell people to keep their gods to themselves.

  2. says

    Yes, Christians are getting louder — and in too many cases, downright belligerent — and as much as I hate to say this, the only good response for people like us may be to stand up to it, hard as that may be. If, for example, your colleagues were accepting of your atheist book club, maybe you could ask them why they’re not so accepting now, and why they should have any problem with you when you’re just doing your damn job and not bothering anyone.

  3. moarscienceplz says

    I am very lucky in that I live in a very liberal part of the USA. People rarely speak about religion within my earshot. I suspect the god-botherers *are* becoming louder because they see they are on the losing side of history: church attendance is down in almost a straight line year after year, and polls consistently report declining religiousity.
    I, personally, love Christmas even though I am a hardcore atheist, but I think of it as role playing. I regularly attend our local renaissance faire, and we also have a Dickens Christmas fair that is set in London in the 1850s, and I find it great fun to pop myself into those very different mindsets. I even had calling cards printed that list my occupation as “Time Traveller”. I love blatantly Christian songs such as “We Three Kings”, but I also love very old wassailing songs which are deeply rooted in so-called “pagan” religions. I can dip my toes into the very real feelings of love and awe the believers felt (and still feel) without feeling that I am compromising my own core because it is just a costume I slip into for the current moment.
    Ashes, it seems you have a much harder time escaping the god-botherers than I do, and I am sorry for that, but maybe you could try my trick. Maybe it would make things easier for you.

  4. Jerome says

    Please be very careful about listening to advice that says you should stand up to this kind of oppressive Christian behavior. If you truly feel that you’re in danger, I highly, HIGHLY recommend that you do not take their advice. If you’re in a southern state, such an act will almost surely cost you your job, or have other, worse consequences—and not just for you, but also your loved ones. We often forget this around these parts, but in most of the world, it is genuinely dangerous to be openly atheist: being an open atheist is the most life-threatening minority group you can be a part of on planet Earth. Unfortunately, being out is a privilege that can only be safely expressed in some areas.

    I will gently suggest that those who recommend that you stand up to this kind of behavior have never lived in a dangerously red state. It is gross and ugly, yes, but sometimes it is the best strategy to remain silent if it means the safety of yourself and your family.

    Survival before principles, always.

  5. says

    Just to clarify, I am not suggesting anyone be open about their nonbelief; only that — when we can — we push back against rude or intrusive behavior. One doesn’t have to be an atheist to be offended by inconsiderate people.

  6. says

    I think Christians are getting both louder and quieter.

    A lot of Christians are recognizing that they live in a country with non-Christians and they don’t want to be assholes so they quiet things down, use more inclusive language, etc.

    But there are those Christians who aren’t interested in avoiding being an asshole OR are so deep in their Christianity that they honestly think that being a jerk to non-Christians is the loving thing to do, because if enough people are jerks to non-believers enough of the time, maybe they’ll hate being treated like a non-believer and start to believe. And then a soul is saved, hooray for asshole-ism!

    That latter type of Christian (who either don’t care about being an asshole to people or think that being an asshole is a good thing) is getting louder. And also they’re feeling more persecuted and more likely to act like a jackass because they don’t know the difference between “you don’t get to be Christian” and “I don’t want to be co-opted into your Christianity”.

    So, yeah. Depending on what types of Christians are around you, that behaviour may very well be getting more common. it’s not just you. There are genuine trends here, though it’s not as simple as a single trend with all Christians getting more obnoxious. Some really are getting better, and good for them.

  7. sonofrojblake says

    I wouldn’t have a problem with Christianity if Christians didn’t feel so threatening

    I just wondered what sort of response you’d get here if you used it about literally any other religious group.

    In the hope of raising the mood, a quick tale of something that happened to me literally yesterday. It’s coming up to Christmas, and my boy (4 yr old) is into Pokemon (we walked round our village last night spinning stops and taking over gyms – he loves it). He expressed a desire for a Pokemon toy for Christmas, so after work I went to the only toy shop in our home town. After wandering round for a few minutes, I accosted an assistant and requested directions. She apologetically said they don’t sell Pokemon. I responded that I was sure I’d seen them in there. She was adamant – they do NOT sell Pokemon…. or Harry Potter stuff. “But you sell Lego – that’s got Harry Potter stuff?”. “Not in this shop.” When I asked why, she smiled and looked embarrassed and said, and I quote, “I’m not allowed to say. Maybe google it?”. I took my money to the next town over and got the toy, and Googled it – turns out this national (actually, international) chain of toy shops is a family-owned concern, and the bloke in charge has an imaginary friend who in all seriousness thinks Pokemon and Harry Potter are satanic cult-type things.

    Now, this is the UK and that’s just hilarious. It’s also not as nutty as you’d maybe like it to be – he’s not a complete maniac, going round protesting or burning toys, he’s just made a purchasing choice for an odd reason. Also, in this instance his faith has led to arguably improved conditions for his employees – the shops don’t open Sundays. (Out of curiosity – do Chick Fil A open Sundays?)

    • Steve Watson says

      Over Harry Potter they might have a point. See “Jesus Potter; Harry Christ”. It is the same mythology; but Rowling’s cycle is clearly fictional and, just as clearly, not smuggling Christ in like the Narnia books.

      A bright child might join the dots and wonder why one version of a story should be real and another version not.

      I rumbled the R.C.C. as the husk of a mystery religion as a kid because it ticked all the boxes for such as I found in the ‘Britannica’ I’d borrow volumes of from an aunt. One thing humans are is pattern recognition machines; and Xtians from the gitgo have been putting such obvious similarities down to the Devil getting his retaliation in first!

      Now this pattern recognition errs on the side of caution and throws up false positives quite often: it is usually the wind in the bushes and not a tiger; but it is well to be safe. In the case of Pokemon, your toyshop owner’s Xtianity is hijacking this machinery in error. But you try telling them that: they’d rather be (and by extension, their staff) “safe” than “sorry”.

  8. John Morales says

    “I didn’t think of it at the time but I wish I had said, “I always say ‘Happy Holidays’ because I want to be considerate of EVERYONE.” I always think of these things after the fact.”

    Happens to all of us. The French have a term for it that’s used by Anglophones:


    “Yesterday, I co-facilitated a women’s support group with a coworker who actually advised people to pray.”

    I remember

    In the spirit of the stair, perhaps you could have piped in not to contradict, but to add that for some people, meditation can work as well as prayer, or something of the sort. Less confrontational, just as subversive. IMO, of course.

  9. Steve Watson says

    I’d take the getting louder as in part becoming more insecure as secularism gains ground and as more folk from competing faiths ingress and their communities become more visible. I’d smile inwardly if I were you: we are clearly winning.
    I second what Jerome says: don’t put yourself in harms way. You might think of your Xtian as a wounded and cornered tiger and act accordingly. But equally though; don’t be generating your own fear. You’ve done this already and found it unfounded over your poetry; you might be talking yourself into a fearful state or magnifying things out of proprtion to what they actually are. Take it from one who has done a lot of the same in their life; it isn’t healthy and it can be super-debillitating.

  10. brightmoon says

    I live in NYC so it’s not so much of a problem as it is in the South . My neighborhood does have a lot of Jehovah Witnesses and they can be obnoxious and I’d don’t turn the other cheek with them . If they’re rude or nasty for no reason they get it back! If they aren’t rude then I’m not!

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