To Be or Not to Be? Day 11

As luck would have it I start attending bible study the second to last session before they take a break until May.  As even more luck would have it the last session is this Saturday.  The same day I have plans to attend what I joke to be my actual religion – Opening Day with MLS (Major League Soccer.)

We are season ticket holders for our local team and because we live 100 miles from the stadium going to a game is an all day thing.  Even though the game is early it is not early enough to be back for Saturday’s Bible Study.

I realized this on Sunday (right after I told someone I would totally be at the next bible study.)  I was just going to skip it but it was actually on my mind all day yesterday so I returned an email welcoming me to the church that also happened to be from someone holding a bible study group.

After a few phone calls today I have all the info I need and am going to head to a different bible study group; which bring me to  a decision I need to make.

Full disclosure or not?  Do I tell everyone I am an Atheist and why I am there/what I am doing? If so, do I tell at the beginning?  The end? Or when the time seems right?

I don’t really know what to do here.  I don’t want to misrepresent myself but I have had people question why even tell anyone unless they ask?  I have been thinking about this since yesterday also and it is another reason I thought about just skipping the whole thing this week.

Hopefully I can figure it out in the next 4 hours.

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13 thoughts on “To Be or Not to Be? Day 11

  1. I believe you tell them straight up where you are. Don’t try to be someone you are not. I am a Christian and I would prefer to know – it wouldn’t make me think any different about you either. I can’t say it would be that way with all so-called Christians, however, the point is, be yourself. I sense that God is working in your life, though you might not sense it (but you might). By the way, what team? Seattle Sounders? I’m a huge soccer fan, but I haven’t followed MLS since its inception. I originally had season tickets to DC United for the first couple of years and then lost interest. I just recently purchased MLS Direct Kick because I want to follow one of the MLS teams from the Northwest (Vancouver, Seattle or Portland). Why would someone from my area want to follow a team from the Northwest? Because their fans are awesome! I love the culture around those games and I am going to figure out which team I want to root for soon. Just need to see a few games first.

  2. I have been following your journey, I am enjoying your honest perspective & inspired by your courage to give your all to this experiment!!

    As for your dilema today, my Christian advice as a ministry worker & teacher is to be truthful & present yourself with full disclosure. The bible teaches us that “the truth will set you free”… I think you will feel fake & even guilty , otherwise, if you are real with people, they will respect your honesty.

  3. I have to admit to not reading the prior comments, so I don’t know if this has already been said; but for what it is worth, I wouldn’t say a thing. Do you ever wonder if by disclosing the fact that you’re an atheist, it prompts people to go above and beyond how they might treat you if they didn’t know? In order to sway you/convince you? I may be being brash…just something to consider. See how how things go without all your cards on the table, maybe.

  4. That’s a tricky one and I’m not sure how to tell you to play this out as a Christian without actually being a Christian. Let me explain…

    As Christians, we are taught to be particularly careful about what we’re doing with our mouths (minds out the gutter please! I’m talking about in speech). Depending on why where saying something or why we’re choosing to divulge information, we can be acting in accordance with God’s will or not. In fact there are times where both speaking and holding our tongues is to be considered sinful.

    In Galatians 2 (NIV) we see Paul choosing to confront Peter (Cephas) in speech:

    11 When Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. 12 For before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group. 13 The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray.
    14 When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in front of them all, “You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs?

    Peter was being a jack-wagon! He was separating himself from the uncircumcised gentiles, because he feared what the reaction of the circumcised Jews may be. He was contributing to a rift which would fracture the unity of God’s church. Unity of the church is big with God:

    11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
    ~Ephesians 4 (NIV)

    Conversely, there are many places in scripture that tell us to just shut up. e.g.:

    11 Through the blessing of the upright a city is exalted,
    but by the mouth of the wicked it is destroyed.

    12 Whoever derides their neighbor has no sense,
    but the one who has understanding holds their tongue.

    13 A gossip betrays a confidence,
    but a trustworthy person keeps a secret.

    14 For lack of guidance a nation falls,
    but victory is won through many advisers.
    ~Proverbs 11 (NIV)

    gossip, wicked tongues, hurtful sarcasm, misleading or derisive statements etc.; we don’t get to do this stuff and file it in the drawer labeled “honesty is the best policy”

    check out that verse 14 in Proverbs. I included it in order to look at it together with verse 13 from the verse in Ephesians “until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” – unity comes from understanding, from respectful reflection, discussion and consideration of our differences. That’s key, because it tells us that we cannot assume that just because we disagree with what someone is saying, their beliefs or their actions, it means we are right. We may be the ones in error and if we truly have faith we will not fear the consideration that we may be wrong – we cannot disrespect them as a person simply because we disrespect their beliefs.

    So how do we know the difference? This is the part that I’m afraid you may not be able to get on board with, not being a Christian yourself – we pray for guidance. We pray to understand our true intents when opening our mouths to speak. We pray for the holy spirit to guide us. I curious if you understand what we mean by holy spirit. Do you get what Christians are talking about when we talk about the relationship between the Father, Son and Holy Spirit?

    My suggestion is to not decide ahead of time if you will tell them your beliefs and/or how/what you will say should you decide to do so. My suggestion is that you try to pray about it. Before starting, alone in your car if you like, just ask for guidance. Ask that your heart be made pure and that your speech be guided by the virtues of good will and decency. Then, trust your gut. If you feel as if your being dishonest, then honor that and don’t be dishonest. If you feel like you were being hurtful or derisive by telling them, then honor that. Ask him to make the decision for you and try to trust that he will lead you.

    just my $.02! Good luck and I’m proud of you for finding another bible study instead of using your situation as an excuse to stop going.

  5. I don’t know. I think everyone comes to a Bible study at different levels of faith, and various lenses and perspectives, so on one hand I don’t see why you need to say something.

    However, maybe being open about where you stand will benefit you and them both in that it opens the door for honest dialogue.

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