Author Topic: My neighbors - The fundies  (Read 1533 times)

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Offline Kimberly

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My neighbors - The fundies
« on: September 05, 2012, 10:11:40 AM »
So.. I have this rule where I don't make acquaintances with my neighbors. I've learned the hard way that people can't be trusted and it's easier to live some where if I don't have to worry about who my neighbors are. I tend to veer on the safe side of caution and just avoid them all together. (Aside from the in passing hello, smile, or wave.)

Recently this young couple moved in next door. The husband is probably a reservist and the wife is a stay at home mom. They have a baby not much older than ours. The wife came by about a month ago and invited me to go on walks with her in the morning. She threw her church in to the convo several times. Luckily I work at the times she walks so I had a good excuse. Now she's come by today to invite us over for brownies and family game night. Again making sure to drop her church in to the convo again.

I feel like they want to try to indoctrinate us godless heathens but then I'm certain they don't know. I'm sure I'm just being paranoid but it all feels like a bait and switch to get us to attend church. I don't see the convo going very well at game night:

Them:
"What church do you all attend?"

Us:
"We don't go to church."

Them:
"Would you all like to come to church with us one Sunday?"

Us:
"No thank you."

Them:
"Oh ok..."

And this convo would repeat indefinitely. Perhaps they will start leaving literature on our door or eventually become offended that we don't attend their church. So what could have been a friendship will sour and I will be forced to live next to people who resent us for being rude and not attending their church. I could always drop the atheist bomb but then what?!

Sigh... Family game night with brownies at the Clever's house sounds like too much hassle. How would you guys handle the invites? I did mention the beginning of football season as a possible "out".
Thank you for considering my point of view; however wrong it may be to you.

Offline screwtape

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Re: My neighbors - The fundies
« Reply #1 on: September 05, 2012, 10:20:55 AM »
I'd go.  They are church centric, but they might not be quite so evangelica as you imagine them to be.  It is a low cost gamble with a high potential upside.  And remember, it is as difficult to avoid dealing with the religious as it is the stupid.  Both are ubiquitous.  Don't try to shelter yourself that way.  Consider yourself to be an atheist ambassador, showing the religious that atheists are moral, good people who are nice and have kids. 
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Offline pianodwarf

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Re: My neighbors - The fundies
« Reply #2 on: September 05, 2012, 10:24:27 AM »
How would you guys handle the invites?

I don't know whether you're "out" or not, but if you are, I'd recommend mentioning your atheism at a time in a conversation where it fits.  And it sounds like they're going to give you that opportunity, probably sooner rather than later.

Will they react positively?  Maybe not, but this may be an opportunity for you to show these people that atheists are people just like anybody else.  Many people need to see some examples of atheists to be able to understand that, and it sounds to me like this couple may be two of those people who would benefit from that.

There are possible negative repercussions, to be sure.  They may try to convert you, in which case you'll need to make clear to them that that's not welcome, anymore than they would welcome someone trying to convert them to another faith (or to no faith).  My own experience has been that evangelists need to have this pounded into their skulls before they finally accept it, so you would need to be ready for that.

As far as rejecting your friendship goes, that's also a possibility, but on the other hand, would you want to be friends with someone who was like that?
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Offline Kimberly

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Re: My neighbors - The fundies
« Reply #3 on: September 05, 2012, 10:40:06 AM »
As far as rejecting your friendship goes, that's also a possibility, but on the other hand, would you want to be friends with someone who was like that?

No. But then we still have to be neighbors. Which is why I don't befriend neighbors, it's never ended well for me. They seem like genuinely nice people. They are prozac happy and shit. I don't fear them trying to rob us or anything absurd. So with them it's not a matter of safety as much as trying to avoid an uncomfortable atmosphere of living next to people after a falling out.

Consider yourself to be an atheist ambassador, showing the religious that atheists are moral, good people who are nice and have kids. 

I've never officially come out as an atheist. I can count on one hand the number of people I've told. I'm not certain that I feel comfortable telling people I don't know very intimately that I'm an atheist. I also don't consider myself a good "atheist ambassador". I curse, have a sarcastic sense of humor, and I'm more liberal than most Christians. I'm sure I would come off as an immoral potty mouth given enough time.
Thank you for considering my point of view; however wrong it may be to you.

Offline Traveler

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Re: My neighbors - The fundies
« Reply #4 on: September 05, 2012, 10:59:53 AM »
My snarky side says the conversation should go something like this ...

Them: Would you like to go to church with us?

You: No, thank you.

Them: Why not?

You: What part of "no, thank you" don't you understand?

You don't owe them any explanations about your beliefs or non-beliefs. You can always tell them that you were raised to believe that sex, religion and politics were not discussed in polite company, and/or that you consider such things a private matter.

As for gaming, that's up to you. I'm pretty good friends with one of my neighbors, and I find it quite nice. We take turns taking care of each other's dogs when we go away. She's a catholic in name, but quite non-religious in practice, and she knows I don't believe in god. I guess I got lucky. :)
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Offline Kimberly

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Re: My neighbors - The fundies
« Reply #5 on: September 05, 2012, 11:28:45 AM »
You: What part of "no, thank you" don't you understand?

 :D I couldn't be so blunt Traveler. At least not on the first "date".  :angel:

You don't owe them any explanations about your beliefs or non-beliefs. You can always tell them that you were raised to believe that sex, religion and politics were not discussed in polite company, and/or that you consider such things a private matter.

No, my 8 year old would feel the need to answer on our behalf just as quickly as they mentioned god/church. "My mommy and step dad don't believe in god. And they won't go to your church, they won't even go to GRANDMA'S church."

As for gaming, that's up to you. I'm pretty good friends with one of my neighbors, and I find it quite nice. We take turns taking care of each other's dogs when we go away. She's a catholic in name, but quite non-religious in practice, and she knows I don't believe in god. I guess I got lucky. :)

Perhaps it's the anti-social recluse in me? I don't know what the social norm is on neighborly relationships. Perhaps my way is the exception to the rule?  I just prefer my friends and family to be kept away at a safe distance from my home. I consider my home my sanctuary and would feel "threatened" if I had a neighbor next door whom I shared a tarnished friendship with.
Thank you for considering my point of view; however wrong it may be to you.

Offline Dante

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Re: My neighbors - The fundies
« Reply #6 on: September 05, 2012, 12:06:37 PM »
Perhaps it's the anti-social recluse in me? I don't know what the social norm is on neighborly relationships. Perhaps my way is the exception to the rule?  I just prefer my friends and family to be kept away at a safe distance from my home. I consider my home my sanctuary and would feel "threatened" if I had a neighbor next door whom I shared a tarnished friendship with.

I'm the same way, but there's one thing you may have to consider, and that's the children. If they're close in age, they willl likely be going to school together, playing together, etc.

You dont have much of a chance of NOT getting to know your neighbors if both of you live there for any amount of time.

Sorry I don't have a good answer for your situation, but in this case, screwtape's strategy may be the best.
« Last Edit: September 05, 2012, 12:09:02 PM by Dante »
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Offline HAL

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Re: My neighbors - The fundies
« Reply #7 on: September 05, 2012, 12:16:40 PM »
IMHO the friendship won't work out in the long run if church is popping out of the pie hole so much already. I'd tell her you are an atheist and you know exactly why you are and they won't bother you anymore. Why? Because I don't believe they will want their child playing with an unbeliever's child or near someone who might say something against the LORD.

That's my opinion - I could be wrong.

Offline Nick

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Re: My neighbors - The fundies
« Reply #8 on: September 05, 2012, 12:18:51 PM »
Their last name would not be Flanders would it? ;)
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Offline Kimberly

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Re: My neighbors - The fundies
« Reply #9 on: September 05, 2012, 12:34:39 PM »
You dont have much of a chance of NOT getting to know your neighbors if both of you live there for any amount of time.

If I don't move in the next year I will consider myself a failure. We need a bigger place so I hope to be gone with in a year. I do say that every year but this time I mean it! I could use this as an opportunity for a social experiment and force myself to move when it fails!

Their last name would not be Flanders would it? ;)

No but the shoe fits! At least the Mrs, I've never met Mr.
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Offline Kimberly

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Re: My neighbors - The fundies
« Reply #10 on: September 05, 2012, 12:40:32 PM »
IMHO the friendship won't work out in the long run if church is popping out of the pie hole so much already.

I think they heard our semi annual heathen argument through the thin walls and feel the need to save us from ourselves. That's my only guess at and explanation to the intrusion. She always says weird things like, "I just wanted to see how you were doing." Or, "Oh I didn't know your "husband" was home during the days." My guess is good christian folk don't ever argue and they think we need god. IDK I tend to make up phantom stories when there are none. My imagination runs wildly rampant and this is the most logically explanation I can come up with. They can't possibly be good people who are just being friendly, that just doesn't happen in the south.  ;)
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Offline LoriPinkAngel

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Re: My neighbors - The fundies
« Reply #11 on: September 05, 2012, 01:04:08 PM »

She always says weird things like, "I just wanted to see how you were doing." Or, "Oh I didn't know your "husband" was home during the days."

Be afraid.  Be very afraid. ;)
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Offline rickymooston

Re: My neighbors - The fundies
« Reply #12 on: September 05, 2012, 04:55:33 PM »
Would you like to go to church with us?

No thanks

Why not?

Well, I am not really into that sort of thing. Maybe you can come over to dinner sometime if you like.
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Offline rickymooston

Re: My neighbors - The fundies
« Reply #13 on: September 05, 2012, 04:58:54 PM »
Meh, i love canads

My atheist neice has all kinds of friends

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Offline HAL

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Re: My neighbors - The fundies
« Reply #14 on: September 05, 2012, 05:32:28 PM »
Would you like to go to church with us?

No thanks

Why not?

Well, I am not really into that sort of thing. Maybe you can come over to dinner sometime if you like.

Revised and extended -

Would you like to go to church with us?

No thanks

Why not?

Well, I am not really into that sort of thing. Maybe you can come over ...

Why aren't you into that sort of thing?

Offline rickymooston

Re: My neighbors - The fundies
« Reply #15 on: September 05, 2012, 05:42:43 PM »
Pray about it and maybe you will figure it out. Sorry, i have to wash my son's clothes.

In Canada, ppl tend to be less persistent, although JW have a reputation
"i had learn to focus i what i could do rather what i couldn't do", Rick Hansen when asked about getting a disabling spinal cord injury at 15. He continues to raise money for spinal cord research and inspire peoople to "make a difference". He doesnt preach any religion.

Offline Chronos

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Re: My neighbors - The fundies
« Reply #16 on: September 05, 2012, 06:46:42 PM »
You don't owe them any explanations about your beliefs or non-beliefs.

I would fuck with them (non-sexually, of course).

I'd get one of those screaming chicken toys (Spencer's), mix some ketchup and chocolate syrup together, pickup some cheap votive candles and ready a big knife. I would then light all the candles within view of the doorway, make a lot of noise in my apartment, squeeze the screaming chicken quite a few times and when the inevitable knock on the door occurs, smear some of the ketchup/choco mix on my hands, pick up the knife, answer the door just slightly ajar and say "Oh, hi. I'm busy sacrificing an animal to the alter of insert favorite deity." Then tilt your head backward aiming for a look behind the door and say, "We'll be having chicken for dinner. Do you know the best way to de-feather? Also, do you think Oxi-Clean will fade the carpet?"

You won't be bothered again.

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Offline Kimberly

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Re: My neighbors - The fundies
« Reply #17 on: September 05, 2012, 07:55:56 PM »
If I could do that with out busting out in laughter I would! That's the best advice ever! I can just see the horror on their faces!
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Offline Death over Life

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Re: My neighbors - The fundies
« Reply #18 on: September 05, 2012, 08:07:08 PM »
If I could do that with out busting out in laughter I would! That's the best advice ever! I can just see the horror on their faces!

Just make it an evil witchy kind of laugh if you must laugh. That would make it even darker!

Offline Emily

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Re: My neighbors - The fundies
« Reply #19 on: September 05, 2012, 08:21:20 PM »
I know how you feel. My neighbor is a pastor and he drops the 'C' word out there many times. But we get along great. I live next door to his church and when we have big parties he lets our friends park in the parking lot. He's pretty cool about my atheism, however he does get preachy at times, and finishes all his church discussions with "Just tossing that out there!". I'm like, "I'll think about it!".

I did mention the beginning of football season as a possible "out".

haha, this is how I began the transition into becoming friends with them. We moved in when the Buffalo Sabres we going to the playoffs after winning the President's Trophy, so I was too excited in playoff hockey that I didn't want any friends at the time, but we would discuss hockey. Like, "Wow, did you see that save by Miller!", or "What'll happen in the off season!", etc.

Then again, you live in Tennessee, so your neighbors might be a lot different than mine are at accepting my beliefs. I grew up in Nashville, so I know how they are down there. Here in Western NY people could care less about one's religious preference. 

Good luck.
« Last Edit: September 05, 2012, 08:39:36 PM by Emily »
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Offline Mr. Blackwell

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Re: My neighbors - The fundies
« Reply #20 on: September 05, 2012, 08:45:21 PM »
"My mommy and step dad don't believe in god. And they won't go to your church, they won't even go to GRANDMA'S church."

GOD I LOVE the BRUTE honesty of children :)

As long as you are respectful to them, there should never be a problem. It is a good opportunity for you to start a relationship from scratch with open honesty. It might take awhile but they will eventually see that you are a decent person despite your...uh...non belief.

If they don't appreciate your honesty well...tough shit. Just don't get all vindictive on their asses if they reject you.

Kill them with kindness. 

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Offline Kimberly

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Re: My neighbors - The fundies
« Reply #21 on: September 05, 2012, 09:48:36 PM »
Emily,

She wasn't aware football season started tonight so I don't think that will be an issue! :P Nashville huh? Only been there a few times and don't remember a single one of them! I want to move up north, if my work would pay me I could relocate to Michigan. Unfortunately I'm not that high up the latter.

I will consider a friendship. Worst case scenario it's a social experiment and we have awkward silences in passing. I'm not certain
I can come out of the atheist closet. I may just lie[1] and tell them we attend a Unitarian church. Yall can be my church, I promise to report every Sunday and will pretend to put $20 in the basket every Sunday.

Mr B. ,

ME? Vindictive? Never!

My oldest has no qualms about telling people our business. Keeps me I honest I suppose. Most of the time it's a relief. I do get tired of her telling people I'm not a dog person though. That's far worse than atheism!
 1. Seriously! I'm really not ready!
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Offline Mr. Blackwell

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Re: My neighbors - The fundies
« Reply #22 on: September 05, 2012, 10:50:09 PM »
I'm not certain I can come out of the atheist closet.

Liberation can be a terrifying concept to those accustomed to servitude.
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Offline Anfauglir

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Re: My neighbors - The fundies
« Reply #23 on: September 06, 2012, 05:12:41 AM »
The wife came by about a month ago and invited me to go on walks with her in the morning. She threw her church in to the convo several times. Luckily I work at the times she walks so I had a good excuse. Now she's come by today to invite us over for brownies and family game night. Again making sure to drop her church in to the convo again.

You never know, maybe you look such a respectable and upstanding citizen that she is sure you are a big churchgoer, and is over-selling her own Christian credentials so as not to alienate you?

No, not very likely I guess, but you never know.  Wouldn't it be a kick if you and they were two atheist families living next to each other but never knowing it because you're all pretending to be Christians?

I'd be inclined to just ignore all the passing references to church.  If it ever becomes more explicit, you could always try looking a bit awkward, then saying:
"would you mind if we don't discuss religion or politics? (small smile)  They say they're things you should never discuss at dinner parties (look sad) and I lost a good friend because of a minor difference in what we believed (pause briefly and look into distance as if remembering, then "snap" back to present) so I make it a rule now just to keep those subjects private (smile again)"

But then again, like you say, the kids will blurt it all out for you at some poiint anyway!

Neighbours are weird.  We've lived in our house for fifteen years.  Neighbours on one side we know by name, take in each others post, but I know very little about them.  Guys on the other side have been there half a dozen years or more, and I haven't a clue what their names are.....despite the guy working in the same building as me.

But then I'm British, so that's pretty normal for us.  Some villages you will be an outsider unless you are at least third generation.
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Offline Kimberly

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Re: My neighbors - The fundies
« Reply #24 on: September 06, 2012, 12:17:56 PM »
The south is a strange place. I've met many people who won't claim any religion or gods. They will seem perfectly rational and normal. Then BAM all of a sudden they are praying for you or something equally superstitious.

One of my closets friends is a pro-spagger. It really doesn't bother me and she knows I'm an atheist. I revealed it to her when she told me she was dating a muslim. I revealed it to one other friend when she claimed to be agnostic. I told my mom so she would quit bashing my brother for being an atheist. I told my dad because he tried to justify his poor parenting with the bible. Other than that I've not really told anyone. My fiance's parent's know but it was kinda inevitable. His entire family accused me of bringing him to the darkside. They all were chasing after me with their pitch forks and broom sticks. He had to tell them it was him who turned me to the darkside.

Oh how I could forget... my daughter told my ex inlaws and her father for me. That was fun. So I'm not "really" an in the closet atheist. Those who should know do. It's mostly my coworkers and strangers that I fear. Coworkers because I don't know the potential career ramifications if they found out and strangers because I don't wanna be preached at.
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Offline Iamrational

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Re: My neighbors - The fundies
« Reply #25 on: September 06, 2012, 06:29:00 PM »

Liberation can be a terrifying concept to those accustomed to servitude.

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Offline HAL

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Re: My neighbors - The fundies
« Reply #26 on: September 06, 2012, 06:37:46 PM »
His entire family accused me of bringing him to the darkside. They all were chasing after me with their pitch forks and broom sticks. He had to tell them it was him who turned me to the darkside.

I always think of this pic when somebody says that.


Offline Kimberly

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Re: My neighbors - The fundies
« Reply #27 on: September 06, 2012, 06:45:48 PM »
Well then I fail at story telling! It was supposed to look like this:

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Offline LoriPinkAngel

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Re: My neighbors - The fundies
« Reply #28 on: September 09, 2012, 05:56:23 PM »
I can't imagine "preaching" at someone.  I don't offer my religious viewpoint unless someone asks for it.
It doesn't make sense to let go of something you've had for so long.  But it also doesn't make sense to hold on when there's actually nothing there.