Monday, July 25, 2016

Don't be a douchebag with your religious beliefs

I made a brief post yesterday to friends on my Facebook about this, but wanted to expand a bit more on it.  Before we begin I want to clarify that this it not a shot at those who are religious and like to share their thoughts or feelings.  You guys are cool.  It's just that there's times it needs to be handled better.

Yesterday was my nephew's birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese.  I'm not normally into attending events like this with tons of screaming hellion kids hopped up on too much sugar serving as a reminder that birth control is the greatest concept ever, and that abstinence shit they taught us in school may be valid, but I went.  Both my nephews lived a descent distance away before so these events weren't always so easy to be involved in despite any annoyances.  They live in town now, so I can actually be supportive since I am a bit partial to those little assholes.

Anyway, I arrive and get settled in.  Most of the time I'm talking to my sister or parents, and just kinda hanging out minding my own.  Kids are still running around screaming bloody murder, and I'm still wishing I had brought that bottle of whiskey and snuck it in to make it more tolerable.  The nephew is having fun so that's the main thing.  At least there's free pizza, and I spent a descent amount of time talking with the nephew's dad as we get along ok.

In between those discussions, I go to sneak out for a smoke break, and when I get back he's chatting with some other dude who was there for the party (we'll call him Weird Dude).  I'm assuming a parent of one of the other monsters on the guest list.  He kinda stuck out as every adult there was dressed casually considering the 90+ degree weather, and he's up wearing a long sleeve shirt and slacks.  I figure it's likely church attire as this started in the early afternoon, but have some level of comfort.  It's fucking burning up outside.

This is where the story actually kicks in.  They finish they conversation as the he and my sis go to take pis of their son blowing out birthday candles and all the other festive shit.  I'm about to go talk to my parents again to have something to do, and Weird Dude starts asking me about the shirt I'm wearing that day.

In hindsight, wearing a Mayhem Festival to a Chuck E. Cheese birthday party may not have been the most appropriate thing to do, but it really wasn't that bad.  I didn't really care at the time.  I had 0 coffee in me, just finished working out in the heat at my parent's house, and just went home and showered and changed clothes to make it to this on time.  I just grabbed a shirt and threw it on.

Weird dude then starts to ask me about the pentagram on the back of it, then starts in on the you shouldn't look to embrace negative images in life and embracing The Lord and all.

Fuck.  This is not something I anticipated today, nor did I have any intent on engaging this conversation.

Let me make something clear.  I have my religious beliefs.  They're VERY limited compared to most, and I certainly don't publicly share them to random people, but they're there regardless.  I don't go to church, I don't preach anything, and I don't foresee myself reading the entire Bible anytime soon.  I've got the basics down, those work for me, and I'm good.  I tend to stay out of religious conversation as a whole.  I've found that people tend to either warp things in their own translation of what they read, or judge you for what they feel you're doing wrong as if they're the chosen word and must redeem you.

I have no issues with anyone else's religious beliefs at all.  Ours may differ, and I'm totally cool with that.  There's only perhaps a couple of people I know that I ever go own that road with, simply because they don't use their beliefs to judge me or put themselves over.  We can actually have life discussions, they'll incorporate some into it to provide additional information, and we have an amicable conversation, and all is well.

This conversation didn't go like that at all.  The first thing to keep in mind, is don't just go up to a random person you don't know and start telling them about what influences you think they should have in their life, and telling them what you feel is wrong.  You don't know them, and you know absolutely nothing about them.

It's simply inconsiderate.

Don't continue pushing your thought process on someone else if they're obviously not engaging the conversation, and show no interest at all.

Normally, this scenario would have turned into a lengthy debate.  It's not the first time I've encountered this, and I'm quite effective at countering their hypocrisy and invalidating their argument in a rather professional and mature manner.  The problem here, is it was a birthday party.  It certainly wasn't an appropriate time to randomly start preaching what you feel someone else is doing wrong, and definitely wasn't the right time for me to ruin his day.  

It was my nephew's birthday, and I intended on that to be respected fully.  I was hoping I could disregard him politely and he would shut up.  He kept lecturing or asking questions, and I kept looking off in another direction and replying with one word answers.  He kept on with the negative images speed and that I should find Jesus again.  I even told Weird Dude simply that it's no big deal, it' just a shirt, and I got it at a show.  No need to look so far into it.  He was persistent, so I had to just call it a day.  I didn't want to leave the party early, but this wasn't going to end well at all, and I wasn't going to lose my respect to where I was.

I got up, told my parents and sister goodbye, and left the place.  I felt like an asshole and apologized to my sister for abruptly leaving, but I felt it was the best option.

The point to all this is that there's no need to be a douche on things like this.  If you bring it up, and the other person acts receptive and engages the conversation then great.  Have at it.  There is usually a more appropriate time and place for things like this.  A birthday party isn't one.  It's disturbing that one people feel their moral obligation in their own mind trumps priority over anything else going at the time, so they must then force their opinion on someone else.  And no, this certainly doesn't apply specifically to religious views, but it tends to be more common than others.

You don't have to agree with everything I do, what I choose to wear, etc.  Not at all.  I respect you having an opinion and a belief system.  I have the same.  I won't however, show a complete lack of maturity and consideration to force it on you in the worst of timing and scenarios.

On a comical note, he apparently only based his judgement of my fashion choices on the pentagram on the back of the shirt.  It seems he totally missed the corpse on a cross that was on the front!