Are you offened when someone asks if you're a "believer"?
Twice within the past two weeks I've had people ask me this question which I find terribly offensive. A darling young mother and neighbor, in front of her three children with lovely Old Testament names, blurted out at the end of our conversation, "Are you a believer?" Someone else asked me the next week if I was a Christian. I've had religious training since four years old and attended Catholic school until a junior in high school when I had contemplated joining the convent. I am on my own religious path. Do you find this ques. offensive as well?
No, Not at all. I find it thrilling to know that there are still people out there who are speaking up and trying to save souls for God.
No way "I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ.............." Christians should not be ashamed, but happy to answer the person!
Yes, I understand among Christians. This woman in my example had no idea of whether I was or not. I don't think I should be ashamed of my secular humanism, but I wouldn't presume to ask someone, "Are you a secular humanist?" "Are you an agnostic?"
I'm never offended, simply curious why the person asking thinks it's any of his or her business.
Don't you think it has to do with the idea of that person feeling a calling to evangelize in his or her own way. I get it, but I don't like it.
Agreed, but it's still intrusive. But then I find the entire evangelical movement intrusive.
It would depend on the situation but typically no, I wouldn't be offended. I think a lot of people are looking for direction in their life so they ask others who may help shed some light on the topic.
Thanks Micelle, I think that direction should come from the people who share their belief system. I doubt if they'd find the direction they're looking for from me
Great point Michelle. And Billie, you never know what you can teach someone. I see it as just a question. What they do with the info is their business. And if you choose not to answer there is nothing wrong with that either.
Absolutely not. Provided the conversation on that particular topic stops there. What I do find highly offensive though, is after I said I am not a believer, people will feel on a mission to convert me.
No, not really. But I hope once I say, yes I am, then they leave me the h--- alone. I had one really rude guy ask once, and I said yes, he kept going - my word wasn't good enough for him.
Do they not realize they chase more people away from the faith then draw them in with that kind of boorish behavior?
Duffsmon, Thanks! I know what you mean. There's more behind the question than appears. It seems to be an attempt to convert one to the questioners own particular belief system. I wish I could come up with a really good answer for the next time:)
This happened to me a long time ago... by a Jehovah's Witness! Being Presbyterian wasn't good enough, I guess!!
I would have to ask myself where the question was coming from.
Are they asking me if I am a believer in a malicious way? I doubt it.
Are they asking me in a judgmental way? Perhaps, at which point I would have to point out the fact that they are falling into the trap of thinking being a believer makes one better than one who does not hold the same beliefs.
Are they asking me simply to evangelize their faith? If so then they would be evangelizing in a spirit of love, and concern for me. It would be ridiculous to be offended by somebody showing love and concern for me.
Short answer no I would not be offended. I don't understand why anybody would be. If somebody asks and it bothers you, the simple solution is to tell them that it is personal and you do not want to talk about it. End of story, avoidance of negative emotions, and reminding a person that their approach may be abrasive to some people.
I hear many people rant about evangelists approaching them, and I always have to ask, did you tell them you are not interested? Or did you stand there and play nice? They won't waste their time, if you make it clear they are wasting it.
Calynbana , I like your approach. However, if you tell someone that it's personal the question is answered and judgment has been passed. Someone once told me "You don't have to understand WHY something offends someone; just accept that it does."
If the person asking is actually a Christian then judgement would not be passed. If not then their judgement is upon themselves.I just don't know why anybody would choose to be offended. It is a choice after all. I choose to not be upset by strangers
I disagree that evangelists will stop bothering you if you say you're not interested. SOME of them don't take no for an answer, and some don't even take Yes for an answer!! They give the whole mission a bad name, and its why people avoid them.
I think I would at least be bothered if someone asked me this. If it was directly related to the conversation, then obviously I wouldn't be, but if someone randomly asked me, "Are you a believer?" then yes, I would be.
Here's why: Especially if those exact words are used, to me it implies there is a "right answer" to WHAT is being believed. I have a hard time imagining someone asking a stranger, "Are you a believer?" and accepting the answer, "Why yes, I'm a Sikh," or "Yes, I am a devout Hindu." See what I mean? They're really asking you if you're in the "right camp", and this signals to me someone who will pass judgement on your answer, which is not their right.
So I find the above question inherently judgmental, which would bother me. Questions that I would be less bothered by, because the definitions are clearer and thus are simply asking for a fact, would include: Are you a Christian? Do you believe in God? What religion are you?
But of course, I still see no reason why someone would randomly ask me that. It should be relevant to the conversation.
Thank you "SJ" You pinpointed exactly why I was offended. I had just met each of these people. We were having a casual first conversation in both cases. It certainly did feel like it was an inquiry as to whether I belonged to the "right camp".
Great question! I don't find the question offensive at all. I ask a lot of questions and believe that the only way you get to learn about people is by asking questions.
The only offensive thing is when people try to preach to me because I believe they are assuming that by me not screaming Hallelujah or raising my hands that I am not a believer.
I say the next time you are asked the question, say "A believer of what? Why do you ask?" They may forget their question.
I wouldn't be offended. But I would be curious why I was asked. Twice by two different people. Pattern? Something would have to happen to generate that question. Was it the way I answered another question that left that person wondering? Or maybe that tells me it's time to look at my own personal inventory. Maybe my actions don't match what I'm saying. You know, the "walk the talk" thing. What kind of conversation were you having in front of her three children that caused her to react in such a way, anyway? Maybe you offended her. Did these people know your background since you were 4? Or did you assume that they should for some reason?
With the extensive religious and educational background you have, you know that God speaks to you intuitively. Maybe these people are "only the messengers".
Ask yourself a bunch of questions about this and answer them with all the honesty you can muster up. (I'm not being funny. Honesty is difficult to ones self.) Instead of being offended, you may actually be thanking them for bringing a shortcoming to your attention. If not, they are jerks and not worth the energy it takes to be offended.
I am a not practising catholic by my origin, so I am not a believer in a traditional, religious way. On the other hand, I am not offended and my answer is: " I am a believer, because every one of us believes in something, religion has really nothing to do with it."
Beata, I too was raised Catholic. I call myself "culturally Catholic" because I have roots in that religion. Your sentence would be a great retort to the people who ask that question. "Everyone is a believer in something!" I think I"ll use it!
No, I’m not offended. I would feel slightly offended if they approached me with a self-righteous, mightier than thou type of thing going on, especially when I know they are not perfect. Even then, I would probably just laugh it off.
If I were asked if I am a "believer," I would ask "a believer in what?" If they answer "a believer in God," I will ask them "whose God?" If they ask if I am a Christian, I will answer that I am a follower of Christ's teachings, not the teachings of Paul. If they ask me if I have found God, I answer "why, is he lost?"
Nope...but that might be because I am a believer and absolutely secure in my beliefs.
Thank you, Leslie. I suppose the only way a believer might understand the insult in the story above is to imagine you're new to the neighborhood, I introduce myself to you and immediately ask you, in a self-righteous tone, "Are you an atheist?"
Nope, I wouldn't be offended. So long as when my answer was given I was not subjected to all the reasons why I should. And any further information was at my asking, not given because they think i should be a believer.
I'd hope to be offered the same option - to ask them if they believe in whatever I do. I would happily end the conversation on beliefs if they say "No", but if they have questions, I'm happy to answer!
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