I do not want to come off as ungrateful or anything like that, but I just received a gift from someone I had been doing some work for and have developed a friendship with. It is a small ring with a prayer inscription on the inside and she said that the proceeds went to charity. 

It is the "serenity prayer" if any of you know what I am talking about. I feel conflicted about wearing it. It is not often that I receive gifts and I really am overjoyed that she took the time and effort to pick a gift out for me. However, it does kind of bother me that it is a religious "symbol" I guess you could say. Any prayer that is asking God for courage or anything else like that is meaningless to me, obviously. I know that she had good intentions, but I can't shake the feeling of being bothered by it. 

What would you guys think or feel about this gift? I put it on a chain and have worn it around my neck today but I have been thinking about wearing the inscription out of it. Is that horrible? Am I overreacting? Would anyone else feel this same way?

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I do not think you are over reacting. I do however feel that if this person does not know about your beliefs, than you shouldnt think twice about it. Take god out of it, and its really quite a lifter. Now if this person does know your beliefs, thats a different story.

Tough call. At first, i was going to say just wear it, if the inscription can't be seen. But, there is the psychological factor. I can't really say if it would bother me, because i never received a religious gift. If you like how it looks, and aren't bothered by the prayer on it, just wear it. I like selling things, so i'd probably sell it:)

Well it is a very small ring so it does not fit on my fingers (other than pinky fingers) and it is unisex but looks kind of masculine in my opinion. I put it on a chain to wear so the inscription is somewhat visible enough that someone may be able to see that it says something. It's not really a valuable thing; she probably paid around $10-15 for it. It's made of stainless steel so I don't know if that wears off easily, but I was hoping it would! 

I may be over-thinking it, but I can't help but think that had I given someone I assumed to be nonreligious a ring that bore and atheistic saying they would not wear it because it would be against their beliefs. I feel that same way, only reversed.

I think that's exactly right.  And the part that hurts the most is that she wasn't thinking of you when she picked the gift out.  She was thinking of herself.  She would like a Xian ring, so that's what she got.  It really isn't thoughtful of you at all.

I'm sure she would feel exactly the way you do if you got her a Flying Spaghetti Monster emblem for her car.  And I'm pretty sure she wouldn't put it up.  And I'm pretty sure, even if she cares about you, she wouldn't be afraid to say why.  You shouldn't be either.

Maybe give it back?  Let her know she would enjoy it more than you would.  It's a smidge reproachful, perhaps, but true.  

The Serenity Prayer (used by Alcoholics Anonymous and similar groups) is an overtly Christian prayer. If the person did not know you are an atheist, then perhaps that person simply wanted to give you something meaningful to them, and should be taken in stride. If the person asks why you are not wearing it, that could be (given the right circumstances) the opportunity to out yourself as an atheist to that person.

If they did know, however, that makes it an overt attempt at proselytisation, compounded with a guilt trip (why aren't you wearing my gift). In that case you are under no obligation to wear it if you are uncomfortable with it. Should they ask in that event, you can choose to let them know you thought it that way, which will likely make you an un-friend; if such a person were to try such an underhanded method of proselytisation to me I would not consider them a friend anyway.

She doesn't know that I am an atheist, but I hope to be able to tell her at some point and hope it doesn't change anything. 

I will keep it, but not wear it. I suppose that would be the best option here. And then at some point I will hopefully get the chance to tell her about me being an atheist. 

I do think that since the majority of people are religious she figured it would be a safe gift. I suppose only nonreligious people are the ones that consider different religions and whatnot. I hope she accepts and respects me as well. She had mentioned her daughter being an atheist and didn't seem to bothered by it, although she sort of seemed like she didn't believe that was how she really felt either.

If you were hanging on a side of a cliff and need a hand up it wouldn't matter if you were being helped by a religious person or an atheist person.  You just say thank you and that is that.  Now if you told the person before you were helped, by the way, I am athiest, would that person leave you dangle there?  Psychologically, I do not think that I could wear the ring unless like you said "rub off the writing", if I liked the ring.  It is presumptuous for people to give gifts with beliefs attached to them but in the interest of not wanting to be ungrateful, just say thanks.  Truly, most people have no need of a ring or a lot of things that are given as gifts.  We have what we need as in clothes, food and shelter.  If a person knows that you are atheist and continue giving these types of gifts and you feel tested, then it is not appropriate.  You could, as previously said, leave it at home for a while and then decide what to do with the object later.  There is no loss if the person truly has good intentions after she knows what type of gifts you appreciate and for what occasion you like to accept them.

I have to remind myself that alot of people have not dealt with someone with different views. Their circle is tight. A while back, a customer didn't just ask me about being religious, she asked "are you catholic?" In her world, everyone goes to church. It was just a matter of which one. I may have given her a heart attack if i told her about my views, so i didn't go there. 

Have you considered taking the stainless steel ring to a jeweller and having the inscription erased ? You could then wear the gift on a necklace and be happy about it.



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