Today at work, a nice older lady came up to the desk where I work asking for a bible. I found one for her, she said "god bless you" to me, and went back to her husbands room. A nurse happened to overhear the exchange. She asked me if she could ask me a personal question, to which I said yes. Now, I kinda had an idea where this was heading already, and I was right. She said, " I heard you were an atheist. Is that true "? I said yes. Here is where it went in a totally different direction than what was already playing out in my mind.

     She asked me the difference between an atheist and an agnostic. I made sure she was really okay with discussing this. She said she was. I explained what I perceived as some of the differences. She just said thanks. I asked her if she had any other questions about anything. She said no. She thanked me and got up to leave. Then she looked at me and said, " I think I'm agnostic ", then she left. The subject was never broached by either of us the rest of the day.

     So, what should I do now? I have a few ideas, but I want my friends here to chime in. You guys are pretty smart, you will have insights that I don't.

     Oh, a little background on the nurse. Goes to church semi-regularily, father a deacon in a southern baptist church. Both parents go to church very regularily, as does her sister. She's single, divorced with 2 y.o. son.

     This came totally out of left field. I know this is an opprotunity, so let me know how you guys would handle it. Thanks in advance. Be well. 

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Replies to This Discussion

Don't make a big deal of it but, if you have the opportunity, express your appreciation that she had the intelligence to question things and have a critical thinking on that. Also, that it is not necessary to reach the same conclusions like you and become an atheist. That is because she has her own brain and she has to think for herself (as she already started).

I agree with you. She has to come to things on her own and in her own time. I hadn't thought about thanking her for confiding in me, so I will do that. I also thought about just letting her know I'm available if she wants to talk. It kinda all happened, and I was kinda flabbergasted, so I didn't mention it. Which I will rectify next time I see her. And how much I appreciate her, which I do. Very good nurse, very kind and loving person. All her patients adore her. Then I'm thinking just let it go naturally, no pushing, let her broach the subject again at her convenience. Let me know what you think. Thanks for the input.

Like I said, "IF you have the opportunity". Let her approach the subject but I am sure she doesn't give two cents on this " is there or isn't there a god?" question. That's why she let the question unanswered in the first place. The only way to make her a little bit more interested is to stroke her ego with "you are intelligent" thing.

If you are too excited about this issue, you might come across like a weirdo to her. Too much passion about this. Isn't this a little bit residual from the religion you came out? You don't want to look like a proselyte, yes? Knocking from door to door and give people blank pamphlets... :)

I'm with ya'. The plan is just to let her know I'm available as needed, and backoff. None of that ex-mo proseltyzing shit. Like I said, she's real sweet. She always remembers peoples birthdays, will see something and get it for them, never expecting anything else from them. I was really more gobsmacked than anything. So, her pace in her time. Thanks, my friend, for the great advice. First time this has happened to me like this. Usually, a discussion ensues, as you well know. Very vocal and heated. But, like I said, this was a first. Be well, and peace.

That would be an awesome April Fools joke. (Knocking door to door with blank pamphlets.)

You could discreetly give her a few URLs.

Good idea, Ruth. I will gather some to be ready to give to her next time she approaches me about the subject. Thank you. I hadn't even thought about that. You guys are the best.

Sounds like you got some good advice. I wish you the best!

The lady is thoughtful, free-thinking and saught your advice and confidence.

She trusts and respects you.

That's cool.

Your question is 'So what should I do now ?' My answer is, I don't know!


Yeah, it's obvious to me that she has been thinking about things. And probably waiting for a time to approach me. I don't talk openly at work with people about religion, but it is no secret that I'm an atheist. I think, ( don't know ) that when she heard that older lady asking for a bible, she thought it was a good time. I'm just speculating, but it seems to make sense. Anyway, I'm just planning on letting her know I'm available and letting things procede as it does. Thanks, Napoleon. Peace.

In case it's comes up, there's a book I book I'd recommend: "Morality without God" by Walter Armstrong. It's atheist apologetics, but far gentler than someone like Dawkins. People don't generally believe in God because of finely tuned philosophical arguments, but because they fear losing things of importance without it: fellowship, a sense of purpose, a sense of right and wrong. Armstrong addresses theses sorts of issues.

I agree. Now that I've had time to digest this, I'm just gonna stay my same self, treat her as always, and let things proceed as they will. But I will have things ready, just in case. She has heard me admonish people about the gossip they do, and I usually don't join in. Just not my style. Will just see how things go. Thanks for the advice, my friend. Be well.



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