Reply to Sunshine, Long Version, rough draft
Hi Sunshine, thank you very much for the welcome. I am in the US Navy. I'm not on the big island, I'm on Oahu( or O'ahu) which has Pearl Harbor, Honolulu, and Diamond Head. I am married, Jenny and I just had our 5th anniversary. I have no children, but we have a Papillon named Panda. I uploaded a picture of her puppies.Most of my friends are okay with my beliefs, but they probably would say I push it on them. It has been hard for Jenny and I to have good "couple friends", and it seems helpful to others that we don't discuss the core of our belief systems intellectually... ever. So, I guess that's working out. One of my childhood friends came to visit recently. He is a Xian, and we occasionally got into what he felt were Hostile Arguments, and I felt were rational discussions. I tried to make it fun and touristy out here but I think his attitude was ruined by what he perceived as irreverence toward his religion at every turn. I'm not going to walk on eggshells around people I respect. We used to talk almost every day (on Xbox 360 playing games, I'm 26) but he hasn't been on at all and I've emailed him but no response. One thing I really worry about is that he has chronic health problems and in the past few years was suicidal a few times. This isn't sunshine at all. But I do believe he has a renewed vigor for Xianity according to what Jenny has told me about his Facebooks. I do have a few friends who share my beliefs and I've recently joined meetup, I hope to make more.I'm not sure outside of my parents and sister too many of my family members know about my non-religious status. My parents chose to raise me in the baptist church and currently my Mother teach sunday school to smallish kids. However, when I attempt to challenge them on the claims of Xianity it becomes about faith, religious experience, and other vague things/intuition that they haven't sought to reconcile with doctrine or holy text or theology or philosophy or science or anything relevant. I think my father is in denial that I am an Atheist despite my very direct statements to the contrary. My sister was raised in the same environment, she also become relatively non-religious, although despite her mental capacity I don’t think she cares at all. Maybe that’s proper. I’m sure my extended family would be very unhappy to hear about my comparison of their sacred text to fairy tales, but I also think they would identify me as a free-thinker and probably would’t be shocked.The military has not been respectful of my beliefs on occasion. I once co-confronted a ship’s chaplain with a request to stop broadcasting the “Ship’s Prayer” on the announcing system for everyone. You probably all get that. Not many of my bosses did, they felt it was “immature” and halted my progress on a Supervisory Qualification. They didn’t tell me this, but someone who was in the meeting and could recognize religious discrimination did. She also told us Six months later and that she wouldn’t go to bat for us to push the issue. But otherwise the Navy has a pretty good mix of religious practices and promotes diversity among theists. They may still have a rule banning Satanic worship, probably would claim its a security issue. Very soon I will find out more information about how they feel as I set up MASH and MAAF chapters on base Pearl Harbor.Speaking of co-workers, I work with many more civilians than military now that I am on shore duty. I upset a mormon, eaves-dropping, civilian co-worker of mine recently. My friend and I were discussing the evangelical view of Mitt Romney as a presidential candidate, and in that context I said something to effect of normal Xians think mormons are little bit crazier than normal Xians and they have a hard time accepting the ahistorical/anti-historical books and stories.(I think the Xians have the same problem but their stuff is 2000 years old, not 200 like yours, which somehow equals better. These miracles miraculously never leave anything like evidence and prophecies aren’t fulfilled until interpretation makes them non-physical.) Anyway, this dude was upset, and he stormed off cursing. As he left I was trying to ask him what offended him, and I still don’t know for sure. Actually, I think the mormons and I could share some common ground on the no religious test shall be a barrier to office stuff but not too much else. I don’t feel comfortable bringing up religion in some groups because I know we have some other mormons and I also have a gay friend at work in the same shop. Any conversation that got started would immediately turn to prop 8 at my insistence, someone would end up hurt, and I might be in trouble.My direct labor is done in concert with two older Japanese Hawaiian ladies. They are the nicest people I have ever worked for. They’ve got mouths like sailors sometimes but they love the lord I think. The boss has a small wooden plaque of a verse from the bible outside her cubicle. They have great in-office parties all the time with sometimes delicious Hawaiian food and usually they begin with a prayer. They all bow, but I just stare at them and wonder what they’re thinking.They introduced me to Ivan, he’s from Molokai and he’s a very generous person. He’s been teaching me to surf every Saturday for the last month. One day we paddled in from surfing and sat on the beach to rest for as long as I needed(long time). He was telling about vantage points for beautiful sunsets and he said, “People say God doesn’t exist but I don’t know who could make a sunset like that...” “I’m not so sure about that” said I. Then we didn’t talk. Then we went back out. It only made things awkward for a minute, but I feel could have changed our relationship forever. I look at him as my surfing guru and hope to keep his respect. Will he see ME as immature for not believing sunsets prove the existence of gods? I don’t think so, or I hope not. Wow, I think I completely missed the definition of “Comment” in school.My beliefs clash with most of my coworkers, so I try not to offend anyone but I do anyway sometimes. This probably results from ambiguity about the shared idea of "the reasonable person" and what that person would be offended by. In the economy of truth, low supply is not the problem(as some ignorant people claim), it’s low demand.