Sometimes I feel such a hypocrite...

Am I? The reason I ask myself this question and now put it to all of you is what started the last summer and continued until a couple of weeks ago.

During the summer I was working with a couple of guys at my college. Both of them really nice, a Japanese guy and an American of Lao descent. The Japanese guy, let's call him Taro, one Friday invited me to a party "for international students". I said sure, let's go. I hadn't gone to any party since I got to the US and after working the whole week lifting boxes, I sure was in the mood for partying.

While in his car (he was giving me a ride), Taro told me that in that party people don't usually drink. Something didn't click in my brain. No drinking in a party? Ok, I wasn't to be picky. Then he told me that they didn't dance. Second thing that didn't click in my brain. No dancing and no drinking? How could it be? And last thing, the party usually ended at 1 in the morning, which is way too early for me. Still, I was in the mood for having a good time and was sort of curious about where were we going.

We arrived at a big home in which a very nice woman, white, in her 50s, sort of fat, our host received us. Hello, nice to meet you, my name is Diego, Taro invited me. Nice meeting you, get yourself comfortable. There were also a couple of Japanese girls, not bad looking, but neither gorgeous. Hi, hi, I'm Diego, what's your name... they were also shy and didn't speak English very well, not that my English is perfect, but theirs was harder to understand.

I started walking around the house, in which I noticed there were walls covered by pictures of various groups of young people, most of them Asians. Many of the pictures looked pretty old, which made me think that meetings for international students were being held there since many years ago. And then I saw it:

International Students Christian Fellowship

I felt trapped. My first thought was "Oh shit, where the fuck I am?" Taro hadn't told me that we were going to a christian home. I thought that sooner or later they would ask me about my beliefs and, since I have never been the kind of person who keeps his thoughts for himself, the whole house would be against me. Jesus fucking christ. Anyway, whatever comes, would come.

I sat and started talking with the people that was starting to arrive. Most of them were asian, mostly Japanese, which I liked. I said hello to some girls and even tried to hit on one... who later I found was one of my friend's wife. Damnit. Anyway, some minutes later, the same woman who greeted me when I arrived, our host, invited us to eat. On the table there was a great variety of dishes to choose from, like a buffet. I was hungry so, what the hell, let's it. But, oh no, we had to pray first. Ok, I can wait. The woman's husband, a tall Asian man in his 60s prayed for the food. And then invited us to have some. By that time there were around 30 people there, mostly young Asian people. The food was good, I can't deny that. I ate and talked with some other people around until the time for worship came.

We all sat in the living room, in front of a screen with a projector and a guitar, drums and a piano. One of the guys greeted us and asked the newcomers to introduce ourselves. I did so, my name, my country, my major, my hobbies and my favorite ice cream. And then we started singing. Praise god, fill me with your love, etc, all the christian mumbo jumbo. It had been ages since I hadn't sung anything god related.

There was also an offering time. I did participate in that, since I thought I should give something for the food I had eaten before. And then more singing.

After the singing finished, we were separated in groups to make some bible study. Then I realized I wasn't the only non-believer there. A young and really nice pastor started talking to us about the love of god and his experience with it. Now, this young pastor was not what I was expecting to see. He was very open and giving a very good image to the non-believers there. But I wasn't any non-believer. Most of them were Asian students who didn't know much about christianity. But I did. So when the pastor said "I know god loves me" I jumped to the question "Are you sure you know? Or do you just believe?" We had a long discussion, always in very good terms. At the end we didn't reach an agreement, since it was obvious that most of the others weren't understanding what we were talking about and there was very short time left. Before finishing he prayed for us so that we can accept the lord. I laughed in my insides, but felt a little bad for him. I had given him a hard time, and it was obvious he was a nice guy.

After the bible study, the table was full of desserts, like ice cream, cookies and cake. I got some for me of course, while chatting with some other people. I learned that the hosts opened their homes for international students who, obviously, had no family in the US and knew very few of how to behave i this country, so that house and that could be a family for them. And of course, they could teach them about the bible so they can accept jesus.

I've been going there since June. I stopped because now I work on Saturdays, so I can stay up until 1 or 2 in the morning, having free dinner, dessert and games (they have a ping pong and pool table, which I love to play), and also, discussing with the christians there.

The question is, am I a hypocrite? Should I have been attending the meetings, even though I don't have the least intention of becoming christian and thinking that their fairy tales are just farfetched inventions made up hundreds of years ago to control people, but still enjoyed the treats they had? Should I have stopped going just after I noticed the christianism going there? Or was there nothing wrong in going, since I was just giving them the opportunity to "convert" me?

What do you think?

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Comment by zeeman barzell on January 30, 2009 at 6:19pm
I love the right-hand Google bill payers column. Now there is a long row of fingernail photos of Asian ladies, with the header "Asian girls for love and marriage"

effing hysterical!
Comment by Diego on January 30, 2009 at 6:09pm
@ Rickroll: I don't know if it could be called "espionage", since I never hid the fact I wasn't a christian. Still, I liked to have the opportunity to discuss with christians, which made me investigate more and more to have arguments when talking to others in not so friendly enviroments.

@ Phillip: I did. Later that night I told Taro he had not told me we were going to a christian home. he said I'm sorry, but was ok. I've known him enough to realize that he wasn't trying to offend me.

@ Kristy: I see your point... they are luring them, actually us, to a friendly enviroment and "teaching us" about the bible. But, most of us are college age people, not elementary school kids, so most of us should be able to decide for us what to believe and what to follow. Still, I've seen many of them converting to christianity.

@ Felch: You know? In there it's kind of hard to do that, but outside is easier. There is a Japanese girl who speaks Spanish and tries practicing it with me, making very cute sounds. And the best part, she is an atheist. I'm going for her.

@ Reality: Indeed, we still live in a world pretty much ruled by religion and its effects. It's not my goal to be offensive, I don't want to be seen as an angry agnostic. but if my believes offend anyone, too bad.

@ Kenny: I'm not going anyomere, as I said, because now I have to worl the day after. And that could be a good excuse to stop going. Would go again? maybe, if I don't have anything better to do on a friday night.
Comment by Reality Activist on January 30, 2009 at 7:35am
I agree with Kristy, but don't feel too bad, most atheists are hypocrites. We live in a Christian base culture. Our values are very similar if not the same. Many of us frown on certain lifestyles such as polyamory. Many of us don't realize that religion provides the atmosphere conducive to abortion so we think that it is a real issue not a fabricated one. Many of us have sexual issues that are based on guilt and shame. Many of us are reluctant to expose our lack of belief even when it would not harm us. We do this because in a religious base culture we follow the unwritten rule that you don't offend the religious by letting others know that you don't believe. When one looks at what conforms our behavior, one realizes that we follow Christian morals to a very large extend. We don't even think about them because we have accepted them since childhood. The concept of marriage is religious concept. Yet, most still view it as the only kind of lasting relationship. Many also fall into the perception trap created by religion which is thinking that perception of reality is actual reality. This gives the illusion of more than one reality because it makes one think that each person has their own reality. This is a form of insanity promoted by the fantasy beliefs. Even after I post this many will disagree because your Christian based beliefs will be so strong yet so hidden for your conscious thought that you simply will not be able to come to grips with the reality of it. That's OK because we must take baby steps first. People are on different levels of awareness. The more we use our critical thinking skills, the more we will increase our awareness. When enough of us has reach a level of awareness the removes the religious restraints on our behavior, we will be free....only restricted by values dictated by reality.
Comment by Chrys Stevenson on January 30, 2009 at 4:47am
No, I don't think you're a hypocrite. They lured you there in the first place and failed to disclose it was a Christian fellowship. How would a Christian feel if you asked them to come to a 'party' and then found they were expected to 'convert' to atheism? You don't seemed to have lied about your beliefs. In fact you confronted the pastor.

Their offer of food and hospitality was not made honestly in the spirit of friendship. It was made selfishly in order to gain them converts and improve their standing with God.

It is they who have done wrong. They have been dishonest, manipulative, and they are taking advantage of young, lonely people with poor English skills. I think it's despicable.
Comment by Phillip Law on January 30, 2009 at 2:43am
No you're not a hypocrite.

Like what is said in the above comment, I was actually doing this 'espionage' a few weeks ago. I attended this christian 'party' just for entertainment, and to show the other people who don't know much about christianity the true face of it, and plant a few seeds of critical thought.

I fact, they were kind enough to offer me bread and red cordial, I was kinda hungry so I took it before they started their offering ceremony. Lol.

Personally, I think you should talk to your christian friend that he stepped over the line. He was disrespectful if your beliefs (doesn't matter if he didn't know), because you're supposed to ask whether a person is comfortable in attending a gathering of a specific religion, to be sensitive to other people's beliefs. Clearly he wasn't.
Comment by Rickr0ll on January 30, 2009 at 1:46am
I like to think of it as "espionage" ;) I was doing pretty much the same all throughout my Schooling (private, Christian Schools *grinds teeth*). No, a person of thought can enterain delusion, how else does one dispell those delusions?


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