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chelle21689's avatar

Does religious conversations at a work place create trouble?

Asked by chelle21689 (5085 points ) April 5th, 2014

Almost everyone at my work is Christian and attends church. I try to avoid the topic completely because I don’t know how strict everyone is or who is very religious or what. One day someone brought up how often does my family get together for Easter. I don’t know if they assumed I was Christian or was trying to get some answers about beliefs because I’m Asian.

I just shortly mentioned sometimes because my mom is Catholic and my dad is Buddhist. She asked me what Buddhism was and if they believed in God. I said I’m not sure how to explain it but she can google it if she wants lol. That’s all I said and changed the subject.

She’s such a nice lady but that can probably easily change if she were to find out Buddhists don’t believe in Jesus. I would never mention that I don’t have a belief and it’s whatever.

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25 Answers

Aster's avatar

They certainly can and not by any means just at work. In fact, I don’t ever recall chatting about religion at any gathering ; not even at church. Well, except for Sunday school which I have happily discontinued.
I want to throw this out there that in my opinion it is stupid, ignorant, nosy and rude to ask an Asian, as you put it, about Easter get togethers. If I had been there and heard it my jaw would have dropped.

seekingwolf's avatar

What you said to your coworker is probably find, but i would avoid the topic of religion entirely with coworkers. No matter how close to them you feel. It’s a bad idea to bring up religion. I am not religious either and most of my co-workers are Christians and probably assume I am too. I just let them assume and leave it be. Don’t say anything. It’s not the time or place.

Blackberry's avatar

Discussing these things is better on the internet lol. The average person doesn’t know what the heck they’re talking about, and all it does is make things awkward in person.

If you can trust the people involved to be mature, then sure.

JLeslie's avatar

It’s usually better not to talk about religion at work. I don’t think it is a big deal to ask if someone is doing something special for a holiday. I used to go Easter egg hunting when I was little for Easter, but I am not Christian. For Christmas I sometimes go to my inlaws. You don’t have to say if you are religious or not, or of that religion or not necessarily. When people know I am Jewish and they ask about Judaism, I will answer general questions. I am not religious, but I know a little (very little) about my religion and can answer basic questions. Usually I think people are curious, not damning or judgemental. If they are very curios I recommend the Idiots Guide to Jewish history and culture, because I think it is a great book with some funny things in it and you can skip around to the parts you are interested in.

I would never get in some sort of argument about religion at work where people are questioning whether a belief is right or wrong.

dappled_leaves's avatar

I agree with @JLeslie. My family is not religious, but we always celebrated Easter with a dinner and lots of chocolate; sometimes an egg hunt for the kids.

It’s like Christmas – some people celebrate the holiday in a purely secular way. I mean, the bunny has nothing to do with Jesus, just as Santa has nothing to do with Jesus. It’s easy to leave Christianity out of it.

@Aster Even setting aside the fact that Easter is not a purely religious holiday, you do realize that a lot of Asians are Christian, right?

JLeslie's avatar

@dappled_leaves My mom would not let us have a Christmas tree, but we dyed Easter eggs and my grandpa always gave us chocolate bunnies. It made sense to them. LOL

filmfann's avatar

As a Christian, I would find myself disagreeing with coworkers at work, who are also Christian, about the Bibles message, and what God wants of us.
Even among allies, religious conversations can be very unpleasant, and should be avoided if you can, if you cannot deal with such conversations in a way that doesn’t offend or insult others.

Dan_Lyons's avatar

Next time someone asks you about Buddhism and what it is, you might suggest they read a book by Herman Hesse called “Siddhartha.”

Very informative and an excellent read.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@Dan_Lyons Indeed – Siddhartha is required reading in most high schools here. And it’s a favourite summer reading list item because it’s extremely short.

Aster's avatar

@dappled_leaves I believe that some Asians are Christian but not ” a lot” of them. I can google it to find out but I’m so busy reading other questions and doing Facebook! LOL I don’t think it’s worth the gamble and that person isn’t dealing with a full deck.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@Aster First image in a Google search on religion and Asian americans.

In my city, there are many Christian churches of various denominations with signs only in Chinese or Korean. It’s a thing.

BeenThereSaidThat's avatar

I absolutely don’t believe in discussing Religion or Politics in the work place.

I personally have seen friendships end over co-workers talking about these topics. Many times the person just listening and not joining in has a major change of heart about people she thought were friends or people she liked.

The bottom line? You collect your paycheck to WORK not to give your opinions on hot topics of the day.

bea2345's avatar

Discussing religion or politics in the work place is not a good idea. Either subject can arouse strong emotions, especially if you live in a small multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, country with at least a dozen religions, some Christian, some not.

jerv's avatar

It’s worth noting that even non-Christians get together for Easter. Like Thanksgiving, it’s an excuse to get together and share a fancy meal. Like Halloween, it’s an excuse to eat candy.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Anywhere I go, if anyone ask me of my faith I am not ashamed nor scared to tell them. I let my actions speak for me, but if I do tell anyone for whatever reason and they do not care to hear it, I let it go. If anyone thinks I am of a particular religion, I will set them straight, gently. I would not deny my God just because I am in the work place, be it full of believers or not.

GloPro's avatar

There should be no attempts to convert or further educate your co-workers about your religion unless they approach you with questions. I wouldn’t hide my faith, but I wouldn’t impose it, either .

jerv's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central I’m not denying I have a penis, but some things shouldn’t be whipped out in public. Sharing in private by mutual consent is a different story, but some things are best kept to yourself even if they’re nothing to be ashamed of.

non_omnis_moriar's avatar

Religion at work is poison. In some places you just are not allowed not to be Christian so it’s best not to get involved in any conversations if you don’t want to have to deal with what often becomes isolation, having to listen to proselitization, rejection and everything that comes with the package. I brought some goodies in for an office party and a woman told me she doesn’t eat Jew food. I didn’t even know she’s put my name to my ethnic background.

Poison

JLeslie's avatar

I wouldn’t offer a book right of the bat. That can be rude I think. Nothing wrong with answering a light question or two. You can tell if it is some sort of hunting expedition or just a simple question of curiosity. I still would not carry on a long conversation, but a simple question or two, no big deal probably.

@Aster If I remember correctly over 40% of Asian Americans are Christians. I think that is a lot.

JLeslie's avatar

Oh, I missed the link initially. My memory was good this time. Not always. Maybe @Aster missed the link also. I can’t imagine not thinking 40% is a lot. I think @Aster lives in a very homogenous Christian area in the bible belt. I could be remembering that incorrectly though. Her world is a bubble. We all have our bubbles. She might not realize how different it is in other areas of the country.

gailcalled's avatar

^^ Why not take the extra minute and verify that the info you remember is accurate?

kritiper's avatar

They can. As with politics, it’s best to not bring up the subject.

JLeslie's avatar

@gailcalled Because I am right most of the time. Have you noticed? I don’t write it unless I am pretty sure. All sorts of things I don’t know, and when I don’t know I say so.

JLeslie's avatar

@gailcalled Here is my link to why in my memory @Aster lives in a very Christian place. I’m pretty sure I linked the definition of generalize and generalization on another Q and it didn’t help you see that there is an alternate definition, so I am not sure why I waste my time. You only care about a link when you agree with it.

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