Social Question

Dutchess_III's avatar

Two weeks after you started working at a new place, a secular place, a copy of "The Beginners Study Guide for the Bible," showed up on your desk one morning. What would your reaction be?

Asked by Dutchess_III (43077points) June 16th, 2011

Man. I was somewhat offended. The more I thought about it, the angrier I got. I knew right away which of the 20 or so people I’d met over the last couple of weeks had done it. This person had never spoken to me about religion, we’d spoken very little about anything, really, but I know it was her. Maybe it was her condescending, self-righteous attitude that she brings to the work place that clued me in.

My first thought was “What makes her think I don’t already know this stuff? Why is she assuming I don’t know the Bible, I don’t ‘know’ Jesus and I’m not ‘saved’?” I am all of those things that she arrogantly assumes I’m not (don’t start people.)
“What makes her think she has to teach me something without even getting to know me at ALL??!!” It just pissed me off!

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55 Answers

FutureMemory's avatar

I’d throw it in the trash, but not before smothering it in ketchup or oil or something else wet and disgusting so it couldn’t be retrieved and given to someone else.

I would then wait to see what they do next.

jrpowell's avatar

I would be livid and toss it in their bin. But I wouldn’t say anything since this agnostic socialist seems to do a better job of following the words of Jesus then these wankers do.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I would not let it bother me too much and would probably return it to her wearing a devil costume. ;)

Aster's avatar

I’d be insulted too . I think I’d hand it to her with a sweet smile and say, “thanks.” I wouldn’t knock her over with it, though. what gall.

poisonedantidote's avatar

I’d bring in a copy of god is not great, religion poisons everything, and read it in the open on my lunch breaks.

Jude's avatar

I wouldn’t care.

I get Jehovah Witnesses pushing their shit on me all of time. I am not an ass about it, though. Why would I be?

thorninmud's avatar

You know, in her scheme of things, that’s probably more a gesture of her esteem for you than a critique. Yes, it’s awkward and inappropriate, but it’s probably well-intentioned.

If it were me, I’d just shove it in a drawer and wait to see if she follows up. If she did, I’d tell her that I do have my own religious life, but I don’t like to mix it with my work life and colleagues. Then I’d ask her if she wanted her book back.

ragingloli's avatar

Drop a copy of “The God Delusion” on her desk.
(Or not. I would hate to waste such a good book)

Mikewlf337's avatar

I would return the copy and tell her that she should think twice before judging me. I would also say judge not unless you wish to be judged. It would seem to me that she isn’t satified with my faith which I take seriously. My walk with God is personal and I keep it to myself. I would be offended but I wouldn’t be an asshole about…like some people on here would.

Jude's avatar

@thorninmud I was going to say, if she came at me again with something, I tell her politely that I am not interested.

crisw's avatar

I would bring it up with the manager/supervisor/team leader and suggest a training on workplace law re:proselytizing.

tedibear's avatar

My first thought would be, “What the hell is this doing on my desk?” I would then either throw it in a drawer or throw it out. Probably, I would put it in a drawer to see if she approached me. If she did, I would then tell her what @thorninmud said about not mixing work and religion. And that I would appreciate it if she didn’t bring it up again.

In my very humble opinion, I don’t think it’s anything to get too upset about. If she does it again, or anything like it, I would let her know that you will be speaking to your supervisor and human resources about it.

Blueroses's avatar

I’d probably respond with something equally sweet and passive-aggressive. Like if the woman is overweight, I’d drop a coupon for gym membership on her desk. One unwelcomed and unsolicited advance deserves another.

syz's avatar


tinyfaery's avatar

I’d leave it in the breakroom or common area with a note saying something like: Someone left this on my desk. I don’t think the workplace is the proper place to discuss religion.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well….first, I’m only 99% sure of who it was, so I certainly am not going to approach anyone directly with any of the above mentioned “get even” tactics! (Besides, “getting even” ain’t Christian, ya know! If I were an Atheist I’d simply call it petty.)

I’m in a situation where I have to completely clear my desk of everything but the computer, the mouse and mouse pad and the small scanner, so that makes anything else on there stick out like a sore thumb. So I shall just leave it there. Day, after day, after day, after day. Till all eternity passes away.

I wouldn’t even dream of bringing it up in any “legal” form, what so ever. Not in under the guise of “proselytizing” or anything else. Not to her supervisor, not to mine, not to anyone simply because suing and pitching fits over PI things is a big part of what is wrong with our country today. I shall just deal with it.

I don’t expect it will get any worse. If it does I’ll handle it. The only way I would take legal action is if it seemed that my job could be affected adversely by not “adhering,” and there is NO chance of that!

I would not disrespect her views by throwing them in the trash, either. That’s exactly the opposite of how I expect myself and my views to be treated.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@tinyfaery I just started there! I’m not going to start even a tiny flame war with folks who’ve worked together already for years and years!

sarahtalkpretty's avatar

That reminds me of the time a Caucasian co-worker of mine gave a Puerto Rican co-worker a book called “Being Puerto Rican” was a definitely a wtf moment, but we had a laugh and the offended person got over it. Some people are clueless and have no tact. It doesn’t necessarily make them bad. I’m a conflicted Christian but even at the height of my piety I never would have done that. I also wouldn’t seethe if someone left a Koran on my desk or something. I’d just say “whatever” and move on.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@sarahtalkpretty That is funny! That really, really sums it up! What really offends me is the assumption, whatever it was, that she made!

Oh…you just gave me a great idea @sarahtalkpretty! I should anonymously drop a copy of the Koran on my desk! Or…or…the writing of Confucius! Oh, that is a priceless idear!! Help me out here, guys!

Blueroses's avatar

Well, you could still follow most of @tinyfaery‘s advice. Leave it in the break room with a note ”Somebody accidentally left this on my desk. Just want to make sure the owner gets it back. :) make sure to add the smiley face

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Blueroses Nah…still a little two aggressive for my first couple of weeks on the job here. IMO. Don’t know who all else feels what all in there. I’ll just let it set. I thumbed through it, actually, and smiled at all of the so familiar verses, and what they meant to me. Good memories. They were, of course, the most basic and well known verses (it was a “primer” after all,) then a study guide to go along with them to let you know what they really meant. According to…someone. Probably some white ‘Merican someone.

Jude's avatar

I like Blueroses’ and tinyfaeries suggestion, as well.

Dutchess_III's avatar

See above, Jude. Jobs are few and far between. Gotta walk very carefully for the first few months, you know?

josie's avatar

Give to somebody who would find it interesting. What is the big deal?

Dutchess_III's avatar

Because, @josie, I don’t know if it was “given” to me. I don’t know if it’s mine. For all I know it was left there completely by accident. I’ll let it set, and if it isn’t claimed in a couple of weeks I’ll put it in the library I have in the room. The classroom.

josie's avatar

Well if you do not know for sure it was for you, why are you so offended? At least wait to be offended until you know.
But since you are offended, I figured you must know it was for you. In that case you can do what you want with it.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

I’d place it in a breakroom and put it out of mind. If anyone ever came up and asked me about having received the book in the first place then I’d do a @thorninmud wrote and say I’d had returned the book personally if a note had been left with it as to who it belonged to. After that I’d excuse myself to get back to work.

Even if you don’t know a thing about Christian religion, you don’t have to defend or prove yourself. You’re at work for God’s sake!~

Dutchess_III's avatar

@josie Because it was my classroom and my desk. But it is in a very populated….environment. Further, the door is locked after I leave, and only the other employees have a key to the room. There has to be a specific reason for going in there after hours.

@Neizvestnaya—I wasn’t offended by the book. I was offended by the assumption that I needed to learn about something without the person dropping the “hint” knowing anything about me. I dislike arrogant, righteous people, whatever they’re pushing.

@Neizvestnaya We don’t have a “breakroom” per se.

Michael_Huntington's avatar

I agree with @crisw and I would bring it up to the supervisor/manager/who’s in charge. This is unacceptable to me. How would she like it if someone left a beginner’s guide to the Torah or Quran on her desk? She probably wouldn’t like it either.

Russell_D_SpacePoet's avatar

I could not work at a secular place.

downtide's avatar

I would drop a collection of Richard Dawkins books on her desk.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

You don’t have to feel offended but whichever coworker placed the book on your desk was out of line for the workplace.

No breakroom, no note? Trashbin! You might ask your supervisor if it’s a common thing to introduce to new employees and ask them to note it made you uncomfortable. That will scare them into pulling aside the employee they suspect (they probably know who it is) to go over company guidelines and harassment statutes in the workplace. If the company likes you then they don’t want you looking for another job where this type of annoying crap doesn’t take place.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Russell_D_SpacePoet Huh? Do you work? Or…mebee I don’t know what secular means…running for the dictionary!

@downtide Whew! There’s an idea!

Dutchess_III's avatar

K Space boy. I looked “secular” up! There were 6 notations. I’ve chosen 2 of them.

3._ “not pertaining to or connected with religion

4. (of education, a school, etc.) concerned with nonreligious subjects.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Neizvestnaya I would never throw a Bible (Or a Koran or any other religious work) in the trash.

I will not start my first days at a new job running to the supervisor.

Jobs are few and far between around here.

Not to mention it’s not worth throwing a fit over. I just wondered how others would feel. Apparently much more strongly about it than I did. It was just so very strange and….inappropriate. Seemed like a good Fluther question.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

@Dutchess_ll: I’d gamble that anyone pushy enough to intrude into such a personal space (my realm of spirituality or lack of it) is going to be trouble and I personally like to nip trouble in the bud, especially when it comes to my job. Job’s are scarce most everywhere.

Aethelwine's avatar

I understand why you don’t want to ruffle any feathers. It isn’t that easy to find a job these days. I’d leave a note in the break room asking if anyone is missing the book, then put it on a bookshelf in the room.

I don’t care what book it is, I’d never throw a book away.

answerjill's avatar

I would politely ask your coworker if she is the one who left the book. If she says yes, I would tell her that her action was not appropriate in a workplace environment and then I would give the book back to her.

Stinley's avatar

I would be annoyed too if someone did this to me. I think your reaction is justified. No-one should be pushing their point of view on to others, especially in the workplace.

But because you are new there you don’t want to rock the boat and make a fuss about it. Just put it in the lost property or hand it into the library if you have one. Or ask what to do with a book that’s been left in your classroom by accident, no need to say that it’s a bible book.

Once you’‘re settled and if this happens again, you can follow some of the great suggestions here. I especially like @ragingloli and @downtide‘s suggestions of the Richard Dawkins books being left in strategic places

ucme's avatar

I’d use it as a coffee mug coaster.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@ucme I refuse to be as rude to her as she was to me.

TexasDude's avatar

Shrug and stick it on a shelf or put it in a drawer.


*I’m not religious, for the record.

Rarebear's avatar

I agree with throwing it out. I wouldn’t do it in her face, though.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Are you saying you’d throw it out @Rarebear?

I missed my chance, guys!!!! I have a 5 tiered shelf chock FULL of paper back books that I inherited with the classroom. They’re all stacked up all over the shelves. It’s full. They students check them out. They all have the name of my class written on them. One of my students checked out a book that the lady in question brought to me later. Turns out the book had “ISO” (isolation) written on it. She wanted to know how the kid got it. I said I had no idea. I said I had no idea what books are on that shelf. There must be close to a hundred, and I’m not joking.
Damn it. I should have said, “Speaking of books, this showed up in my class room and I don’t know where IT goes.” I didn’t think of it until later though….
Damn it. I missed it.

Rarebear's avatar

@Dutchess_III Actually, I do that all the time. Around the hospital I see Christian literature left strategically in patient areas and on the ground. I generally pick them up and recycle them.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, literature is one thing. I toss JW Watchtowers in the trash all the time. The Bible or the Koran or the Torah is quite another, I think.

BTW…it somehow ended up on top of a very tall filing cabinet I have. I don’t know who put it there. I just came in the next day and a couple of hours later I realized it wasn’t on my desk anymore. shrug Then, some time after that I realized it had been put on top of a very tall filing cabinet, and thar it sits. shrug (Hey….“shrug” is an interesting word. I’m going to look up the etymology of it!)

Mikewlf337's avatar

I don’t throw any religious text away. To me that is very disrespectful. This is why people can’t get along. People are too willing to do things out of spite. It is not relgions fault that people can’t get along. It is people who can’t get along period.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Mikewlf337 Very well said. Thank you.

SpatzieLover's avatar

I’d “tattoo” with a Sharpie 666 somewhere visible on myself.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Origami, anyone? Please, it disturbs but doesn’t surprise me that teachers are out there doing this? You are a teacher, aren’t you? In a public school? And this was another teacher? Oy.

Dutchess_III's avatar

No, it was not another teacher @Simone_De_Beauvoir. And I am not a teacher in a public school.

When I was teaching in the public schools I never encountered such unprofessional behavior from any other teacher or principal.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Dutchess_III Thank god ‘cause I just saw a video about those creationist teachers again and it makes me bang my head on the wall.

Dutchess_III's avatar

It would make me bang my head too. I’ve never had a teacher ever bring the issue up though so my head is currently intact.

kritiper's avatar

Check it to see if somebody’s name is on it. If not, throw it in the trash.

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