Saturday, January 21, 2012


Today, my co-worker asked me when my boyfriend was going to propose to me.  He asks me this question at every opportunity, which is at least twice a week.  It wouldn’t be so strange if he were 60 years old, a woman, and my mother… but he’s not.  He is a 22 year old man who grew up in a bubble community on the West Coast.  I haven’t ever given him any indication that a proposal was on the horizon, the question just popped out of his mouth one day, right after he invited me to go to his church’s social meeting that evening. 

Hi there, I’d like to sign up my co-worker for your services…
Nope, she doesn’t know anything about it yet, it’s a surprise!

When he isn’t after me about marriage, he pushes his fundy ideas on me; specifically, his belief that the Mayan calendar is right in line with the prophesized biblical rapture and that the End of Days is upon us.  Whenever he brings it up, I try to skate around it but sometimes my better judgement gets the best of me and I say something.  Once, I said, “You know, all that proverbial rapture and doomsday stuff has been foretold for hundreds of years and has never actually amounted to anything.”  When that didn’t seem to have any impact, I said, in my calmest most reasonable tone, that many different people and books and groups have predicted the apocalypse, in their own unique way… it is sort of a right of passage for any group that is set on manipulating people by striking fear in their hearts.  It’s just a control tactic.  Believe it or not, fear is a good motivator. 

(Don’t forget to liquidate your assets and donate the $$ to our cause!)

I told him to try not to worry about it, the rapture isn’t coming any time soon.  His exact wide-eyed response was, “You never know.”  I hope he doesn’t let this stuff keep him up at night.  Every time I walk past his cubicle I notice some article prophesizing the doom of humanity on his monitor.  That’s your typical government worker for you, researching ways to repent before the apocalypse kills us all instead of getting work done.  I’m not checking up on him or anything, I’m just a little worried about the guy.  He seems to be overly pre-occupied with other people’s marital statuses and their impending doom. 

He also does not seem to be dissuaded by my increasingly overt social cues to let him know that the topic of marriage proposals is not exactly an appropriate conversation starter.  At first I laughed off his questions, which usually were along the lines of “So do you think he will ask you at Christmas?” and his presumptive statements such as, “You would be so happy if he asked you to marry him in front of all of his family and all of your family, that would be the best!”  I laughed a lot when he said that one.  Apparently he took this reaction to mean that marriage is the only thing that I think about and Gee wouldn’t it be great if my boyfriend proposed to me everyday, over a loudspeaker, while throwing diamond rings at my feet. 

Since then, when he asks me when my boyfriend is going to propose, he says it with a wink and a titter, as if we are sharing an inside joke.  Sometimes, he even hints at the fact that I shouldn’t wait too long to get married or else I might turn into an old maid.  I must say, maintaining my composure at these times is tough.  He is the epitome of the hetero-normative-paradigm-toting person, who happily assumes that everyone in the world subscribes to the exact same beliefs that he does, without bothering to ask them first.  He seems to be completely ignorant to the fact that his questions to me are spawned from his indoctrinated view of the female “I just want to get married and have babies!” stereotype. 

Today, I had finally had enough.  It isn’t my job to teach others how not to be close-minded sheep people, but sometimes a situation falls in my lap like a rancid apple pie that has sat on the windowsill for weeks and is now too fetid to ignore.  This was one of those times.  After he gave me the typical knowing smile and told me that it was “about time I was engaged” I explained to him in my “I know this may be hard for you to take in all at once, in fact your head might explode” voice that I was not a big fan of the institution of marriage, I wasn’t Christian, and didn’t need to have my relationship validated in the face, or any other body part, of a God.  And (you might want to sit down for this one) many people, in fact over 34 million people just in the U.S., aren’t big subscribers of organized religion either.  I explained that, “For a long time, marriage looked something like a subservient woman getting traded to a domineering man in exchange for goods to her family.  That’s right, women were considered chattel and religious institutions helped to develop and spread this oppressive practice for a long, long time. Actually, this practice still goes on in some places around the world, have you ever heard of child brides?”

“So, to answer your question, I feel no deep hungering compulsion to get engaged anytime soon… in fact I may never marry my boyfriend; we may just live together and love each other and raise children together, and maybe the children will even take my last name.  But if my boyfriend ever does propose, don’t worry, YOU will be the FIRST person to find out.”  I kind of liked the way his eyes bugged out of his head.  It made me feel like I am doing my part to rid humanity of its chronic ‘sincere ignorance’ infection.  I think tomorrow we'll tackle global warming.


  1. thank you Rachael for a wonderfully articulate post - we share many similar views!!!

    sincere ignorance is a dangerous thing and is definitely a requirement of religion... "religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds" .. anne nicol gaylor (founder of freedom from religion foundation)

    1. I agree, I believe we have both sought out reason and justice and that has led us to develop similar paradigms. Thank you for the quote from the FFRF founder, it resonates deeply with me.

  2. Well boys, it was a good run, I guess I'll get to these dishes now...

    1. Hi Jesse!! lol - your situation is definitly quite progressive ;)

  3. Rachel, I really like your blog and the posts you have made so far. And I truly mean that. But I have two issues:

    1) 'Typical Government Worker'? Im sorry, but I am dedicated to my job, my employer, and serving the needs of my clients and as the community. Being such, I find it a little offensive for such a blanket statement. Yes, I know plenty can be lazy (and im sure there are a few too that are planning for the end of the world rather than working), but on the whole, in almost every department, I am amazed at the dedication and passion some people put in here. I almost see it as a teacher, taking a lower paycheck just because they enjoy their job (and I love mine). I think its the sheer size and complexity that makes things seem to work so bad.

    2) I have a hard time reading through some of your biases/subjectiveness (not a bad thing, I'm just confused). I feel that I fall into the exact (well, except I'm Baptist) same boat your friend is in. I have a hard time following Christianity word for word, but I have my own beliefs. And I think thats very OK. But in your closing, as a Christian, I believe in the same exact things as you. The way you write it (and I got this vibe from earlier posts and that one), it feels you are trying to portray that 1) I can't because I am a Christian and 2) Your Free Thought gets to 'own' those beliefs (I may be totally misreading, but just how I 'felt'). I can't agree with this. I relate this to something similar to how many religious people consider you can only be good with God, which I also don't agree with. Religion may be able to own certian things, but true human nature, science, etc can't be owned by any one organization. I don't know if thats what you meant, or if it just the way its written.

    I mean this in the sincerest way that I enjoy it, just rather confused and wondering if I am reading too deep, etc.

    1. I am so glad you have gotten some enjoyment from my blog. I earnestly hope you continue visiting it and giving me feedback. It is so helpful to the development of my ideas and I am very appreciative of it. That said, I put some time into thinking about what you wrote and I have developed some answers. They are not perfect, so please let me know if I can clarify anything. Again, thank you for your comments, they really mean a lot to me.

      1. The statement about gov’t workers was not meant to be taken at face value. It was a sarcastic statement, meant to point out the absurdity of my co-worker’s behavior. The gov’t worker stereotype is meant to be ironic or satirical, the sentence is supposed to make you think: ‘of course gov’t workers aren’t researching ways to repent before the apocalypse because that is absurd.’ I myself am a government employee, or was at the time that I wrote this blog post, and am definitely not a proponent of the gov’t worker stereotype. In fact, I defy so many stereotypes that I learned early on that stereotypes are irrational overgeneralizations and so I try not to subscribe to a belief in any stereotypes.

      2. I validate your feelings of confusion and I want to address the issue of bias in my writing. It is not my intention to isolate my theist readers and I am working on a way to still appear humorist while not poking fun at any particular group too much. I am surprised that you would align yourself with my co-worker because I would definitely not say that you are in the same boat as him. He has very poor social etiquette, at least in this situation, and you have always been appropriate and genial in your interactions with me. Just to give you an example of what he was like - imagine going into work and a co-worker asking you when you were going to start dieting, and then every time they saw you thereafter asked you if you had started your diet yet and if you haven’t urging you to start? Remember, you had never told this person you may go on a diet in the first place. Wouldn’t you consider that incredibly rude? I equate his behavior towards me as him pushing his values on me, which means he views my values as being less valid than his own. Do I blame this on his belief in a religion? Well, yes, I do think that his subscription to Christianity has influenced him, because the followers in that religion are taught that their way is the right way and that they should go and ‘spread the word of God’ ie: try to convert people to their religion. Do I think all Christians are as sincerely ignorant as he is? No, I do not…but more on that below.

    2. Let me be clear, it is not my overt intention to convert anyone through this blog, I am simply using it to dispel feelings that arise from strange and often stressful events in my life and also to hopefully make a few people laugh and think. I do not believe ‘Free Thought’ owns any ideas, if it did that would make for one interesting intellectual property rights case haha. However, as a Humanist, I employ skepticism and rationality in my interpretation of life and the world. This means that I am skeptical of untested claims. Many religions, including Baptist, make it clear that they expect their followers to have faith in religious claims rather than to use critical thinking to test these claims. When I come into contact with a person like my co-worker, I understand that his paradigm, or world view, is coming from a place of irrationality because of his dogmatic beliefs.

      The term ‘irrationality’ is not meant to insinuate anything negative, it is a term that means he has not applied critical thinking (meaning scientific evaluation/ empirical research) to develop his world view. You are right, this is not the case with every religious person, and thank you for reminding me of that. However, I’m not sure I followed what the beliefs/values you were trying to express are. When you say, ‘I have the exact same beliefs as you’ I’d have to point out that 1. I’m not sure what beliefs you are referring to and 2. Having the exact same beliefs as me is an impossibility. I also read that you wrote you have a hard time following Christianity word for word…have you considered the idea that you have a hard time following it word for word because you are a critical thinker? I think this may be the case, but of course, you would know better than I. I have a question for you… as a Baptist, isn’t it part of the tenets in your religion to accept your faith ‘word for word’ as you put it? Honestly, when people tell me they are Christian, or Baptist, or Muslim but they don’t actually believe in all the tenets of the religion, then I wonder why they continue to identify with that religion. Surely, if the Baptist God exists, then his word is more valid than any human’s - so to say ‘I am Methodist, but I don’t believe good people who do not believe in the Methodist God will burn in Hell’ means that they do not actually believe in the doctrine of Methodists, because the doctrine is very clear that the only way to heaven is through Jesus Christ. It is baffling to me.

    3. Thanks for the clarification on 1. I did take it as satirical, but then started to think you actually meant it.

      As for 2, I was talking about the one in the post you called 'The A Word'. I saw the post on facebook then on here. Didn't know if a coworker or not. Surly not this psycho coworker you had been posting about. And glad to hear your interactions with me, thats how I try to project myself, and how I feel about life.

      I (not at work, but elsewhere) have had issues similar to that. Ive usually just ignored them, and currently don't have anything like that going on now. I would see that as incredibly rude, to the point of harassment. And agree with the 'value pushing' as well - I hope I never seem that way. I can't stand it, and I try never to ever present myself that way.

    4. Ohhh, gotcha...I think all people can believe in democracy, women's rights, quantum physics etc.. (and I hope they do!) - I definitely haven't monopolized the market in free thought and I'm sorry if I came off that way! My point was that some people use religious doctrine as an excuse to deny these things (ie: gay people are evil or people lived with dinosaurs or women are property etc...)

  4. I guess a better way to explain it is this - I was brought up Baptist. As for what I am now, I have no clue. I know I still have Christian beliefs, but wherever that puts me is just minor details. If anything, the closest thing I can find is somewhere between a mix of Christianity, Panentheism, and Pantheism.

    As for your beliefs, I was connecting to everything you mention in #6 from your earlier post, from womens rights to black holes. And pretty much the same with faith in the same things too (reason, humanity, etc). So to put it very simply, I also believe, have faith, and interest in all those things, but also believe in God. So not the 'exact' same beliefs, but encompass them.

    And yes, I do feel like I am a critical thinker. I also have a huge interest in science, technology, and space. While I know many religions are strict with 'if you dont believe it all, then you believe none', and I don't get that. I feel its a modern (even if lasting centuries) idea that is derived from man versus God.

    And you may be true about Baptist, especially Southern Baptist. But if that's what they consider, I have no clue. And if it is the case, I guess you can count me out of there :) I guess I only identify it in such a way because the only people I talk about it to were usually Baptist, etc. If I went to them and tried to begin to explain to them in what I believe, id loose them mid sentence. There are obviously extremists in all religions, and if they have a problem with my beliefs, then so let it be.

    1. Thank you for answering my question and sharing some of your experiences ... I respect you for what you choose to believe or not believe because I know you have put a lot of thought into it :)