Out at work

I was reading about the hostile workplaces that some Atheists have to endure and realized that I have it pretty good where I work.

I've never mentioned the name of the company that I work for, only that I am an electrical engineer and that I work with embedded control systems. We're a big local company, part of a world-wide company with thousands of employees. It was a small company when I arrived 12 years ago.

I've always worked in the Engineering department at this company. And due to our company's location in California, and due to the nature of engineering, our engineers have always been very diverse people. We have representatives of every major world faith in our department, and quite a few minor faiths too. My coworkers, and friends, are Christian, Islamic, Jewish, Sikh and Hindu. Some are more devout than others. I know of at least one other Atheist and one Agnostic. I know one or two who are questioning religion, who are leaning toward non-belief.

I haven't found a blatant example of the "Salem Hypothesis" here at work. However, I've encountered a few very Christian people who are Creationists, but not engineers. They usually work as administrative assistants, workers on the factory floor, or (something I find fascinating) they work in Marketing.

I'm definitely out at work. I don't talk about my Atheism unless asked directly, but I have an evolve fish on my cube wall. I also have a "get out of Hell free" card, and a photo of a crop circle that says "Skeptic" on my wall too. None have drawn particular comment or attention.

This is pretty good - Fresno, the city I live in, is noted for being both religious and intolerant - we're the religious conservative heart of California. The non-religious and the liberals live along the coasts and in the big cities while the farmland is pure God country. It's nice to have a little oasis of diversity here at work.

A couple of weeks ago, I went to the break area to get some coffee. Two Christian engineers were talking to a Hindu engineer. Apparently the topic had wandered into what this engineer was allowed to eat as a Hindu.

"No, I'm allowed to eat pork," said the Hindu engineer. "I just don't eat it because I don't think it is good for me. But I'm not restricted from eating it. I can also eat chicken, or fish; eggs or milk. I just can't eat cows!"

"Why not? Are they forbidden?"

"It's not that they are forbidden - Cows are sacred to Hindus! You wouldn't eat something that's sacred, would you?"

I couldn't help myself. I broke into the conversation. "Why not? Christians do."

The conversation stopped. The two Christians looked at me, and one almost protested. And while his mouth was half-opened this LOOK came over his face and he shut his mouth.

They all looked at each other. One of them said, "Huh." I took my coffee and went back to my cube.

I love working here.


Anonymous said...

Jesus: "And then I did the last supper, and I gave them some wine and I said, drink this wine - it is my blood."
God: "You said what?"
Jesus: "I said, drink this wine it is my blood. I was trying to make it a ceremony."
God: "But that's vampirism! Vampiric thing, drink my blood. You've got Pagan things right there on day one of the new religion!"
Jesus: "Oh, sorry."
God: "Why didn't you say, drink this wine it's a Merlot?"
Jesus: "Oh, yeah."
God: "Did you say anything else?"
Jesus: "What do you mean?"
God: "Well, after the wine thing did you say anything else that might have screwed things up… for ever and ever?"
Jesus: "No."
God: "Nothing at all?"
Jesus: "No."
God: "Nothing about bread?"
Jesus: "Yes."
God: "What did you say?"
Jesus: "Well, I said, 'eat this bread, it is my… favorite!' because it was hot so they had all those crinkly bits in it, and I loved it and… All right, I said it was my body, OK?"
God: "That's… that's cannibalism! You have got vampirism and cannibalism right at the beginning… Oh, Gee! And you died on Easter, the biggest pagan ceremony in the history of ever! (losing it a bit) You're going to celebrate the year of your death in a different year, each year! Depending on where the moon is, for God's sake! If they don't work out that's pagan I'll just eat my hat."
Jesus: "Dad, don't worry. No one's going to work it out for 2000 years - until a transvestite points it out in New York!"
God: "Oh, all right."
Jesus: "Well, what would you have done?"
God: "I would have done cheese and wine. Cheese and wine goes together better. Eat this cheese, it is my body…"
Jesus: "But it's Judea, dad. Cheese melts."
God: "All right: eat this cheese it is my central nervous system, all right? All right, all right, listen to this: eat these chicken drumsticks, they are my legs. Eat these carrots, they are my arms. Eat this tomato it is my head. And eat these oysters, they are my kneecaps."
Jesus: "If you do that, dad, your holy communion is going to have priests going round with lots of trays going, 'Who ordered the body of Christ, then?'"

Anonymous said...

Cow: "This is my body given for you; as hamburgers, or roast or a nice juicy steak. I know you'll be enjoying the meal and company, but try to think of me while you're adding the sautéed mushrooms."

"This is my blood, you could use in in things like black pudding, boudin noir and blutwurst, but honestly you'll like it better seared inside of a juicy steak."