Religion and Nursing - page 2

So many nurses in my part of the world are Christians, and for some reason they expect me to be one, too. I NEVER discuss religion with co-workers, but I suffer in silence when they share cutsy... Read More

  1. by   sbic56
    glow_worm

    Good advice here, but it is very difficult for some Christians to not bring their religion with them as recruitment is part of this religion. I am thinking since you live in the south you may see a more concentrated Christian population, too. I don't think, by and large, that nurses are anymore Christian than any other profession, but I could be wrong. I do know that in the northeast, the general population is less religious overall, so I am thinking your situation is more of a regional thing.

    I would certainly let people know that I am not religious, if I felt I was constantly bombarded with their stuff to the point of irritation. It is appropriate to ask the Christian co-workers to cease with the emails as they constitute spam to those who don't want them. It surely is less confrontational to just delete them and go on. (I have a friend who sends me things I don't appreciate and I simply hit the delete key.) So touchy of a subect, as they will be offended, but it sounds like you are the one being offended right now. Good luck!
  2. by   Emery
    I am not a nurse (yet) but I am a christian. And I know that all christians aren't the same so I'm speaking for myself, but when I share with someone about my faith I can pretty much expect that they won't want to hear it, and if that is the case then I just leave them alone and pray for them....silently! I don't shove it down their throat...its not worth the trouble! I don't know about other christians but I share my faith because I'm excited about it, I mean, how often do you get a gift that is totally free? No strings attached? Just my opinion....

    ~Emery
  3. by   jnette
    Originally posted by charissa
    Just as I am not cramming things down other peoples' throats, being a Christian is who I am and it effects all parts of my life and sets out what many of my values are. I can't just seperate from myself for 12 hrs, but I am not pushing it on anyone else either.
    That's key. I can't be but who I am, and my beleifs/faith is the essence or core of who I am... and it goes with me EVERYWHERE.

    But I never comment or "offer" unless I am ASKED to share or comment.

    And yes, much of it IS regional/geographic. I know where I live, folks who don't "believe" is nearly unheard of, and they truly cannot conceive of anyone not being like themselves... they do not mean to be arrogant at all, it's just something they can't relate to, or have even THOUGHT of ! They assume everyone thinks/believes as they do, and therefor much of what they "offer" is meant in goodwill, never thinking you might not appreciate.

    Just be honest, but kind. That never hurt ANYONE.

  4. by   glow_worm
    What a great bunch of people you all are! I want to thank everyone who responded. This was a really good discussion, and I've gained a lot from it.

    Just a note: I just wanted to say that it's an important topic to me because I appreciate my co-workers & feel bonded to them sometimes, but realize that religion is a devisive issue. I want us all to get along, and have a good working relationship with them without stepping on toes! I definitely want to interact on a level where religion (or lack of) is not even an issue, and I don't want strife/debate.

    I've worked in the blue ridge mountains of NC, and it's true that very southern Christian nurses there can become abrasive/condemning towards co-workers or patients who don't go to church! In fact, in one nursing facility where I worked for a year, nurses would attend the funerals of Christian residents who had passed, but they would not attend the funerals of non-Christians b/c these residents were supposedly going to "burn in Hell". It was very sad and bizarre. Their behavior was not congruent with "love your neighbor", "forgive one another", "judge not", and other statements from their own bible.

    I now live in a much more progressive area of the south, but I still encounter mostly Christian nurses here. I definitely avoid taboo conversations (religion, sex, politics), but sometimes Christians push their beliefs into the conversation in very subtle ways -- as mentioned above, perhaps it is difficult for a religious person to separate that part of themselves from their working persona in a 12 hour shift, since friendship/bonding requires a sharing of self. However, it's the assumptions that people make concerning my own religious orientation (or lack of) that really bother me!

    Ok, but I will take a deep breath and heed all of the above advice and adopt your wise philosophical stances. Thanks again.
  5. by   eltrip
    glow_worm,
    As both a Christian and a Southerner in the South, I know what you mean. It is different here in the South. Folks tend to get more in other folks' faces around here than in other regions. I don't think that it's a good thing, it's just the way (sadly) some folks are.

    The South, as a whole, tends to be less diverse when it comes to religion. That leaves plenty of room for assumptions. People are startled (I haven't seen many, if at all, who were offended) by discovering a "non-believer" among their coworkers. Some will proselytize, some will back away, & others will just be their usual selves (for better or for worse). It depends largely on what they've seen of the world & general respect for others.

    Personally, I don't "advertise" my faith. I become frustrated with the daily avalanche of forwarded material, Christian or not. I have been known to delete things without reading. If you get something from one of them, great. If not, that's fine too. If you'd rather not receive them, simply request that they not send them. You don't have to suffer in silence. No reason other than "I'd rather not have my e-mail filled with forwarded material" would need to be stated. After all, it's your e-mail address, not theirs. I've said this on at least one occasion to most of my friends. If I keep receiving stuff, I delete it, just like spam.

    Christians aren't perfect, even if when we try to pretend we are.

    All the best,
    Joy
  6. by   Angelica
    I used to be open about being an atheist, but now I keep my beliefs to myself. Some people can be pretty judgemental.
  7. by   eltrip
    Originally posted by Angelica
    I used to be open about being an atheist, but now I keep my beliefs to myself. Some people can be pretty judgemental.
    I hear you & know what you mean. It happens among Christians, too. Some Christians of various denominations become very judgemental of other denominations (i.e., if you don't believe/worship in this way you're not going to go to Heaven).

    It's just plain wrong. I'm sorry that you've had to deal with that. No one deserves to be treated that way.
  8. by   fergus51
    I am an agnostic and have had the same kind of interactions with the enthusiastic christians I have worked with. I take the view that they are just trying to introduce me to something they like, the same way I would tell them about a great new restaurant.

    If they are preachy I just tell them I'm not interested and don't really care if they are judgemental about me not being Christian. Who cares if they think I'll burn in hell? As long as I think otherwise, it doesn't bug me a bit
  9. by   Rapheal
    I am a Christian nurse. I believe that you know a person by their deeds, not their words. Nobody has right to judge your beliefs. You do not need to defend them. Enjoy and appreciate your co-workers stories if you like. They must enjoy talking to you as evidenced by their willingness to share their personal stories and beliefs. So it sounds to me as if you are a very likeable person.

    My daughter has a t-shirt that says "Preach the gospel at all times, and when necessary use words." This sums it up for me.
  10. by   roxannekkb
    My daughter has a t-shirt that says "Preach the gospel at all times, and when necessary use words." This sums it up for me.
    That is soooo true. How we behave in this world, the example we set, is so much more telling than the words which come out of our mouths. I've seen very religious people of all faiths who knew all the dogma and the rituals, but alas, completely lacked the spiritual side of their faith. And the reverse, people who were not affiliated with any religion but yet were kind, compassionate, and totally connected spiritually.

    Oh, and by the way, I'm the one that nurse ratched mentioned who has the great sig line from the Matrix Reloaded. It really says it all, about belief systems.
  11. by   jnette
    Originally posted by glow_worm

    I've worked in the blue ridge mountains of NC, and it's true that very southern Christian nurses there can become abrasive/condemning towards co-workers or patients who don't go to church! In fact, in one nursing facility where I worked for a year, nurses would attend the funerals of Christian residents who had passed, but they would not attend the funerals of non-Christians b/c these residents were supposedly going to "burn in Hell". It was very sad and bizarre. Their behavior was not congruent with "love your neighbor", "forgive one another", "judge not", and other statements from their own bible.

    However, it's the assumptions that people make concerning my own religious orientation (or lack of) that really bother me!

    Wow. The above is really, really sad. I can say I've not met any of those, but know that there are those out there who (as in anything) take things to the extreme. Or inject "manmade" law into the Word. And it bothers me that ppl exposed to these folks assume that this is "Christianity"... when it's far from it. This is what has turned so many ppl off, and I can certainly understand why. They certainly do more damage than good.

    As for others' assumptions about you... why give it any thought at all? If YOU are comfortable with who you are, then no need to fret about their assumptions, right? Opinions vs. facts.... again.

    I love Fergus' and Eltrip's responses and I totally agree ! And Roxannekkb.. I'll have to remember that quote ! Super ! So much truth there !

    By the way, Gloworm... best of luck on your NCLEX !!! It's on my B'Day (!) so that should bring you all KINDS of success !!! And right now, I'm tempted to say "I'll pray for you" but it's just out of sheer mischief on my part... in jest, ok? Truly, though, I wish you the best.. it's not been that long that I took mine.. only 4 mos. ago. WOW.
    Last edit by jnette on Jun 26, '03
  12. by   LauraLou
    In areas of the country which are particularly religious, people tend to assume everyone shares their beliefs and act accordingly. It isn't meant to be divisive or isolating, but it can feel that way to the person who doesn't share the same beliefs.

    I live in Texas, which isn't exactly the South, but also very religious. I am a Christian, but I am sometimes approached by Christians of other denominations, who wish share with me their particular Christian beliefs.

    I have found the best thing is to avoid confrontation and simply excuse myself from conversations that I find uncomfortable. I don't make a big deal about it, I just say I have to use the rest room or need to check on something. I have found that making an issue of religion sometimes escalates the situation rather than resolves it, but if you are truly uncomfortable you should say something.

    It is rare to find someone who will continue to share their beliefs with you, once they realize it makes you uncomfortable. Usually the people who continue to push are the ones you didn't like much to begin with.
  13. by   txsugarlvn
    Just don't say anything. Easier said than done, right? I can't remember if you stated what you believed in your posts but it's not important. Here's a funny story....I am a Christian but I worked in a Catholic facility taking care of nuns for a few years. I loved them and the environment which was so peaceful and so spiritually calming. BUT, I knew better than to let any of the "sisters" know I wasn't Catholic. Why? Because they dedicated their lives to the Catholic religion and that's what they firmly believe. Dogma and all. I do not. So when they would talk i would listen. We could talk about God or Christ but I never went beyond that. You see, they felt that if you were not a Catholic and had not gone through the rites of passage (ie:communion, confirmation, etc) then you were going to hell. No two ways about it. Rather than argue or debate or disagree, I just smiled and nodded. it was a very peaceful working environment.
    I am in Texas so I don't face the same problems with coworkers as you do in SC. But, regardless of what area of the country you live, and there are pushy in-your-face people in ALL parts of the country, just back off and let it go unless you are pushed to the point of candidly stating your views. You will find people on both sides of the issue more than willing to shove it down your throat. Just take a deep calming breath, hit the delete button on the computer, and relax.
    I wish you the best and only good things in life. I truly hope this situation resolves itself to the best of all concerned.

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