Post # 1
So this came up at work, and I was a bit stunned. I’m Agnostic, although I don’t usually say that to people, since no one knows what it means (and it doesn’t accurately describe me anyway, but it’s close enough). One of my coworkers asked me what church I go to (?), and I responded that I’m not religious. Apparently, to him that meant that I’m Christian, but I don’t go to church? And he believes that’s because I “just haven’t found the right one,” when I just don’t believe in ANY religion. At all.
So, bees, what do you think? If someone tells you that they’re not religious, do you assume that they’re x religion, but don’t attend church/temple/etc.? Or do you assume they’re Atheist/Agnostic? Other?
Post # 3
I’m agnostic as well. I’m not religious to me could mean a million different things. Religious belief is such a deeply personal thing I will never understand why anyone makes it their business what someone else believes
Post # 4
@vorpalette: I don’t think much about religion, but usually categorize myself as atheist. When people ask, I tell them I’m “not religious” to avoid the judgement that people often show towards atheism.
Post # 5
Agnostic or Atheist. To me, “Spiritual” means “I identify with a religion, but I am not practicing.” (I am an Atheist, husband is an Agnostic. I was raised by a very Catholic mother and an Agnostic father.)
Post # 6
When someone says they’re not religious, I tend to assume that they’ve got some sort of beliefs, unsure of their beliefs or don’t believe and that they aren’t comfortable discussing the matter. I never push for anyone to elaborate or make suggestions, I take it as my cue to change the subject.
Post # 7
To me it could be a person who is agnostic or atheist, or simply not actively practicing a religion.
Post # 8
I think this co-worker sounds a little dopey 😉 I’d never think someone who describes themselves as not-religious is Christian. I also categorize myself as non-religious when people ask, and I’ve never had anyone assume that meant I was any kind of religion.
Post # 9
Typically, I think it means that they believe in spiritual things (agnostic, basically) but don’t follow an organized religion. Though I have also heard it used to describe a couple other scenarios, like believing in the Christian faith but not attending a religious institution or being totally atheist.
Post # 10
It’s a really broad sentiment. It could mean “I’m Christian but don’t go to church”, “I’m Jewish but don’t believe in a g-d”, “I’m Muslim and love having a bacon roll when I’m hungover,” or “I’m an atheist/agnostic with no religious background,” (or one of many hundreds of other options).
Post # 11
Sorry to vote for the vague other, but I tend to think about that phrase based on what I know about the person saying it. For people that have identified as Christian at some point, I think of it as mean non-service attending or associated with any sect (like me). For people who have talked about being agnostic/atheist, I just think of that. I try not to assume if I don’t know though.
Post # 13
I think “I’m not religious” could mean any of those things.
I use that phrase to be vague. I worry that being more specific about any of my beliefs is an invitation to debate them. To me, “I’m not religious” tends to translate as, “I don’t feel strongly in any way.”
Post # 14
@WhatMaeBee: He’s an older guy with Catholic beliefs who left his Catholic church for a Lutheran one after he didn’t get any support during/after his divorce. I know his girlfriend has Christian beliefs but doesn’t attend church–she might say that she’s “non-religious,” but I don’t really think that’s accurate, since she IS religious, she just doesn’t go to church.
Post # 15
To me, not religious means not affiliated w/any organized religion. That doesn’t mean that I assume that the person is Christian or anything at all. I don’t like to assume at all about someone’s religious beliefs.
Post # 16
Your coworker is a bit obtuse! I think in general, without knowing anything about the person to shade it either way, “I’m not religious” would definitely mean “I don’t ascribe to/practice any particular belief” or “religion is not a part of my life.”