Witness at Work

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Witness at Work

Postby Kilvakar » Mon Jul 07, 2014 5:20 pm

This is the first time I've posted a question of this type here, but from what I can see there are some very strong Christian brothers and sisters on this forum, so I feel comfortable sharing this with you all.

I have worked for five years now at a small, family-owned zoo in my hometown. God has blessed me enough to allow me to become the head of the animal department at my job, and I love being able to work doing something that I love!

Nearly everyone at work knows that I am a Christian. I don't go around trying to "witness" to everyone on the job, but I'm not shy about telling people what I believe in an honest and respectful manner when the opportunity presents itself.

We have several new staff members in my department right now, and during a meeting we happened to be discussing animal behavior and for some reason one woman brought up the fact that one of her college professors in animal behavior (she was a biology major) was "a creationist and a moron." She acted (as many people do) like because this man did not believe in evolution he had no business teaching animal behavior. As a staunch creationist myself, I felt very offended, but I didn't say anything to her because I felt that a workplace meeting was not the place to get into a theological discussion.

Now my problem is that I felt very guilty later on for not saying anything to her about it. I know that God calls us to stand up for the truth, but I'm honestly not sure how to handle this subject. I don't want to create any feelings of conflict or animosity at work, but I also don't like standing by quietly while my co-workers insult and belittle my own deeply held Christian beliefs. I understand that most people don't really actively hate Christianity or religion in general, they've just been taught by our secularized society (especially the school system) that it's something to be ridiculed as a primitive construct of a bygone age.

Does anyone have any thoughts or advice? I'd be grateful for your input! Thanks and God bless!
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Re: Witness at Work

Postby Mullet Death » Mon Jul 07, 2014 6:39 pm

I'm not really sure how best to go about this topic myself. Personally, I am no longer a "creationist" as you are, and haven't been since I became Catholic and studied Biblical interpretations. But I used to be a zealous defender of your position and am in any case familiar with people unknowingly belitlling my beliefs because the ideas of this world are too deeply embedded in their minds, to the point at which they just assume you're not "one of them" when they mock unpopular religious ideas in your presence. Though it may definitely not be the right path for you, or perhaps even anyone, if I were in your position, I would be inclined to start quiet discussions or debates with my offending coworkers whenever given the chance. I can't say that this has ever "worked" with any non-Christian friends or acquaintances in the sense of outright "convincing" them of anything. However, it is perhaps possible that a reasonable discussion with these people offending you will lead to them opening their minds more to your position rather than seeing it only as the moronic beliefs of superstitious uneducated yokels or whatever it is they think of creationism. (That is, assuming you are CAPABLE of a "reasonable discussion" or debate; I think it's arguable whether anyone apart from apologists are truly good at such things, and I for one am too hotheaded for the task with anyone who isn't at least a friend and Christian.) I guess all I'm asking is, have you tried casually bringing this up directly with her and anyone else?

I hope you can even understand the sentences in this post. :lol: I tend to write in a manner that probably only makes sense to me. Then there's all those unnecessarily long sentences...


This sounds like an interesting CAA chat topic :P
Last edited by Mullet Death on Mon Jul 07, 2014 6:50 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Witness at Work

Postby ClaecElric4God » Mon Jul 07, 2014 6:41 pm

Wow, that's a tough one. I probably can't help you much because I'm not old and wise or whatever. But I know where you're coming from. There have been times people disrespected my God or my faith, and I wish I could go back and do it over again instead of just awkwardly shuffling away.

As "a creationist and a moron" myself, I also know where you're coming from there. This issue seems to be an incredibly volatile one, as I seldom hear casual observations from either side. All creationists think evolutionists are idiots, all evolutionists think creationists are idiots. It's turned into more of a kids' mudfight than an issue, a contest to see who can throw the biggest mudpie right square in the other guy's face. But yeah, I won't go into that and get your thread locked up. Sorry, mods, if I already went too far on that one.

I agree that it probably wasn't something to bring up in a work meeting. But it's also hard because...a whole room of people heard creationism being disrespected without any sort of response. Also, a workplace meeting also wasn't really a place to bring up and ridicule the beliefs of a college professor. I'm thinking that probably had nothing to do with the discussion you were having? It might have been an opportunity to politely point out that it was unnecessary or unprofessional to make that kind of statement in an unrelated discussion. But I don't know, because I've not worked in an actual real business for very long myself, so I still don't know what's "professional" and what's not. I know where I work we had a meeting recently that devolved into adults acting like children over a pay differential (as an ignorant 19-year-old I was about ready to call them out for being ridiculous), so maybe I just don't know what goes and what doesn't.

I still think there's an opportunity to go to her personally and explain to her that you didn't appreciate her statement. If done in the right attitude of respect and concern, that can really have pretty great results. You'd be surprised how often people will actually appreciate your beliefs and opinions and make an effort to keep from offending you, instead of getting up in arms and retaliating. But again, the attitude you approach your co-workers with can make all the difference.

Personally, I really believe that it's something that you should address, but like you said, I'm not sure how. Maybe you just want to make her understand that you don't appreciate her comments, but honestly, it sounds like God's giving you an opportunity to share your beliefs with someone. She thinks creationists are morons. This is a chance for you to prove to her that they're not. I'm willing to bet you have a good head on your shoulders, and obviously a care for the people you're working with. You might present her with the question "What is it about creationism that makes you feel the way you do about it?" Obviously not with an attitude of animosity or "getting back", but just sincere inquisition. That can open up a world of possibilities as it will help you understand her better, and to know how to address the issues. Do you have any good creation material you could share with her? I would recommend Kent Hovind, but his style can be a bit abrasive toward evolutionists and could easily cause offense. His arguments are sound and valid, however. Either way, you have the opportunity to study exactly why you believe what you believe and to lay the facts out for her yourself. I definitely wouldn't run away from this.

I guess my biggest advice would be to make sure you're not handling this in a "I want everybody to know how I feel about this and that it made me upset" way, but as "I want people to understand why their thinking is more harmful to themselves than me". Don't think of it in terms of "I was offended", "my beliefs were insulted", or "this was an attack on me". First and foremost, your focus should be to glorify God, and not to compromise God's truths. And secondly, your focus should be to help your co-workers to see the truth and guide them toward a true understanding of God. Consider how their beliefs and ideas affect them, not you. How this situation affected you should be the least of your concerns. God comes first, then others, then self. It's an attitude of "I was hurt" that leads to a lot of Christians retaliating and acting in the wrong way and with the wrong attitude when it comes to defending their beliefs. Figure out why you want to talk to this woman about this issue, then approach it with the right attitude and the right agenda.

Of course, this is all just the personal opinion of a naive teenager, so take it for what it's worth, or throw it all in the nearest garbage can. Either way, I'll be praying for you and your co-workers, and that God would give you the wisdom to know how to handle this.
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Re: Witness at Work

Postby drill » Mon Jul 07, 2014 6:56 pm

First, I will say that it was good that you didn't bring it up during the discussion as it would have just brought up conflict, and wouldn't have ended well. If you feel led, you could talk to the person and ask why they feel that way, but since most everyone in your workplace already knows you are a Christian, I would say that you have already done well in sharing your faith so far. Also, considering the personality of this person, they will most likely be moved more by your actions than your words, so by acting out your faith you will be witnessing to them.
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Re: Witness at Work

Postby Kilvakar » Wed Jul 09, 2014 9:36 pm

Thank you all for your advice, I really appreciate it!

Mullet: I can certainly understand your sentences, and I know what you mean about it being generally not a good idea to sit there and try to convince someone to change their opinions, but yes, when the opportunity presents itself, I have told people at work that I happen to not believe in the theory of evolution and it's generally been well-received. I don't think this person has a mean spirit, she's just an unsaved person who's learned to see my beliefs as stupid. If I get the chance, I'll probably try to let her know what my position is, I have a feeling that just knowing that would cause her to stop and think, since we already have a good professional relationship.

Claec: Wow, thank you for all your advice, I just wanted you to know that you certainly don't sound like a "naive teenager" to me. :) You are absolutely right, the whole point of responding to comments like that is to stand up for God's truth, not to retaliate for a personal insult. I don't feel insulted at all, that's not why I felt bad about not responding to her. I just felt like I possibly missed an opportunity to share the truth with her and be a witness for God. But you're right, this is a good opportunity for me to have a polite, intelligent conversation with someone about my faith, and I hope that God will give me the wisdom to go about it the right way.

Drill: Actions speak far louder than words, and that's how I try to live each day, by being the best example I can be so that when people learn that I'm a Christian, they'll wonder if that has something to do with it :)
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Re: Witness at Work

Postby Xeno » Thu Jul 10, 2014 10:02 am

How do you know the person is unsaved? Not believing in evolution isn't a requirement to be a Christian, and many Christians do believe evolution to be correct and creationism to not be.
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Re: Witness at Work

Postby goldenspines » Thu Jul 10, 2014 12:52 pm

Xeno brings up an interesting point, especially since the definitions of creationism and evolutionism can be interpreted in different ways. Plus, you can have a mixture of the two and still be a Christian.

So, in regards to what you're conflicted with, try looking at the big picture, Kilvakar.

The big picture of Christianity, that is.
I mean, people cam spend all day (actually, probably all year and a half) talking about what they think is true and what is not in the creation story. Some people believe in a solid 7 day creation (by our timing, 24 hours is a day), while others will say that before the sun and moon were put into rotation, the definition of a day was different (it could have a million years for all we know, but it's a day to God). Or, it could be that God planned out animals so they would evolve in some way over time (mainly, micro evolution, or even something like "change to adapt to an environment". This especially makes sense since after the flood, animals had to adapt to the new climates on the earth).

So all that stuff is fun to talk about, but what you have to remember is that it shouldn't be something that shakes your faith when you find out some of the details aren't true. What is the most important part in the creation story? The first verse. "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth." Yet, Christianity extends much deeper than that. As you know, the backbone of Christianity is based upon accepting we are sinners, and accepting Jesus dying for our sins, and in the end, accepting God's love.

That's it, really. And in the end, it doesn't matter if God created the world in seven days or whether it was actually 10 billion years. The point is that you trust that He did create it and you trust that He knew, and still knows what He's doing.

Now, in regards to standing up for truth, this is a tricky one. In your situation, I can only assume your coworker either had a bad experience with this professor (and just wrote her off instead of trying to resolve any issues) or your coworker is trying to inflate their ego in some way, or they got a bad grade on their final because they didn't study enough so it MUST be the professor's fault. Who knows. The question is, why do you feel offended? I mean, I know why, but I want you to think about why you were. Being attacked is a norm for Christians, but we are not called to strike back. Plus, your coworker was not attacking you personally (they were attacking God, sure, but does He need any help in defending Himself?).
Now, you can call out the person for being rude and taking the meeting off track with their petty complaints. But really, they can think whatever they like. People are pretty free to do that.
The best defense for God's word and His love is actions, not words. I mean, you can tell the person they are wrong all day long until both you and they are blue in the face, but where does that get you? Nowhere. And it certainly doesn't get them anywhere closer to God.

So next time this crops up, I encourage you to pray that instant. God is fairly good at opening opportunities for us and others if we let Him.
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Re: Witness at Work

Postby Kilvakar » Thu Jul 10, 2014 2:47 pm

Again, thank you all for your advice. I guess I need to make it clear that I'm not personally insulted or offended here, I was just wondering if I did the right thing by not saying anything in response to some hostile comments.

Xeno, you're right, I shouldn't assume that someone is not a Christian just because they believe in evolution, it was her hostility that made me assume that.

Goldenspines: I know what you mean, there are many Christians who don't take a literal view of the Genesis creation account, and that's not what I'm concerned about. I have no problem accepting people with different points of view, again it's just that I wondered after the comments she made if I did the right thing by keeping silent. I agree that it wasn't a personal attack, and I didn't take it that way. But you're right, God doesn't need me to defend Him.

I appreciate everyone's comments, I'll continue to pray and ask for guidance. I'm sure everything will work out for good!
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Re: Witness at Work

Postby Thunderscream872 » Fri Jul 11, 2014 2:11 am

Brace yourself, this is gonna be long:

First, I'll start off by regurgitating what nearly everyone else just said, and say that a staff meeting is not the place to have a debate (or argument) on this issue. You said that you felt a little guilty for not standing up for your views right there, but I know some people who would flip out and start arguing with this person about the issue right there on the spot and, trust me, it doesn't make you look good. As far as Creationism being bashed with no one to defend it, I really don't think her little comment is gonna sway anyone to become an Evolutionist, if it does, then that's really pathetic (for lack of a better word).

You say most of the people you work with know you're a Christian? If that's the case, eventually she's gonna find out. If she indeed has issues with Christianity or specifically the idea of Creationism; then maybe she'll approach you about it. The important thing is to know why you believe in Creation (whatever version you specifically believe in). I would also be prepared to make an argument that wasn't solely based on "the Bible says..."--it doesn't work with people who aren't Christians, they don't care what the Bible says.

I don't know why she felt the need to make that comment. I really don't think it was just cause the professor gave her a bad grade or anything along those lines. Imo, it's pretty clear that she's equating being a Creationist with being a "moron". Think about it, if the professor was a used car salesman, do you think she would say a "used car salesman and a moron", no, unless she had some disliking toward used car salesmen.

What I would do in your position is probably nothing. I’m not saying that’s the right thing to do, but here’s my reasoning. If she is curious about Creationism (that fact that she brought it up at all shows that she probably has semi-strong feelings about it), then she might approach you about it. If she simply views as nonsense equivalent to believing that the earth is flat, then she still might approach you about it, but more than likely you’re not gonna change her mind. My point is, that if she has doubts about her beliefs then she'll go looking for answers, if not, then there's probably nothing you can say that will change her mind.

Again, this is based on what you said about nearly all of your coworkers knowing that you’re a Christian. Eventually she’s gonna find out too.

I hope this helps. I do understand your situation. There have been instances when I kept my mouth shut, and later felt I didn’t stand up for my beliefs; however, just cause you feel that way, I don’t think it necessarily means that God is convicting you for it.

Anyways, best of luck :)
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Re: Witness at Work

Postby Kilvakar » Fri Jul 11, 2014 4:37 pm

Thank you Thunderscream for your advice, once again I really appreciate everybody's advice and opinions on this matter. I think you brought up a good point, she's bound to hear about my worldview even if I don't bring it up to her, and that will probably cause her to think about what she said. I hope that if the opportunity presents itself I'll be prepared to give a good explanation of why I believe the way I do. Situations like this often do end up turning into good opportunities to share your faith with others.

Thanks again!
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