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Opinion >  Column

The Slice: You believe what you want to believe

How long do people usually have to know you before learning where you stand on matters of religion?

A) It depends. B) Long enough for the prospect of our going on a Sunday morning hike comes up. C) It would happen about two seconds after they began to proselytize.

D) My attire offers a pretty clear hint. Take my burka, for instance. E) If they mind their own business, I suppose it could take years. F) They probably get a clue when I tell them why I won’t let my children play with their children. Or if they hear my thoughts about PBS science programs.

G) I have a bumper sticker that pretty much eliminates the need for any guesswork. H) They would learn quite promptly the moment they began to mock the religious tradition I grew up in. I) Our first conversation about presidential politics would clear it up.

J) A conversation about the movie “Ben-Hur” would probably do it. K) A conversation about the movie “Spotlight” would probably do it. L) Long enough for us to discuss the age of the Earth or evolution.

M) Sometimes it happens in the context of offering condolences on a death in the family. N) If we watch a televised sporting event at which the athletes are shown praying, my commentary makes my attitude quite clear. O) If the person enjoys using profane language, my feedback would tell him or her where I stand.

P) When we have that person over for dinner and say grace before the meal. Q) Perhaps my conduct and the way I carry myself would say all that needs to be said. R) The religious iconography at my work station makes it pretty obvious.

S) Long enough for them to ask me. T) If they read the messages on some of my T-shirts, they’ll know. U) My satirical Halloween costumes have been known to speak to this issue.

V) Long enough for me to ask if they’ve heard the good news about atheism. W) It happens when we start to swap childhood stories about Santa and the Easter bunny. X) It never comes up.

Y) Long enough to earn my trust. Z) What? Everyone I know feels the same way I do about everything.

Today’s Slice question: Where do you come down on the “Jesus would not have looked like a northern European” issue?

Write The Slice at P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210; call (509) 459-5470; email pault@spokesman.com. Discuss among yourselves: Baking at high altitude.

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