Revealing Atheism to Inquisitive Strangers
Webcast Q&A: Sunday, 4 December 2011, Question 4
I answered a question on revealing atheism to inquisitive strangers on Philosophy in Action Radio on 4 December 2011. You can listen to or download the podcast segment below – or check out the whole episode.
Should I reveal my atheism to strangers when asked? I work at a hospital. One night a patient asked me if I'm religious. I answered yes. He then asked me if I believed that Jesus Christ died on the cross for my sins. I answered yes. Then he took my hand and prayed for me. Immediately, I felt guilty, because I lied in answering these questions. In fact, I'm an atheist. The next day, I told the patient the truth, and he thanked me for my honesty. What should I have done in answering his original questions?
My Answer, In Brief: Honesty is a virtue, and fully applicable here. So when asked personal questions by strangers, the proper response is to either answer the question honestly or decline to answer it.
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- Philosophy in Action: Lying to a Dying Person (27 November 2011), Admitting Mistakes at Work (13 November 2011), and other questions on honesty
- National Post: Atheists can not be trusted: Religious people rank non-believers alongside rapists, study
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