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Switch to Forum Live View rude vs. appropriate
3 years ago  ::  Mar 13, 2012 - 10:52AM #1
Ironhold
Posts: 11,522
Here's the situation.

A member of your family has recently passed away. This has, of course, caused a temporary disruption to your life.

When asked why things are so wonky on your end, you explain the situation.

Upon hearing of the person's death, the very first thing the other person says is something to the effect of "Was _____ a Mormon?", "Was _____ a Jew?", "Was _____ a Muslim?", or words to that effect.

Would that, to you, be rude, or would that be a sign of legit concern?



A few years ago, a member of my then-current congregation lost his wife to a long illness. He made the decision that it was time for him to relocate where he had some family, and in the process of relocating decided that he was going to have a garage sale so as to get rid of what he couldn't transport. I wound up helping him run it.

One of the people who came by was a local "professional" garage sale shopper who is easily identified by her bright orange hair and her tendency to hand out fliers for her church. She has a tendency to not only aggressively talk people down on prices but to also get irritated quickly if she doesn't get her way.

After spending a few minutes dealing with her and her issues, she finally went to pay for her items. At that point, she asked why there was such a huge sale going on.

The very first words out of her mouth were "Was she a Christian?".

I related this story to someone as an example of the kind of things that take place in my part of the Bible Belt - specifically, the prevailing attitude that being the "right" kind of Christian is more important than what a person actually does with their life. In fact, at least once a year you can actually find crosses, bibles, and even Virgin of Guadalupe items in the local vending machines.

The person who I was speaking with responded by saying, in essence, "Why did her words bother you? She was just being concerned for the person's soul."
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3 years ago  ::  Mar 13, 2012 - 11:14AM #2
smcisaac
Posts: 7,950

The question itself is not inherently either rude or sympathetic.  Context makes all the difference. If the questioner is asking someone with no close personal ties to the deceased, it might be a perfectly neutral thing to ask -- just as, say, "Did she have any kids?" would be. 


Of course, unwelcome interference in other people's private affairs is usually considered rude.  If the questioner is asking a grieving survivor, and could reasonably anticipate that the question night provoke emotional distress, s/he might wonder, but should hold his/her tongue anyway out of compassion and courtesy.  If the questioner is speaking out of genuine concern for the emotional state of the survivor, though, it might be a very kind thing to ask.


If the questioner is asking not out of any sort of concern for either the deceased or the bereaved, but out of selfish or self-righteous motivations, the correct answer would be, "More so than you, it seems."

"Truth did not come into the world naked, but it came in types and images. The world will not receive truth in any other way."  Gospel of Philip, Logion 72

"Christ will regenerate all things; through Him all things will be purged, and return into eternal life. And when the Son shall deliver up the kingdom to the Father, all things will be God; that is, all things will still exist, but God will exist in them, and they will be full of Him." Fabius Manus Victorinus, c. 350 AD
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3 years ago  ::  Mar 13, 2012 - 11:25AM #3
Ironhold
Posts: 11,522

Her question was followed up by her handing out a flier for her church.


So what does that tell you?

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3 years ago  ::  Mar 13, 2012 - 11:41AM #4
Mostyn32
Posts: 2,941

It tells me that the woman in question was rude and definitely not appropriate. We've probably all been accosted by zealots at one time or another, and in all cases, just as in this one, one should always consider the source.


My condolences to your friend, Ironhold, who had to put up with this particular zealot at a time when he was emotionally vulnerable.

"God is no captious sophister, eager to trip us up whenever we say amiss, but a courteous tutor, ready to amend what, in our weakness or our ignorance, we say ill, and to make the most of what we say aright."  from 'A Learned Discourse on Justification', a sermon by Richard Hooker (1554-1600).
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3 years ago  ::  Mar 13, 2012 - 12:01PM #5
smcisaac
Posts: 7,950

Mar 13, 2012 -- 11:25AM, Ironhold wrote:


Her question was followed up by her handing out a flier for her church.


So what does that tell you?




That she was asking not out of any sort of concern for either the deceased or the bereaved, but out of selfish or self-righteous motivations.

"Truth did not come into the world naked, but it came in types and images. The world will not receive truth in any other way."  Gospel of Philip, Logion 72

"Christ will regenerate all things; through Him all things will be purged, and return into eternal life. And when the Son shall deliver up the kingdom to the Father, all things will be God; that is, all things will still exist, but God will exist in them, and they will be full of Him." Fabius Manus Victorinus, c. 350 AD
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3 years ago  ::  Mar 13, 2012 - 11:22PM #6
Goyboy
Posts: 232

Mar 13, 2012 -- 11:41AM, Mostyn32 wrote:


It tells me that the woman in question was rude and definitely not appropriate. We've probably all been accosted by zealots at one time or another, and in all cases, just as in this one, one should always consider the source.


My condolences to your friend, Ironhold, who had to put up with this particular zealot at a time when he was emotionally vulnerable.




I fully agree with what Mostyn32 said.

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3 years ago  ::  Mar 15, 2012 - 6:42PM #7
Beautiful_Dreamer
Posts: 5,160

I agree with Mostyn and smcisaac. She was rather rude, and it didn't appear that she was asking for any reason other than to give her an excuse to look down her nose at everyone, yet again. Any other time in our lives we might just consider the source and move on, but this is a particularly rough time in your friend's life and the *last* thing he needed to hear about was something like that.


I am definitely sorry for his loss, and for the fact that it was used as (IMO) an opportunity for a rude woman to continue to be that way.


FWIW, I heard similar things when my friend Michael died about five years ago. In that case, there were two 'whammies' some people found it necessary to comment on...the fact that he was an atheist and the fact that he took his own life. That's another question that is often asked, how did he die.  'Oh yeah, he went to Hell, definitely'. I'm just glad those comments were said to me only (in person once, and online more than once), as opposed to where his wife could hear it!

More where that came from...

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3 years ago  ::  Mar 16, 2012 - 11:55AM #8
rideronthastorm
Posts: 5,779

Its rude

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3 years ago  ::  Mar 16, 2012 - 12:04PM #9
smcisaac
Posts: 7,950

Mar 15, 2012 -- 6:42PM, Beautiful_Dreamer wrote:


FWIW, I heard similar things when my friend Michael died about five years ago. In that case, there were two 'whammies' some people found it necessary to comment on...the fact that he was an atheist and the fact that he took his own life. That's another question that is often asked, how did he die.  'Oh yeah, he went to Hell, definitely'.




Here is the best rebuttal I have ever heard to that particular blasphemous lie:


One Thing I Am Sure Of

"Truth did not come into the world naked, but it came in types and images. The world will not receive truth in any other way."  Gospel of Philip, Logion 72

"Christ will regenerate all things; through Him all things will be purged, and return into eternal life. And when the Son shall deliver up the kingdom to the Father, all things will be God; that is, all things will still exist, but God will exist in them, and they will be full of Him." Fabius Manus Victorinus, c. 350 AD
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3 years ago  ::  Mar 16, 2012 - 5:15PM #10
GRobit625
Posts: 1,981

Very rude, insensitive, and unnecessary.

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