Tuesday, February 26, 2008

A need for tolerance

I really like my job,  I honestly do, and here are some reasons why:
  • I get paid enough to live comfortably
  • I get benefits
  • I get to hike and explore uncharted territories
  • I have a job that actually has something to do with my major in college
  • I get to work in some of the most beautiful places
  • I get to meet and work with people who are different then me
  • I get to continue to learn while I work (which is great cause I LOVE to learn)

But, alas, a job this great must have some problems...and it does.

There are only 7 people that work with me (my boss, the office manager, my field supervisior, and 4 field technicians [I am one of these]) and we spend A LOT of time together which means that you need to be able to get along with everyone...or else. Lately I have been having a hard time with 2 of my co-workers. They love to give me a hard time because I'm young, I don't have a lot of experience (which mean I don't know anything), and because I am a Mormon.

My co-workers are constantly attacking me because of my religion. They love to make fun of me and criticize what I believe. What's even better is that they claim that they know more about my religion then I do (which is funny considering on of them has never met a Mormon before he met me). it never really bothered me before when people made fun of my religion but it bothers me now...and this made me wonder. Why does it bother me now? Why does it bother me when my co-workers make fun of my religion? And it comes down to one word: TOLERANCE. I expected more from fellow Anthropologist! We ARE Anthropologist! We study people! We learn about them and we try to understand them. So how can you do this job if you don't have tolerance for other people and their beliefs?

In college I read an interesting paper on religion that was written by an atheist. He claimed that religion was "made up" because people needed the stability. Now, please, let me explain. When everything in our life seems to just fall apart, when the whole world seems to be crashing down on us, and we would rather curl up in a ball and die rather then deal with our pain, where do we turn? What do we do? We turn to the one thing that has never failed to be there for us. We turn to religion. We turn to our beliefs. We turn to our paradigms. And why do we turn to them? Because they are always there. They give us stability. They give us something to hold onto. They give us hope and comfort. So even if religion is not real, even if there is no God, religion is still a good thing and people need it. 

So, back to my main problem: my co-workers and their lack of tolerance. Why does it matter what my religion is? My religion should not affect my work relationships with these goobers. My religion does not make me a bad person. my religion does not make me a bad worker. My religion does not make me less of a person and I should not be treated as such. My religion gives me hope; it gives me faith in something more (which is good considering I am such a scientific person); it gives me morals; it gives me standards; it teaches me to be honest, true, and chase; and bottom line, I AM A BETTER PERSON BECAUSE OF IT. If I die and get up to the white pearly gates and I learn that my religion was not the right one, would I regret the way I lived my life? No, NEVER. I am living my life in a good way (I help others, I am honest, I am a hard worker, I am a clean and moral person, etc.), I do not regret it, and I would not change it. I love my religion and all that it has done for me.

So in the end it doesn't matter. I should not be teased or ridiculed because of what I believe or don't believe. Because it does not matter exactly what I believe. I believe it and you don't. So? All that should matter is that I am a better person because of what I believe.

What a sad and pathetic world we live in. We have a great need for tolerance. Not just tolerance of religion, but of ideas, beliefs, and views that we may have. We don't all have to agree on everything but we need to have respect and tolerance for each other. I have my paradigms and you have yours...and that, my friend, is what makes us human.


Cheryl said...

How Frustrating! And, of course, the worst part is that you have to sit there and take it. Do you sit there and take it? Maybe you shouldn't. Talk to HR and see if it's harrassment. They need to stop; they really do.

Btw, thank you for calling me last night! You totally made my day. :)

Dan and Michelle said...

You should print this and hand deliver it to each of them! You nailed it on the head. I feel for you. Hang in there...or come with me when we move. You can find a job wherever we go? Right? When do I get to see you again anyway?

Jamie said...

Wow Court! I didn't know your were so profound! That is frustrating. It always amazes me when somebody feels it's okay to bag on people for what they believe...no matter the religion. Brandon is already getting a taste of it in 7th grade. Well, hang in there. Love ya'!

Arlene said...

Great comments. I know how frustrated you are and I wish i could come and knock some sense into those guys. Be strong, know you are right and don't let them get to you. They are harassing you because they know they will get a response from you. Don't give them the satisfaction. Love you.

The Rasmussen's said...


I miss you. I'm happy that your enjoying your life so much. If your in SLC we should try to go out to lunch sometime and catch up.
-Katie (shelton) Rasmussen

ps- my blog is robandkatierasmussen.blogspot.com

Van Dusenators said...

If they are so cynical about religion why don't you invite them to find out why you believe what you believe. Give them some BOM's and let them figure it out for themselves

Meg said...

How lame! I love how strong you are though. I really look up to you a lot. I have had a couple of patients that have said some pretty horrible things about mormons and I don't know how to approach it because I'm in a doctor's office, and I can't be "rude" to patients - I have a tendency to completely lose it when people offend me/my religion - and I know the things that I would say would not be so "nice". You should check out this article from the Deseret Morning News titled "Better Duck, If You're A Mormon".

Courtney Neilson said...

Cheryl - of course I take it. The main person that is bothering me is my field supervisor and I cant really say anything back cause he's "above" me. But I did talk to the other guy and things are getting better.

Michelle - Wait! You guys are moving? I do want to see you soon! I am working 12 days straight and then I get 2 off so life has been a little busy. But soon, very soon. : )

Jamie - Thanks for your comments and I feel for Brandon! Tell him to be strong!

Megan - You are awesome and I will read that article for sure!

Thanks everyone for your comments!