Quick trip to Tesco = Guilt trip about being an atheist.

DAWN O'PORTER : 20 DECEMBER 2011
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I was just in Tesco. I was purchasing some red and gold wrapping paper. The man serving me said ‘Ahhh, for Christmas?’ Thinking that was blazingly obvious, but being in a good mood, I answered with a cheery ‘yes’ and continued to pack my bags. He then said ‘Are you a Christian?’

I froze.
Why? Why did he ask me that? What did it matter in that moment in time? Was he about to get out a loud speaker and start screaming JESUS in my ears if I wasn’t? It caught me totally off guard. I felt instantly guilty for not being a Christian. He stared at me until I told him either way. My freezing fingers got instantly hot. I had to answer the question because he just asked me. If I didn’t I would be rude. But WHY did he ask me? He kind of made me angry. But it is Christmas, and I am in a good mood today, I don’t want to be angry. But then I didn’t come to Tesco just now to be made to feel guilty about being an atheist.
In the split second that all this seemed to take place my mouth lead the way with a very loud ‘YES’. I instantly felt angry with MYSELF. Why did I answer yes??
I guess I didn’t want to be the bad guy. He is a Christian for Christ’s sake. I am an atheist. He is all smiley and comfortable asking that question, I am now twitching and I think I might have wee’d on the floor.
He then said ‘Good. Good. Very good’.
If I had answered no would he have said ‘Bad. Bad. VERY BAD?’
When I left I wanted to go back and tell him he didn’t have the right to ask me that LOADED question JUST because I was buying wrapping paper. I wanted to say ‘Listen, BUSTER! I am not religious. I think its a load of cods wallop, BUT I am a good person. And I have just spent a fortune on gifts for the people I love to make them happy. So whether I believe in God or not, I still have the right to celebrate Christmas. To spend a week celebrating with the people I love, giving each other gifts and making each other happy. Isn’t doing right by people what the whole God thing is all about? If we don’t believe in God, should we just not bother??’
Maybe he wouldn’t have cared ether way. If I had said no, maybe he would have said nothing and let me go off to wrap my presents. Or maybe he would have given me a look that would have made me want to melt into the ground. And that is why I said yes. I REALLY regret saying YES!!
WHY DID I SAY YES!!
The MOST annoying thing is that I need more wrapping paper and a carton of milk but I don’t want to go back in case he is ‘onto’ me.
I think I just realised what a hugely personal question ‘Are you a Christian’ is.
Oh, and I LOVE Christmas.