What do you say when a potential employer asks about your religion?

I just experienced an awkward situation.  Let me preface this story by saying, for those who don’t normally visit, that I’m an avowed atheist.

I went to be interviewed for an internship, working for a certain high-profile sports website.  During the course of this interview, over lunch, the gentleman across from me let slip his “strong faith” which compels him to compensate interns for their work.  In the journalism field, finding an internship that pays for anything is next to impossible.  Everyone wants to break into the biz and so employers can leverage that demand into free labor from interns.  (My cynical side would say this is also the beginning of a long vetting process with regards to corporate media, but I digress).

Now I can’t argue with a God that wants to show me the money, but later in the lunch, I was asked, through a roundabout series of questions, about my specific religious beliefs.  One can see the bind I was in!  I tried my best to be conciliatory, but I can’t lie outright about something I believe so strongly, so I said simply that Jesus’s teachings about love and kindness to one’s fellow man were the most important moral underpinnings of my belief system and that God would most likely judge men based on this.  I said that the Bible is a book written and translated by men, who are flawed, and so we need to understand the philosophical lessons more than bother getting bogged down in the details, which the guy seemed to like, though he called it “cafeteria-style religion.”  I any rate, I said that a strong moral compass is important for all people to have and abide by, and I think I covered my ass, even though he later stated that he is a literal believer in every word in the Bible as the infallible, God-inspired truth, handed to men. (My emphasis)

Career vs. Personal Beliefs, a struggle I’m sure many people face daily.  But it’s not really a choice, is it?  You gotta eat and pay the rent, and you want a job where you’re not taking orders from some jerk-ass half-wit with a position of authority.  Has anyone else had a similar ordeal?   As far as I can tell, I still have the position, but I’m always going to worry that the guy will be looking for an excuse to find a truer believer …

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~ by Daniel on 2 June, 2008.

One Response to “What do you say when a potential employer asks about your religion?”

  1. […] OB1-K. wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerpt… written and translated by men, who are flawed, and so we need to understand the philosophical lessons more than bother getting bogged down in the details, which the guy seemed to like, though he called it “cafeteria-style religion. … […]

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