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unixknight

A Realization I had During Ramadan Last Night

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So last night I was invited to the home of a co-worker for dinner.  It's Ramadan, so it was a breaking of the fast.  (In Islamic tradition, during Ramadan you fast during the day and eat once the sun goes down.)

Man, the food was incredible.  It was a blend of Tunisian and Spanish (as in Spain spanish) food.

But that wasn't my realization.

During dinner, everybody had white wine except me, and after dinner I was offered Turkish coffee but I declined.  Total resulting drama:  Zero.

What I mean is this... When I'm among non-LDS Christians or Atheists, I don't like to discuss matters like the Word of Wisdom because more often than not I get funny looks, incredulous laughing, or taunting about how silly it is that we can't have [insert whatever beverage here].   Sometimes I get a lecture about how a certain amount of alcohol daily is good for you, or how there's nothing wrong with a cup of tea. 

When I'm among Muslims however, (and in my experience this is also true of Hindu folks) when I say I'm unable to partake in those things because of my religious beliefs, they understand completely and that's that.  They just get it.  No offense is taken, no criticism, no exaggerated eye rolls.  They respect it because they have their own dietary rules.  It often leads to an enlightening and friendly conversation about our different beliefs and traditions.  

But man... Tunisian food...  I'm gonna be daydreaming about that stuff for a while.

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1 hour ago, unixknight said:

During dinner, everybody had white wine except me

That's funny.  Alcohol is prohibited in the Muslim faith.  Way to observe Ramadan.

1 hour ago, unixknight said:

When I'm among Muslims however, (and in my experience this is also true of Hindu folks) when I say I'm unable to partake in those things because of my religious beliefs, they understand completely and that's that.  They just get it.  No offense is taken, no criticism, no exaggerated eye rolls.  They respect it because they have their own dietary rules.  It often leads to an enlightening and friendly conversation about our different beliefs and traditions.  

Yup.  It is most often the non-religious who are offended or upset.  And their offense "on behalf of others" is quite touching.  But most are not offended.

As for the eye-rolls and lectures... yes.  That's life.  I found that when I tell people I don't drink, they understand.  But when I say I don't drink coffee... that makes them turn their heads.

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3 hours ago, unixknight said:

...When I'm among Muslims however, (and in my experience this is also true of Hindu folks) when I say I'm unable to partake in those things because of my religious beliefs, they understand completely and that's that.  They just get it.  No offense is taken, no criticism, no exaggerated eye rolls....

Here's a thought. Next time you find yourself in company that offer you food or drink you don't want to partake in. Instead of offering them a big speech as to why you can't partake, just say "No thanks" and maybe that will help you avoid the criticism and eye rolling.

M.

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27 minutes ago, Maureen said:

Here's a thought. Next time you find yourself in company that offer you food or drink you don't want to partake in. Instead of offering them a big speech as to why you can't partake, just say "No thanks" and maybe that will help you avoid the criticism and eye rolling.

M.

That doesn't work as well as you think it will. Speaking from personal experience, you (generic) say no thanks, then they ask why, then you say you don't drink (using alcohol as an example), they ask why again. So then you explain it to them simply, and that's when the lectures start, because by saying it's religious (no speech needed trust me) they immediately assume you are judging them and want to prove their way of doing things is correct. I'm not saying there aren't people who accept a simple no thanks when given, I've had those conversations as well, but there are a lot of people on this Earth who fit into @unixknight description.

Edited by Midwest LDS

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31 minutes ago, Maureen said:

Here's a thought. Next time you find yourself in company that offer you food or drink you don't want to partake in. Instead of offering them a big speech as to why you can't partake, just say "No thanks" and maybe that will help you avoid the criticism and eye rolling.

M.

Why would you assume I make some kind of speech?  Is this lecture based on that assumption? 

@Midwest LDS hit the nail on the head.

Edited by unixknight

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18 minutes ago, Midwest LDS said:

...Speaking from personal experience... 

Speaking from my personal experience, saying "No thanks" usually does the trick.

M.

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3 minutes ago, Maureen said:

Speaking from my personal experience, saying "No thanks" usually does the trick.

M.

Well in your experience it works in mine it doesn't so there you go. We are probably both right depending on the person we are talking too☺.

Edited by Midwest LDS

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17 minutes ago, unixknight said:

Why would you assume I make some kind of speech?  Is this lecture based on that assumption? 

@Midwest LDS hit the nail on the head.

You said you usually give an explanation as to why you can't partake, your religion. I was being hyperbolic to make a point. Don't bother with an explanation, just say "No thanks".

M.

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2 hours ago, Mores said:

Yup.  It is most often the non-religious who are offended or upset.  

I would actually argue that the “unorthodox”/disobedient members of your own faith tend to be more offended.

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25 minutes ago, Maureen said:

You said you usually give an explanation as to why you can't partake, your religion. I was being hyperbolic to make a point. Don't bother with an explanation, just say "No thanks".

M.

What I said was "when I say I'm unable to partake in those things because of my religious beliefs, they understand completely and that's that."  Nowhere did I say anything that could reasonably be interpreted as "giving a big speech," as you accused me of doing.

And yes, I will bother with an explanation because I am asked why.  That's still not the same as "giving a big speech."

Whatever hostility or pre-conceived assumptions you may have, please don't lay them on me.

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33 minutes ago, Maureen said:

You said you usually give an explanation as to why you can't partake, your religion. I was being hyperbolic to make a point. Don't bother with an explanation, just say "No thanks".

M.

I believe you may have been projecting.  He didn't say that.  He said he declined.

He also said,"I am unable to partake"  The reason was indeed because of religious beliefs.  But that seemed to me an explanation for this forum (specifically addressing WoW items) not that he actually gave that explanation every time he declines (until pressed to do so).

BTW, you're switching positions.  You used to say that it would be better to go ahead and state that it was because of religious beliefs rather than keep people wondering.  That way, they'll leave you alone.  But now you're saying he shouldn't have done so (which he didn't anyway).  So, whaddup?

Edited by Mores

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I found much the same thing with my good Muslim friend in grad school. He did ask about things, eventually, usually in the lab, but there was no drama or amazed expressions, just acknowledgement of my beliefs.

Btw, I'm with Mores in wondering about the white wine. If anything, alcohol is more strictly prohibited in Islam than in our own religion. Maybe there was a miscommunication going on there; I would think any Muslim who was faithful enough to observe Ramadan would be much too faithful ever to drink wine. Or is Ramadan a cultural thing for your friends, rather than religious?

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1 minute ago, Vort said:

I found much the same thing with my good Muslim friend in grad school. He did ask about things, eventually, usually in the lab, but there was no drama or amazed expressions, just acknowledgement of my beliefs.

Btw, I'm with Mores in wondering about the white wine. If anything, alcohol is more strictly prohibited in Islam than in our own religion. Maybe there was a miscommunication going on there; I would think any Muslim who was faithful enough to observe Ramadan would be much too faithful ever to drink wine. Or is Ramadan a cultural thing for your friends, rather than religious?

I'm not really sure.  As I think back on it, my co-worker may have only been drinking water, as I was.  I didn't pay very close attention so my initial statement that "everybody else" had wine may have been mistaken.  His friend (also Muslim) had some but I think for him it was more about the culture.  The person who had the most was another co-worker of mine, a Baptist.  

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3 minutes ago, Mores said:

But that seemed to me an explanation for this forum (specifically addressing WoW items) not that he actually gave that explanation every time he declines.

Yeah I explain the reason when asked. If people don't ask, I assume they don't care so I leave it at that.  In practice, declining coffee results in people asking why about 99% of the time so there it is.

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1 minute ago, unixknight said:

Yeah I explain the reason when asked. If people don't ask, I assume they don't care so I leave it at that.  In practice, declining coffee results in people asking why about 99% of the time so there it is.

Yup.  I've only been pressed on the alcohol thing twice in my life (that I can recall).  With coffee, I don't often get the "why not?"  It's... well, I'll give you an example of a conversation recently (and this is quite common).

Quote

P: Hey, we got some coffee and donuts for the team over in the breakroom.

M :Sounds great!  I love donuts.

P: Do you have a coffee preference so we can include you in the list next time we go on a run?

M: I actually don't drink coffee.

P: You don't?  (wondering, formulating a polite question)  Is that a health thing? Trying to avoid caffeine? Do you drink colas?

This usually gets me talking about my weakness for some caffeinated soft drinks.  And about half the time it results in me explaining I'm LDS, or sometimes another co-worker tells them.

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Just now, unixknight said:

Yeah I explain the reason when asked. If people don't ask, I assume they don't care so I leave it at that.  In practice, declining coffee results in people asking why about 99% of the time so there it is.

Yep, it's not that unusual to decline alcohol. Maybe you're a recovering alcoholic, or maybe you already drank your limit, or maybe you just don't like the taste of alcohol and/or how it makes you feel. But declining coffee, especially in the Seattle area, will generate curious stares.

Btw, here at work we have Starbucks coffee machines at every kitchenette area that also dispense hot chocolate. Every few days, a machine will need to run its automatic rinse cycle, which involves you putting an empty cup under the dispenser and pressing "Rinse". When you do this, the machine rinses and then spits out black, coffee-scented liquid into the cup, which you dump (or maybe drink, if you're really desperate for coffee).

So it just so happens that an hour ago, I decided to get hot chocolate, and wouldn't you know it, the machine needed to rinse. So I'm standing there while the black rinse water fills the cup when out from a room behind me walks a member of my (new) ward, one I have seen here and there but who didn't know I was actually working in the same building (actually on the same floor, in the same wing, with the team that literally sits right next to his room). We chatted for a few moments, and only later did I realize how it may have looked to him to come across me getting myself a nice steaming cup of black coffee at the Starbucks coffee machine.

But good news! After getting my hot chocolate, I walked back to the room I was using, and very nearly ran into him coming around a corner, holding my frothy cup of (what I assume was obviously) hot chocolate and not coffee. Redemption!

Or I suppose I could have just said I was getting the coffee for my good friend, the @prisonchaplain...

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8 minutes ago, unixknight said:

I'm not really sure.  As I think back on it, my co-worker may have only been drinking water, as I was.  I didn't pay very close attention so my initial statement that "everybody else" had wine may have been mistaken.  His friend (also Muslim) had some but I think for him it was more about the culture.  The person who had the most was another co-worker of mine, a Baptist.  

This may not have been what you were getting at, but that phrase reminded me of something.  A very observant Muslim that I once new told me something about accommodating another culture.  There are some things that it is ok to "do as the Romans do."  It may be that wine would be ok it were a majority non-Muslim dinner.

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2 minutes ago, Vort said:

But good news! After getting my hot chocolate, I walked back to the room I was using, and very nearly ran into him coming around a corner, holding my frothy cup of (what I assume was obviously) hot chocolate and not coffee. Redemption!

I was at one of those self-reliance classes when one of the students came in with a very large Starbucks cup.  We were passing around treats as we spoke.  As she sat down she made it a point to say
"BTW, this is hot chocolate."

We all responded with a laugh,"Yeah, we kinda already figured that out."

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3 minutes ago, Mores said:

This may not have been what you were getting at, but that phrase reminded me of something.  A very observant Muslim that I once new told me something about accommodating another culture.  There are some things that it is ok to "do as the Romans do."  It may be that wine would be ok it were a majority non-Muslim dinner.

In contrast, my grad school Muslim friend refused even to celebrate birthdays, because that's something the infidels do.

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2 hours ago, Maureen said:

Instead of offering them a big speech as to why you can't partake, just say "No thanks" and maybe that will help you avoid the criticism and eye rolling.

M.

So . . . this isn't really about not drinking coffee. It's the big speech---aka THE SERMON--that's the problem.  Wow. That just hurts, man. Real deep! :cry:

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1 hour ago, Mores said:

...BTW, you're switching positions.  You used to say that it would be better to go ahead and state that it was because of religious beliefs rather than keep people wondering.  That way, they'll leave you alone.  But now you're saying he shouldn't have done so (which he didn't anyway).  So, whaddup?

I've never said any such thing.

M.

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7 minutes ago, Maureen said:

I've never said any such thing.

M.

Sure sign of old age when you start forgetting things like that (kidding, I'm not that much younger than you).  My internet connection is pretty slow right now.  I'll have to do a search because it was on an old thread I came across in my browsing a bit ago.  I'll have to figure out where it was when I get my connection back up to speed.  But it had to do with a strip club.

Edited by Mores

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Just now, Mores said:

Sure sign of old age when you start forgetting things like that.  My internet connection is pretty slow right now.  I'll have to do a search because it was on an old thread I came across in my browsing a bit ago.  I'll have to figure out where it was when I get my connection back up to speed.  But it had to do with a strip club.

Can't wait.

M.

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