Atheistic and religious people have been at odds as long as there has been religion.
Fighting between both parties takes on deliberate, intense forms. For example, the fight between Redditor cloudyskies1234 and her religious roommate.
She went to the popular subReddit “Am I The A**hole?” or “AITA” to ask whether her tactics to get back at her passive-aggressive, super religious roommate were out of line.
She began with the tension between her and her roommate.
“Posting from a throwaway. So I (21Female) live with my roommate ‘Bethany'(19F). Bethany is an extremely religious Christian and I’m an atheist. She has hung up tons of Bible verse/Christian decorations in the shared spaces of our apartment.”
“The other week I asked if she could keep them out of the common areas, as I’m an atheist and have had some trauma with organized religion growing up and would rather not see reminders of that every day. Bethany took this as evidence that she’s being persecuted for her faith, and refused to take anything down.”
Once Bethany and our original poster, or OP, were trapped in a house together, tensions began to rise.
“We’re now pretty much stuck in the apartment together because of [the virus], and it’s getting worse. Yesterday she overheard me saying some sexy things on FaceTime with my girlfriend (I was in my room) and later passive aggressively made a comment about how God can ‘heal’ all sorts of ‘sinners’.”
As revenge for her latent homophobia, OP took some strong action.
“I didn’t even know what to say. She left to go get groceries and while she was gone I printed out pictures of Satan, pentagrams, etc. and hung them all over the common spaces. When she came back she freaked out, started crying and accused me of bringing demons into the apartment.”
And though OP feels bad…
“I feel bad for making her cry and causing more tension, but I also feel like it’s warranted after how pushy and homophobic she’s been.”
…she still wondered, was she the a**hole?
Anonymous strangers on the internet were asked to weigh in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
People couldn’t agree who was at fault here—so agreed that everyone was actually the worst.
“On a personal level, I think what you did was funny, but the only honest judgement I can offer is ESH. You’re both antagonizing each other and actively making one another uncomfortable in a home you’re supposed to share. That’s just not cool.”
“I’m curious how you two came to be roommates in the first place – did you not know about each other’s views?”~niborosaurus
“ESH. Come on, you know you were just trying to be a dick back to her. Obviously that’s an a**hole move.”
“But Bethany is being ridiculous. This is obviously her first foray into the real world after moving out of a highly religious household. She’s ignorant and being an a**hole by not respecting common areas.”~SourNotesRockHardAbs
Though some believed OP was firmly not at fault.
“My vote is a great big NTA. I spent a huge portion of my childhood being bullied like crazy because I was raised in a pagan household, but in a small town in the deep south. Your roommate is trying to force her beliefs on you, and that’s not fair.”
“Tell her that how she felt coming home to the satanic imagery is how you feel every day you have to look at her overly Christian crap. If that doesn’t work, just replace ‘religion’ with ‘penis.'”
“Tell her a fake anecdote about a former roommate who put up pictures of his penis in common spaces, constantly talked to you about his penis. You told him his penis was making you uncomfortable and he accused you of being sexist and persecuting him because he’s a man.”
“When she says ‘that’s ridiculous, asking someone to keep their penis private is not persecution and he had no right to make you feel that uncomfortable’ or somesuch, be like ‘oh, did I say former roommate and penis? I meant you and religion’.”
“Maybe not. It’s definitely what I would do. Probably won’t work. That type get off on forcefully shoving their peni—uh… Religion down other people’s throats without consent.”~Sm0ltowngrill
“Homophobia makes her an AH by default and it’s pretty clear that you did this in response to a frustrating and harmful situation. Homophobia aside she needs to at least be respectful of your common space by no longer intentionally making it uncomfortable for you. Her being a bigot pushes it firmly into her being the only AH here.”
“I’m an LGBT human who’s sort of into Jesus, but my partner isn’t and had a rough time with Christianity in the past. I don’t keep my faith hidden or anything, but I also don’t broadcast it. Our shared spaces don’t have any iconography and the only thing visible isn’t immediately recognizable.”
“There’s plenty of room to compromise so everyone is comfortable in an interfaith house. If she’s from a witness-heavy denomination, I’m sorry. Only 90-ish days, at least?”~FidgetyGidget
“NTA but a better option is to print out bible verses that are awful and replace hers slowly.”
“Example: ‘And if ye will not for all this hearken unto me, but walk contrary unto me; Then I will walk contrary unto you also in fury; and I, even I, will chastise you seven times for your sins. And ye shall eat the flesh of your sons, and the flesh of your daughters shall ye eat.’ (Leviticus 26:27–29 King James Version)”~stickdeodorant
But the tension was clearly intentional.
“I’m gonna have to say ESH. She shouldn’t be making rude comments or hanging up religious things if you don’t want them there, but you shouldn’t have retaliated against her.”
“It would have been the more mature thing to sit her down and have a conversation about it and why you don’t want the items up. Then if she still would have said no, then you could do what you did. But just asking her to take it down might not have been taken seriously.”~Hawkwarrior
“ESH. You’re both doing the absolute most and while I’m sure potentially being stuck inside together isn’t helping, neither is being intentionally antagonistic. Is more tension going to help your living situation?”
“I know you said you’re an atheist but Satanism is its own religion, and pentagrams and the like are used in several pagan religions, so I don’t see the point in fighting religious symbolism with religious symbolism here when you have no such beliefs.”
“She absolutely sucks for taking over common areas with her decorations that make you uncomfortable, and the homophobic comments are unacceptable.”
“Also keep in mind that if she thinks you’ve brought evil into the house, she just might double down on the religious imagery and whatever else she has going on.”
“I vote covering her stuff with different sexuality flags if she refuses to take them out of common areas. If she can have her values all over the apartment, so can you.”~swordsandclaws
“ESH. It’s obvious for her. But also she doesn’t practice her religion just to spite you. I’m sorry that some sects of Christianity behave in a way that’s hurtful to you, but I honestly think from what you’ve posted here she’s more ignorant than malicious. What you did was malicious. That’s why you both suck”~Panda_player19
So while our OP’s roommate was clearly in the wrong, OP was not in the right by inflaming her on purpose.
Op did provide us an update.
“I signed a lease for a new apartment with a more compatible roommate but that doesn’t start until August, so I have to tough out the next few months here.”
“I did tell Bethany about my trauma when I originally asked her to take the decorations down.”
Hopefully she can find a healthy way to survive her remaining time with Bethany in the meanwhile.