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What is it like to be atheist onboard?


I am looking forward to getting the opportunity to serve onboard!

From what i understand many of the crew are active christians, me myself i am atheist.

I have very little exprience living with religious people, will people accept my lack of faith? or will have to keep it hidden?



  • heatherpetersonheatherpeterson Director of Staffing Posts: 93 admin
    Hi Martin,

    Great question. While most of our volunteers are Christians, we do have a mix of agnostics, athiests, and follower of other religions as well. The common factor? We all want to bring hope and healing! While you don't have to "hide" the fact that you are an athiest, honest and respectful discourse would be encouraged, if the topic was breached. That is true for everyone. 

    And you're right - Christmas (and Easter, especially) are very "active" for the community on board, and Christian beliefs and traditions are very evident during those special time periods. 

    During the rest of the year, things go back to normal. During the "normal" parts of the year, you would be expected to join in our regular community gatherings (Monday mornings and Thursday evenings) as well as any departmental meetings. For all three of these, a time of worship and prayer is incorporated along with normal operational/programatic announcements. All crew are expected to be in attendance, though we would never force you to take part in the religious activities mentioned. 

    All in all, respect of one's beliefs (again, going both ways) is key to a successful time on board. If you feel uncomfortable coming during Christmas or Easter because of the heightened religious activity, that's up to you, and we can try to schedule around that if you choose. 

    If you have any other questions, feel free to comment or email me directly ([email protected]). 

    Thank you for your desire to serve on board! 
  • Hi Martin! It's really brave to intentionally immerse yourself in an environment where you're the minority, so for that I applaud you! Everything Heather mentioned below is true. 

    When interacting with friends or meeting new people, there are a decent number of people on board that say things like "Praise God" or "I'll be praying for you." I think it's statements like those that might make people with differing beliefs most uncomfortable depending on how you prefer to respond. I've spoken with two people who did not relate to the level of spiritual involvement they saw around the ship. One woman was frustrated when she discussed a problem with someone else and they told her to pray about it. I think if you're outspoken and tell people about your beliefs at appropriate times, it helps us understand you and where you're coming from. I've never experienced or heard of someone being outright negative to someone with different beliefs on the ship. I actually like when people with other beliefs serve with me because it helps me consider other perspectives when I speak. For example, it's easy to have strong opinions on something when everyone around you agrees with you.

    I recommend being open with who you are, curious about the things we do that make no sense, and accepting and I think people respond well to that.
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