QOTD: Will You Join Us In The Blessing?

selection_493 What’s the harm in a meaningless ritual after all? It’s polite, respectful of others. Surely christians respect non believers more when they are accommodating in these ways. Or do they?
One of my best friends in the world is a believer. His whole family is deeply religious. Yet we’ve been able to maintain our friendship over the years because we can accept each other without the need to “change” one another. We’ve discussed our personal struggles over the years and pretty much understand where the other one’s coming from. This hasn’t been without it’s occasional difficulty. Holidays and special events like funerals and weddings have me attending what are for all intents and purposes, religious ceremonies. I can attend them without feeling like I’m violating any of my personal principles. My friends wife, whom I also have known for a lifetime, is another fine kettle of fish. She made it her mission to invite me to as many religious ceremonies as she could without making it terribly obvious what she was doing and would publicly put me on the spot at dinners by asking me to lead the invocation or participate in the ritual in some way or other. I’d politely decline, but it was annoying. I asked her privately several times to stop doing it, to no avail. She felt “lead of god” to bring me back into the fold. Finally, I took to carrying a Satanic mass book with me on these outings. Sure enough, she asked me to pray publicly and I dug my little pamphlet out and shared some satanism with them like it was a perfectly ordinary thing for me to do. That brought an immediate halt to to “prayer requests” and of course any further invitations to their family events.
Was it about respecting each others traditions? Well no. It was a passive aggressive attempt at manipulating me over my beliefs. In my experience, joining the blessing is rarely about being polite, and more about manufacturing consent for the primacy of religion. How do I handle those situations now? I ask for equal time for a religion they find distasteful. If they object, it’s a sure sign they’re not about mutual respect.

How do you handle those situations? Do you join the blessing?

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24 Responses to QOTD: Will You Join Us In The Blessing?

  1. migarium says:

    Because of everyone knows that I am atheist they don’t invite me to any religious ceremony, my Earthling friend. But two times in my Earth life I joined two funeral ceremonies, I should have been there because two of them was very important and valuable people for me; and I watched the ceremonies by trying to avoid the people. I have seen the people’s hypocrisy at the ceremonies. Even if they have been in a funeral ceremony, most of them never leaves their hypocrite nature and insincerity aside.

    I think all religious ceremonies are the places where the people show their the social performance shows. Especially in the funerals, they are racing with eachother over “I am the one who loves the most to the deceased person”.

    By the way, if you had brought the Satanic mass book to any Muslim’s religious ceremony, you probably would have been beaten:))

    Liked by 1 person

  2. judyt54 says:

    Most people i know don’t know what religion I am at the moment, if any. Since I was Catholic, they assume I either am or were. And to those who say, “you’re catholic, aren’t you” I smile and say, “well yeah, but I gave it up for Lent.” and they laugh, and I laugh, and there’s an end of it.

    I have only ever had one encounter (on a regular basis) with leading the Grace before meals, a friend’s mother was a ‘home baptist” and strict, and when I came to visit she would fix me with her teacher’s look and say, “Judith, would you like to say grace?” and I did. In my mother’s house, even though we were Cat’lic, grace was never said, we were too busy eating. The only exception to that was the Christmas my aunt and her delightfully goofy husband came to celebrate, and when we sat down to dinner he looked terribly solemn, and he said, “I know we don’t usually say Grace, but just this once, I think we should…” and we all waited. “GRACE, LET”S EAT” and that was that.

    I have no problem with convocations, funerals, or weddings, grace before meals or meetings that for some strange reason start with the lord’s prayer. I just keep my head down and my mouth shut.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Carmen says:

    I still bow my head but I don’t close my eyes for grace. I consider it a sign of respect for others’ beliefs, which is still very strong. I have chanted The Lord’s Prayer my whole life, beginning in school where it was mandatory. An odd thing has happened to me in the last few years, however. I cannot say it anymore. Not at funerals or at church services, which I still attend sporadically. I now find communion abhorrent and have not been able to partake for the last few years. Since I’m in my late fifties and church was part of my life for all that time until a few years ago, old habits die hard – but die they do. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    • judyt54 says:

      I get that, Carmen. I stopped attending Mass when I was in my early 20s, but it wasnt until I was in my fifties that it struck me, how little I believed in anything. And the day I was fooling with I Ching for mediation, it struck me how similar the process of meditation is to prayer. Only you look inward, rather than out.
      I’d not worry about where you are, religion wise; it’s a bit like getting undressed, one garment at a time.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. NeuroNotes says:

    The only Christian (also my friend) who chose to stay in my life after I deconverted, will take my hand and pray before a meal, even when we are out at a restaurant. It is awkward, and I have mixed feelings. I don’t mind bowing my head out of respect for those who are sincere in their faith, and I know she is. But, at the same time, she knows I no longer believe, so in a way, she’s crossing boundaries. She will include me (say my name) in her prayer/blessing, asking her god to bless me, and such. I left Christianity in 2000, so it’s not like she’s still getting used to me no longer believing.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Steve Ruis says:

    Nope, I simply stand mute with head unbowed and eyes open. Praying is irrational. Many Christians believe their god has a plan for them and because their god is perfect, the plan is perfect, too. Then they ask for their god to change the plan? WTF? If they claim that their god included having them pray as part of the plan then that is pure manipulation and unworthy of support.

    The only prayer worth uttering is one of thanks (if you believe the source of your bounty comes from other than your own efforts). Maybe a nice table blessing would be “Thanks for the food; keep it coming!” Or a thank you for friends and family might be “Thanks for all of the friends and family, keep ’em safe.”

    Naw, it’s all stupid.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Carmen says:

      As much as I am in awe of your action, Steve, to a certain degree I just don’t think I could NOT bow my head. I know in my head that you are correct in your thinking, which also makes me wonder why I would feel . . .well, just rude for doing such a thing (not bowing my head). Which makes me wonder about my reaction to your comment – is it years of indoctrination that propels my action? Is it that I’m female and anxious to please? (something I inherently reject) These things I ponder. . . but I also say to myself, “He’s absolutely right!” 😦

      Liked by 2 people

      • judyt54 says:

        It’s as much about respect for the people you’re with, and their rituals as it is anything. We would not spit in the soup at a fancy dinner, nor would we ignore the specific rites of a foreign dignitary’s dinner, out of sheer good manners. Not anxious to please, I don’t see that at all. I see someone behaving like an adult among adults. =)

        Like

  6. persedeplume says:

    I’m ambivalent about the rituals by themselves. Whatever floats their leaky boat. My objection to it is the underlying motives in coercing co-operation with them. When a believer and a non believer get together, how often do they go “and now lets have a moment of silence to venerate atheism”? Or “have I told you lately how ignorant I think communion is? Let’s discuss” If they were truly in the spirit of mutual respect wouldn’t they be as comfortable about participating in that as they are about non believers being respectful of their practices? Just sayin.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. judyt54 says:

    It’s about manners, good behavior, not ‘making a scene’ to prove a point. The only point you make is that you probably won’t be eating dinner at Nana’s again next Christmas. =)

    And anyone who insists on praying for me, I warn them, it could backfire. I rank that right up there with being forced to have my picture taken. That, too, could backfire. Do it if you must, just don’t tell me about it

    Liked by 1 person

  8. persedeplume says:

    Why is it considered making a scene to object to being forced into unwanted religious ritual? That sort of makes my point for me. Can anyone think of a time where someone says “let’s say grace“, and an atheist says “I’d rather not, “and to be polite, the christians dispensed with it?
    Because that would be the kind of mutual respect I’m talking about. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • judyt54 says:

      It may depend on several things–if its a family gathering, and a ritual, it can be disruptive to go all precious at that point and say no. If you dont want to say grace, let someone else do it, but don’t make a fuss. There’s a good boy. =)
      And asking an entire family or gathering to dispense with something they’re used to and comfortable with, just because your particular comfort level is set at a different temperature, well…
      For me it’s not that major a deal, and Im not prepared to embarrass a friend or relative with it. Especially if you know they always do this.

      I can see objecting if its YOUR dinner and YOUR house. aha, she says, I think I’ve got it.

      Like

      • persedeplume says:

        So no, I don’t pack my vuvuzela and go to culturally rich areas of the religious in order to disrupt their way of life. What they do without me is all on them. If I were invited to Nana’s frightfully religious christmas I’d know beforehand to expect some serious godbothering. Again, she’s welcome to it. What I object to is my coerced participation. In the case of my friend’s wife, she was trying to publicly shame me into playing along after I privately and repeatedly asked her not to. In Neuronotes scenario of her and a friend having lunch, the friend could just as easily pray silently without insisting anyone else join in. In that instance, *I* would object, even if it cost me the friendship. I don’t expect anyone else to conduct their lives by my standards. She’s evidently not bothered by the inequity of the situation. I might even if I had a gathering at my house where I was the only atheist, not complain over ritual or ceremony as long as they left me out of it. I’m not impossible to get along with 🙂
        For what it’s worth, I don’t celebrate christmas. I haven’t for at least 20 years. I don’t have a tree, put up lights, inflatable creches, or whatever. I have zero interest in watching Bing Crosby’s White Christmas. I’m just strange that way. Peace and quiet for me thanks.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. marliesvonn says:

    This is a topic I’ve been very bothered about, at times. I have a very small circle of friends who are mostly Christian and a small family of Christians. Telling them that I am an unbeliever would be disastrous. I depend on them quite a lot because I have a serious chronic illness. Thus, I have learned to go along with prayer (which is short), the hand-holding, and to quietly listen to my fanatically religious mother, whose only goal in life is to convert the unbelievers. I follow my dad’s example on that one (the quiet listening part). I think that in my case, with limited resources and energy, I have to pick my battles very carefully.
    I absolutely detest Christmas. And all other traditional holidays for that matter. I do anything I can to avoid them and am often too ill anyways to attend. But, just for kicks, I do have a year-round Christmas tree. It is there because:
    a) I am very sensitive to light and I often am only up at night, so the lights are soothing.
    b) I am very strange and do not follow the crowd.
    c) I feel that a Christmas tree that stays up all year round is ridiculous in every conceivable way, just like your holiday and your fairy-tale God. It is a silent protest.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. judyt54 says:

    I enjoy Christmas in a non-religious way–a good time to visit family, eat way too much, and get stuff.
    During the occasional Christmas season I will trek up to the attic and hunt down the elusive fake tree, haul it out and decorate it. And I too love the lights. I have way too many lights on it, which makes it perfect. My husband likes the candles in the windows, and the deal is, i put them in (not as easy as it sounds in this house) and he gets to light them every night.
    No one can see us from any vantage point, so the pleasure is for us.

    I LOVE the idea of the xmas tree and its paganicity. In the 19th century many households around here would not have a tree, for that reason, they considered it the devil’s tree or some such. So Christians who howl about religion in the schools and religious symbols should really do a tad more reading about the history of Saint Nick and the Christmas tree. Then they can howl about satanism in the schools.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. koppieop says:

    During the first 15 years of my life, that started in 1931, Protestant families surrounded me, making sure that enough bible stuff would “form” my brain. There was nothing to be washed yet; moreover, I discovered rather soon the possiblity to think for myself. That is how I came to the conclusion that religion turns out be very important for many people who apparently need it, and that it remains so during the rest of their lives, unless one day they get the proper neurons to alter the wrong synapses transmitted in their youth. I call a wrong synapse the willingness (or, worse, the conviction) that a fairy tale is true.
    Ten years later, I married into a Catholic family, and since then I live in an environment of strong and sincere believers. I don’t join them in saying grace, and only occasionally, someone asks me, tongue in cheek, to lead the invocation of blessing. But seriously, nobody gives up hope that I will convert. They – without exception – simply fail to understand how somebody can deliberately relinquish heavenly favors..
    One of the magic tales I object to, is prayer. If the object of the wish is within God’s Plans, prayer is useless. If it is not within God’s blueprint, the request doesn’t make sense. So the ritual is always futile. As much as I respect peoples’ expectations; I do not feel like bowing or closing my eyes. I think my silence is enough. Regarding prayers for somebody’s health or results of an exam, I don’t see why certain patients or students should be favored above others in the same situation.
    Greetings.
    .-

    Liked by 1 person

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