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Thread: Question for the Christians - am I the one with the problem here...? page

  1. #1
    Shrinking_Violet's Avatar
    Shrinking_Violet is offline Senior Member
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    Question Question for the Christians - am I the one with the problem here...?

    Primal Fuel
    Let me begin by saying I'm a dyed-in-the-wool atheist (15 years at a *public convent school tends to do that to a lass) but I embrace others' religions (I've always been spiritual, it's just that I don't believe in anything in particular, if you catch my drift...).

    Last night, I had a massive row with my mother over my sister's wedding (the wedding from which I'm being excluded but, if I don't go, I'll be excommunicated - which, on second thoughts, probably isn't such a bad thing...) because it now turns out that she wants it in church (last I heard it was to be a civil ceremony). My sister is NOT a Christian, she has no beliefs whatsoever and my mother fails to see that I believe that you DO NOT get married in a church unless you are. I have the same feelings about Christmas Evensong (and that causes arguments every year, too; NONE of my family are regular churchgoers; my sister and I were forced to attend Sunday School as kids (because it's what you did - like sending your kids to Catholic school) even though my folks never attended.)

    My argument is this (re Christmas, mainly) - tell me if it's logical, or not: - if you do not have a faith, why set foot in a religious building? Would they attend synagogue at Hanukkah, or a mosque at Eid? Of course they wouldn't; they're not Jewish and they're not Muslim, any more than they are Christian but, I'm told I'm spoiling Christmas by not going (because, according to them, "It's just what you do at Christmas") - but I firmly believe that it is disrespectful to pay lip-service to a faith in which you have no belief, just because it's 'the done thing' at a certain time of year.

    Should I forgo my principles this year, just to save another argument - because I don't think I could, to be honest. I don't know whether it's the Aspie in me, but I am a very principled person - my beliefs are no beliefs at all and I won't sacrifice my principles just for the sake of keeping the peace (they barely say two words to me at Christmas, anyway. Came back specially last year - and I really wish I'd not bothered...)

    *just to explain to the Americans - what we call 'public' schools are posh private schools. What you call public schools (i.e. those run by the government) we refer to as 'state' schools.

    What do I do...?

    Thank you

    Sarah
    Last edited by Shrinking_Violet; 11-22-2010 at 10:35 PM. Reason: To explain the British meaning of 'public school'
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  2. #2
    Russ's Avatar
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    I personally have no problems going to a church if i have to, it isn't a holy building, its just a building like any other. I don't have much respect for religion so i don't worry about disrespecting it much. I personally didn't have my wedding in a church, and didn't get married by a religious figure. I do agree that having a religious wedding when you don't believe in the religions is a bit hypocritical, but w/e its not my wedding. If you like your sister, go to the wedding, don't pray, don't even pretend. Show up because you want to support her union, but ignore the superstitious mumbo-jumbo. Odds are her doing this is an appeal to tradition and acceptance by society.

    Good luck, also who cares about being excommunicated, if you dont believe in hell, the threats are meaningless.
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  3. #3
    carlh's Avatar
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    Some people just like fancy buildings - lots of nonChristian folks get married in churches. A church is a "house of God" but so is all of creation. A church really is a house of worship. Sounds like your relatives are focusing on the wrong things. But they're not alone in doing it. I think it's somewhat inappropriate (incongruous) for someone who isn't Christian to be married in a church, but I don't get all bent out of shape about it.

    I don't know why you'd make such a big deal of it, though. They're not asking you to get married in a church. Just to be there while your sister is, and support her.

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    melodious's Avatar
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    I'm a Christian (I figured I'd preface by saying that). I think that most non-religious people who marry in churches do it because they're very pretty buildings (by and large). And it's not the building that holy. Properly speaking, the Church isn't a building, but a group of people, and the building they meet in is just a gathering place.
    There are times and places to make stances (and I do that plenty), but I don't think that the fight over the wedding is worth it. I agree that wanting a proper Catholic wedding is a little strange, if you don't believe. I say attend, and if there is Communion, don't join in. I would go to a great deal of trouble and discomfort to witness my sisters' weddings.
    Now, on the subject of Christmas itself... That might be a time when the battle is worth fighting. That's a judgment call just for you, though. To my way of thinking, you have an iron-clad excuse not to participate. If they will only accept you not attending the service if you also don't spend Christmas with the family...well, maybe you'd prefer it that way. Fewer arguments, less bitterness, much less stress, and Primal foods.

  5. #5
    Dualhammers's Avatar
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    Didn't you leave this community?

  6. #6
    DIESEL's Avatar
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    Hey Shrinking_Violet!! I've had my battles with organized religions as well, but have recently come to peace with myself and my God. Based completely on your post, it sounds to me that your issues are much deeper than you may think they are. The two issues you've mentioned seem like the grain of sand on your beach. I think you've been hurt, and hurt badly in the past... be it the "church" or what you perceive of organized religion. If you were to work out your current situation, the problem will arise again very soon because you’re treating the symptoms and not the issue it's self. I hope your not thinking that I'm pointing a finger and saying you did something wrong... or are doing something wrong because I don't think you have/are. I think you need to make peace with your past and find a better way to make it through life. You may not want it, or think you need it, but I'll be praying for you. You don't sacrifice anything of yourself simply to seek the truth. Give it a shot... you may like what you find

  7. #7
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    For some (especially cradle catholics ) going to church at christmas represents tradition, warm fuzzies from the music and the familiarity of the mass etc. etc. etc. I agree with everyone when it comes to weddings, pretty building, traditional lovely ceremony... *shrug* floats some bride's boats, religious or not.

    Spirituality is such a fluid thing, I believe we should always be thinking for ourselves and examining our beliefs and judgements etc to make sure we aren't falling into legalism, religiosity, apathy... (probably another topic for another time) but you shouldn't let your mother's beliefs or religious views bother you. Try to make peace and not cause a row, it will just make everyone including yourself unhappy. Accept your sisters choices, (it's her day, she can get married in a freakin' ditch if she wants ya know?) and try to be happy for her, and I bet you'll feel more peaceful too.

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    DIESEL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lil_earthmomma View Post
    Accept your sisters choices, (it's her day, she can get married in a freakin' ditch if she wants ya know?)
    Great point. I never understood this untill I got married. Hell, it wasn't even "my" wedding... it was hers.

  9. #9
    Redflame's Avatar
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    Church: a location, a meeting place, and really has nothing to do with religion. People meet there for spiritual reasons, AND people meet there for traditional purposes, AND people meet there to enjoy the beautiful architecture and scenery.

    Family: most people wish they spent more time with their family when it comes to the end of their lives, they wish they set aside personal issues and hurt feelings and made amends to each other, all too often it is too late to do so.

    Some people get married at the beach , that does not mean they have a personal, spiritual connection with sand fleas and sea foam.
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    I had crafted a response, but then deleted it. I will try again and be more to the point. Here are my thoughts on the two specific situations:

    1. Your sister's wedding: it is not your day. It is your sister's. The only reason guests attend weddings is to show support for the bride and groom. Do not make this day about you. Go to the wedding to show your support or don't.

    2. Christmas: If you are indeed an atheist, why would you even be considering going to church on Christmas? This would be no different if you were Jewish or a Jehovah's Witness. You are not a Christian. You do not have to go to church. You are a grown woman who does not celebrate Christmas. Do not give or expect to get presents. Do not go down to the family table for the Christmas meal. If you are in for a penny, you are in for a pound!

    Carrie

    ETA: as for the other point about different religions attending different ceremonies at churches/synagogues/temples that are not their own, it happens all the time. As I said in number one above, the reason you go to a ceremony like a wedding or baptism or bar mitzvah is to show support for the person, not acceptance of the religion. Again, it isn't about YOU, it is about the bride/groom/baby/young boy, etc.
    Last edited by carres1973; 11-23-2010 at 10:16 AM.

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