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atheist/agnostic tribe - Page 25

post #481 of 698
I'm actually nervous about X-mas this year. This is the first time I've spent it with my family in a long time, and I know for a fact that they read the nativity story in the bible prior to opening the presents. I don't want to participate or have DS participate. I've been thinking about ways to bring it up before the day of so my parents are realistically aware that we won't be participating.

I just know it's going to cause an issue with them. I'm so respectful of them and their beliefs, but I never, ever have the same thing reciprocated.
post #482 of 698
Yesterday, dd1, 7, handed a card to me that she made either at Girl Scouts or school. It said "Have a Happy Happy Thanksgiving" on the front and then inside it said, "I am thankful for pumpkin pie and I am not thankful for god." lol
post #483 of 698
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hatteras Gal View Post
Yesterday, dd1, 7, handed a card to me that she made either at Girl Scouts or school. It said "Have a Happy Happy Thanksgiving" on the front and then inside it said, "I am thankful for pumpkin pie and I am not thankful for god." lol

That's HILARIOUS! :rotf lmao
post #484 of 698
Hi! Just joining the tribe!!!!
post #485 of 698
Does everybody celebrate Thanksgiving?
Do you actually give thanks? If so, who/what are you thanking?
We just sort of thank the Universe for things we're grateful for.
post #486 of 698
Quote:
Originally Posted by AngeliqueW View Post
Does everybody celebrate Thanksgiving?
Do you actually give thanks? If so, who/what are you thanking?
We just sort of thank the Universe for things we're grateful for.
wow. I never thought about who we were thanking when saying our thanks. It certainly has never been a God. I suppose we are thanking the universe also. I look at it more as being grateful, not necissarily thanking someone or something. Does that make sense?
post #487 of 698
NEW HERE! Subbing Consider this my first subscribed thread on MDC
If anyone would like an introduction.. here goes
I'm a 19 year old SAHM to one beautiful girl and another on the way. My mother "just believed in god", as she called it, and never baptized me because she figured I could make that choice. She has since passed away but that's the greatest gift I've ever been given. My husband was baptized catholic but kind of figures the heck with it because he doesn't practice and is very much Agnostic, though he leans moreso towards atheist. I fall more into the atheist category. Our DD is two, so I'm hoping to find some helpful thoughts and opinions on how to raise her. I'll post questions soon enough- tee-hee. For now, let me get to posting!

Quote:
Originally Posted by AngeliqueW View Post
Does everybody celebrate Thanksgiving?
Do you actually give thanks? If so, who/what are you thanking?
We just sort of thank the Universe for things we're grateful for.
Um, well, I just kind of eat
In all seriousness though, I don't, and can't remember ever "giving thanks". If you'd like to count thanking the person who cooked the wonderful meal, sure I thank them. I look at it (as I look at other holidays) as a time for family to get together and be happy. To enjoy ourselves. I do celebrate xmas as well because I think it's fun (as I do easter... I enjoy egg hunts a little too much ). I don't do the whole religious aspect of it.. and don't plan on teaching that to my kids. For us, it's just a time where our family can get together, open presents, and enjoy ourselves. C'mon. Exchanging gifts is fun. Getting gifts is VERY fun as well. Just my take on it
post #488 of 698
Okay, couldn't help myself- I have a few questions Hope you don't mind!

I'll repeat this much from my last post DH & I are Athiests. We have a soon-to-be 2yo DD and another DD due next month.

-First.. DHs family (I have no blood relatives, step father & family are non-religious). Anyhow, DH's family, which is pretty much the only family we deal with, are very religious, though it varies from person to person. We all (well, the lot of us) live in one household. We live in the basement apartment-for now. On top of us, is DHs mom, dad, sister, and uncle. On top of THAT, is DHs grandma and grandpa, and on top of THEM is DHs cousin, his wife, and three kids.
There are often times where I have to leave DD with DHs family. I have to try and work around these things because they go to church often and if DD is with them, she goes with. I really don't want her in church. When she was a baby, I didn't mind- she kind of thought the music was a rock fest and would just dance happily the entire time. Now that she's older and is more aware of things, I don't want her there.
DHs cousins live upstairs. DH's cousin's wife's parents are VERY religious. When they come to a party, they feel the need to bless every single person before they leave the party. I suffer major anxiety and hate the fact that I run for the hills with my DD when they leave to avoid a "dios te bendiga" uttered at her.
ALSO at the parties.. I need some good advice on this part ...they always pray before a meal. Even if it is just cutting open a watermelon at a barbeque. I also feel the need to run for the hills. I usually don't notice until they've already started praying and I get shushed by someone.. BUT- I really don't want my DD present.
As you may have guessed, it is kind of hard to avoid these situations with us being all in one large household, though we are separate. So, regarding this, Is there a way to respectfully not take part in these situations?. Them thanking god before a meal is a 5 minute ordeal on average- I don't feel that I'd be able to just bite the bullet, and I don't want DD in that situation.

-SECOND.. DD isn't baptized, and we don't plan on it. Our family doesn't know this. DHs family is Mexican, I am half Mexican and half White (I have Irish heritage, but other than that, I don't know much as my single white mom raised me as a person and didn't push me towards anything. she taught me alot about many cultures). In the Mexican tradition, or at least this is what Ive gathered from my husband's family, a child has a big birthday party when they are 3 years old. Something also happens at church- a presentation or something? Whatever it is, DHs uncle has announced that her birthday would be in a fancy banquet hall and that HE WILL be the godfather. So they're pushing us to baptize her. how would you deal with this?

-THIRD.. DH & I were married at city hall. We didn't want a wedding. Not for us... besides the religious aspects. NOW, DH's parents are pushing ME to get baptized and pushing DH to finish his religious schooling (confirmation, I guess?) so that we can get married in a church because otherwise we're living in sin. She also is planning on this because she too was married at city hall and is living "in sin". how can we tell her that we really don't care and don't plan on it, in a NICE way?

I just feel so trapped in this family. There is always some church thing going on- a baptism, a presentation, a first communion.. something. My DH works on Sundays and I'm alone with DD. I always get pressured into going, although I manage to avoid it most days. The religious aspect of things is scary- and I really want to pull DD away from it. For example, DHs grandma was furious and sad because a nephew of hers got a haircut before he got baptized. She flat out said that he was going to hell- a baby. I don't want DD exposed to this- I personally feel that some of their takes on things aren't for us. I just really don't know what to do. Any kind words would be awesome
post #489 of 698
WindyCityMom- In my way of thinking, they're your husband's family, so it's his responsibility to set clear boundaries with them. You should not be in the position of the bad guy. And move as soon as possible!!!
post #490 of 698
Hello from a tribe newbie. First, perhaps I should introduce myself. I'm Mylah. I attended 13 years of Catholic school and am somewhere on the spectrum between atheist and agnostic today. I still haven't decided yet whether I am one or the other. I've called myself agnostic since college, the rationale being that to say we humans just can't verify whether God does or doesn't exist was the "only intellectual position" I could take on the subject (I actually used to talk that way :P). However, since then, I've started to question my line of thinking. There are a lot of imaginary things I could say I just can't know for sure exist - ranging from jackalopes to Chupacabra - and I don't say I'm agnostic about them just because I can conceive of them without proof. So I'm open to the discussion of what to label myself, but don't particularly mind not knowing what to say I am. To be honest, I don't fire too many brain cells on the subject these days. Buddhism still holds my interest these days.

Anyway, Windy's post drew me out of lurker-mode. I just wanted to say, Windy, that I would probably use your in-laws as the beginning of your children's exposure to a variety of religions. They probably aren't the last devout people your kids will encounter in life, and I believe it will give them perspective to compare your IL's beliefs to those of a devout Jew, Muslim, Baha'i, Baptist etc. If the plan is to raise your children without organized religion, then they'll perhaps find the contrast useful to really grasp the concepts of atheism and agnosticism. For one thing, I think a complete understanding of non-belief is somewhat dependent on an understanding of "faith". Plus, they'll still need to know how to be tolerant and accepting of members who do hold beliefs they don't possess themselves. So if you treat your ILs as just one type of believer among a multitude of possible beliefs, it will help them see that they don't necessarily have to choose any belief in the grand scheme.

Just my two cents (after only 4 hours of sleep and a long Thanksgiving day today). Good luck with you situation, mommy.
post #491 of 698
Ooh, I'd like to join this tribe too! I'm atheist, DH is non-religious (anti-religion is more like it). We don't have kids yet but I'm sure when the time comes we'll be having more than a few uncomfortable encounters with his very religious side of the family!

WindyCityMom, I'm not sure if this will help, but I'll answer your questions with what I'm planning to do with DH's family since I know we'll encounter some of the same things:

1. Based on my experience with DH's family, I would say no, there's not a way to respectfully decline "participation." In our case, they would definitely note our absence and it would only invite further questioning and guilt-tripping later on. I don't care to fight that battle. Since you live in the same household and have to go through this frequently, is there some way you can distract your DD during the five-minute prayers? My guess is it will be a while before she's old enough to actually listen to what's being said, and really, having her learn to sit there quietly for five minutes before a meal isn't such a bad skill to develop. Maybe you could have a coloring book and some crayons handy for this time to help distract her? If anyone questions you, you can say it helps keep her quiet, but your actual reason can be to further ensure she's not listening. As for the church thing, is there any way you can arrange it so she's never in their care during the times they go to church? I wouldn't be comfortable sending kids to church alone with religious relatives, at least not much past toddlerhood. Would you be okay with waiting until she starts asking questions to find other arrangements?

2. Yikes! If someone comes along with a good solution to this, I'd like to hear it. Here are the options as I see them, neither of them great:
- Refuse to have her baptized. You don't want to, she's your DD, you get to decide, so politely but firmly refuse. You could frame it as you want her to make the decision when she's older. Heck, some religions require kids to wait until they're old enough to truly "accept" it, and you could say this is how you'd like to handle it. This way they get to believe that she'll be baptized someday, and maybe by the time she's older you will have moved away and can more easily avoid the question, or keep answering, "Oh, maybe later, we don't feel she's old enough yet."
- Let them do it. She's probably too young to form any memories of it, it won't hurt her at all, and it would get them off your back and make them feel better. Tell them since they're making all the arrangements, it's totally their thing and you choose not to participate in it or take any vows. You could approach it as a strictly cultural experience rather than a religious experience, so in the future if she asks you about it or her relatives bring it up, tell her it's a just a ritual her dad's family does to welcome little kids to the family, no big deal.

We don't plan on baptizing our kids either, but I think if his family insists, we'll probably relent just because it's not worth the stress and potential alienation. We would have stipulations though: it would have to happen when they're too young to understand or care what's going on (i.e. not required to take any vows), and it would have to take place in DH's home country to further maintain the appearance that it was strictly a cultural experience. His family would see that as making it even more special, so win-win for us! Any chance you guys could do the party in Mexico?

3. I find with DH's family that giving non-committal little non-answers is sufficient to get them temporarily off my back about things. Yes, that makes me a bit of a weasel, but I know I'm never going to change them, and this way we stay on good terms without me having to feel like a liar. I'm perfectly happy toeing the line in our relationship between them asking nosy questions yet not wanting to seem rude or pushy, and us giving vague/clueless responses that don't invite further discussion. (Note: This won't work if his family is more in-your-face about getting definite answers from you.)

For example: when are you going to get baptized? "We'll see, there's really no rush to do that. *change subject*"

You need to get baptized to get married in a church. "We're already married and very happy! *change subject*"

You need to get married in a church so you're not living in sin. "Oh, we don't see it that way, but if you'd like to get re-married, we'll be honored to come to your wedding. *change subject*"


Hugs to you as you deal with this! Any chance of moving away from them or at least out of the house?
post #492 of 698
I just came back from Norway and Amsterdam and it felt wonderful to be among people who didnt think that I was completely insane (and a bad mother) for not being religious or raising our children with religious beilefs. This would be much easier if I did not live in Texas I am sure, but at times it is exhausting.....
post #493 of 698
I'd really like to connect with Freethinking Mamas in real life. Has anyone started/attended a playgroup or support group for atheist/agnostic families?
post #494 of 698

Can we talk about Christmas?

Christmas is upon us and DD1 is now four and becoming more aware. If you celebrate Christmas, how do you tackle the religious aspect of it?

DH and I are very firmly atheist. Our families are religious. DH's grandmother sent us a very meticulously hand-made nativity scene. First, DD loves it and second, I feel out of respect for the g'ma we shouldn't hide it away. As we set it out DD said "and here is baby Jesus" - I didn't even know she'd remember from last year. I asked her who Jesus was and she gave a very vague non-religious answer.

So I worked with her answer and told her we celebrate his life because he was a good person who respected others and the world around him and celebrating him is a way to celebrate all people who lead good lives. Ugh! It felt so inadequate, but I felt that I have to approach this now, before she is given other versions first. So I just said what came to my mind.

Also, I really don't want Christmas to be all about presents and consumerism. I want her to get the other aspects too - just not the religion.

We live in the heart of the bible belt. My family is VERY religious and have already tried to sway DD. So I want her to know fully about religion, understand that in our immediate family we don't follow any religion, but at the same time not make her feel like she's missing out. I'm having a hard time figuring out WHAT to tell her and how to make it age-appropriate.

Anyone further down this road than I am? Any advice?
post #495 of 698
Quote:
Originally Posted by readermaid View Post
I'd really like to connect with Freethinking Mamas in real life. Has anyone started/attended a playgroup or support group for atheist/agnostic families?
Oh how amazing that would be! But in my area (the heart of the bible belt) I'd be looked at as if I had four heads if I suggested such a thing to anyone.
post #496 of 698
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hokulele View Post
Anyone further down this road than I am? Any advice?
Although I have explained about Jesus' birth, I try to focus on Christmas being a celebration of giving/doing kind deeds. I've been bombarding my son with Hallmark christmas shows that follow the theme about love/kindness/family. I think it's finally starting to sink in.

I also talk about the new born sun. And that the solstice was a celebration of the light returning to dark, winter days.

Phew, hope that made some semblance of sense. After all, I haven't had my morning caffeine yet.
post #497 of 698
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaughterOfKali View Post
Although I have explained about Jesus' birth, I try to focus on Christmas being a celebration of giving/doing kind deeds. I've been bombarding my son with Hallmark christmas shows that follow the theme about love/kindness/family. I think it's finally starting to sink in.

I also talk about the new born sun. And that the solstice was a celebration of the light returning to dark, winter days.

Phew, hope that made some semblance of sense. After all, I haven't had my morning caffeine yet.
Yes, that does all make sense... and helps me a lot. I like the idea of love/kindness/family. AND the solstice too!! Hadn't thought of that! Thanks!
post #498 of 698
you could always just tell them that the baby jesus is the baby santa as our ds1 seems to believe (his own rationale, not ours!)... for some reason, i have way more tolerance in my kid being told to be good so santa will come, than to be good so jesus will let him into heaven...

also, wanted to share a funny story.

ds1 broke his arm recently and needed a cast. the nurse who was casting him said to him, "oh! look at all those freckles! where did you get them?" and my ds1 said, "they grew there in the sun." she said, "oh, no, i used to tell my daughter they were angel kisses. if someone asks you about your freckles you tell them their angel kisses." so he was all kinds of confused. he said, "what are angels?" i was about to answer something vague to appease him to we left, but this nurse decided to take the lead. "they're beautiful creatures with golden wings who watch us from up in heaven and keep us safe." and she said this all breathy as if she were just "touched by an angel" herself. *snicker* but my son, the little capricorn who takes everything so seriously looked at her, rolled his eyes, and said, "oh. you know that's pretend?? my freckles grew in the sun."

later on he asked me about angels and heaven, and i just said, "you were right, just pretend. but it makes people feel good. so when people talk about it, just let them. you don't have to say anything about it, if you don't want to."

anyway, with xmas coming... yes, things come up alot... that's why here at our house we're on the "put the x back in christmas" campaign. just want a nice, secular, fun time with our family.
post #499 of 698
Quote:
Originally Posted by readermaid View Post
I'd really like to connect with Freethinking Mamas in real life. Has anyone started/attended a playgroup or support group for atheist/agnostic families?
I've never attended such a group, but it would be nice.
I do have a suggestion though- depending on where you live, there might be a humanist organization that meets regularly. If you don't know what humanism is, you should look it up for a better explanation than I can give.

This from wikipedia: "Humanism is a perspective common to a wide range of ethical stances that attaches importance to human dignity, concerns, and capabilities, particularly rationality. Although the word has many senses, its meaning comes into focus when contrasted to the supernatural or to appeals to authority. Since the nineteenth century, humanism has been associated with an anti-clericalism inherited from the eighteenth-century Enlightenment philosophes. Twenty-first century Humanism tends to strongly endorse human rights, including reproductive rights, gender equality, social justice, and the separation of church and state. The term covers organized non-theistic religions, secular humanism, and a humanistic life stance."

In some areas, humanists have organizations that meet regularly. Usually it's a family thing and they hold discussions and lectures on topics like how to be a good person in everyday life, family life, social issues. It's just a community of supportive like-minded atheists who have intelligent and meaningful discussions about the issues of life from a non-religious point of view- like a church community that is sooo NOT church. Humanist groups in general can be pretty intellectual (which I love) and philosophical and sometimes (though not usually) political but are also very down to earth and grass-rootsy.

It's nice to have a community. I always thought the IDEA of what church is SUPPOSED to be was good. A place for community support and togetherness, where people and families can talk about what it means to be a person in this world and how to be the best we can be together.
post #500 of 698
Quote:
Originally Posted by VeezieTG View Post
you could always just tell them that the baby jesus is the baby santa as our ds1 seems to believe (his own rationale, not ours!)... for some reason, i have way more tolerance in my kid being told to be good so santa will come, than to be good so jesus will let him into heaven...
that's funny! i hear that in spain, latin america, and other places they say that baby jesus brings the presents. so really, your ds is "right".
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