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This Atheist at a Christian Wedding

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posted on Jun, 23 2015 @ 02:23 AM
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I have a small family, but most of them are Christian. Practically all of them. The others (besides myself and youngest bro) that aren't Christians don't live near enough to see regularly. A lot of the people I spend time around are Christians. I was a Christian, for some of my life. Over half (I'm 28). Now I'm an atheist and haven't told many in my family. Not that they might not have heard or have an inclination I don't believe in god. Idk. I assume they assume my relationship with the Lord is in lukewarm status. But then again I'm never preached to about it. Even though I have a pretty accepting family some subjects with some members I rather just avoid confrontation with.

My cousin isn't one of those people though, but no point in making a big hoopla about being an atheist unless it came up in conversation or something. He is sincerely devout and nothing I could say would ever change that. Christianity has always been a very positive and character building part of his life. Everything the guy does, is done with god in mind. And god rewards his humble servants.

And so it was, the Lord blessed my cousin with a bride after four years of dating his first girlfriend. This past Saturday was their wedding. Needless to say there was a lot of praying going around. I'm not uncomfortable with any of that. I put my hands together out of respect, and lower my head. Heh.. gotta blend in. Occasionally lift my head and look around for the others with their eyes opened and heads unbowed. But.. at one point I was put into an awkward situation.

Just before the ceremony my cousin, his groomsmen, and a couple others were hanging around waiting when they decided to pray. "Shall we lay hands?" I hear one say. "Yeah" is the response. So everyone starts crowding around my cousin placing a hand on his back or shoulders. What am I supposed to do? Stand out? Look awkward. Be "that guy" at the wedding who thinks their beliefs aren't real? Hell no I'm not about to reveal to these people I'm an atheist and look like I don't care about my cousin's future! So without hesitation I went and rested a hand on his back.

You know, I find humor in some strange places. I was amused at the thought of this guy who is an atheist infiltrating their ranks and praying. If they knew, what would they be thinking? Are my wide path ways ruining the prayer? Am I unwanted? Hated, perhaps? Well to be honest, probably not by this group of people. At least the ones I knew.

So, I'm curious what do others think about an atheist in the midst of Christians, playing along?


edit on 6-23-2015 by WakeUpBeer because: (no reason given)




posted on Jun, 23 2015 @ 02:43 AM
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I think no Christian should get upset.



posted on Jun, 23 2015 @ 03:59 AM
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I agree with OccamsRazor04, they should not get upset with your beliefs and way of life. They should not judge you as their beliefs teach right? I would assume a god fearing person would accept you and pray for you but not judge you. Think of it this way, if it was a christian in a crowded room of atheist i highly doubt they would hold back from praying and praising their lord and pretend to be atheist, and i would hope that any logical atheist would not ridicule that person for doing so. But i understand why you hold back from exposing your true beliefs especially to your family. I say if your a good person with good morals then any religious person should respect you no matter what beliefs you adhere to.



posted on Jun, 23 2015 @ 05:09 AM
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a reply to: WakeUpBeer

i am your age and in the same boat

it is funny to read ur story. I would be the one crushing the wedding at a bar laughing


I want to ask did your causin go into a church school? I wander what they teach in each subject
especially biology. I can not imagine

(don't get me wrong I do get Christianity there are many aspects that are perfectly good)
(I am not an atheist as such I do have faith in unconditional love and love for creation. there is something I give my thanks to- to have this beautiful world around me and being able to experience it. it is also not my parents who I am thankful for it as such- might sound awful)

edit on 23-6-2015 by Layaly because: (no reason given)

edit on 23-6-2015 by Layaly because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 23 2015 @ 05:24 AM
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For me, it's just getting more difficult.
It's the funerals mostly. The wedding is generally a mass that both the bride and groom join hands in, so it's their own choice to do what they want and after all, I'm just there to bring a present anyway, right? That what guests are anymore it seems. I'll rise and stand as necessary, but I certainly won't be closing my eyes in prayer or anything like that.

But the funerals, where everyone goes on and on about the "godliness, et al" of the person and their devotion and how they are "with their loved ones" and "with Jesus now" that I cannot stand any more.
For one, it sickens me that the funerals I attend just gloss over the person that they were and give them the appropriated labels such as "devoted mother" "loving husband" "child of god" etc. It strikes me every time how little our lives mean in those moments to be reduced like that.
It's all I can do to stay quiet and not respond with "there is no Heaven" or "no they're not" to the umpteenth declaration of "she's with so and so now", which is causing me to just stop going to funerals at all before I say something "offensive".

I used to want a final funeral/wake where people remember me and at least listen to the songs I've appropriated for the event. Maybe really try to understand me for once.
But now that I've seen what happens, I know that they'll just play some #ty sensitive music, have some cheesy slideshow of all my bad pictures and go on about how "I'm with the Lord, now, whatever my beliefs", I really just hope I die with no body to recover, no one to attend anything, and no event to take place. I so don't want to be amongst these people that consider themselves close to me, when in reality, they've never really been.



posted on Jun, 23 2015 @ 05:28 AM
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a reply to: WakeUpBeer

That Sir, is called respect and dignity for other people.

Where you aren't being a selfish ass who has to make some grandiose point about how much better you are than they are, for not believing what they do.

You were a guest at their special event and you acted as such.

Good on you. More Atheists and (insert religious denomination here) religious folk need to act more in this way.

~Tenth



posted on Jun, 23 2015 @ 05:53 AM
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Being part of someone's religious rituals is just a nice gesture. You know, when in Rome thing. No need to make a big thing of it by disrespect them, you did great! I've been to Muslim and Jewish events, with no clue what's going. I've alway just play along. An old recovery saying, "does it need said, does it need said now,does it need said by me" respect and tolerance towards others, God bless



posted on Jun, 23 2015 @ 06:52 AM
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Your just trying to assimilate into the group, nothing wrong with that. When I'm at these religious type events, I get a burning frustration in my chest (most probably the devil), it's also a little bit of anger. You think do they realise what they are doing. They are on their knees chanting at a wooden object whose depiction is that of a white jesus. I too would have done what you done, but with alot of resentment. You knew by even mentioning it/ or not conforming you would ruin the celebration so you did the right thing. Then when the honeymoon is over , tell him to read the bible, front to back.. Lol



posted on Jun, 23 2015 @ 07:41 AM
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a reply to: WakeUpBeer

When you go to an event that doesn't jive with your beliefs, you know what you will be in for or at least you should. If you were really going to have a big problem blending in, you simply find a reason why you can't go and politely decline. I know that gets hard when family is involved, but sometimes, it might be the only way.

Since you are there, you blend in. It's what I would have done.

I think they would have had more of a problem with you had you raised your hands and caused a fuss, but again, see my remarks above. Had you been that type, you would have found a way to politely decline being there at all.

And really. What is laying on of hands? As a Christian, I've never heard of that one, and it would have made me feel weird too, but I would have gone along with it.



posted on Jun, 23 2015 @ 07:45 AM
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a reply to: ketsuko
I think it has something to do with healing and cleansing of the spirit. Many interpretations though in bible.



posted on Jun, 23 2015 @ 08:33 AM
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a reply to: WakeUpBeer

I agree completely with Tenth. I would have done the same as you, not to "assimilate", "blend in" or "play along", but to touch my cousin in a loving way and wish him the best of happiness in his new life. It's all about love anyway. And respecting him and his idea of the ceremony, shows that you love him and are being selfless instead of selfish. More people should be that way, IMO.

What others think you're doing is irrelevant. If they want to think you're "laying hands" or praying, that's their prerogative.
edit on 6/23/2015 by Benevolent Heretic because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 23 2015 @ 08:40 AM
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You should have gone to the pulpit and said "I'd like to read a passage from the good book..."

& then proceeded to whip out The God Delusion...




No in all seriousness you did the right thing...
I went to a cousins wedding recently and there was a lot of "the son of God" & "sacrificed himself for us" talk...


Gotta grin and bear it, it's their day after all.




posted on Jun, 23 2015 @ 08:40 AM
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a reply to: WakeUpBeer
I was always very open and straightforward as a Christian, and I am no less that way as an atheist. I am not shy, and would not have pretended with them. I would have politely and respectfully declined to join in, which I have done before. I do understand the situation, and have been in it several times now, but I would feel like a hypocrite if I prayed, or laid hands on someone just to keep from standing out. Don't take that as me judging you. I'm not. I'm just speaking for myself.


edit on 6/23/2015 by Klassified because: eta



posted on Jun, 23 2015 @ 08:59 AM
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originally posted by: Klassified
I would feel like a hypocrite if I prayed, or laid hands on someone just to keep from standing out.


If that would be your reasoning, then I would understand the feeling of hypocrisy and I think WakeUpBeer has some of those feelings, hence the thread. But if you went along with it out of respect for your cousin, I don't think those feelings are necessary. Being an atheist, I doubt that WakeUpBeer actually prayed to God or participated in the actual ritual of "laying on of hands", as the others did.

I was at an outdoor concert recently and at the beginning, everyone stood for the National Anthem. I have an aversion to ritualistic SHOWS of patriotism, so I don't participate. I think I was the only one in the entire park who remained seated and didn't place my hand on my heart. Even my husband participated. But there was no one there that I loved or had a personal connection with, so I saw no reason to play along.



posted on Jun, 23 2015 @ 09:10 AM
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a reply to: ketsuko


When you go to an event that doesn't jive with your beliefs, you know what you will be in for or at least you should. If you were really going to have a big problem blending in, you simply find a reason why you can't go and politely decline. I know that gets hard when family is involved, but sometimes, it might be the only way.

I mostly agree with you here, but there are certain events in some families, it would be unforgivable not to attend. lol


I think they would have had more of a problem with you had you raised your hands and caused a fuss, but again, see my remarks above. Had you been that type, you would have found a way to politely decline being there at all.

Agreed. That's why I am very polite and respectful in how I handle those situations. I can usually find my way out of those situations discreetly though, without disruption or disrespect.


And really. What is laying on of hands? As a Christian, I've never heard of that one, and it would have made me feel weird too, but I would have gone along with it.

Thanks for the smile. I think you're only one of a handful of Christians I've ever met who doesn't know what the laying on of hands is. Read your bible much?

I have actually been commended a few times by Christians for not pretending to be something I'm not, but still being very diplomatic in the way I handle it.



posted on Jun, 23 2015 @ 09:10 AM
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originally posted by: WakeUpBeer

And so it was, the Lord blessed my cousin with a bride after four years of dating his first girlfriend. This past Saturday was their wedding. Needless to say there was a lot of praying going around. I'm not uncomfortable with any of that. I put my hands together out of respect, and lower my head. Heh.. gotta blend in. Occasionally lift my head and look around for the others with their eyes opened and heads unbowed. But.. at one point I was put into an awkward situation.




So you placed a hand on your cousins back to show him your support and in respect to the others there.

Sounds like dare I say you did the loving caring thing.

Also you didnt deem it necessary to make a big thing of your atheism on your cousin and his wife's day, that was very *ahem christian of you. Wish more christians acted like you did

Playing along or showing someone else respect and love.
I will let you consider your own motives.

I would call myself blessed to have you as a cousin.



posted on Jun, 23 2015 @ 09:16 AM
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a reply to: Benevolent Heretic
I do hear what you're saying, and I don't have a problem with say... bowing my head during prayer before meals. But having been Christian, I know how seriously Christians take certain things. Laying on of hands is one of those. A few of the more rigid ones in my family would actually be offended if I took part in something like that, knowing I am an atheist. I try to strike a balance though. and it works out well most of the time.



posted on Jun, 23 2015 @ 09:33 AM
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a reply to: WakeUpBeer

I have been where you stood many times. Alone. It tests your constitution.

I have even participated in prayers to save non-believers from hell. So there I am, head up eyes open. I want to look at how operatives are behaving. At least Christians in the 21st century don't generally want to chop my head off. I suppose it might make a comeback in the US.

Judging others to lift your self image is one clear benefit of religion. Religion helps me figure out what to avoid so I can honestly say it has enriched my life. No harm in playing along for the sake of others as long as you are not violating your values.



posted on Jun, 23 2015 @ 09:44 AM
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originally posted by: Klassified
But having been Christian, I know how seriously Christians take certain things. Laying on of hands is one of those.


True. I was a Christian for the first 30 years of my life. That's why I said to the OP - what others think you're doing is irrelevant. If they want to think you're "laying hands" or praying (or even mocking their religion), that's their prerogative. I'm not going to act or refuse to act based on the judgments of others. I would simply do it to show my cousin love and respect.



A few of the more rigid ones in my family would actually be offended if I took part in something like that, knowing I am an atheist.


I definitely see that. I don't feel the need to share my beliefs with my religious family. There would be no benefit and we're not really close since my parents are gone, so I don't have the occasion to have to decide. But if I were in your shoes, and my family knew about my beliefs, I would probably do as you do, so they would be offended.



posted on Jun, 23 2015 @ 10:22 AM
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originally posted by: Layaly
I want to ask did your causin go into a church school? I wander what they teach in each subject
especially biology. I can not imagine

Yes, he did. I attended the same school one year, for 4th grade. Can't remember anything I was taught or wasn't taught there though. Except for a bit about Patrick Henry.



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