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Religious stuff pushed on me by family

 
 
Reply Sun 15 Mar, 2009 02:16 pm
I know religion is a big issue for some people so this may seem rude to you if you are one of them. My family member got into an argument with me because I did not want to go to her church to see her son baptized. I apologized just to make peace but I still think she was wrong to insist I go. I believe in science. She knows this but she still thinks she can "save" me. Does anyone else think it is WRONG to impose your beliefs on someone? How do you stop your family from doing this?
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Type: Question • Score: 7 • Views: 2,086 • Replies: 18
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ebrown p
 
  2  
Reply Sun 15 Mar, 2009 02:27 pm
There are two ways to look at this... one is as a religious issue, the other is as a family issue. Depending on my relationship with the parents, I may have gone for the sole reason of supporting the family in what is to them an important cultural milestone.

When my very religious grandmother passed, I participated in her funeral, reading a Bible passage in spite of the fact that I am not religious. During the funeral service, the pastor made an altar call where he talked about salvation and gave everyone in the audience a chance to accept Jesus.

I had no problem with this direct attempt to save my wicked soul. I was there for my grandmother; and this is exactly what she would have wanted-- in fact there was no better way to express who she was. I cared about my grandmother and quietly passing on the offer of salvation didn't take away from this fact.
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hawkeye10
 
  2  
Reply Sun 15 Mar, 2009 02:43 pm
One goes to a baptism to show support of the individual and the family of the one being baptized, it is not ceremony celebrating your conversion into the church. When your friends make choices for themselves that you would not make for yourself do you then cut them off as friends, or tell them point blank that the are wrong? If you would not treat a friend in this way why is in OK in your mind to do this to family???
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saab
 
  1  
Reply Sun 15 Mar, 2009 03:00 pm
To be invited to someones baptism has nothing to do with trying to make you religous. It is an invitation to take part in a happy family celebration which happens to be religious.
Would you deny to go to a funeral held in a church?
Would you deny to go to a wedding held in a church?
If you are that touchy you are not really a friend.
We have to accept that our friends have different ideas than we do and happily share what they enjoy.
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chai2
 
  1  
Reply Sun 15 Mar, 2009 03:05 pm
She wasn't asking you to go to her church to become part of it, or to even pray.

She asked you to celebrate a family event.

She wanted you to see her son, not her church.
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ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Sun 15 Mar, 2009 03:08 pm
Let's not let this thread get too one sided-- there are two sides to this.

First a baptism is quite different than a wedding or a funeral. A baptism is a distinctly religious ceremony-- where weddings and funerals can either be religious or secular.

Second, there are family and relationship considerations. If my family imposing religion on me was an ongoing issue, I might choose to not go to baptisms as a way of asserting boundaries.

I have gone to baptisms, but in each of these cases they were friends with whom I have a respectful relationship and no conflict over religion. If someone who had already crossed a boundary invited me to a baptism... I would not feel bad at all about declining.
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chai2
 
  1  
Reply Sun 15 Mar, 2009 03:21 pm
Personally, I've never felt any different about going to a baptism, as to a wedding or a funeral.

All my relatives were catholic, so funerals, weddings, baptisms, first communions, confirmations all meant the same thing. Family getting together.

You got the church part of it over with, and went to someone's house and had a family gathering.

Some of my relatives were very devout, none of them were what you would call not religious to some degree. That didn't mean they wanted to sit around talking about God all day.

Going to a baptism is a show of respect to the parents.
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kickycan
 
  1  
Reply Sun 15 Mar, 2009 05:29 pm
Shawna, I think I understand what you're talking about. My whole family are born-again nuts (though I still love them dearly--well, most of them anyway) and I gave up trying to stop them from pushing their beliefs on me a while ago, but I have definitely lowered the amount of prosthelytizing.

It might make you feel better to know that at some point, if you and your nutty religious family are both unmovable in your beliefs, eventually you'll just get sick of having the same arguments over and over again, and you'll both agree not to discuss religion anymore, and for the most part, they'll leave you alone. But you have to be very persistent and unyielding in your requests for them to butt the hell out for a long time. And even then, every once in awhile they won't be able to resist. But there is hope.

Before they got so obnoxious about their Christianity, I actually agreed to be the godfather to my brother and his wife's first-born. I figured, if they want me to do this, knowing that I don't believe, then hey, what could it hurt? It's worked out so far. Plus, now my born-again Christian brother and sister-in-law and their Christian daughter have me, Mr. atheistic-leaning, agnostic sin-monger as a "god"father. Ha! That makes me feel a little better. You do what you can to deal with it.
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BillRM
 
  1  
Reply Mon 16 Mar, 2009 06:32 am
@Shawna0718,
I see little harm going to see a child baptized as silly as that is, however if she try to convert you then I also see little harm in very openly expressing my world view point on religious to her and her family members even to her son when he begin to reach an age of understanding.

If the subject is open in your family then the subject is open in both directions.
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sullyfish6
 
  1  
Reply Mon 16 Mar, 2009 06:58 am
They just wanted to share a ceremony with you and others.

This ceremony means something to them. I doubt if there was any kind of movement to convert the attendees.

You probably missed a great party afterwards.


0 Replies
 
Foofie
 
  1  
Reply Mon 16 Mar, 2009 07:32 am
I am Jewish, and I would bet that I was baptized by a good Catholic nurse before I left the hospital after birth. Laypersons are allowed to baptize in an emergency; what could be more of an emergency than a baby going back to Jewish parents. It was only a little water; I did not catch cold. And, for the person doing that (I feel it was done), it shows a degree of caring that was not shown Jews in Europe for a good millenium. Americans are a caring people!

So, I believe one should looke upon religious ceremonies as an attempt to share a caring and loving feeling. Sometimes one is not the focal point of an event.
chai2
 
  1  
Reply Mon 16 Mar, 2009 08:35 am
@Foofie,
Foofie wrote:

So, I believe one should looke upon religious ceremonies as an attempt to share a caring and loving feeling. Sometimes one is not the focal point of an event.


exactly. when the initial poster was invited to the baptism, I'd wager the parents didn't say to each other "ah ha! another chance to convert the heathen!"

They were simply asking her to share in an important event in their lives.

If one had to decline because of distance, illness or something, that's one thing. Declining because you think this was some kind of plot, that you were being singled out, is another.
Foofie
 
  1  
Reply Mon 16 Mar, 2009 01:54 pm
@chai2,
chai2 wrote:

Foofie wrote:

So, I believe one should looke upon religious ceremonies as an attempt to share a caring and loving feeling. Sometimes one is not the focal point of an event.


exactly. when the initial poster was invited to the baptism, I'd wager the parents didn't say to each other "ah ha! another chance to convert the heathen!"

They were simply asking her to share in an important event in their lives.

If one had to decline because of distance, illness or something, that's one thing. Declining because you think this was some kind of plot, that you were being singled out, is another.


As I said, it is only a little water, and the baby does not catch cold from it.
Ticomaya
 
  1  
Reply Mon 16 Mar, 2009 02:30 pm
@Shawna0718,
Shawna0718 wrote:
I believe in science.


http://img217.imageshack.us/img217/8451/2006nacholibre028.jpg

I feel like most of the other posters here. I doubt your family member was trying to save your soul by inviting you to the baptism.
0 Replies
 
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Mon 16 Mar, 2009 02:48 pm
@Foofie,
Quote:

As I said, it is only a little water, and the baby does not catch cold from it.


I suppose an unauthorized baptism from a Christian nurse is a bit less problematic then an unauthorized circumcision would be.

As a parent, I would be a bit upset at medical personnel imposing their beliefs on my child either way.
kickycan
 
  1  
Reply Mon 16 Mar, 2009 02:49 pm
On the other hand, we don't know just how intrusive these people are on her life. I know that when my family first became nutbags about it, anything they invited me to that had even the least bit to do with religion repulsed me, and THAT'S OKAY TOO.

It really depends just how invasive, pushy and obnoxious the religious nuts are, I think. And I know from experience they can be incredibly frustrating to deal with. So maybe our original poster is correct in what she did in the situation. Maybe. I think it's really no big deal either way.
chai2
 
  1  
Reply Mon 16 Mar, 2009 03:04 pm
@kickycan,
Maybe.

I know that in my immediate family grudges are held for eons.

Even if they were nut cases, for me personally it'd be better to just go and deal with the day, then to listen to them complain every chance they got for the next 40 years how I didn't go to little joey's baptism.

That's why I went to my fathers funeral, even though the man and I hated each other. I knew that while my mother was still alive, I had to continue to have some sort of contact with them, even if I didn't want it.

That's also why when she kicked the bucket, I didn't go to her funeral. I wasn't going to have to listen to them go on about it, because I wasn't ever going to see them again.

So far, so good.

I guess I'm just saying don't give them more ammunition than you have too.

I can see your side of it though kicky.

If you went to the baptism of a relative, would they sit around talking about it afterwards?
0 Replies
 
Phoenix32890
 
  1  
Reply Mon 16 Mar, 2009 03:05 pm
@Shawna0718,
Quote:
Does anyone else think it is WRONG to impose your beliefs on someone? How do you stop your family from doing this?


I think that it is wrong to attempt to impose ANYTHING on other people in social circumstances, but you can't blame people for trying. IMO, a person can bring up a subject with someone, and if the other person indicates that she is not interested, a mature person backs off.

I don't know just how religious your family is, but I can see certain circumstances where declining to go would be viable. It all has to do with your own security with your own views, and your ability to set boundries with your relatives, without starting family fights.

You set boundries by stating clearly, and unemotionally, that you respect their right to believe, and expect them to respect your right to not believe. The trick is not to become emotionally involved.

On the other hand, if your relatives are not out to proselytize you, I see no harm in joining in, with what to them is a happy occasion.

Last week I went to a funeral of a dear neighbor. (BTW, I too believe in science). It was in the Episcopal Church, and the service was extremely lengthy, and very traditional. I sat quietly and respectfully, the respect being for the deceased and his family, and not the pomp and circumstance.
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Foofie
 
  1  
Reply Tue 17 Mar, 2009 08:03 pm
@ebrown p,
ebrown p wrote:


As a parent, I would be a bit upset at medical personnel imposing their beliefs on my child either way.



Let us accept the reality that no beliefs can be imposed on a newborn infant. The thought, I assumed, was that if the infant died (me), it would not spend eternity in limbo. It is just a kind act that has no bearing on an infant. Let us not impower a few drops of plain water, and some sentences in Latin. No harm is/was done.

Sort of like accepting a Christmas gift for a Jewish child from a Christian neighbor. It only shows caring and kind thoughts; no proselytizing.

Perhaps, my thinking is based on the belief that being Jewish is more indelible than being Christian (Catholic or Protestant)?
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