My wife and I are heading to a family reunion and I need some advice from the community.
First some background.
My wife Jeannette (new TA member!) and I are both atheists/humanists. I come from a very conservative evangelical Baptist family, where the matriarch & patriarch and most of my aunts, uncles and cousins are either deeply involved in the ministry. I myself was once a youth and worship pastor, fully dedicated to serving Christ, but that’s another story altogether.
The members of my family are very loving and kind people, however their faith is stronger than their reasoning skills. On the last day of our last family reunion a few years back, my aunt told my wife she was going down the “Golden Path” to hell based only on her beautiful Egyptian tattoos. I know this came from the kindest place in her heart … she really didn’t want her to go to hell! However, at the time it truly hurt Jeannette who, coming from a Catholic background, didn’t understand the concept of evangelizing or that it came from a place of love. At the time, I was a very green atheist, so I didn’t have the strength or knowledge to say or do anything about it.
I abhor this kind of behavior from Christians and when it coming from my family it somehow felt much worse.
So … fast-forward to today. We’re heading out to another bible-soaked family reunion. Imagine jesus-themed campfire sin-alongs, grown adults performing plays and skits about how much they love being redeemed and every new conversation starts with the question “So, how is your walk with Jesus going?”
I’ve grown as a freethinker and I know exactly why I’m a humanist. However, I really don’t feel like outing myself to my family during this reunion, especially since both of my grandparents will soon be gone and I really don’t want to stress them out with thoughts of my eternal damnation. However, I KNOW I’ll be asked how my walk with God is going, and I’ll be asked why my family will not be going to church on Sunday.
This is severely stressing us out. We don’t want to come out, but I need some kind of loving response to these questions. I want to say something that will not incite more questions, but that will let people know were just fine with our lives and don’t need to be preached to.
We’re at a loss. If anyone else has some personal experience or advice on the matter, we’d be SO appreciative!
Always stay calm and when the situation arises, ie - thanking god or Grace over dinner then just ask a statement type of question like "It has always troubled me why god hates starving people especially the new born babies?" Try to appear as if they need to answer your question and not as if you are trying to be awkward. The best way of getting them to think for themselves is make them do it.
Try singing Jesus' Brother Bob around the campfire! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QGB7iLpVrhQ
I jest, but only a little. There's plenty of light-hearted amusement to be found in Xtianity that you can have fun with, and hopefully not start a lynch mob, without pretending to be something you're not.