Wow, I haven't logged into Think Atheist in over a year! But anyway, that isn't what I wanted to talk about.
I have talked to her before but my discussion is probably buried somewhere in my profile but I'll just try to explain what is happening and why I am actually getting sick to my stomach because of all of this.
My dad's oldest sister is insanely religious. The most religious relative-- the most religious person I have ever met. She lives on the West Coast and I live in the "Tornado Alley". I have not seen her in five years and she is flying in on Wednesday. The thing is, I am obviously an Atheist and everyone keeps telling me to keep quiet about it because it would ruin her trip here. Look... when she comes over she forces all of us to pray the rosary either at home or each time we are in a car with her. She is going to force us to go to church. She is going to for me to go to confessions... guys, I'm 22 years old. My parents are so chill about my Atheism and respect me and my sister so much about us being Atheist because they're also somewhat Atheist. But guys, I haven't gone in a church in like seven years. I cannot remember prayers, how confession works anymore, nothing. I AM DEAD. I am incredibly terrified of my aunt. I mean I am genuinely scared of her coming over. I really don't know what to do. I don't want to pretend to be religious to make her comfortable. It's just driving me insane. Again, my dad's other siblings know about my Atheism and have warned me to keep quiet about it around her. I just can't right now.
What would you guys do or what advice would you give me?
Damn I got it wrong again, no wonder my neighbor is running around naked covered in chicken grease yelling "Cluck...Cluck...Cluck." (I have to admit she's starting to look like she might need my help cleaning off all that chicken grease, a doG's work is never done. :)
I have got to write down these formulas one day but I'm so swamped writing this Holy Book, I just can't find time for everything. (see xtians even doGs have limitations.)
The choice seems to be a bitter confrontation or mindless compliance with the aunt. There are other options.
I am a member of a huge Catholic family. Among them I am the only "out" atheist. I just returned from the funeral of my oldest brother. Naturally there were a number of "services" which I attended without explicitly participating. At Mass everyone goes to Communion. I don't because to do so would be sacrilegious. Otherwise I stand when everyone stands and kneel when everyone kneels. I DON'T pretend to pray.
I "announce" my atheism to groups in light-hearted ways: eg. "Poor Peter, (my Godson) really got cheated in the Godparents stakes. He got landed with an atheist Godfather (haha)."
I don't push my atheism (to my family) but if anyone asks me any questions, I answer truthfully. There has been a couple attempts by priests in the family to save me. I engage them in a loving way - answering all their questions, etc. And we are all still family. I sometimes feel a bit like a Downs Syndrome child - everyone knows I'm different but they still love me.
You don't have to "go to war" with your religious family. Just smile and tell the truth. How they take the news is on them - not you.
(Also it sounds like this tactic might encourage other family members to come out as well.)
Smile and say, "Rosary, uh not really my thing. I'll just step out for a coffee and be back in half an hour."