Hi guys, I haven't posted in a long while, but I'd like your thoughts...

My father had major heart surgery last week and was discharged 3 days ago. This morning he was rushed to the hospital for trouble breathing. He's 'ok' now, but I'm preparing myself for the inevitable. I just keep the picturing the funeral and everyone offering their condolences and saying they'll pray for me or for whomever. Worse yet, saying he's with Jesus or some crap like that. 

I know the polite and decent thing to do is say thank you and move on to the next person, but there are some religious nut jobs in my family, and I don't know how I can avoid snapping on them. 

I'm sure many of you have been in the same boat, can you give me some advice?

Thanks in advance

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I tend to agree Unseen. I think my dad would get a kick out of me pissing off my mom's side of the family because he thinks them a little 'off', but my mom would be mortified, and I still have to put up with her. ;)

Having lost most of my family, and many friends, etc...this comes up constantly.

Just as in other times, say weddings, birthday parties, the mall, whatever, theists simply take anything you say as an attack, and not in the manner it was intended.

A funeral is no different.

As I internally react to "I'll pray for them" etc...I don't react externally, as it would not be perceived properly...and, there would be no point. 

All that would happen is "An atheist was making a scene at poor Bob's funeral..." etc.

So I thank them for their prayers and might ask what they were going to do.

IE: I'm sure Bob appreciates your prayers.  His poor wife is overwhelmed right now, and due to her disability, needs a ride to the doctor next week.  Can I put you down for giving her a ride?

And so forth.


One needs to be respectful of others' feelings.

Suppose for example a theist friend reveals s/he has inoperable cancer and seems to take some comfort in in the thought of going to meet his maker. Do you express sympathy or try to correct them on the matter of an afterlife?

It's pretty clear to me how I would react.

not the best analogy..

even i would go along with the bs under those circumstances

Hi Marc, I suppose the ideal situation here is for everyone to believe what they believe in private... but we both know the religious these days don't seem to do that. Since this is your father we are talking about, it's important that you be allowed to grieve in a way that you see fit, unbothered by the religious crap you will likely face from your family.

As such, my advice is this: If you are an "out" atheist, consider asking a friend to come to the funeral to run interference on your family. Just to kind of usher them away or put a stop to the religious stuff if they start getting too religious. That way you can have the religion-free space you need to grieve and you won't need to be constantly telling your family to cut the crap. I haven't needed to do this myself, but it might be worth a try.


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