Edit:Problem is solved, but feel free to reply with any opinions.***
On christmas I told my mom that I wasn't going to pray when it was time for dinner. She respectfully said "That's fine", and went on with her day. When it was time to eat she made everyone hold hands, I said "I'm not praying" she said "You don't have to, but hold hands". I refused and everyone at the table started to glare at me, then start yelling at me till I caved in.
I know it's not technically praying if I hold hands, but it still feels like I'm partaking in an activity that I don't want to be apart of. I don't have a problem with them praying, let them do what they want, but don't make me do join you. And I know this is going to sound completely trivial to a lot of people, but it's still the fucking concept. I mean christians wouldn't hold hands with Muslims to pray, so why should they expect me to do the same? I know my sister just goes along with it (She's an atheist as well), and some of you might. But for what reasons should I HAVE to?
When I approached my mother afterwards I merely said "Why did you make me do that, why did you make me pray?". She got hostile towards me, even though my tone was normal. She responded with "You weren't praying, and if you don't want to take part in this family then you can go sit in the corner". I just stopped talking about it after that, I feel like I've just been pressured into something that makes me feel uncomfortable (even if it is a very small issue).
So should I show resistance and go sit in a corner next time this happens, or should I follow the way of the sheep?
For starters I would like to say that this isn't trivial as no onecan decide that for you if something is trivial or not.
I find that I agree with Mo Trauen that there is a time and aplace to fight these battles and at the Christmas dinner table is not one ofthem. Sometimes spending time with your family and strengthening your familybond is more important that your own beliefs or the lack of them. Especially ifit were to make your mom happy.
However I would feel uncomfortable if the holding hands thing wassomething new and only implemented as a response to you not wanting to pray.saying that though I think that for your mum that holding hands symbolises thebond you share as a family and she considers you not actually saying a prayeras not praying.
Her reaction when you confronted her about it later though seemsout of order at first glance but also seems though it carries and air ofexisting tension with it. I wonder if her reaction is possibly due to pre-existingproblems in the relationship between you and your parents? If this is the casethen her reaction has more to do with the fact that it is hard for parents toaccept the hat their children are growing up differently then they hadexpected and have developed their own ideas on life that conflict withtheir own. It's only natural for there to be some friction as you develop yourselfas an adult in the family and not some kid who needs to be told what to do.
Not that this is necessarily the case but what I'm trying to sayis that there could be other factors for why your mother reacted the way shedid and you need to try and keep that in mind. Besides Christmas is already a religiousholiday and means something to them. (Though I have to admit that they way we celebratein my family is totally removed from the spiritual meaning of the season.) Andit's nice to have a support base to turn to when you need them so if you cankeep them happy with a little meaningless gesture like this then so be it Isay.
I reckon the best way, all joking aside, is to say, "OK I'll hold hands, but I'm only doing it to humour you and make you happy. I am not praying and have no intention of doing so, as I don't believe in that mumbo jumbo.
Surely they can't object to that, can they? I am unfamiliar with this type of fanaticism.
I think it is extremely important to make your feelings known, in a polite way, if possible. Otherwise, their bullshit will only get stronger and they will have more and more power and their nonsense will become nomaized.
There will come a point where even the president will have to be a christian in oorder to get elected. It is time to put a stop to this dangerous trend. They'll be teachng kids the bible in schools next! hahaha! (just kidding, that could never happen) And before you know it, science will be replaced with superstition and you will be whisked back into third world conditions where people will be allowed to carry weapons, there is no universal health care, and cuts in social spending and education will be the norm. Corporations will run the government and you might start invading countries for no apparant reason, thinking that "god blesses America". They might even start writing graffiti about god all over the country, the "ten commandments" in schools and courts, and your dollar bills with some crap like "we all believe in god" or some such ridiculous abomonation written on it. You can laugh, but it is coming.
These clowns must be stopped before this nightmare scenario becomes a reality.
On the one hand you are under their roof. On the other I am sure it feels ridiculous and wrong to you to participate. However if this has been an ongoing event for your entire family life and you are just now starting to resist, it is probably a shock for your mother and the family.
You will ultimately have to choose what is right for you. I am not sure how old you are but judging by your picture I am guessing mid to late teens. If so then you need to ask yourself a few questions before you decide which route you wish to go on this issue. How long before you are out on your own and able to do what you wish? Is it more important to be right or to be happy? That is a big consideration when taking on the family on an issue like this. And if you do continue to resist actively and fight it, how long do you thing it will be before you realistically begin to make headway with them? What will the future cost be toward your harmony and relationship with your mother and family members?
My advice is to write those questions down and take some time to consider them. Then follow what you feel will be what you can most live with or what is most important to you. I wish you the best! Good luck in this one.
I've read all replies thus far, and everyone seems to have valid reasons behind this. I think I might try and suggest for next time that maybe they pray with their hands closed instead of making everyone join in.
I mean this whole thing is rather silly, but at the same time I don't like keeping my mouth shut if I don't agree with something.
If the whole praying to yourselves suggestion doesn't go through, then I might have to try talking to my whole family about it even before dinner. Explain to them the circumstances and why I feel the way I do, this way I won't end up looking like the bad guy if I end up interrupting their prayers (Which I've already tried by talking to my mother, but maybe talking to just her isn't enough).
What I would do is stick my finger up my nose with a few fingers and stick the other fingers in my mouth.
Then enthusiastically offer your hands to those next to you.
Okay. I'm an atheist too. I am also a mom. I think you were just rude. Is it your house? Did you cook the meal? You can keep your beliefs and still be polite.
You made a statement and called attention to yourself and people didn't like it. Why should they? Next time serve a dinner you cooked in your own kitchen and say no praying. They should respect your wishes at that time.
As an atheist and even in my theist years I respected other people: their cultures and customs. I take my shoes off at my Japanese friend's house. I have sat zazen at a Buddhist temple. I have gone to a wedding at a church and quietly put my head down during prayers. I don't have to be a believer to be polite.
So enough of the Mom Lecture. But in my opinion you should appologize to your mom.
And remember if you want respect for your lack of belief you could at least act civilized so people will listen to you.
Some people believe that being polite about something is a form of enabling.
Some people also don't like their beliefs to be disrespected , which his mother clearly did in this situation, after Bronson made it clear he did not wish to participate before the dinner took place.
The 'is it your house' and 'did you cook the dinner' are arguments that are not at all in connection with the issue.
I can assure you that if I cooked a meal for my family, and I asked them to all get up from their chair and hop on one leg for 5 seconds, they would not be obligated to do so. What if I pulled the "But I cooked the meal and this is my house!" card? Why does praying receive an exception from this?
It isn't about being polite. It is about letting your personal conviction known to your loved ones and wishing for their mutual understanding and respect.
If I were to cook dinner I would be cooking lots of delicious meats and pastas paired with white and red wines.
If I had children at the table and vegetarians were attending I would rightfully and happily get some bottles of juice or a alcohol free sparkling cider for the children and prepare one or two vegetarian dishes for the special consumption of the non meat eaters.
Hosting a dinner does not give you the right to be a behaviour nazi. Hosting a dinner is not for your own selfish and guilty ridden desires.
Hosting a dinner for a family is about bringing the family together and appreciating and respecting each individual of that family for who they are, not who you want them to be.