Selling Your "Soul" For a Free Ride...

I've recently entered college, and my college of choice was fortunate enough to be 20 miles down the road from my aunt, who has agreed to let me stay with her for free. Upon the conditions that allow me to stay here are doing chores around the house, taking care of her autistic son with her (he's my cousin, it's not like I was going to say no...) and attending church with the family on Sundays.


Does this make me a "bad" atheist? I mean, singing and pretending I believe in the crap that the Catholic church is spewing IS giving me a wonderful benefit, I wouldn't be able to afford this college otherwise, as the room and board is awful, and I'm getting a quality, secular education while also getting to park in the campus church's parking lot (Score!). But is all of that a worthy price to pay?


Now, my aunt knows that I'm an atheist but, being the wonderful right wing Catholic that she is, bless her heart, she thinks it's a phase and that I should simply attend church to get back to Jesus. We pray before meals, (I bow my head respectfully, but keep my eyes open), we attend church and sing and eat the bread and wine (God-awful as you can imagine...) and she constantly tells me of God's wonders. Some days, I believe she has simply forgotten, but other days it's apparent that she wants me to convert. I knew this would happen, so I ignore it and get along with my day. What's 45 minutes thinking about debunking the arguments if I get to stay for free?


But morally...does my "willful" act make me a terrible person, or is this simply a sacrifice worth free room and board?


Perhaps I just need reassurance. I wouldn't be bowing to her metaphysical bully if I didn't have my education (as a microbiologist!) at stake.


(Now quick, I post this before she comes up and sees "Think Atheist" in my browser history. :P)

Views: 513

Comment by grimmlock on August 25, 2011 at 2:59pm
As long as the sliding doors at the store still open for you, I think you'll be fine.

Like you said, your Aunt knows you don't believe, so consider it to be the price you pay for your "free" room and board. TANSTAAFL, my friend, going to church is just your pound of flesh, and far easier to stomach than what they are charging for kids to stay at a college these days.
Comment by Cognizant Psyche on August 25, 2011 at 3:07pm

Well we do what we have to do, and being as we don’t have any doctrine or rules that says "don’t mingle with other beliefs" I don’t think it’s bad.  You're not lying, you don’t ever say you believe, and it seems you’re quite vocal about your atheism.  As long as you can stomach all the religion, you get to save a crap ton of money.  And you get to do "research" on another branch of religion, if nothing else to add ammo to your arsenal. I wish you the best of luck and I’m sure walmart sells medicine for nausea if it gets to be too much >_< lol.

Comment by Stacey Rodriguez on August 25, 2011 at 3:07pm

I would definitely go with her, but I wouldn't partake in communion at all.  To me as a non-believer, I feel it's disrespectful to myself and the parish to pretend that I believe.  I go occasionally to church with my mother, and I sit peacefully in the pew while she kneels, sings, stands and all that, but I don't participate.  I'm not being true to myself if I do, and to me that's more important than making my mother happy. 

I would say to keep going to keep your free room, chores and meal time prayers won't kill you.  But respect the congregation that does believe, and refrain from at least taking communion, if you can. 

Comment by Derek on August 25, 2011 at 3:09pm

No you're not a bad atheist. You seem to have thought this through quite well. Faking it for a while in order to get a quality education with church parking seems a small price to pay in light of the circumstances. It probably is the best you can hope for -- grin and bear it.... get college over with and get out of there.

Comment by Samantha J. on August 25, 2011 at 3:11pm

@ Stacey. I tried. >> I got a "cheerful" smile and a "Oh right, you don't know. You stand and walk down, and then say 'Amen'...." No, she fully expects me to partake, though I did wonder. Thank you for bringing it up though, I forgot to mention that tidbit...

Comment by Stacey Rodriguez on August 25, 2011 at 3:17pm

Gotcha Samantha!  Well, can you walk with her in the communion line and then put your finger over your lips like little kids do?  It's still participating...kind of lol

Have you asked her how she feels about a non-believer taking the holy body of christ?  Most catholics are totally nutty about transubstantiation, might be worth a try. 

Comment by Samantha J. on August 25, 2011 at 3:20pm

She told me she felt it would "open my eyes". I never really had to live with her before but this is the first time I'm seeing the Fox News watching, family-prayer having utter stereotype that this side of my family is. No wonder my father only rarely interacts with the rest of his family. (Though he is also not a Christian, there's nothing his siblings can do about that and they seem okay with his choice. However, I am young and impressionable.)

Comment by Stacey Rodriguez on August 25, 2011 at 3:23pm

Wow, that's pretty surprising of her.  Were you raised catholic?  Was she?  Doesn't she know that one is not supposed to take communion until they've had the formal first communion sacrement & all that jazz?  Doesn't sound like you've done that yourself, she's breaking church rules LOL

Comment by Samantha J. on August 25, 2011 at 4:17pm

I was raised Catholic, so I've had all the sacraments. And she doesn't know that I've been an atheist for years, so she might just think I've "strayed a bit". And thanks to everyone, this is really encouraging. :) I just didn't want to feel like I was compromising myself needlessly.

Comment by Stacey Rodriguez on August 25, 2011 at 4:21pm

Ah ok, so no rule breaking then :)

Keep on keepin' on Samantha, you're education is your priority, you'll find a way to make everything work out!  Best of luck to you!


You need to be a member of Think Atheist to add comments!

Join Think Atheist

© 2018   Created by Rebel.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service