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: 448

Tags: Atheist, Catholic, Christian, College, Family, Sacrifice

Comment by gerrymander on August 25, 2011 at 4:44pm

You're not "faking it"; from your Aunt's perspective (as you say, she thinks you're going through a phase) she and the church are getting a fair shot at returning you to the fold; not your fault if the arguments aren't convincing.

Comment by James on August 25, 2011 at 9:22pm

If say that it's worth it if it allows you to go to school. Also, if she knows you're and Atheist it's not really 'faking'. Rather it's her attempt to try and 'save you' or wake you up from the phase she thinks you're in. You could always use the time in church to arm yourself with more knowledge to break down the absurd beliefs. I'd skip the Communion if you could. I was raised Catholic too, but was never confirmed. A few years ago we had to go to Christmas mass with my mother-in-law. I elected to stay seated, but there were plenty that went up but still didn't participate. Maybe you could go up behind her and just bypass the wafers. Who knows how long you'll have to go though. As you get deeper into classes, maybe you'll have too much homework and she'll let you stay home every now and then to work on your studies. If that happens enough, you could get off the hook. Unlikely, but it's a good thought. Also, after you keep going to mass and still remain an Atheist, perhaps she'll grow to respect your stance. Good luck!

Comment by Kairan Nierde on August 25, 2011 at 10:18pm

I think both Nate and Stacy are right.  You're not being deceptive. Your attendance is just an agreement you have with your Aunt.  Ironically, your Aunt is disrespecting the Catholic tradition by insisting that you take communion, and some other Catholics will be offended if they learn you have not had First Communion or converted, much less that you are an unapologetic atheist.  They go through all that rig-a-ma-roll before giving out communion because the bread and the wine really become that important to them after it symbolically becomes the blood and body of Jeebus.  It's sacred, and what not.  :-p  I would just go to mass and observe...don't take communion, say The Creed, or kneel to pray.   

Comment by Rick on August 25, 2011 at 10:52pm

Participating in something doesnt mean you agree with it. just think of how many people hate their jobs. you're being given an opportuinty to get an education. put up with whatever you need to in order to make it through the program.

good luck!

Comment by Artor on August 26, 2011 at 1:19am

If you haven't been baptized, you're not supposed to take communion anyway, so you might have that out if your aunt insists. It's kind of your aunt to offer the room and board so you have access to a good education, but it's unfortunate that she is using it to extort you into living a lie. Take advantage of the opportunity, and you can be one of us educated atheists who can quote scripture right back at Xtians who mostly haven't even read their own Bible.

Comment by Freek on August 26, 2011 at 2:15am

As for going to church, I do not think you are a bad person for that. You are not faking belief by going, instead you are going on the off (very off) chance that you may convert (as is your aunt's hope).

As for joining communion. I'm not that well-versed in Catholicism, but doesn't it require confessing that Jesus is your savior? (At least, that's the case for Protestants).

If so, you can tell your aunt that you feel uncomfortable joining communion because it would make you a lier (and it would render the communion useless as well if I'm correct). If your aunt denies you this, she will actually push you further from faith, and I doubt that's what she wants.

Comment by Joe Belack on August 26, 2011 at 11:33am

well you're not doing anything wrong for sure! If you can tolerate such a thing, you are better off than I! I would refuse outright. Mostly because I cannot sit and watch indoctrination and lies being spread like that. I'd most likely raise my hand mid-service and ask "How old do you think the Universe is?"

Comment by Reg The Fronkey Farmer on August 26, 2011 at 2:35pm

Would you be evicted for not attending church on Sundays? That would make her a great Christian indeed. However it is financially worth it - but no free lunches.

Comment by kris feenstra on August 26, 2011 at 3:05pm

As others have stated, it's just a perfunctory duty, and not a statement on your beliefs or convictions.  It may hold significance to her, but that doesn't mean you have to regard it as anything more than superfluous nonsense.  

 

It's hard to find a good place to stay while at school (especially considering costs), so you make due with the options available. If you made an agreement, it's good of you to honor its conditions.   You're supposed to suffer a little at college, I think.

 

Maybe you can make some friends at school who will be willing to split a place with you next semester or next year.  I split a two-bedroom apartment with three other people and slept on the living room floor for my second year, but it was actually kind of fun.  I worked during summer break to cover the cost, and the others held part time jobs during the year.  I'd rather give up some of my free time to a part time job than Sunday service.

Comment by Sharyn Lesher on August 26, 2011 at 3:16pm

i don't suppose there is any chance of sitting by yourself in the back & reading? : )

like Joseph said, it's just a building. no different than if you went to a meeting of the young republicans & listened to their lectures. you're not going to be swayed in your beliefs by listening to people spout nonsense. (apologies if you are a YR).

as to the rites, you could probably get the priest on your side & not have to partake.

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