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?
Plus you do have to think of your family after all, and I think they've got a point that they don't want to upset her. They love her presumably. She's harmless, right? She just wants you to take part in some religious rituals. I've gone to church services, and I quite enjoyed them for the common ground we shared. Obviously I don't shout Praise the Lord or anything, I just politely let them get on with it and get what I can out of it.
An in your face christian preaching their delusions and superstition and guilt tripping you into going to church and creating an atmosphere of tension and unease is hardly harmless. Their presence can be outright toxic.
I say be yourself. There is no reluctance on her part to impose so you are entitled to avoid having to conceal your views. The people around you will likely respect you for your integrity and guts. But it is easy for me to say.
Tell her that you live your life your way and expect that to be respected. If she wants to pray for your soul, welcome her to knock herself out, but you're not going to pray until/unless it's YOUR idea to do so. You don't even have to get into atheism.
I have no sage advice to offer. I can only describe my experiences in similar situations. I have never suffered any sort of negative repercussions by being honest; at least none that caused me to lose any sleep.
I have had a sister-in-law for 53 years who is a devout Catholic who never misses mass. When I stay at her home, she never suggests I accompany her to church, because she respects me as I respect her. In 53 years, the topic has never come up between us. Your aunt should likewise respect you.
I do NOT ever bring up the topic of religion with people like your aunt; they have a RIGHT to believe as they wish. But if their beliefs are forced upon me, I do not shrink from expressing my opinion. That’s what’s so great about “Think Atheist:” people who post here are implicitly inviting responses, as are Jehovah's Witnesses at my door.
The only exception is that, as a teacher for 36 years, this dilemma occasionally presented itself in the classroom and I successfully resisted any and all temptations to unfairly use my authority to force my opinions on students (other than teaching evolution).
If, despite your own restraint, your aunt does try to force her opinions on you, be honest, truthful, and don’t lose any sleep over it. And should your other family members castigate you for it, I wouldn’t lose any sleep over them, either. TO THINE OWN SELF BE TRUE!
First of all, your not dead, nor dying. There are a couple of ways to handle a situation like yours (as far as I can see, anyway).
First: reject the notion of pretending to be someone different to who you really are. Your aunt is (presumably) a grown woman and entirely capable of dealing with reality. Benefits of this approach is you are being true to yourself. On the other hand, it sounds like your aunt might not react well to this, particularly if your parents and sister don't do it too.
Second: Go along with it while she's around so the whole family spends a bit of time together without too much controversy. Benefits of this approach is keeping your aunt happy and having some family time.
Really it's something you need to discuss with your family and present a united front one way or the other.
Firmly stand your ground but be polite. Respect is a two way street.
If I understood things correctly, by now you are in the thick of things.
Please let us know how it's going, or (if you read this afterwards) what you ended up doing and how it went.
Hey guys! Well so far everything is going well. She hasn't stayed at my house, she is staying at my uncle's house and I've only seen her once since she came which is good for me. She leaves in two days and I believe she is coming over to my house today for a cookout but I'll be leaving to my university anyway because I have way too much homework to do so I think everything is going well! I THINK.
You must bath her in warm chicken grease to cleans her of the powerful demon that has taken possession of her immortal juju spirit. Tell her it is so written is the holy book written in his own hand by the one and only true god the Great Greggor (I will send you a copy just as soon as I'm done writing it), by the time she cleans all that chicken grease off herself she will be happy to leave. :)
Gregg, you are thinking of karmic aura. Chicken grease is for karmic aura. The only way to cleanse a Juju spirit is by taking a vaccine loaded with autism.
+2 (one for Gregg)