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Tips on How to Handle Crazy Religious People at Weddings Without Feeli

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Whenever I go to a wedding and a rehearsal dinner where everyone prays and the preacher makes some evil speech about self sacrifice, that no one is perfect, and how self interest doesn't matter I quietly don't participate but their immoralities make me very uncomfortable and I begin to feel unsure of myself even though I'm perfectly aware of the truth (that perfection can be achieved, that real love is selfish etc.). When people pray I ignore what they say and don't put my head down because I don't think it's right to pretend that thanking the lord for everything you have done from your own intelligence is the right way to think. All of the people who subconsciously know what I know and continue to lie feed a chain of more serious immoralities that account for the pitiful state of society which we all have to live in. First of all, I love both of my siblings for their independance and intelligence and that's why I care so much, they have been great role models to me and have taught me a lot. Their weddings were special and they paid a lot of money for them and it bothers me very much that they have to submit themselves to tradition and petty emotionalism from their in-laws. Here it is, my accomplished, independent sister's special day, and she has to pay for the preacher to make a speech about evil values which are not what made her find love or became a successful lawyer.

I'm sure many members here have had to deal with these kinds of situations, so I want to know, what is the best way to react? How can you honestly defend your values without enabling their in-laws to hassle them and make their life worse?

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Been there (many times) - chatted, ate well, drank, danced.

Celebrated a special day in the lives of special people.

Seems like the priest had no 'evil' effect on me.

When I left, I had the same morality I arrived with.

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I didn't say it had an "evil" effect, it just makes me feel uncomfortable, that almost all the people around me probably believe those things and expect anyone they would respect to be the same way. It does have an evil effect on others you care about to lie though. If no one takes a stand against mysticism things will miserable in a lot of ways. It is never rational to lie that way, because the effects it has on society will come back to you. They act like it is a "necessity" to be selfless (even though they don't even really practice what they preach lol) and be good church goers like them.

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Two distinct things: the ideology - and those who believe and practise (to be accurate, attempt, to believe and practise) it. At a level, they share commonality with you and me, which is their humanity, and cognitive capability. The ideology is evil, but the people are only doing the best they can, mainly.

The reality is we have to live among them - and believe me, just driving down the road in the knowledge

of what other drivers put their faith in, scares the hell out of me!

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Two distinct things: the ideology - and those who believe and practise (to be accurate, attempt, to believe and practise) it. At a level, they share commonality with you and me, which is their humanity, and cognitive capability. The ideology is evil, but the people are only doing the best they can, mainly.

The reality is we have to live among them - and believe me, just driving down the road in the knowledge

of what other drivers put their faith in, scares the hell out of me!

I understand that, but the people who are "just doing the best they can" are confused and think they have to trust based on faith what they are told (ie. maybe by tyrannical parents or friends or relatives) and that's why it's immoral to lie by pretending to pray or accept religion in any way. The people who are naturally rational because of their cognitive abilities and experiences just learn that it's something they have to accept in order to get by in life and they feel guilt and self hatred for their intelligence. If everyone that is rational is disengenous about what they really believe in order to be socially accepted mysticism becomes more widespread and accepted. It's like giving the enemy more power without realizing what you're doing in the grand scheme of things.

Edited by Dreamspirit
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I understand that, but the people who are "just doing the best they can" are confused and think they have to trust based on faith what they are told (ie. maybe by tyrannical parents or friends or relatives) and that's why it's immoral to lie by pretending to pray or accept religion in any way. The people who are naturally rational because of their cognitive abilities and experiences just learn that it's something they have to accept in order to get by in life and they feel guilt and self hatred for their intelligence. If everyone that is rational is disengenous about what they really believe in order to be socially accepted mysticism becomes more widespread and accepted. It's like giving the enemy more power without realizing what you're doing in the grand scheme of things.

Let them know.

Anybody who is slightly interested in you should know - at least - you are irreligious. Those closer to you should know you're atheist. That's the honesty and integrity you seem to be espousing. Where's the problem?

You are not sanctioning evil, by appearing at a wedding. Who's watching?

Friends or family would want you there, despite your non-belief, I'm sure. But if it makes you uncomfortable, slip out and rejoin them after the service. The pretence and disingenuousness is all your making.

One of the moderators said here once that one should live FOR something, not constantly against anything. Very true. It's the way of the 'first-hander'.

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In the fall I'll be attending the wedding of two of my good friends from college. They are both Christians and quite religious, and it will definitely be a Christian ceremony. I'm very excited about it, because it'll be a celebration of a beautiful thing: the two of them joining their lives together. I'll be happy to sit through all the religious stuff, because the celebration isn't about me; it's about them, and they want their religious beliefs included in the ceremonies, which is quite understandable. As far as the group prayer stuff you brought up, I never lower my head when I'm attending something and there's a mass prayer, because I don't want to be pretending to be participating in something that I'm not, and I'd think that those actually praying wouldn't want me to either. My friends all know and are comfortable with my lack of religious belief, and with the other people there I just won't care.

It's unclear from your post, but if with your siblings you're talking about people who aren't religious but submitted to a religious wedding for the sake of their families, that is something that should make you uncomfortable, more than uncomfortable actually. The wedding is about the two people getting married, and no one else, and it's pretty messed up to have one of the most important events of one's life infused with beliefs one doesn't share for the sake of family members.

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In the fall I'll be attending the wedding of two of my good friends from college. They are both Christians and quite religious, and it will definitely be a Christian ceremony. I'm very excited about it, because it'll be a celebration of a beautiful thing: the two of them joining their lives together. I'll be happy to sit through all the religious stuff, because the celebration isn't about me; it's about them, and they want their religious beliefs included in the ceremonies, which is quite understandable. As far as the group prayer stuff you brought up, I never lower my head when I'm attending something and there's a mass prayer, because I don't want to be pretending to be participating in something that I'm not, and I'd think that those actually praying wouldn't want me to either. My friends all know and are comfortable with my lack of religious belief, and with the other people there I just won't care.

It's unclear from your post, but if with your siblings you're talking about people who aren't religious but submitted to a religious wedding for the sake of their families, that is something that should make you uncomfortable, more than uncomfortable actually. The wedding is about the two people getting married, and no one else, and it's pretty messed up to have one of the most important events of one's life infused with beliefs one doesn't share for the sake of family members.

My sister is probably not religious in any way, but she NEVER says anything about her personal beliefs around my parents so I can't say for sure. I think I may have asked her one time if she believes in creationism or God and she said no I don't think so. She had a very diverse group of friends in college, hindus, jews, muslims, mormons, catholics etc. and would make a lot of comments about how weird some things were in their culture. She is very naive and good naturedly accepts that her husband is religious like it's a fact of life and it's ok. She is either confused and subconsciously accepts christianity on the surface and pretends like baptist values were never not her own or consciously doesn't agree with his beliefs but just ignores them because she likes to be with him and is attracted to him. Even if she thinks she believes in God, religious values are not the values her actions are operated by. I like her husband, we had many good conversations and just observing them together they seem to have cognitive preferances that compliment each other. He is very religious and has occasionaly made some very wacky comments about legends in the bible but being forceful or pushy about it is not his style. He is equally successful and intelligent so I doubt he really operates on religious values either except for the fact that he gives up everything to his blood relatives for their emotional whims, the weak dominate over him and he has nearly gone into debt giving up what he's earned to them. It's really actually quite sad and disturbing, because obviously he's been brainwashed his whole life. It's his crazy religious family that I despize and it is really sad that there are now going to be some of these people in our family. His mother texts him constantly and innapropriately hassles them to have kids because she "wants to see her grandchildren grown up before she dies." And that's just the beginning of the wackiness of my sister's in-laws. My sister isn't sure if she wants to be a stay at home mom and her in-laws act like it's not her decision. What was most sad of all to me was the speech the preacher made before the vows were said though, a message of altruism and suffering to start their lives together was so reflective of the evil in the world and my sister's naive submission to it.

Edited by Dreamspirit
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When I find someone I love, I intend to get married in a church, not because I feel like I have to be traditional, but because I would be most comfortable with it and it has a certain charm to it that makes a wedding special. However, I do NOT intend to allow a preacher to make an altruist speech that has nothing to do with my values. Preferably, the person who marries us must not be religious in any way, but I may not be able to find someone who does that and I may have to compromise. You should not feel uncomfortable at your wedding ceremony, it should be about the people's values who are being joined together, not some fake christian bs. Otherwise why even have one?

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It sounds like you need to take a step back.

I understand that your love and concern for your sister make this situation troubling for you but it is, afterall, her life to make choices as she sees fit.

Part of making choices will always be making mistakes.

When you love someone it is almost guaranteed that they will come with some baggage in the form of relatives one would rather not associate with.

She'll probably have to go through a trial and error period of figuring out how and where to set her boundaries with her husband's family.

Your heated emotional response to all this will probably backfire at some point. Your post started off as being about handling having to sit through religious ceremonies you disapprove of and veered into what seems to be hatred and contempt for your brother-in-law's whole family. There will inevitably be conflict and your BIL will probably have to choose to stand up to his family or damage his relationship with his wife. But really, that is bewteen them when it does happen. Which it hasn't yet.

Ultimately, the (admittedly awful) behaviors you're describing aren't really about religion. Many non-religious in laws indulge in the exact same awful behaviors.

Your sister found what sounds like a great man from a terrible family. Sucks, but such is often the case.

You might want to ask yourself though what getting yourself so worked up over it will gain you, or your sister, or anyone.

If you are truly wanting to help your sister being calm and dispassionate about the situation is probably best.

Vitriol can make for good drama, but rarely good living situations.

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It sounds like you need to take a step back.

I understand that your love and concern for your sister make this situation troubling for you but it is, afterall, her life to make choices as she sees fit.

Part of making choices will always be making mistakes.

When you love someone it is almost guaranteed that they will come with some baggage in the form of relatives one would rather not associate with.

She'll probably have to go through a trial and error period of figuring out how and where to set her boundaries with her husband's family.

Your heated emotional response to all this will probably backfire at some point. Your post started off as being about handling having to sit through religious ceremonies you disapprove of and veered into what seems to be hatred and contempt for your brother-in-law's whole family. There will inevitably be conflict and your BIL will probably have to choose to stand up to his family or damage his relationship with his wife. But really, that is bewteen them when it does happen. Which it hasn't yet.

Ultimately, the (admittedly awful) behaviors you're describing aren't really about religion. Many non-religious in laws indulge in the exact same awful behaviors.

Your sister found what sounds like a great man from a terrible family. Sucks, but such is often the case.

You might want to ask yourself though what getting yourself so worked up over it will gain you, or your sister, or anyone.

If you are truly wanting to help your sister being calm and dispassionate about the situation is probably best.

Vitriol can make for good drama, but rarely good living situations.

You're right that relatives aren't always like that because they're religious, but they do use religious basis for their invasive actions and it absolves them from any guilt, which makes it hard to hold them responsible for it. That's what I was trying to say but I didn't articulate it very well, it is a very complicated situation.

Feeling uncomfortable is an emotion, and I was only trying to monitor the roots of why I feel that emotion and rationalize it. I don't really make that big of a deal out of it and I never meant to imply that I want to be invasive in her decision making, but I do think she is a little too naive (wants to assume the best about his family because she loves him) and not assertive enough. I would never give my opinion where it wasn't wanted, but you can't stop yourself from noticing something and forming opinions, and because she has been such a great role model and sister for such a long time. I just wanted to know how to not let my energy be absorbed in all the drama when the preacher says such evil things and people are so pushy and forceful about the "right" way to be without lying or making the lives of my sister and brother in law worse. I feel unsure when I am the only one with my head not down and when someone makes a comment about "the lord blessing us" and feel like I'm either being disengenous or brash and destructive (making the couples life harder). I always feel like they know what I'm thinking by looking at my face because after they see my reaction they are often scowling at me and make passive agressive comments directed at me.

It's untrue that I have hatred and contempt for his "whole" family, but I do have contempt for most of them because they are blood sucking leeches and use religion to moralize their pathetic, controlling, cowardly actions. They also dictated a lot of things about the wedding, like that Kelsey couldn't have dancing and her mother in law asked her, "How can you invite your friends over our family members?" She invited like 100 distant family members that don't even matter without kelsey's permission and she couldn't uninvite them, so she had to sacrifice the invites she has set aside for her close friends. I don't know what person wouldn't after seeing the mother in law make cruel comments to my confused niece who was recently officially adopted about our family tree and stuff. She made a point of showing her pictures of our family and saying, "hey, this is your g-grandmother," and anyone with common sense would know that is not a good thing to bring up to a young adopted child because she has never met any of those people since they are all dead and it could bring back confusing memories of her previous family that abused her. I know she didn't do those things in good heart because when no one else in my family was in the room but me, she tried to scold her and make her think she wasn't going to be a good flowergirl. No one on her side of the family stepped in. Her sister, who is younger and has been married 5 times made nasty comments to me about getting a lot of dessert at the dessert bar even though many other people were doing it before me. It was something about how she can't eat that because she ate so much and she's watching her weight. The members of the family who didn't have any substance were doing the mother in law's bidding and were on the attack basically and it was very stressful and uncomfortable to go through. There are too many situations to name.

Edited by Dreamspirit
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I always feel like they know what I'm thinking by looking at my face because after they see my reaction they are often scowling at me and make passive agressive comments directed at me.

Are you familiar with the proverb

"The dog barks and the caravan moves on"

Edit for typo

Edited by SapereAude
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It didn't turn out the way my sister wanted, and that's mostly what upset me. I would have liked to see all of her good friends from law school and her other close friends see her and I would have liked it if people had done what they said they were going to do, so my sister could have relaxed and worried about things like her hair and makeup. I felt uncomfortable because I didn't know what to do and I knew people were gossiping about and judging my sister and the rest of my family. The mother in law almost kind of reminds me of Lily in Atlas Shrugged, so I guess ignoring these people is the moral thing to do but they try really hard to get a reaction. When I was in the lobby of the hotel, helping set up tables for the rehearsal dinner, the mother in law just kept bumping in to me. If I had have said anything she would have made me look like a psycho. She could tell I'm not touchy feely and don't like hugging people or holding other people's babies so she wanted to paint me as anti-touchy feely, like some kind of oaf.

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I understand your concern for your sister but the problem is that she has chosen to allow her inlaws to do this.

And her husband is allowing them to do it and she is allowing him to allow them to do it.

A situation like this almost always gets much worse before it can potentially get better.

Your sister will inevitably reach her breaking point and demand a change.

Unfortunately she is likely to waste a lot of time suffering fools before she puts her foot down.

But such is the nature of growth and experience.

We take things until we decide not to, and then we are left to wonder what took us so long.

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