How do you deal with religious ceremonies?
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09-05-2012, 01:36 PM
How do you deal with religious ceremonies?
As my name suggest I live in Ireland, which is predominately Catholic. As as with most (all?) religions, catholisim has hijacked all major life events, birth, death, weddings ect.

Previously I attended peoples church weddings, childs christenings ect as I was supporting the person on a special day or a difficult day in the case of funerals or memory masses. As much as it pained me to sit in a church and listen to the goings on, i tried to focus on the fact that I was simply there for support.

But now I find myself struggling with this, mainly because of the child abuse cases and institutional cover up by the catholic church. I cant imagine that any other institution would be able to hold on to so many members after such facts came to light. And if any of you have read about these abuses and not only the churchs cover up but also the further abuse of these victims by how the church treated them, you know the horrors I am talking about.

The point or question of my post is how do you deal with invites to such religious events. I have a few friends getting married in church cceremonies over the summer and I have a few close people who have lost someone and expect my attendence at memory masses.

But I find it hard to enter the building of a religious order that has actively abused and covered up the abuse of children. How can I sit in the seats of such a place. If it was any other organisation it wouldnt even be a question you would never go near them.

Its so frustrating that religion has hijacked all these major life events but at the same time how can I say to a loved one that I cant go to their wedding cause they are chosing to get married in a catholic church which has allowed child abuse, not exactly a nice thing to say to someone about their wedding day! Its almost like accusing them of supporting the churchs actions but thats what I feel I would be doing by partaking in any of their services.

I know the catholic church issues is a bit different to probably most religions you guys find yourself having to deal with. But what do you do in these circumstances where you are expected to attend a religious ceremony and if you refuse, how has that worked out for you?
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09-05-2012, 03:42 PM (This post was last modified: 09-05-2012 03:44 PM by morondog.)
RE: How do you deal with religious ceremonies?
Are you invited to the reception? You could just go to that. Maybe give a polite explanation if asked why you don't want to go to the church service? It's not like they'll get any more married if you're watching Tongue
Crap I missed the part about the funeral.

Jeez, I don't know about that hey. Funerals are horrible affairs through and through Sad Can't offer any advice on that one. Personally I just let it ride. If I'm gonna be there for a close friend I'll go and sit through the bullshit, if not, I don't go.
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09-05-2012, 03:48 PM
RE: How do you deal with religious ceremonies?
If I can avoid going to a ceremony I just don't go, if I must go, I just sit there and observe the behaviour of people feeling superior and all sciency, like Jane Goodall observing her monkeys Tongue

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09-05-2012, 03:54 PM (This post was last modified: 09-05-2012 03:55 PM by IrishAtheist.)
RE: How do you deal with religious ceremonies?
(09-05-2012 03:42 PM)morondog Wrote:  Are you invited to the reception? You could just go to that. Maybe give a polite explanation if asked why you don't want to go to the church service? It's not like they'll get any more married if you're watching Tongue
Crap I missed the part about the funeral.

Jeez, I don't know about that hey. Funerals are horrible affairs through and through Sad Can't offer any advice on that one. Personally I just let it ride. If I'm gonna be there for a close friend I'll go and sit through the bullshit, if not, I don't go.


yeah to the whole thing. I think it might be insulting to say I cant be bother to see you get married but I will go for the free food Smile

Yeah the funeral thing is different entirely, I dont think there is a choice in that one. Its just all frustrating that there is no other way that people for people to recognise these occassions. I know many people who may not be atheist but have no time for the church (vocally depise it) but still use the church for such times.

I just thought I would bring all this up seeing I never hear it talked aboout in the atheist community.

(09-05-2012 03:48 PM)nach_in Wrote:  If I can avoid going to a ceremony I just don't go, if I must go, I just sit there and observe the behaviour of people feeling superior and all sciency, like Jane Goodall observing her monkeys Tongue


ha ha! I do that too Thumbsup
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09-05-2012, 03:59 PM
RE: How do you deal with religious ceremonies?
I also try to avoid them at all costs. Funerals are about the only time I ever really attend any and my wife wanted to be married in a church by a preacher but otherwise I distance myself from them. I just feel so uncomfortable. Funerals are nothing more than pity parties anyways. The last one I attended was my Uncle's (who was more like a grandfather to me). I was so pissed afterwards. He was religious, so I anticipated it being a talking point during the eulogy, but I still expected to learn something about my uncle's life or to hear some stories about him. No. The guy used it as a pulpit for pandering off his bullshit and said damn near nothing about my uncle, only mentioning he was a christian basically and that he went to church. I realize most of my family thought it was a good service so I did not say anything, but my wife knew I was getting upset because of the fact that he was preaching and not honoring the life of my uncle. I genuinely don't know what I would do if I had to sit through another such sermon for another family member, I would probably get up and leave. Not out of disrespect for my family, but out of disrespect for the person pandering off their beliefs to the gullible grieving family and friends of the departed.

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09-05-2012, 04:04 PM (This post was last modified: 09-05-2012 04:12 PM by GirlyMan.)
RE: How do you deal with religious ceremonies?
(09-05-2012 01:36 PM)IrishAtheist Wrote:  The point or question of my post is how do you deal with invites to such religious events. I have a few friends getting married in church cceremonies over the summer and I have a few close people who have lost someone and expect my attendence at memory masses.

I look forward to them myself. The pomp and circumstance is usually quite theatrical and entertaining (well maybe not so entertaining with funerals but still interesting). Why would I be bothered by merely attending and enjoying the traditions, ceremonies, and celebrations of others? The Catholic Church has been surprisingly tolerant of this atheist. They allowed me to be married to my Catholic wife by a Priest in a Catholic Church. I enjoyed the wedding. All 4 of my children were baptized into the Catholic Church as infants. I enjoyed that ceremony as well. Didn't seem to hurt 'em none since they all turned out to be atheists (my hands are clean of this, the Catholic Church made me promise not to interfere with their religious upbringing, I kept my promise). And don't get me started on Irish Catholic wakes, those parties are just fucking crazy. Ain't like there's anything to be scared of. ... It's not like they eat babies or sumthin'. Big Grin .... But I do hate wearing a suit and tie.

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09-05-2012, 04:06 PM
RE: How do you deal with religious ceremonies?
What nach-in said, I go and watch it like the circus it is.

If I really don't want to go, I will show up all dishevelled at the end of the service and apologize profusely and give out lots of hugs and kisses.

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09-05-2012, 04:13 PM
RE: How do you deal with religious ceremonies?
I just don't go. Period. I haven't attended a funeral since I was a kid, and the couple of church weddings that I've been invited to, I just show up close to the end. I hang out, and when they come out, I try to get in a congrats, just so the couple knows that I showed up for their important day. To be honest, the bride and groom have no clue that you weren't in the church. They had other things on their minds. Then, at a later date, I explain why, if it comes up at all.

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09-05-2012, 04:13 PM
RE: How do you deal with religious ceremonies?
I used to be a Catholic and my wife still is. Even though I was a believer when we got married (we did the whole Catholic wedding thing), I was no longer a believer by the time we had our son baptized. That's right, I had my son baptized while being an unbeliever and stood there as the Priest went through the whole schpeel about my son being born out of sin.

Still being a non-believer, my wife and I are currently planning the baptismal of our soon-to-be-born daughter. Yes, she knows I no longer believe. Why do I not fight this? Because I pick my battles and this one simply is not worth it. It's not worth it because I know my wife is not a devout and she doesn't believe the stuff about us being born from sin. She's equally disgusted about how the Catholic church treats gays and how many priests molest children and go on without being prosecuted.

To us, this is more of a tradition/culture. We don't go to church every Sunday. We only go on holidays and that's only if we have the time. This is how most of the religious people I know (and love) actually are.

If it was completely up to me, I would probably forgo these types of ceremonies. But I love and respect my wife's beliefs and her wants. So I partake in these religious ceremonies. Big whoop. I celebrate Christmas too. I still say bless you when someone sneezes.

While I am aware of the cover-ups and abuses that go on in Catholic churches, it is not the case for every church. Nor does this mean that every single priest is a part of the conspiracy. Unless the church you are attending is actively taking part in these abuses/cover-ups, I don't see a valid argument for forgoing a family/friend's religious event (in terms of your reason for protesting).

Do you apply this logic to other areas as well? What car do you purchase and drive? You are likely fattening the pockets of a CEO who flies on private planes even as the economy is down (this relates more to America, but for the sake of the point...). Do you purchase items made in places like China or Philippines? Are you sure the workers in these factories are treated fairly?

I hope you see where I am going with all of this. While you have every right not to attend and shouldn't be obligated to feel bad for it, the reason you are using not to attend isn't a very good one in my opinion. You're not giving the church any money like you would be with other organizations you might be protesting. You do nothing for the church by attending and not donating. You don't believe so they aren't gaining any supporters. Kids aren't going to get molested at an increasing rate because you attended. Again, this is unlike other organizations you might be protesting where they gain something from your attendance and money.

The only people that stand to gain from your presence are your loved ones. In the end, should that not be what holds precedence in this situation?

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09-05-2012, 04:15 PM
RE: How do you deal with religious ceremonies?
(09-05-2012 04:04 PM)GirlyMan Wrote:  
(09-05-2012 01:36 PM)IrishAtheist Wrote:  The point or question of my post is how do you deal with invites to such religious events. I have a few friends getting married in church cceremonies over the summer and I have a few close people who have lost someone and expect my attendence at memory masses.


I look forward to them myself. The pomp and circumstance is usually quite theatrical and entertaining (well maybe not so entertaining with funerals but still interesting). Why would I be bothered by merely attending and enjoying the traditions and celebrations of others? The Catholic Church has been surprisingly tolerant of this atheist. They allowed me to be married to my Catholic wife by a Priest in a Catholic Church. I enjoyed the wedding. All 4 of my children were baptized into the Catholic Church as infants. I enjoyed that ceremony as well. Didn't seem to hurt 'em none since they all turned out to be atheists (my hands are clean of this, the Catholic Church made me promise not to interfere with their religious upbringing, I kept my promise). And don't get me started on Irish Catholic wakes, those parties are just fucking crazy. Ain't like there's anything to be scared of. ... It's not like they eat babies or sumthin'. Big Grin .... But I do hate wearing a suit and tie.



Having been raised catholic I have spent enough time in mass, to lose all interest in viewing these ceremonies as interesting or something different. Not all traditions are good.

Catholic wakes, weddings, christenings ect they all involve drinking afterwards, that part I dont mind Tongue
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