How do you deal with religious ceremonies?
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09-05-2012, 04:23 PM
RE: How do you deal with religious ceremonies?
(09-05-2012 04:15 PM)IrishAtheist Wrote:  
(09-05-2012 04:04 PM)GirlyMan Wrote:  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.

Yeah, it was new to me but I can see how it could get old quick. Wink

(09-05-2012 04:15 PM)IrishAtheist Wrote:  Catholic wakes, weddings, christenings ect they all involve drinking afterwards, that part I dont mind Tongue

I mean, what's not to like? I think the ceremony is only there to provide penance in advance for the debauchery to follow. Big Grin

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09-05-2012, 05:00 PM (This post was last modified: 09-05-2012 05:06 PM by IrishAtheist.)
RE: How do you deal with religious ceremonies?
(09-05-2012 04:13 PM)NoahsFarce Wrote:  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?


As you said you have to pick your battles and the abuses of the catholic church is an important 'battle' to me, only hindered by wanting to support loved ones. Hence my dilemma.

Unlike other religions the catholic churches do not act seperatly from each other. Each church is linked to and ruled by the vatican. Each priest is ruled by the vatican. Recently in Ireland, we have had two priests censored by the vatican where they can not talk or write articles unless they have been approved first because they were going against the party line so to speak. So there is the vaticans way of doing things and everyone most follow. How the child abuse cases were dealt with and are still being dealt with shows where this insitutions priorities are and that is protecting themselves over all else. So unlike America where you have many different religions and church which can act independently, the catholic church (in Ireland, at least, but I think everywhere) is different and therefore one church is the same as the other. They all follow vatican rule.

And yes I do carry this way of thinking into other areas of my life, I try to be an ethically minded consumer, there are popular brands that I refuse to buy and have not bought for over 10 years now as a result of how they go about business. But of course, I am far from perfect and I am sure there are many cases where I have put money into the hands of people that I would have no respect for. But I try and thats better than not.

Clearly you are not too bothered about the effects of religion but I am. And I think the more people remove themselves from religious communities the greater the chance of seeing changes in how religious institutions operate.

I recognise your point that my attendence as an individual makes no difference to the church but if we all took that approach nothing would ever change, no one would see the point in doing anything because they are just one person.



(09-05-2012 04:13 PM)Stark Raving Wrote:  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.


I have done that a few times, it works! as you said its not like they are looking around to see if you are there. Only problem with one of these weddings is that its very very small. And here, the bride and Groom stand at the door of the church and greet everyone as they are leaving so it would be noticable. But I have my thinking cap on to find a way around it Smile
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09-05-2012, 05:58 PM
RE: How do you deal with religious ceremonies?
I think if I were in that situation, I'd probably just suck it up and go. But then my circumstances are different than yours. Pretty much everyone I know that matters to me knows I'm an atheist. Most of them are either atheist as well, or at least are not religious enough to really care if I am or not. And the few that do care, well, they are few, and know full well where I stand.

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09-05-2012, 06:01 PM
RE: How do you deal with religious ceremonies?
Also raised Catholic...

Wakes can be attended instead of the funeral mass in many cases and is acceptable, especially when the funeral is on a work day. I will attend a viewing to give my respects to the family regardless of religious affiliation. A loss is a loss and should be recognized.

I don't mind the occasional mass for a special occasion for a special person. It's about being there for someone you care about and that cares enough about you to want you to be a witness.

I get the whole concept on basically boycotting the Catholic church for their wrongs. I don't feel superior to anyone while there. I go to show that I care about the person...the church, whatever, flavor makes no difference.

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09-05-2012, 06:07 PM
RE: How do you deal with religious ceremonies?
Thankfully, it isnt often, but on the occasion I have to be there, when everyone is looking down praying, I look around for kin-folk...

Your beliefs do not make you a better person, your behavior does.
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09-05-2012, 07:25 PM
RE: How do you deal with religious ceremonies?
In my experience, attending a wedding or funeral being held in a church (or even away from a church with a religious officiant) isn't something I consider when the people or person I am there to support or bid my farewell to is somebody really close. I will not attend services for baptisms or christenings or any overtly religious ceremonies such as that, but weddings and funerals aren't something that bother me to attend....It doesn't matter to me if the ceremony is christian, catholic, buddhist, islamic, even dudeist! Supporting my friends or family greatly outweighs my distaste for the religious undertones of their ceremony.

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10-05-2012, 06:53 AM (This post was last modified: 10-05-2012 07:10 AM by NoahsFarce.)
RE: How do you deal with religious ceremonies?
(09-05-2012 05:00 PM)IrishAtheist Wrote:  
(09-05-2012 04:13 PM)NoahsFarce Wrote:  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?


As you said you have to pick your battles and the abuses of the catholic church is an important 'battle' to me, only hindered by wanting to support loved ones. Hence my dilemma.

Unlike other religions the catholic churches do not act seperatly from each other. Each church is linked to and ruled by the vatican. Each priest is ruled by the vatican. Recently in Ireland, we have had two priests censored by the vatican where they can not talk or write articles unless they have been approved first because they were going against the party line so to speak. So there is the vaticans way of doing things and everyone most follow. How the child abuse cases were dealt with and are still being dealt with shows where this insitutions priorities are and that is protecting themselves over all else. So unlike America where you have many different religions and church which can act independently, the catholic church (in Ireland, at least, but I think everywhere) is different and therefore one church is the same as the other. They all follow vatican rule.

And yes I do carry this way of thinking into other areas of my life, I try to be an ethically minded consumer, there are popular brands that I refuse to buy and have not bought for over 10 years now as a result of how they go about business. But of course, I am far from perfect and I am sure there are many cases where I have put money into the hands of people that I would have no respect for. But I try and thats better than not.

Clearly you are not too bothered about the effects of religion but I am. And I think the more people remove themselves from religious communities the greater the chance of seeing changes in how religious institutions operate.

I recognise your point that my attendence as an individual makes no difference to the church but if we all took that approach nothing would ever change, no one would see the point in doing anything because they are just one person.
The Vatican does have complete control, but that still doesn't mean the individual priests are immoral, wrong, or supporting. This is their livelihood. What are you honestly suggesting here? That they walk away from their life and belief? I don't agree with American government, but you don't see me packing shop and heading out. And believe you me, I find a shit ton wrong with American government.

This doesn't mean I hold every single government official responsible for the actions of the government as a whole. I still respect my local police officers, meanwhile all over the nation countless police abuse cases are popping up. Am I supposed to protest the Police?

The key here is not preventing yourself from attending a church ceremony. The key is to not be a believer and to support scientific literacy (this is not just a subject of science). Proper education is the ONLY way to prevent these criminals from using religion as a tool to accomplish their dark goals. Educate children that it is NOT okay if ANYONE, no matter their position, to touch you anywhere but above the shoulders. Educate the parents not to leave their children alone with people they don't even know on a personal level just because they are in a position of "authority".

If you think that all of us (human race) not attending church is even a possibility, you have a very long battle ahead of you. I rather take the path of educating the world. After all, that's already working.

So you can skip out on the important events of your loved ones in protest and in support of human welfare.

I will continue sparking scientific inquiry in my children. I will continue to debate as much as I can on the Internet for God knows how many eyes while trying to remain as accurate as possible with my points.

Most importantly, I will continue to show my support for my family and friends by attending whatever ceremony they choose so long as it is not causing any of us harm or the people who aid in the event aren't causing anyone harm.

Sorry, I just can't be a militant Atheist. This is where Dawkins and I part ways. I take the Neil deGrasse Tyson and Lawrence Krauss route education.

As a side note, I understand that my post could be taken with an angry tone. I assure you it is not. I am just passionate about this subject because I am one of those people that invite my non-believing friends like yourself to my family's religious ceremonies.

Although I wouldn't mind if they decline, I would be offended if their reason for declining was like yours. But maybe I'm unique because the priest we use in all of our ceremonies is a long time family friend and I know for a fact that he is not contributing to the abuses of the Vatican. I would also never ask him to leave his livelihood behind because the Vatican is doing these things.

Again, doing so would be like someone telling me to turn my back on America because of all its corruption.
My point of view summed up philosophically:

"While I gave up religion, I have not given up on religion."

For me, it's not about ridding the world of religion. It's about working towards a future where religion and science can coexist. A future where religious beliefs aren't governed by a small group of people or ancient books.

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10-05-2012, 07:21 AM
RE: How do you deal with religious ceremonies?
Greetings from a fellow Irish Atheist and welcome to the forums. I have a large extended Catholic family myself, and I tend to simply not do weddings. People now just don't invite me.

Funerals are trickier. Up until a few years ago, I really just sat in the back with brother and tried not to giggle at the hypocrisy of catholic funerals. I mean, really, why are you sad? You're the one who believes that he's in an infinitely better place and that you'll see him again. And if you believe he's in hell, well then maybe you should re-examine the fact that you're worshipping a god who just sent your father/brother/best friend/puppy to be tortured forever.

Then there's baptisms, First Communions, confirmations, and all the extra stuff that they do after funerals (I don't remember what they are called). I blow them off. These are people I love and care about, but now that they are gone, the best thing I can do is be there for their friends and families. The rituals themselves are superfluous.

By the way where are you based? There are a few of us on the forum based in and around Dublin who tend to get together occasionally for a beer and a laugh and religion. PM me or Leela if you're interested.

"But the point is, find somebody to love. Everything else is overrated." - HouseofCantor
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10-05-2012, 11:16 AM
RE: How do you deal with religious ceremonies?
Hmm, as for weddings, I just suck it up and go. Who is this event about, you or the couple? Let them choose how they want to celebrate THEIR day. If someone wants to have a wedding in which everyone dresses as clowns, so what. Roll with it. You are not harmed one bit. I sure as hell don't go for communion, however, and I don't sing their silly songs.

As for a funeral, I stick with the viewings. Again I am there in support of the people that have lost someone dear to them. That is what matters, not me.

I simply decline baptisms, etc. No reason for me to attend those.
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10-05-2012, 01:37 PM
RE: How do you deal with religious ceremonies?
(10-05-2012 06:53 AM)NoahsFarce Wrote:  Again, doing so would be like someone telling me to turn my back on America because of all its corruption.
A very poignant analogy Thumbsup

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