Soon to be father-in-law wants me to have a sit down with his pastor...
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07-03-2014, 12:04 AM
Soon to be father-in-law wants me to have a sit down with his pastor...
This is my first time posting to any forum and I hope I keep it brief enough.

My soon to be father-in-law recently found out that I am atheist, and also found out that his daughter is now an atheist. He has requested that we have a 3 hour sit down meeting with his pastor (Lutheran church) before our wedding day or he will not walk my wife to be down the aisle (which she wants very much).

I am more than willing to participate in this long discussion, but I was hoping some members of this community would have some words of advice. Both of us grew up in very religious homes and every member of the family is extremely religious. We have just recently come out as being atheist and most of the family doesn't know yet, only a few people.

While I am reasonably educated on science, religions of the world, and our family religion, I have little to no experience discussing this anyone.

I would really appreciate perhaps a few good conversation starters or tips on how to more clearly communicate with someone in that position. This man has been a pastor for like 40 years or more. Any advice that may be helpful in that situation would be sincerely appreciated. Thank you all in advance.
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07-03-2014, 01:25 AM
RE: Soon to be father-in-law wants me to have a sit down with his pastor...
Wow, does the FIL really believe you're going to convert because of sitting with a pastor?
Most likely the other way around will happen.

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07-03-2014, 01:32 AM
RE: Soon to be father-in-law wants me to have a sit down with his pastor...
Very general advice here, not knowing many particulars.

Either go as easy as you can and ride it through as best you can manage until you are an established couple on your own, or go balls out and just deal with the consequences.

You're already balls deep, it's gonna be a hard road either way. Best of luck to ya, and welcome to the forum.

But now I have come to believe that the whole world is an enigma, a harmless enigma that is made terrible by our own mad attempt to interpret it as though it had an underlying truth.

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07-03-2014, 02:09 AM
RE: Soon to be father-in-law wants me to have a sit down with his pastor...
That's a very sad thing for a father to say to his daughter.
You say he has 'requested' that you sit down with the pastor.
Don't you mean demanded with menaces?
I don't know what to say really.
Of course the bride wants her father to walk her down the aisle, that's only natural.
I do have a couple of questions though.
Is this a church aisle they're walking down?
Why does your FIL want you to sit down with the pastor? Is he hoping to change your minds?
I shouldn't worry about arguing with the pastor. I think I'd take the lecture, do the three hours then go back to your FIL with the fait accompli, have a lovely wedding day and get on with your lives.
Alternatively, you could stand up to him or where does it end?
You might have children and not want them christened - what'll he have to say about that?
Hmm, tricky one.
Good luck.
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07-03-2014, 02:33 AM
RE: Soon to be father-in-law wants me to have a sit down with his pastor...
My read advice would merely echo what EH said ... in reality, if it was me, honestly I'd rather sit down with the father in law for 3 hours and explain to him the long term adverse effects of emotional blackmail and why he should fuck right off! ... Welcome to the forum! Big Grin

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07-03-2014, 03:10 AM
RE: Soon to be father-in-law wants me to have a sit down with his pastor...
Pretend to be deist, give him false hope of a conversion down the track.
The pastor and him will not be able to prove their flavor over others. But will not think your sending his daughter to he'll.

Theism is to believe what other people claim, Atheism is to ask "why should I".
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07-03-2014, 03:48 AM
RE: Soon to be father-in-law wants me to have a sit down with his pastor...
My first concern would be whether or not the father in law will be satisfied with the 3 hour lecture from the pastor. It might be that he will only be satisfied if you are both christians and he thinks the meeting will make that happen. If he's going to use emotional blackmail until you are both christians then it's never going to work. He does not understand that you can't start believing in Santa Claus again once you've found out that he does not exist. Or it might be that he's only concerned that you have swayed his daughter from the path she would be happiest on.

So the first thing I'd do is to ask him what he expects to happen if you meet with the pastor and what will happen if he doesn't get the outcome he wants. If it turns out that he won't be happy unless you are a christian then don't even bother going to meet with the pastor because there will just be another demand down the line. By raising the question now, it might be that you can do the meeting now, nothing will change and you have the means to which you can tell the father that you held your end of the bargain now it's time for him to deliver on his.

Secondly because the daughter is also an atheist it's not just pressure on you. She will start to resent having to pretend to be someone that she isn't. This means that the father does not hold all the cards. At the moment he thinks he does because his daughter wants him to do something. But he also won't want to drive his daughter away.

Ultimately everyone has to be able to be themselves and to be acknowledged for who they are, that includes you and your fiance.

Of course if you're wanting to have a wedding in a church then the cost of that will be to demonstrate that you are christian in which case you need to bluff it until you are married.
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07-03-2014, 04:26 AM
RE: Soon to be father-in-law wants me to have a sit down with his pastor...
Why is he fixing the time at 3 hours? I'd die if I had to listen to some guy blather on for 3 hours.

Plus this business of coercion? What the hell? He realises you're gonna be family just now? Does he wanna have a crappy thing like this between you guys and him right from the get-go? That's bizarre.

Parents should realise they can't live their kids' lives for them. Angry

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(06-02-2014 03:47 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  And I'm giving myself a conclusion again from all the facepalming.
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07-03-2014, 04:56 AM
RE: Soon to be father-in-law wants me to have a sit down with his pastor...
(07-03-2014 12:04 AM)bl510 Wrote:  This man has been a pastor for like 40 years or more.

Don't be intimidated. He has 40 years of preaching to the converted who believe that the Bible is itself evidence. All he can do is provide you passages from his book and although he may know his Bible very well the book itself is contradictory.

What were the reasons that you stopped believing in God? You say that you are from a religious family. It took longer than 3 hours to arrive at your conclusion, all the while having pastors trying to convince you otherwise.
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07-03-2014, 05:04 AM
RE: Soon to be father-in-law wants me to have a sit down with his pastor...
(07-03-2014 12:04 AM)bl510 Wrote:  He has requested that we have a 3 hour sit down meeting with his pastor (Lutheran church) before our wedding day
Be respectful with the pastor. Get to know the pastor, get him talking about himself, people love to talk and love people who will listen. Try not to focus to much on religion or your own non beliefs or reasons for non belief. Maybe ask him how long he has been a pastor, if he had any jobs prior. If he is married, ask him how he met his wife, how they fell in love, how they keep the spark alive etc.

3 hours is certainly a long time to talk to someone but maybe you could also talk about your own relationship, how you met, what you love about your partner, where you plan to go on your honeymoon, what wedding planning you have done...
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