The lapsed atheist - the confessional thread

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Dr Raskolnikov
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The lapsed atheist - the confessional thread

Post by Dr Raskolnikov » Sat Sep 17, 2011 2:40 am

Okay, I have excuses. They're not great, but...

I said a prayer of the faithful at a wedding mass last weekend. I didn't feel like I could say no, because the groom had already had the order of service printed with my name on it before he even asked me whether I'd say the prayer, thus affirming and propping up the Catholic faith to the congregation. :cry:

I was known for the rest of the day as "the guy who said the prayer of the faithful". And it wasn't even a mild one. It was rock hard, super religious, touching every possible cornerstone:
We ask you to remember our relatives and friends who are not with us today, but are with you in heaven. Bless them and keep them in your care so that one day you will unite us again in the joys of your eternal home. Lord hear us; lord graciously hear us.
Aaagh! What could I have done? Can I be forgiven for this crime against atheism? :oops:

And if anyone has any competing confessions it might make me feel a little less alone... :mrgreen:
Science is like a blabbermouth who ruins the movie by telling you how it ends. Well, I say there are some things we don't want to know. Important things. - Ned Flanders
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Re: The lapsed atheist - the confessional thread

Post by bipedalhumanoid » Sat Sep 17, 2011 12:04 pm

You are the devil.

The only way to stop family from pressuring you into performing religious rituals is to refuse to partake. This also makes the point of showing them how much they alienate you when they drag religion into what are inherently family events.

This is how far I am willing to go.

I will attend a wedding or funeral in a church, but I will not partake in any of the ritual and I definitely refuse to hand over any money to the church.

I refuse to attend childhood indoctrination ceremony's like first communion and confirmation.

I have attended baptisms, but the process still makes me incredibly uncomfortable. I don't view them as poorly as I would ceremonies that take place when the children are old enough to know what is going on.

When neices and nephews make their first communion and confirmation I refuse to give them money. I do however give a secular gift.

When family members insist on including their religion in family events, they alienate me, my partner and others. I make sure they know that and set an example for others in the same situation.
"The fact of your own existence is the most astonishing fact you will ever have to face. Don’t you ever get used to it." - Richard Dawkins... being shrill and offensive again I suppose.
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Re: The lapsed atheist - the confessional thread

Post by aiseiri47 » Sat Sep 17, 2011 1:36 pm

I did a reading once; it was several years ago, in my Granddads house. It was a memorial service for my aunt and grandmother that they got the priest to come to the house for, and it was the day after my grandad's 70'th birthday. They wanted the grandkids to do the reading, and I'm the oldest by far. *sigh* It made me uncomfortable, but it was for my granddad more than anything else. And I'm an excellent reader ;)

Other than that, I usually don't attend mass if I can at all help it. I've been to a couple of weddings and a funeral. Of the confirmations and communions I've attended, I've only been to the mass of one (and that was the son of my aunt who takes every decline to attend a ceremony of some sort as a personal insult which makes her impossible to live with). Most of my family don't expect you to go to the ceremony. I do give confirmation/communion cards, but I always find one that doesn't mention God or the Holy Spirit or anything more than "best wishes on your Confirmation day". I decline to go to memorial masses several times a year (all arranged by the aforementioned aunt who is unhealthily fixated on the deaths of her mother and sister and religion seems to be making the problem worse rather than better).

When I do attend mass, my participation is minimal, but I don't just sit there. I do stand, because, tbh, it feels rude not to when others are; I most certainly do not kneel, genuflect, or bless myself. I don't recite any prayers or "amens"; the only other way I participate is during "peace be with you", which I don't think is particularly religious, just being nice to people. Either way, my lack of participation is usually conspicuous enough.
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Re: The lapsed atheist - the confessional thread

Post by aZerogodist » Sat Sep 17, 2011 5:51 pm

Dr Raskolnikov wrote:I said a prayer of the faithful at a wedding mass last weekend. I didn't feel like I could say no
Your on a dangerous spiraling path my friend :) Next you'll be innocently drinking some wine with crackers and find out they're been blessed, and the gold-tray is not an all you can eat buffet.

The one thats gets me is what do you do if the angelus comes on when in somebody's house. Usually silence, depending on their reaction, might say ''do you think it will rain?''

I don't go into churches, I attended a burrial recently, I just kept my hands behind my back clasped together, rather than the usual in front prayer-like way. It's difficult not to go along with the whole bowing-head or repeat-after me prayers when everyone else is doing it. But I might of done half a genuflection at the end, the into the ground part.
Some habbits are so deeply engrained.

At my mother's funeral I said a non-religious verse, (no mention of gods) though it still was out of somekind of RC book.

Just wondering what people call priests when confronted with them at these christian do's, I just say Hi without saying 'father', could hardly say Hi priest :roll:
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Dr Raskolnikov
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Re: The lapsed atheist - the confessional thread

Post by Dr Raskolnikov » Sat Sep 17, 2011 11:49 pm

aZerogodist wrote:
Dr Raskolnikov wrote:I said a prayer of the faithful at a wedding mass last weekend. I didn't feel like I could say no
Your on a dangerous spiraling path my friend :) Next you'll be innocently drinking some wine with crackers and find out they're been blessed, and the gold-tray is not an all you can eat buffet.

Just wondering what people call priests when confronted with them at these christian do's, I just say Hi without saying 'father', could hardly say Hi priest :roll:
It wasn't even family. It was a good friend who I haven't seen in 5 years. The wedding was in a church in Waterford near Passage East. When he phoned me the night before the ceremony to ask me, let's just say this is the first time this has arisen since my deconversion, and I felt extremely conflicted. I guess I haven't been scrupulous enough in "coming out" as atheist to enough people.

I decided that I had to go ahead with saying the prayer because my friend just wanted to have a nice day and it wasn't my job to make a political point at his and his wife's expense. He didn't know I've deconverted and the fact is religion isn't exactly a big part of his life anyway. I delivered the line "method" acting style. I put on my best booming Orson Welles voice. Unfortunately the padre was impressed by my oratorial style and I had to converse with him after the ceremony. I was scrupulous in avoidance of subservience (I didn't call him "Father" and I didn't respond to his "God Bless").

I actually think if I came out as gay to my parents it would be less traumatic to them than it would be if I came out as atheist. At least if I was "just" gay I could go to confession, live a chaste life etc. But an atheist? I may as well be one of Satan's footsoldiers.
Science is like a blabbermouth who ruins the movie by telling you how it ends. Well, I say there are some things we don't want to know. Important things. - Ned Flanders
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Re: The lapsed atheist - the confessional thread

Post by robreynolds2 » Sun Sep 18, 2011 12:49 am

Ahhhhh relax, its not so bad......

I actually got married in Poland in the church (my wife was still sitting on the fence about religion at the time). I found out that I had to do confession! Twice! And it had to be documented by the priest to make it official and to make sure you are not cheating (rules are a bit different in Poland).

I had agreed to a church wedding as my wife wanted it. I couldn't care less, I was just going along with her wishes.

Long story short, I paid the parish priest several hundred euro to his hand and the problem went away (I didn't have to do confession). He happily took my bribe. For all the crap that they spout, cash is still king for them.

You got caught on the spot......that was unfortunate for you (although a bit funny for us). At the end of the day you did a friend a favor when he was stuck which was probably a lot more important. How many people sitting in the church really took that stuff you said seriously anyway? Probably a few but I reckon the vast majority couldn't give a monkeys.
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Dr Raskolnikov
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Re: The lapsed atheist - the confessional thread

Post by Dr Raskolnikov » Sun Sep 18, 2011 1:28 am

robreynolds2 wrote:You got caught on the spot......that was unfortunate for you (although a bit funny for us). At the end of the day you did a friend a favor when he was stuck which was probably a lot more important. How many people sitting in the church really took that stuff you said seriously anyway? Probably a few but I reckon the vast majority couldn't give a monkeys.
Thanks Rob, that actually makes me feel better... :mrgreen:

I remember handing a ton over to the priest who baptised my son - I can still recall his shifty look as he pocketed the envelope, his eyes dartig left and right... "A donation to the church, father".

On balance, I went ahead with it rather than make a scene and potentially lose a friend over an issue that's not really important to him. For me it's hugely important, because it impacts my child. I don't want him to go through what I did, with the guilt, the fear, the prayers, the mumbo-jumbo, everything.

And I still have to contend with the fact that my super-religious tradionalist catholic parents want him to go to RC school so he can get the full set of sacrements *shudder*. I just don't have the strength to tell them the truth about my lack of belief, because they'll genuinely, truly, deeply believe that me, my wife and our son are all going straight to the fiery pit.

You see, this is why I hate religion so much. :(
Science is like a blabbermouth who ruins the movie by telling you how it ends. Well, I say there are some things we don't want to know. Important things. - Ned Flanders
robreynolds2
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Re: The lapsed atheist - the confessional thread

Post by robreynolds2 » Sun Sep 18, 2011 2:04 am

Yes I understand your situation.

The only way around it I have found is to make certain things "out of bounds" to non-directly family members (i.e. your partner & kids are direct family members, everyone else is an outsider to some extent). For example you would not tolerate family members going through your bank statements even if they felt that they had your best interests at heart?

If the situation comes up for discussion with your "extended" family or your partners, simply say that this is a family issue and is not discussed with others. Also religion is a very divisive topic so you do not wish to discuss it at all only that everyone is entitled to their views and opinions......including you. In your house you and your partner have the last say on everything and this issue needs no further discussion.

(It is difficult to communicate tone by written communication and I understand that this may seem to be harsh at first reading but you can state this in a friendly way while showing you are not open to any further discussion on the matter just like you are not open to discussing the contents of your bank statements).

If the issue does get pushed further you can simply state "I really don't want to argue with you about this, can we just leave it please......I wonder if it will rain later".

At this point the issue will get parked..... permanently.

This is one of those problems, the more you think about it the worse it gets. If you grab the problem as above you will be finished with all the nonsense.

At the end of the day you are who you are and you can totally refuse to comprise on your principals. People can either choose to accept it or not accept it, it is up to them. True it is a worry for you if extended family members choose not to accept it and it is easy to focus on how this will affect your life......but just remember if they choose not to accept you, they will have to live with the consequences of their actions too. You are not responsible for them, you are responsible for yourself and you direct family.

Also there is no point arguing with the wall so they will most likely give up before it becomes any sort of an issue:-)

My guess is that they would be surprised, maybe a bit shocked but will come around without any argument at all (I found myself in a similar position some years ago with family about mass) and the issue will be parked.

(Sorry if I am sounding preachy)
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Re: The lapsed atheist - the confessional thread

Post by aZerogodist » Sun Sep 18, 2011 1:03 pm

Dr Raskolnikov wrote:
aZerogodist wrote: Your on a dangerous spiraling path my friend :) Next you'll be innocently drinking some wine with crackers and find out they're been blessed, and the gold-tray is not an all you can eat buffet.
I delivered the line "method" acting style. I put on my best booming Orson Welles voice. Unfortunately the padre was impressed by my oratorial style and I had to converse with him after the ceremony.
It takes a great actor to recognise another, but it does sound like you're had years of 'RC-acting' for your parents. You realise 'I was just pulling your leg'. We all find ourselves on the spot now and again, but it does sound like having to lie is a burden.
Dr Raskolnikov wrote:
aZerogodist wrote:Just wondering what people call priests when confronted with them at these christian do's, I just say Hi without saying 'father', could hardly say Hi priest :roll:
I was scrupulous in avoidance of subservience (I didn't call him "Father" and I didn't respond to his "God Bless").
I must try 'Rev' just to see the reaction.
Dr Raskolnikov
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Re: The lapsed atheist - the confessional thread

Post by Dr Raskolnikov » Mon Sep 19, 2011 1:39 pm

robreynolds2 wrote:...(Sorry if I am sounding preachy)...
Not at all! Well, maybe a little... :mrgreen:

I don't mind though - some very good suggestions in there. The fact is that in my case nothing is likely to work. My family are partilcularly religious and follow very traditionalist lines of RC teaching. My upbringing was gold plated Catholic - literally, I had a set of "miracle gold-plated" rosary beads, and we used to kneel down and meditate on the mysteries of the holy rosary as a family. :lol:

Also, we had friends in Opus Dei and used to visit their "lay houses", and used to pray to the founder, Jose-Maria Escriva. Actually we were encouraged to pray to the whole multi-deistic pantheon of catholic demigods - Padre Pio, Saint Anthony, Ignatius Loyola, St. Joseph et al. And the "many-arms-of-vishnu" style versions of the big two: Jesus and the BVM (e.g. the Sacred Heart, the Divine Mercy, Christ the King / Our Lady of Lourdes, Our Lady of Fatima, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Our Lady of Knock, Our Lady of Medjugorje). Everybody, it seems, except the top man himself... :?

Plus my mother has over the years been involved in pretty much every far out fringe catholic group available: Medjugorje, The Magnificat Meal Movement, the Society of St. Paul X... We visited Knock Shrine every year and even went to a Catholic "Glastonbury" style festival there one year where Mother Teresa literally arrived in a helicopter and did a stand up gig on stage (except it was all guilt, sin and women are worth nothing unless they're having babies :( ). Which I always thought was a bit rich coming from an arch-atheist like MT (not that my family could see that!).

I guess my point is, I will lose all contact with my whole family if they ever find out. And they will probably never have peace of mind again, so it would be hurting them as well as me. There is bound to be a confrontation soon, my mother just recently asked me:

"So have you started teaching the little one about Holy God yet?".

*shudder*
Science is like a blabbermouth who ruins the movie by telling you how it ends. Well, I say there are some things we don't want to know. Important things. - Ned Flanders
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