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Religion and Spirituality, Science and Philosophy Use this forum to discuss what you believe in. This is a place where everyone may share their views freely.

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How do I avoid conflict while standing my ground? Also, is it disrespectful to not pray? - December 24th 2016, 08:45 PM

My family is semi-religious. My aunt is overly religious and she is coming to Christmas dinner. She made us all pray at Thanksgiving and I didn't want to. I told my dad I didn't want to and he said that was fine. His partner practically forced me to go pray and I knew it would cause conflict with him if I didn't. I don't mind having conflict with this person but I don't like attention on me so I just went ahead and stood in the circle while they prayed. However, this makes me extremely uncomfortable and I don't feel I should be forced to do something that makes me uncomfortable.

I want to stand firm this Christmas if praying comes up. I want to say something like "I don't believe in God and so I don't want to pray." However, I worry this will cause conflict with my Aunt or my dad's partner. So, if they try to force me I would like to say something like "I don't think I should be forced to do something that makes me uncomfortable. I try to respect your wishes to worship and you should respect mine."

However, I don't know if this is disrespectful in anyway. I could see my dad's partner telling me that it is disrespectful. So, is not praying when I don't believe in God and when it makes me uncomfortable disrespectful?


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Re: How do I avoid conflict while standing my ground? Also, is it disrespectful to not pray? - December 24th 2016, 09:06 PM

Personally, I don't think not praying to a God you don't believe in is disrespectful, but I could see how someone who does believe might think it is. I think people forget that it's possible to disagree and respect each other's beliefs at the same time, especially if they're an authority figure to you. It's up to you whether you want to or not, and if they want to make a big deal out of it, then it's on them. That could be easier said than done though, so it might be worth thinking through how you want to respond if it gets heated, or under what circumstances you would "give in".


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Re: How do I avoid conflict while standing my ground? Also, is it disrespectful to not pray? - December 24th 2016, 09:16 PM

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Originally Posted by Kate* View Post
Personally, I don't think not praying to a God you don't believe in is disrespectful, but I could see how someone who does believe might think it is. I think people forget that it's possible to disagree and respect each other's beliefs at the same time, especially if they're an authority figure to you. It's up to you whether you want to or not, and if they want to make a big deal out of it, then it's on them. That could be easier said than done though, so it might be worth thinking through how you want to respond if it gets heated, or under what circumstances you would "give in".
I agree that to someone that believes it can seem disrespectful but I think it's just as disrespectful to make someone pray to a god they don't believe in. If it gets heated I have no problem walking away and eating later. I won't argue with someone about it especially at Christmas time. I don't even really want to be around my family all that much anyways.


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Re: How do I avoid conflict while standing my ground? Also, is it disrespectful to not pray? - December 24th 2016, 11:09 PM

I don't think that not praying is at all disrespectful. I am a very religious person, but no one should ever be forced to partake in a religious activity like praying if they don't want to. It is not at all disrespectful. In my opinion, forcing someone else to pray to a God they don't believe in is disrespectful. I believe that the way you plan on handling the situation is the best possible way to go around it. You're not interrupting their time to pray or disrupting it. If they do seem to get upset about it - that is their fault for creating a big deal out of nothing.

I hope that it works out and that they don't raise a lot of questions or put attention on you. Good luck!


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Re: How do I avoid conflict while standing my ground? Also, is it disrespectful to not pray? - December 24th 2016, 11:26 PM

Hey
So I am like you and dont believe in God etc. The way I tell my mum anf grandparents I dont want to pray is by simply saying "I respect your religion and beliefs, so please respect mine". And the other thing I do is just put my foot down if they try again and say that I will not be praying and they should back off.
Hope this helps you


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Re: How do I avoid conflict while standing my ground? Also, is it disrespectful to not pray? - December 25th 2016, 07:26 PM

I would just quietly step out of the room and, like, text some friends (e.g. say Merry Christmas) until the prayer is over.

They obviously cannot force you to pray because that's ridiculous - the same people who get offended / heated up when someone opts out of their religious practices are the same people who'd be outraged if they were expected to participate in someone else's religious practices - so I hope that if you do step away to not participate, that they don't make a scene about it, but I think if you politely try to leave the room /just don't pray if it is happening at the table then that is their fault, not yours because you're doing nothing wrong by being like "I don't want to pray, so please excuse me and I'll leave you to it".

If they do get upset about it, you can just politely say "I'm sorry that you want me to pray, but I am personally not comfortable praying because of X or Y reasons" or say something else like "Please, go pray, I'm just going to go over here and pray". If it's happening right nefore dinner (e.g. at the table), just don't pray - it's what I do all the time, I just sit there and wait for it to be done. I used to, like, fold my hands and look down as if I gave a shit, but as I got older I was sort of like "fuck it, I'm not going to pretend I am praying when I am probably really eying my food and deciding what to eat first" but it is still polite to wait for the praying to end before eating if you choose to not pretend to participate.

HOpefully this comes to you soon enough.




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Re: How do I avoid conflict while standing my ground? Also, is it disrespectful to not pray? - December 26th 2016, 02:48 PM

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Originally Posted by Newt Scamander View Post
I don't think that not praying is at all disrespectful. I am a very religious person, but no one should ever be forced to partake in a religious activity like praying if they don't want to. It is not at all disrespectful. In my opinion, forcing someone else to pray to a God they don't believe in is disrespectful. I believe that the way you plan on handling the situation is the best possible way to go around it. You're not interrupting their time to pray or disrupting it. If they do seem to get upset about it - that is their fault for creating a big deal out of nothing.

I hope that it works out and that they don't raise a lot of questions or put attention on you. Good luck!
Exactly! I'm also a very religious person, and agree that no one should be forced to do any religious activity. I believe that making someone pray with you is a lot worse than someone respectfully opting out (like you have done!).

Sorry my response has come after Christmas, how did it go for you?


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Re: How do I avoid conflict while standing my ground? Also, is it disrespectful to not pray? - December 26th 2016, 03:46 PM

Wondering how things turned out for you. Also, my opinion is that it isn't disrespectful to refuse to do something. Especially because this is going to be taking place in your home?! Like maybe personally speaking, I would stand up if say, I was invited to a friend's house. I'd just stand up and do the motions of whatever everyone else is doing or at least try to. Or for instance, when I go to a jewish home and I know they're religious, I wear a skirt and long sleeves. Or when my cousin went to her friend's wedding, she wore the traditional Indian outfit. But with your own family, like seriously it shouldnt be a big deal. I know some of my relatives were like that growing up. My uncle yelled at me over the phone because I told him I didnt want to light the candles at home. And that turned into an argument with him. But also because I was being super sassy 14 year old (I told him I not only was going to not light the candles for Hanukkah but that I will be sitting under the christmas tree, *gasps I do think there's a way to say it in a way to avoid conflict. You also dont have to disclose to them why you dont pray, but that's up to you entirely.
   
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