lying is a sin, but it'll probably make them happy
July 20, 2011 6:26 PM Subscribe
My father unexpectedly passed away last weekend from a heart attack. I am not religious. Part of my family, and most of our community of friends & extended family, are. Help me navigate the religious talk without either going on the defensive, or being complacent.
posted by raztaj to Human Relations (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Our family was raised Muslim. My dad born and raised, my mom converting to Islam from Catholicism. My dad was never super religious, though he did identify as Muslim. He was much more spiritual than dogmatic, and believed in god (not necessarily a specifically Muslim version of god, but more of a general "higher power.") My brother is a practicing Muslim, but not conservatively so. My two sisters are sort of general deists. I am an atheist.
My dad was buried according to Islamic rituals, which i have absolutely no problem with, and actually have quite a bit of respect for - especially the simple, prompt burial.
But I'm getting tons of religion and god-talk, after-life talk. So far I've just taken it and silently nodded, as I realize comments are made in good-faith and intent, and this is not the appropriate time for me to present my counter thoughts (in general, I do not hide my lack of faith, but am not at all "in your face" about it. if it comes up in conversation or if someone asks however, I refuse to lie)
My super conservative cousins have been extremely heavy on the religious and prayer talk. Some of my male, first cousins are the type to not even shake hands with me. One of my female cousins wears niqab and never travels without a male relative. For perspective, my dad always complimented my independent travels. I wore a knee-length skirt to his burial. My dad was the type who would have said to me, "what a lovely skirt!" rather than any kind of condemnation about inappropriate attire. I had plenty of theological conversations with him, and though we may not have shared the same perspective on cosmological issues, we always disagreed respectfully - he knew my real beliefs, and loved me all the while (and I, him).
I'm having trouble navigating the waters of how to handle obligations and respect with things though. Honoring my father, honoring my own beliefs, and going along with the cultural respectful things to do. In a little more than a month, there'll be a reading of Quran. There'll be prayers (not sure I even remember how to pray "Muslim-style," though I can fake it if I try). There'll be lots more meetings with super conservative relatives. I'd rather not participate in any of it, but they'll also mean a lot to my brother, and I don't want him to take on all of these tasks by himself.
Is there any way to be both respectful to others, and true to yourself in these kinds of situations?