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Old 12-02-2013, 06:25 AM
 
Location: Northeastern US
14,197 posts, read 9,097,133 times
Reputation: 6081

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Quote:
Originally Posted by randomparent View Post
Does every gathering of family or community with people of varying faiths or no faith at all have to involve conflict? Just make a mental grocery list if it's too much to think of something for which you are grateful. Look, I'm also Atheist, but I grow weary of all the made-up awkwardness of a mealtime blessing. It is not a big deal at all. Closing your eyes and taking a few deep breaths while others pray is a basic act of tolerance, not a medal-worthy feat of endurance.
It is not a big deal unless you or the host makes it one. Most of my aversion in my upcoming visit to my fundamentalist brother is that he will make it one. If he doesn't, then I certainly won't.

Near as I can tell that is most of the anxiety being expressed here, that the host will be tone deaf and self absorbed enough to put an unbeliever on the spot as a sort of passive-aggressive way of outing them or something. It happens. As with all such concerns, the dread of it is far worse than the actuality, though. I prefer not to think about it until the time comes and then just politely decline if I'm asked to pray and let the chips fall where they may. If they have a cow about it, it's their issue, not mine. Because me not praying is not a big deal, either.
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Old 12-02-2013, 10:39 AM
 
Location: Sitting beside Walden Pond
4,609 posts, read 4,117,789 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mordant View Post
just politely decline if I'm asked to pray
Why decline? If your host knows you are an Atheist and then tries to embarrass you by asking you to say a prayer, then do something that will ensure you will never be asked again.

For example, pray that Allah will cause all of them to become Muslim. Speak in jibberish and tell them it was a special Wiccan prayer.

Pray that Jamie Alexander will wear a dress that is even more revealing.

Then enjoy your meal while everyone else is in shock.
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Old 12-02-2013, 11:14 AM
 
Location: Vermont
10,313 posts, read 11,239,815 times
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When I'm at Thanksgiving dinner and someone suggests we go around and say what we're thankful for I generally pass, but this year my wife got talking about my deceased parents so as the last speaker I recycled one of the jokes I heard my father repeat many, many times.

"Thank god for that bite, many a man would have called it a meal."
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Old 12-02-2013, 12:03 PM
 
Location: CA
2,464 posts, read 5,826,712 times
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I usually just bow my head and then proceed to eyeball people who are praying. Interestingly, no one has ever caught me. Ever once in a while I'll get tangled in an epic pray-over-your-meal-that-Grandma-actually-made ordeal. But those are rare and I just try not to roll my eyes or laugh inappropriately at the absurdity of it all.
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Old 12-03-2013, 10:55 AM
 
32,532 posts, read 30,697,051 times
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Since we are Christians with a sense of humor we have a tradition when having non-Christian guests. Our friends all know it and are invited to add their own name at the end. Football cheer voice:

"Rub-a-dub-dub!
Thanks for the grub!
Yay _______!"

The Christians yell "Yay Jesus!" Atheists are invited to say "Yay absolutely nobody!" A Pagan friend shouts out the name of her favorite goddess. Which seems to change.

Our only rule is everyone has to also yell, "Yay (insert the name of the cook)!"
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Old 12-03-2013, 11:12 AM
 
Location: Sto'Vo'Kor
328 posts, read 407,398 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheektowaga_Chester View Post
There's a bright side; I provides a good opportunity to sneak some long glances at the hot moms in the room when their eyes are closed.
I lol'd

The unavoidable holiday prayer time is usually when I mentally clock out (let my mind roam on other things) and I respectfully bow my head, and close my eyes. There is no harm done. I realize that this is important to the religious people, even though logically, all it is doing is making the food get that much colder while we wait for the god(s) to bless things. But at any rate, I choose my battles carefully. I have no issue with giving respectful pause to ANYONE'S prayer, but nothing says I must participate. Now, trying to force me to utter the words...that's something different.
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Old 12-03-2013, 05:13 PM
 
Location: Portland, Oregon
2,438 posts, read 4,229,611 times
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I've posted this link before, but it's still one of the best holiday "blessings":

Lyrics:
Thanksgiving & “Uncle Dave’s Grace” | I Paint What I See

Video:
Uncle Dave's Grace - Lou & Peter Berryman - YouTube
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Old 12-03-2013, 10:57 PM
 
13,333 posts, read 25,590,184 times
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I had T-day dinner with a family group of 30 or so people- me being the only one not related to someone. One of the women corralled a teenager to "say the prayer" and she was obviously distressed (whereas I'd be happy to say a toast- "Let's be thankful for the bounty of this table and the good company") and this kid mumbled some kind of Jesus prayer thing, a couple of the adults crossed themselves, and I just looked down and kept my hands in my lap. Frankly, I was more distressed that people started eating as soon as they were served and didn't wait for the serving family members or the cooks to sit down.
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Old 12-04-2013, 08:01 AM
 
Location: Northeastern US
14,197 posts, read 9,097,133 times
Reputation: 6081
Quote:
Originally Posted by hiker45 View Post
Why decline? If your host knows you are an Atheist and then tries to embarrass you by asking you to say a prayer, then do something that will ensure you will never be asked again.

For example, pray that Allah will cause all of them to become Muslim. Speak in jibberish and tell them it was a special Wiccan prayer.

Pray that Jamie Alexander will wear a dress that is even more revealing.

Then enjoy your meal while everyone else is in shock.
By the time this is likely to happen (Sunday dinner) I'd have to spend 2 more days with him looking at me like I had grown eye stalks and tentacles. Nah, not a battle I'll pick. The subtext of this visit is that my 67 year old bro, who is wound much much less tight, is in ill health and the fundie brother, 72 years old, isn't getting any younger ... and it is quite possibly the last time the 3 of us will be together in the same place (brother #3 having passed several years ago already). I am going to bend over backwards to not contribute to that being a negative experience. Fundie-bro can be a d-bag though, so there are some lines he could cross where I will just have to maintain my integrity and it will be what it'll be.
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Old 12-04-2013, 08:06 AM
 
Location: North Carolina
3,568 posts, read 6,185,471 times
Reputation: 5402
I never bow when holiday prayer is said nor does my 4 year old she is also being raised Atheist. My husband is more agnostic than anything and bows his head in respect.

I did get offered to join a Church function by some members pushing their holiday celebrations at the Christmas event downtown . He asked if I wanted to attended, flyer in hand I said no thanks. He then insisted saying "are you sure" to which I said "yes we are Atheist" referring to my daughter and myself. I was given a very VERY weary smile and "that look". You all know what I'm talking about and then not a a second glance. Felt good to announce it like that, in front of so many people. They have no shame about pushing it on me in public so I had no shame about owning up to it.
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