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Dad is atheist, I am not.....

Discussion in 'Parents & Siblings' started by adara, Jan 21, 2010.

  1. adara

    adara Bronze IL'ite

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    Hi,

    It is really good this forum was started.

    My dad is an atheist. Mom also not overly religious. On a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being least and 10 most, mom will be rated 3 when it comes to rituals and religious things.
    I was brought up in that kind of environment.

    Lately, I enjoy reading scriptures, performing rituals and inviting friends for religious gatherings and attending discourses.

    As soon as dad comes to know we had some religious thing done, he starts criticizing and saying I never thought my child would do that. Don't you think all these are false beliefs and superstitions? And then his questioning and all starts.
    I am over 30 years old. He still talks to me like that.

    Tell me what is the best thing to do.


    Adara
     
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  2. asuitablegirl

    asuitablegirl Gold IL'ite

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    Adara, we all take a different path to spirtuality. It's good that you are listening to your inner desire to be closer to God or learn more about your religious culture. Some people KNOW God is real and to think otherwise is impossible to imagine. Others KNOW God is not real and can't imagine why we all pray and ask God questions etc etc. Religion can really put people at odds because it's such a personal thing.

    Since your dad is uncomfortable with your new found religious yearnings, perhaps you should avoid that topic when you talk to him. I'm religious and believe whole heartedly in God, but even I get annoyed sometimes at the nonstop ritual following and superstitious ways of my inlaws. So I can see where you dad is coming from. But at the end of the day, it's up to YOU how you want to define your religious experience. If following rituals makes you feel like you are doing the right thing for God, then that is your right!

    You could try telling him something like, "Dad, I know it all sounds weird to you, but I believe in God and I feel these rituals and prayers bring me closer to Him. It makes me feel happy and satisfied in my life. Even if you think these things are pointless, can't you at least be a little more tolerant? It'd make me really happy. What do you think?"

    Sometimes adara, following our religion (whichever it may be) means we will be persecuted, taunted, or made fun of. Every religion's followers has experienced these things. End of the day, we can't let that stop us from doing what we feel is right and what gives fulfillment to our soul. If you want to discuss religion or the different rituals you are doing, hash it out with your like-minded friends who have the same interests. Generally, people who are not interested in religion to begin with, will not all of a sudden be interested in yours. So, best is to talk of others things when chatting with Dad. Good luck! :thumbsup
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2010
  3. BeeAmma

    BeeAmma Silver IL'ite

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    Knowing how he is, either do not tell him that you did the ceremony or ignore his feedback.
     
  4. Nandshyam

    Nandshyam IL Hall of Fame

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    You are saying, you don't like him saying his disbelief, how changed his child is and ask you any questions?

    Of course, any parent would be in disbelief, more so surprised, to see a different change in their child. Let's say you came from a very orthodox, traditional, religious family and then it dawned to you, Science rocks !!. Being a parent, they would of course give you discourses about spirituality, right? Coming from an Indian society, it will bit more. Agree?

    Wouldn't it be great to just hear them and then thank them for explaining it and tell them, great, I will see what I can do and move on???
     
    2 people like this.
  5. adara

    adara Bronze IL'ite

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    ASG and BeeAmma, Thanks for your fb.

    I never talk or inform my dad about what religious ceremony we had at my house here. Dad is in India and me in US. When I call, it is mom who chats with me more. Dad will be like HI, Hello, How is everything? Asks about hubby and kids, weather and thats it, the conversation ends there.

    It is not that Dad is always taunting me. This happened couple of times and after that I felt like this 'Why does he have to criticize like this?'
    This is what happened. Last year for Pongal I was invited by one lady and when we went I was so thrilled to see the amazing display of traditional dolls. I enquired other details and she said that not all families do that. You need to ask your MIL if it is OK in you family, kind of if it runs in your family thing. So, I called up MIL and she said yeah, you can do that but I have never done it so far. It is upto you, if you like it then go ahead...nothing wrong. So, this year I had that at my house and invited guests and felt so happy at the festive look of the house. When I called up mom I told her and mom was also happy. Dad's first question is 'why do they do it?' I explained whatever reason I knew since I asked MIL and also researched the net a bit. His questioning will not stop and after a while will sound more like interrogation to me.
    Last month I organised a satsang of around 20 ladies in my house. Alll like minded ones. We read the religious scriptures and they all had the traditional food I prepared. Mom told dad since I told mom.
    Dad asked me whether I understood anything I read. I said I am trying to know the meaning and it is not so easy. He said without knowing the meaning of the first paragraph you all read the whole scripture that is 150 verses.....how funny?? Stop wasting your time and energy on these things and do something productive. I said Dad I am doing my duties and then only I make time for these things and moreover I am loving what I am doing. He laughed that sarcastic laugh of his.
    I told mom if dad talks like that I am not even going to tell her if I have any ceremony in my house here. Mom said ' Your dad has always been like that, just ignore him and do what makes you happy'.

    I thought why can't he listen and just keep quiet instead of passing his judgements.


    Nandhu, It is hard to explain to dad. He feels whatever he thinks right is the only way.
    He never stopped mom or grandma from performing any rituals but he has to comment on things. Mom learned to ignore but I am yet to learn that. I am also like dad, in a way, if he starts I cannot just keep quiet and ignore. I have to give piece of my mind.
    Thanks for fb.
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2010
  6. asuitablegirl

    asuitablegirl Gold IL'ite

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    Adara, this looks like a relatively new pursuit of yours. Give it some time, and I think the novelty of questioning you will loose it's appeal for your Dad. Eventually he will probably say like, "Oh, ok" instead of "Who/what/when/where/why". :)
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2010
  7. Rihana

    Rihana IL Hall of Fame

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    Getting the approval of near and dear for our actions feels nice and warm and fuzzy. When we start our own family, it is time to stop discussing our actions with family. Just inform as a matter of course, if at all, and if they have any comments, don't engage in discussion. If any situation needs their input and guidance, ask for it explicitly without agreeing to necessarily follow what they suggest.

    Here, the problem seems to be not your dad's comments, but the importance you give to those comments and getting his approval, even if the approval is limited to a lack of comments.

    -Rihana
     
  8. Nandshyam

    Nandshyam IL Hall of Fame

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    I agree 100% with your mom. There is a tamil adage

    Ayinthil vazhaiyathathu Ayimbathil vazhaiyathu - that cannot bend at five, cannot bend at fifty

    Don't expect your dad is going to change. Your mother who has lived all her life is the best person to say that.

    Ofcourse he is going to get into your nerves, but hey, we suck it up with strangers, friends, boss, why not our loved ones? End of the day, however he might have been, he is still your dad, right?
     
  9. adara

    adara Bronze IL'ite

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    Waiting for that time! Thank you.

    If it was someone else I would have just given a damn to what they think of what I do. Since it is my dad I will be happy to take approval from him. I know it is not the right way of doing things once we have our own family but somehow only and only because it is Dad there.
    All throughout childhood we were doing things with him and always was happy to get a pat on the back so may be that is what is making me get approval here too. I need to learn to ignore his comments since I am no more doing things HIS way here.



    Yeah, you are right!!
     
  10. Priya16

    Priya16 IL Hall of Fame

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    Adara,

    We have family friends who are Brahmins and they are in there late 50 or more and they had grand kids too.
    But the uncle, you never even try to argue with him. He is so strong and uncle father is a big priest in his town, but he doesn't believe in anything. Even he comments on going to temple also. But aunt does regular rituals as usual, whenever she calls us for something we hear all the time criticism from uncle but aunt just ignores and continue. So don't think you can change you father and just ignore it or tell your mom don't pass information to dad.
     

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