your opinionns please
#13
(20-Sep-2010, 08:56 PM)unsorted Wrote: @mohankarthik - bit of a strawman there. I never said anything about being "militant" or "making a statement".
Oops! That wasnt an intentional stawman! I just went back and read you original post and I misunderstood you. Ok! So you dont attend because you dont feel comfortable. Yes, that is perfectly fine. The reason I said I would attend, is that I think I would be happier doing so.

(20-Sep-2010, 08:56 PM)unsorted Wrote: 3) Explain your objection, and show up.
This is the option you're advocating - and you said it might be *more* effective to do this than stay away. To me this is wishful thinking.
Why is it wishful? I've converted a couple of my cousins by being at their house warming poojas and telling them at every turn that this is why such and such a thing is a superstition. (To be fair they were already in the I dont care about religion type, but without the push, they would have never changed.) I guess I am running with that confidence. But as I've already mentioned, it depends on a person to person basis. There is no universal answer.

(20-Sep-2010, 08:56 PM)unsorted Wrote: I hope the statement "If we are not there, the superstition goes on as well right?" is something you just threw in and you didn't mean it seriously? Think global, act local: we can effect change even through seemingly insignificant actions.
No I did not just throw the statement, but I could have phrased it better. I believe as I mentioned in the above reply that by being a presence, you can make more of a change than by not being there. Maybe I'll re-evaluate, maybe I wont. Let us see, but this is my current position.

Swati Wrote:Well said, unsorted! You're also right about not losing many friends and relatives. I haven't lost any, though I'd very much like to lose some of them
Do they still value your opinions? Have they stopped practicing superstitious activities? Either I am missing something, or the fact that you havent made a change in their life is still true right? I agree with the point that you may not like to go and hence arent going. That is alright. But I dont think you will make an impact on anyone by not going. Can someone answer this question to me clearly? smile.

Azad Wrote:Concludes - Will attend such ceremonies may be i am not courageous enough to boycott my family neither the yummy Payasam.
smile smile! Mee too! Payasam is too gud!
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#14
(20-Sep-2010, 09:41 PM)mohankarthik Wrote:
Swati Wrote:Well said, unsorted! You're also right about not losing many friends and relatives. I haven't lost any, though I'd very much like to lose some of them
Do they still value your opinions? Have they stopped practicing superstitious activities? Either I am missing something, or the fact that you havent made a change in their life is still true right? I agree with the point that you may not like to go and hence arent going. That is alright. But I dont think you will make an impact on anyone by not going. Can someone answer this question to me clearly? smile.

Religious people are often resourceful at handling cognitive dissonance. So it is very possible, that not attending these marriages don't have much of an effect. They are willing to ignore your statement of refusal, and still hold on to their social or family-relative based obligations and still be friends or cordial with you. It will take more time and incidents of this sort for the cognitive dissonance to be so strong that it actually has a positive effect. So, I think hammering on repeatedly with our convictions is the right way to go.

My own views on the matter: I have been an atheist from when I was very young, and I have always made it a point to disparage all religious functions that my relatives conduct. When I was in my late teens, I would usually express my views to my immediate family (parents and sibling) and escape from attending the function. In general, they will make some excuse for me (usually censoring my own views). Of late, I express my views rather often in family gatherings, and people have stopped inviting me to poojas, and other relatively minor rituals (and I believe this has contributed to the irreligiousness of some of my younger cousins!). I have (a little like unsorted) as yet not been confronted with having to refuse attending a marriage, but I think I will stick to my views and skip the ritual (along with stating my reasons) and attend the reception. I do think the stand will be poorly received, but I intend to keep up the hammering!

Mohankarthik: Though you have had some measure of success by attending these rituals, I think it will always be limited, because sometimes the relative in question may be a little distant, and there is always the possibility (a highly likely one I think) that the ritual itself is so immersive, that they have no time to listen to your objections and lessons. I think it is better to be encourage people to think about the merits of your stand, without being too preachy about it. This is facilitated by a well-thought out response saying that you do not intend to attend, when invited to a ritual.
Aditya Manthramurthy
Web Administrator & Associate Editor
Nirmukta.com
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#15
Here's a follow-up on those friends of mine who are getting married soon: Friend #1 is fine with it! The conversation went something like this:

"Hey so is there going to be a priest etc. at the ceremony?"

"Big time. They [his fiance's family] are super-religious."

"Okay... then I probably won't come for that--"

"Ya skip that, come for the reception that'll be fun."
--

I didn't even have to explain that I don't want to attend a religious ceremony. Then again he does know my pretty well, and I think he was secretly relieved because he doesn't really want the ceremony himself.

Friends #2 - a couple I know - is going to be trickier. smile
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#16
@Donatello: Ya da! When the relative is distant, someone I dont care a lot about, then yes, this is exactly what I will be doing. I wasnt talking about barging into every marriage invitation I get and give a half an hour speech ;). I meant the really close ones. Like if your sister is getting married and if she is still religious and you havent yet had the chance to slow convert the whole family. In those cases is what I was talking about.

@Unsorted: Do let me know how that conversation goes smile. Always good to know alternatives ;) ;)
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#17
@ mohankarthik

My story and views on the matter are very similar to donatello's in above post. Except that I'm probably nearer your parents' age and from a generation earlier, and hence had a tougher time.

You've specifically mentioned close family members like sisters and cousins. If it is an arranged marriage like event, it is already too late isn't it? You can't change conservative mind sets just like that. Do they know that you're an atheist? If you've newly decided that you're an atheist, your family will not take you seriously. They'll think it is just a phase that you'll outgrow.
So if you love your cousin who is getting married, by all means attend, just ask her if she'll attend and support you no matter who and how you get married. smile

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#18
I think you are taking it to extremes. Marriage is not (and doesn't have to be) a religious event. I agree that the institution of marriage has religious roots, but if my friend decides to get into it, then it is his conscious decision. And there is nothing wrong if I attend the event. If you are referring to showing protest against the institution of marriage itself, then it is a different matter - but I would rather do that by writing articles & books, filing petitions for rights of people in live-in relationships & their children etc. By being absent at a friend's wedding, that is not going to help anyone, and no one will notice.

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#19
It's me again - thought I'd give an update on those 2 friends I mentioned earlier in the thread. I politely declined to attend both ceremonies (and I explained why), saying I'd come to the reception. In both cases the response was just fine - they understood. One of them sent me a nice note saying "I am quite happy that you wrote in to tell us about the fact that you'd be more comfortable not coming" - how's that for refreshing? smile

I have a THIRD friend's wedding coming up in April. But I'm becoming an old hand at this now, so I'm not dreading it any more. smile
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#20
My friends have started getting married in the last two years and I was troubled by this for a long time. For the most part even the close ones are untroubled if I do not come for the religious ceremonies, though i did attend one out of solidarity - the bride, a good friend of mine didn't and still doesn't believe, but went ahead with the ceremonies because of the grooms family.
As for the reception it is very clear in my head. There is also the factor that in Bombay receptions are fairly secular (except at Catholic weddings where they like to pray before the meal - i usually step out for a cigarette at this time). Anyway at wedding receptions I go without even thinking, after all the only thing that we do at receptions over here is eat, give the couple a gift, and if we are close to the couple then hang around with them till they leave for their marital home/honeymoon (if they are on a tight schedule).

There is one more thing I do not approve of in catholic wedding receptions. Half my family are catholics from mangalore, the majority still live there. During our wedding receptions, towards the end to be a little more precise, the bride and groom along with their families come to the middle of the hall. The groom waits with his family on one side of an imaginary divide while the bride waits on the other side with hers. The master of ceremonies (MC, an irritating presence at weddings) starts a narrative about the brides life so far, reminding her of the love of her parents, her home, pets (if any), neighbours, friends, etc. This goes on till the bride begins to cry, upon which the grooms parents rush across and brings her onto their side while the MC starts telling her about how she has a new family now (!) and that they will look after her and stuff like that. I find this extremely anti women and a reflection of our own biased patriarchal society. I usually go off on long walks during this particular ceremony (the best walk being during a family wedding in Chikmangalore - a place that voted Indira Gandhi back into Parliament after emergency).
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