ANSWERS: 64
  • You can celebrate the event as a social gathering but avoid religious references.
  • I see no point in grace really, but I'm an Atheist and I still celebrate Christmas - but in secular way. I celebrate love and joy, giving and family every day of course, but everyone makes it specail on Christmas, so. :3 It's jus fun.
  • I think I would reconsider my religous beliefs. God is real.
  • I would stop saying grace, but continue to celebrate xmas, it is more a familly holiday now than a religous one anyway.
  • Just think of Christmas as a "special day" and celebrate it with them...Jehovah witnesses do it all the time with family...As far as saying grace just bow your head and say nothing
  • Christmas is the winter festival; before Christianity it was called Yule or Saturnalia, amongst other things. No reason not to celebrate the winter festival. Likewise no reason not to celebrate the spring festival names after Oestra, the pagan Goddess of Fertitily that has been corrupted into Easter. As for grace, if it is their table, follow their customs. There is no harm in bowing your head as they say grace; while you do not have to share their beliefs, there is no need actively to withdraw.
  • Grace-no Christmas-Yes, it is hardly a religious holiday anymore, I consider it more of a time of happiness and giving, rather than a religious thing.
  • I think of it this way- let's say you were on vacation in a foreign land, and were invited to dinner at someone's home. These people have specific customs: take your shoes off, put a hat on, hold your hands on your knees and hum as the food is served, then eat. Would you say- "no, these things are silly, so I won't do it" or would you be polite, and when in Rome do as the Romans do? Just be with them, and be polite. During grace you don't have to say anything you don't believe in, just sit quietly. For anything else, same thing- participate in all the silly superficial things, that is all that's expected. If they go to Mass, just stay home, or go to the movies and meet up with them after.
  • I think a lot of atheists celebrate Christmas as just a time of being with family. And not really a time of being thankful for Jesus and stuff like that.
  • You can still be grateful for your food without being grateful to God. And Christmas is a secular holiday as well as a religious holiday, so there is no real reason you can't still celebrate it. Don't look for trouble where there is none. It won't cost you anything to be considerate of your family's beliefs even if you don't believe the same thing. It's not like you will go to hell if you show respect while they pray or celebrate the birth of Jesus is it?
  • I did too, but I'm staying with family stuff like christmas, they'd hate me If I didn't and just stayed shut away. They said they wouldn't mind, but want me to end with a "confirmation class". I think they mean well, but it seems like they're trying to have one last chance at being christian. Kinda sad, but you should be with your family, whether you don't believe the orgins of a celeebration or not, but I wouldn't say grace or anything, but if they are getting upset, I'd reconsider.
  • I did too, but I'm staying with family stuff like christmas, they'd hate me If I didn't and just stayed shut away. They said they wouldn't mind, but want me to end with a "confirmation class". I think they mean well, but it seems like they're trying to have one last chance at being christian. Kinda sad, but you should be with your family, whether you don't believe the orgins of a celeebration or not, but I wouldn't say grace or anything, but if they are getting upset, I'd reconsider.
  • If your family is like most families, they just want you there. Be nice and respectful, but understand that they do love you. It doesn't hurt anything to go ahead and bow your head, or exchange gifts. Just enjoy the time you have with them. Believe me, one day you will miss them.
  • You can still join in at family occassions. As a Pagan I do it all the time. When they say grace just sit and be quiet. As for Christamas and the other holidays you can still celebrate them without them having to be about religion. Make then about what they mean to you and keep those traditions that fit your beleifs. After all it's what the Christains did with Pagan traditions and holidays.
  • You can sit there and be polite and not pray. You can sit there and not sing praises. Or you can glorify the God that created the body you sit with and the mouth you sing with. Jesus loves you and He wants you to be with him in heaven for eternity. Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior (or so it is suppose to be). He was born to die for us all so that our sins would be forgiven. May God bless you.
  • You can enter God's Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose the easy way" (Matthew 7:13)
  • Happy Winter Soltice! Or Happy Consumer Shopping Season! Or Happy Give & Get! My son is non-Christian too, we just enjoy the season & each others company.
  • Christmas is about the most non-christian holiday out there anymore. It was "borrowed" from pieces of other festables and rituals for century's.
  • Get your parents a little something to celebrate the turning of the years, let them know that you love them. Be polite when they say Grace, thank them if they celebrate you with generousity at the turning of the wheel of the Years. Have fun, and be happy. If your parents are any good, they'll understand that if this makes you happy, then they shouldn't be busting your chops about it - after all, when you have a kid, it's not about you anymore. And don't be afraid of inviting them to Festivus! A Festivus for the Rest of us!
  • I will be here for thiers and do my own little thing later. Just because I am not Christian doesn't mean I cannot share in what has become the "standard" set of Holidays. Holidays are more about family and celebration than religion(in practice). I have my Sabbats, we have our Holidays together. Be quiet and allow them to pray, do not interject or be rude. Give gifts, join the fray. The best part about Christmas is seeing someone open a gift lovingly selected just for them. Do it for love, a chance to show people that you care. Recieve graciously gifts from those who are so inclined to be so kind. Say "Thank you". Listen to the Christmas story if they read it. It is just "Story time" you don't have to believe in it. Merge with the herd. Listen; be kind. It's about love and kindness, not religion.
  • Last christmas I told my parents i was an agnostic. My family is catholic and my mother was hurt. I still celebrate christmas with my family but it takes on a whole different meaning for me. My family celebrates the birth of god, where as i celebrate being with my family and friends and how much they all mean to me. I do not say grace anymore, but remain silent and keep to myself when it is being said. I hope you manage to figure out a way that works. Good luck
  • I think it is great that you were able to tell your parents about you belifs. What ever you decide to do celebrate or not. Remain Polite to their belifs while still supporting yours
  • if I am with theist friends and they say grace I just bow my head and remember things to be grateful for. I would hate to make them feel I was disrespectful of them.(I make my religious friend's son say grace when he eats at my house, cos she asked me to. They all know we are a 3rd generation humanist family.)
  • I kinda weaned myself off of church, then eventually I shot the early sun morning shifts at work. so I kinda got a break i guess lol
  • Christmas is a commercial holiday. My family are not Christians. We are Buddhists, but we celebrate all of the standard US/Christian holidays.
  • If you don't believe the is a God to offend, then what harm would there be in celebrating Christmas and saying grace with them?
  • I'm an atheist and have been since I can remember. But I have friends and family who are Christian and I never fail to bow my head when grace is said or attend Christmas festivities with good will in mind. I don't actually say grace, but I go through all the motions. You don't have to believe in something to respect it. If you feel uncomfortable with doing that, I guess it's just up to how your family sees it. If you're in a really cool family, they won't think anything of it.
  • I am an atheist and my in-laws are born again. When we get together, they say grace standing in a circle holding hands. Out of respect for their beliefs I join the circle and stand silently. My husband is Christian, so Christmas is a mixture of things in our house. I think of it is a time for celebrating family. We have a tree ( the pagan symbol) and we have a nativity display.
  • I see no harm in celebrating with them. I wouldn't be uncomfortable
  • If you don't feel you should pray and you don't believe there is such thing as a God, would your prayer not be in vain if you're doing it just to make other people happy? If they force you to pray, it is okay to tell them that they are trying to force you to make a mockery of their God and you want no part in that.
  • The appropriate thing to do at the dinner table is to remain silent during the saying of "grace". You do not have to participate, but you should refrain from eating until the rest of the family is ready to eat. As far as Christmas... that's hardly a Christian holiday. Do whatever you feel for that, but I wouldn't cut myself off from the festivities for the sake of an over-commercialized "holy-day"
  • Are their feelings already hurt when you told them? When in their home, I believe it is most respectful to abide by their traditions.
  • Pagan rituals and festivals have so invaded and actually dominated Christian holidays that I don't see where it should be such a philosophical conflict for you. Christmas is mostly a celebration of Capitolism, and Easter contains mostly Pagan symbols of fertility. "Be fruitful and multiply." lol
  • Do as I say - not as I do - always suck-up to the prevailing mythology. Heck, your parents may have some money to leave you, don't piss 'em off. There's no god/devil so go with what is REAL and that is your parents' fear and shame (as expressed by a belief in myths) and their real property that you may 'get a cut of'.
  • Christmas is a celebration that is much older than Christianity and also has a completely secular side in much of the world. I don't believe in it myself but I enjoy the ritual - no reason you shouldn't. I suppose grace could be that same. being thankful for your good fortune isn't a bad thing. Now if your parents try forcing the religious aspects on you - you may need to decide to go your own way.
  • I think you should continue to be at your family functions. No one is asking you Bible questions or anything, how could that hurt? I mean, Christmas doesn't have to be a religious thing anymore at all; there are lots of secular aspects that you can still enjoy with your family.
  • I sit quietly during grace, or my brother and I sneak food while everyone else's eyes are closed. Christmas to me is about family and presents and closing the year. It's based on pagan winter solstice celebrations anyway.
  • I celebrate different parts of Christmas but nothing religious....my family has never been to religious around Christmas time anyways. Some atheists I know celebrate Saturnalia but well I think you can still celebrate the festivities w/o partaking in the religious aspects of it and well just....don't say grace....if it makes you uncomfortable don't do it....it's not being rude...it'd be rude to force you or make you feel uncomfortable about something you don't feel right doing.
  • That depends; is your family uber-religious? If they are, you may want to ask them about it. If they're not and have no pressing moral qualms about you "going through the motions," go ahead and celebrate. There's a lot more to celebrate than Jesus. I like to think of Christmas as an opportunity to spread good cheer and make the world just that much better (because contrary to all logic, the holidays are an unhappy time for many busy, lonely, or grumpy people who could use a card or batch of cookies). Don't let your religion (or lack thereof) separate you from your family, especially at a family-intensive time like Christmas. As for praying, the rule of thumb is, when in mixed company be polite. When people pray, I'm silent and respectful. I'll sit in church with my family or friends (although I won't take Communion or anything like that). If you yourself are worried about the moral implications of celebrating Christian holidays (most of which were once pagan holidays that had nothing whatsoever to do with Christ), you should probably stop and think why. You're atheist. You make your own rules. What scares you more? Hellfire or losing time with your family?
  • i would respect their customs but not take part in them wholeheartedly.
  • Just try to be respectful of your parents. This doesn't have anything to do with your religious beliefs or lack thereof. When I'm with my friends who say grace, I just sit quietly. Others handle it differently, depending on what they're comfortable with. Even if they asked you to say grace, you could just talk about how thankful you are for the food they cooked and that you're happy to be with your family. You're celebrating your family as much as anything else. Nothing wrong with that by any standards. Good luck!
  • Say grace. Why does it hurt you your just talking to yourself. Look at christmas as a time to give those close to a gift, and recieve one. Away of saying I love you. Really in most family christmas celebration does God play a role anymore? Heck I still go to church with my family. It gives me a good hour to think without interuption.
  • I would discontinue saying grace. Saying grace is like urinating on the dinner table. As far as Christmas goes, I would just say, "happy holidays" and give presents that say the same. You could even warn them ahead of time that you wont accept any gifts that say "merry christmas"
  • If they were okay with it you don't have to do it if you doin't want to. if they really don't like it you could just try explaining to them that your not comfortable with celebrating or saying grace. Or if you feel bad you could just humor them and celebrate chirstmas with them or not even the whole thing just get them a gift.
  • I'm Atheist and I still do stuff like that, when in Rome do as the Romans do.
  • I would think, in your parents eyes, for you to say grace would at worst be as if you were thanking Zeus and at best be as if you were thanking the toaster. In other words, it ranges from blasphemy to futility. Either way, you saying grace is a bad idea. Remaining silent while they pray is the best choice. Closing your eyes and bowing your head is going a bit far in my opinion as it is part of their ritual; I just watch the table or the speaker. As far as celebrating Christmas goes, it is very well-documented that the winter celebration was stolen from pagan traditions. The tree, the color scheme, the decorations, the presents, and much of the music have nothing to do with Christ himself, so don't let anyone trick you into thinking you need to be spending the holiday in the basement. If you be respectful, you'll probably receive the same treatment. Counter any religious questions with "Are you sure you want to talk about this?" And if they do then let 'em have it. But be gentle.
  • Continue with the traditions. Don't expect them to change their expectations and habbits because you have decided you are atheist. They are who they are just as you are who you are and these traditions may be important to them. Christmas is much more than celebrating the birth of Christ, it's also time to enjoy family. While saying grace, take it as an opportunity to be thankful for what you have. Showing gratitude is a great way to utilize the law of attraction. Good Luck! :)
  • I too am an atheist amongst a highly religious family. I found my answers in a paraphrase of one of my favorite quotes: "Compromise is the price of civilization, not an abrogation of principle." Good luck!
  • you can just sit quiet ly while they pray. and for christman. i'm an atheist and i love christmas... al the family time.
  • Pesonally, I would not say grace. If they want to they can go ahead, you can sit there. Christmas is a different matter. It is a cultural celebration with diverse background. I see nothing wrong with celebrating it. I do, and my ex-wife and her family who are Buddhists to too.
  • i know where you are man. my little brother just had to do that. i suggest talking to them. tell them why you dont accept superstition and ask why they do. the more open you are with your parents the better your future will be.. trust meeeeee
  • i had the same problem. i just like to be restpectful of their veiws, when they say grace i sit and wait till they're finished to eat and to me christmas is not a very religious holiday anyways, i mean it started being about their religous figure being born, but now it's more about a fat man in a red coat handing out presents
  • Christimas is more then about religion its a day for family's to come together. Christmas really anyway now a days has very little to do about any religious person or thing its mostly about gifts. You are more likely to hear where's my present then Bless be his name God on Christmas mourning. Or atleast thats what i've notice.
  • Christmas with your family: its a holiday and you can still celebrate it as "an occasion when all the family gets together and demonstrates affection for each other with gifts and talk, etc." In practice, its really a pretty secular holiday for the most part for most people I think. Other people praying: Well, show respect by pausing what you're doing in the same way you might if you were in a foreign country and they played their national anthem or something at a ball game. It seems roughly the same to me. "Saying" grace literally? You should probably decline any offers to do that on the grounds that you're not a believer and therefore you uttering the prayer really be a proper. Should there be a God he probably wouldn't appreciate you faking it. That ought to be acceptable to them I think.
  • Saying Grace is just being thankful. If you were torn and slaughtered, wouldn't you want at least a thank you before being eaten? I know I would And as for Christmas, my whole family is athiest (except my grand parent one uncle and his two sons who are jehova witnesses and don't believe in it) and we ALL celebrate it because it is the coming together of family and friends, show that we love each other and think of each other. So yes I think that you should, but the choiced is completely up to you.
  • First, congrats on telling them. That took a lot of courage. But at this point, the best thing to do is to keep a positive relationship with them, so they'll support you in your decision. If they want you to say grace, it's really no big deal in my opinion. I still say grace with my family on occasion, just to appease them. There's really no need to create any unneeded tension. As far as Christmas goes, I personally still celebrate it with my family. I celebrated it when I was a kid, and I really didn't want to stop the tradition. Even though my family is religious, it's more of a family dinner than an outright celebration.
  • Boy you serious Athiests sure have a tough road to travel. Can't you just go over there and hand out gifts and stuff or have you stopped loving them too? I don't eat meat for concientious reasons, but I am not going to stop cooking it for my family who don't share my beliefs. I'm not going to preach my ideas, I'm just going to act accordingly for me. Just because you have a belief does not mean you can expect the rest of the world to agree. Good luck. Can you proove that there is no God? I'd love to hear it.
  • You should, out of respect. It does not matter if you believe in the words. If you don't go along with them you're just being defiant. I am not religious myself, but when I serve dinner and someone wants to say grace, I just bow my head and take a moment of silence out of respect. That's just being nice you know.
  • You can continue celebrating Christmas with your folks and you can just pause while they are saying grace.
  • Unfortunately, this is not an easy situation. It's not as easy as simply playing along just to be courteous. The fact that you're willing to label yourself an Atheist suggests, to me, that personal principles are important to you. That's a big part of your identity and your perspective of the world and of reality. You may even have strong opinions on social or political issues. It's not a satisfying answer to tell a gay person that he or she should simply join in a heterosexual relationship or even marriage, and pretend to be straight. I don't see, therefore, the value of telling an atheist to simply join in prayer and not "mean" it. After all, prayer, to an atheist, is simply talking to oneself. And a group prayer led by a prayer leader, is one person indirectly speaking for others and imposing his own beliefs on others. If you, as I do, feel that way, then you would absolutely feel that participating in group prayer violates your personal principles. And you shouldn't do anything that violates your principles, even in the name of courtesy. I'm sorry that you're in this position. I am in a similar position - I'm a staunch atheist in a fundamentalist Christian family. They frequently prayer together, and I would keep my eyes open and think about the food, about the wallpaper etc. and not say Amen. I try not to bring up the subject of religion. I work extra hard to find common ground between us that we can enjoy. I don't like everything about my situation, but I feel good about how I'm living according to my own standards and not others. I can only hope that you'll find your own way as well. It may not be as easy as mine, but whatever you learn, please do write about it. There are many like us and we can learn from each other.
  • i still celebrate religious holidays when i'm with friends and family out of respect/love for them. observing these holidays for that reason does not change my belief system at all.
  • Be honest and tell them you don't believe and go do something else.   Christmas, both the modern day practice and the pagan practice upon which it is based, are based on belief in deities. If you are an atheist, you cannot participate.   Likewise, if you are an atheist, who would you pray to? Go find some atheist friends to hand out with instead.
  • This is a personal choice. On one hand, you may want to be open about it. On the other hand, your religious beliefs aren't anyone else's business. Personally, I don't discuss my religious beliefs, or lack thereof, with my family. I celebrate Yule and Christmas. They are celebrations of family, giving, renewal and the Solstace...there is no need or reason to associate any particular religion, or any religion, with it. I certainly bow my head when I'm at anyone's house and they pray. It is simply a matter of respect for that person.
  • When I was an atheist: My mother-in-law is Catholic and out of respect for her I bow my head and let her say grace. I celebrated Christmas because it is a time of giving, being with family and showing love. I did stop going to church, church is for those that believe they need it. I did volunteer to go on Christmas as I knew that would make her happy. Just don't go receive the Eucharist (it is only meant for believers).

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