Debating and winning an argument with strangers is so much easier than our own parents. They know us better than anyone and trying to make them see our point ends up in a not-so-productive conversation. Especially when it comes to their faith and beliefs.
Personally, I have had many disagreements with my own but the worst of them all is trying to respectfully accept our point of view on religion. It’s hard to be an atheist but it is harder when you have religious parents. Over the years I have realized it’s an art to co-exist in such a situation. Smartly dodging volatile topics, turning a blind eye every now and then, and picking your battles carefully. Here are 8 things that will make lives easier for you and your parents. Before you proceed, fair caution – these tactics may not always work on your grandparents.
- Never say never to a religious trip.
Treat it as an expedition if you want, but never say no to visiting religious places. Remember your parents sitting through several Disney movies? Or when they let you watch your favorite cartoons, no matter how pointless they seem? Well, it’s your turn to return the favor. Going to these places may not be reasonable in your eyes but if it makes them happy, it’s a very little price to pay.
Plus, you can’t deny the exquisite architecture and rich culture these places have to offer. It’s a gold mine for the history-lover in you. And also, they make for great selfie-backgrounds.
- Respect their faith as you expect them to respect yours.
You will find that rather than trying to cover them, it’s much easier to leave them be and respect what they believe in. You should feel free to question but don’t try to impose on them. If you want them to let you be, you got to extend the same courtesy to them.
Being open is the key to your problem in the long run. As someone who has faith in facts, you should be open to the possibility that everything is possible until proven otherwise and thus, even if you don’t trust something to be true, the least you can do, is to try to understand it and oppose it on the grounds of factual accuracy.
- Read texts.
We all have to prepare before we go for a battle. That battle could be exams, actual wars, and as in this case, a casual conversation with your parents. You will be surprised by how much helpful information you will get to take a stand against your parents.
There is so much misunderstanding between what religion used to be and what it has become. Reading these scriptures might help you get some insights into our rich culture. It will help you rectify some of your parents’ beliefs using their own weapons. And if nothing else, these scriptures and texts will make for some amazingly interesting stories.
- Get immune to some real emotional blackmail.
One thing that never gets old with our parents – the hidden weapon of emotional blackmail. “Don’t do it to please the gods but do it for our sake” – get immune to this track of thoughts. They can make you do things you not only have any confidence in but they make things awkward for everyone. It’s better to realize that these lines will make an appearance every now and then and unless you want to get tangled in this dark web; you may as well learn to ignore them.
- Be ready to justify your position.
I know, I know, you don’t owe anyone an explanation. You are your own person and all that jazz. But here’s the thing, it probably won’t work with your parents. They will ask you to justify why you believe or don’t believe in something and for the sake of your sanity, you better be ready with some valid points. It’s not what you owe to them but more about what they deserve.
You have scrutinized them for their beliefs, may not have done it loudly, but nonetheless, you have. So, they have the right to do the same. To keep the calm around, it’s best that you explain your position.
- Religious festivals coming up? Better to be done with it than fight it.
Religious festivals and the stories behind them can often sound like fables especially to an atheist’s ears. But they are a huge part of your parents’ unbreakable faith. The quickest and safest way to survive this battle is to participate. And just imagine, all the sweets and chocolates you get to enjoy. All the family reunions. And of course, the new clothes and everything. You won’t be able to beat them in this one!
- Invest in a good pair of headphones.
One thing that irks me more than anything is the loud preaching of the priests and religious leaders blasting every morning and evening on the television. This might not be everyone’s plight but those who have to go through this, I feel you. Best option? Get the best noise-canceling headphones and use them excessively.
- Find something to believe in.
I get the difficulty we face in understanding the faith of our parents. Why not find something you believe in as strongly as your parents believe in their religion? It could be a person, a subject, or the weirdest theory ever. It would help you appreciate their dedication and love for their faith. And who knows, seeing your passion, your parents might join you in your love.
Have fun handling your parents. Remember it’s an art which takes practice to perfect. Best of luck!
At this age, you see these options to survive along with your parents. Expand this to few years in the future, when you will be working (either in a organization or as a self employed professional). You’ll find the same issues and the very same techniques will work to overcome those issues.