A few hours ago I called my grandmother to wish her a happy birthday and near the end of that conversation she asked me if I still went to church, I proceed to tell her that I no longer believe in the existence of a god and she began to lay into me with the usual its a phase type routine, I cut the conversation short, but near the end she said she wanted to talk about "god" at another time. Know normally I am usually not timid in regard to this issue, but around family I really don't like to bring it up as relations in my family are already tense enough without even bringing religion into the equation. I'm just wondering how I should handle this situation; should I go the direct route and confront her when she brings it up again, side step the issue entirely, or something else. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.


Thank you


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Arm yourself with some ideas of how you'll respond if she brings up god with you again. Stuff like just explaining to her that you made your choices based on your own experiences and self-inspection, and that pushing her religion on you will just push you away. But otherwise, don't bring it up first. And don't get confrontational or angry, or else she'll see it as proof that your atheism is making you immoral.

I'd agree with her, accept that I'd be a bit more aggressive just because it sounds like they know and are badgering you about it. You told her once in a nice respectable manner, in my eyes any further assault on you because of your choice is a blatant disrespect and should be met with equal force.  I would not bring god up again, but, if she brings it up. I’d stop her mid sentence and say something to the effect of, "grandma, I love you but I refuse to chat about religious issues with you because the approach you take is disrespectful to me and to my decision."  I'd follow up with "if you are curious about why i made this decision I’d be more then happy to explain it to you, but I will not debate this with you as I do not want any wedges driven between us."  I have had to do the same with my family.  Finally after being the broken record, they know that religion is an off limits topic with me.  They don’t beg me to go to church, and I don’t disrespect them when they pray over dinner at family gatherings. 

It depends on how you're feeling at the moment. I know that sometimes i'm curious about what answers i will get to my questions, so i'll go for it. Other times, i don't have the energy to do it. Elder relatives are wise in many areas, and to them, they're 100% sure that you haven't seen the light, and they have been around longer than you, etc. If you're up to it, have a few pointed questions in mind, and never get loud.
I guess it all depends on what sort of an outcome you want. If you don't care what she thinks about you, go right ahead and be s direct as you want to be. The thing with grandparents and old folk in general is that they are stuck in their worldview and nothing you say will change it. I would just listen politely and then respond that you don't believe there is reason to believe in god either from the rational, metaphysical/epistemological perspective (there isn't enough justification to know that a god exists, it isn't a rational belief), or that you need to believe in god to be a good, moral person. Just tell her you're a humanist and then you have a good position to argue from if it turns into that. Morals are what's good for humans, for this world not the next. If you are respectful then hopefully she will be too and no harm done.
They always want to talk about god,even if you don't want to hear it...You see,your feelings don't matter here...Tell her simply you will not discuss her religious beliefs,if she starts going on about god,excuse yourself and hang up the phone. If you do this enough,it will eventually sink in that she can't talk to you if she has to bring the cakedude in the sky into the conversation.

Hard call. I told mine I was atheist and she just looked at me with her kind soft eyes and said, "I love you."

My DOG! I felt like a little ant. So now I respect my elders and just smile and suck it up. I don't have to be in everyone's face. Once I am more secure with my non belief, it does not matter if I shout it out.  She was being kind and I was an ass to her and I will never do that again.

My family is / was very good at emotional manipulation, and your story just brought back a lot of memories about my families reaction.


I agree with Sam Jones above (You told her once in a nice respectable manner, in my eyes any further assault on you because of your choice is a blatant disrespect and should be met with equal force).

They have to have respect for you and your decisions or you will always be a child in their eyes.

My elderly mother was visiting, out of necessity because an ice storm had left her home without power.

Somehow, the subject of God came up in the conversation, and I told her I didn't believe.

"What! You don't believe in God? Where do you suppose everything came from?"

I then asked her where God came from. I could almost hear the rusty wheels grinding - she hadn't thought about that before. She looked visibly shaken. There was no further God talk.

just say, I respect you, so respect me... wanna go see a movie?
I suggest putting up some boundaries of where you will not go and where you will go when it comes to conversations of that nature. Believers, especially those in your family tend to take it personally when someone leaves the faith.

If they were as interested as doing the right thing as they would listen to the opposition instead of seeking confimation bias.
[I'm responding here, so that I can click the "follow" link below.  I'm in the same situation as Justin B]
Avoid those who are vexations to the spirit


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