Everyone in my family knows that I'm an atheist, but it isn't a topic that gets discussed when we are together, which isn't often due to geographic constraints.  I think they know my philosophy by now:

If you want to talk about religion, that's fine, but you should first realize two things.  One - I can guarantee you that I will be no less of an atheist when we are done, and two - I cannot guarantee you will be no less of a Christian when we are done.

That is what probably convinces them to leave the topic alone, other than to make the obligatory offer to attend a Christmas service with them, which I never will.  My automatic response is "that's like inviting a vegan to a pig roast."  It's not meant to be a nasty remark, it's just the closest analogy I can think of.  Everything else about our relationship is completely normal and functional.

My older brother has come out to me as an agnostic since last year, which must be rough for him being married to the daughter of a Presbyterian minister.  By coincidence, my brother and I grew up with Presbyterian parents, and having no choice but to attend Presbyterian church every week.  He is now the only one I approach to discuss the antitheist related happenings in my life, like attending the Reason Rally.

This year's xmas get-together might be a little interesting though.  Mom called and wanted gift suggestions.  I really don't need anything, so I suggested that I give her a list of books, and she select some from that list and order them from Amazon.  Unfortunately, mom refuses to try and understand technology.  She has trouble answering a cell phone, still has no idea how to text, struggles with email, and successfully negotiating Amazon would be expecting far too much from her.  I could tell that my suggestion would ultimately net me nothing I actually want for xmas, so instead, I found what I wanted on Amazon, ordered and paid for it myself, and had it sent to her address.

I sent her a text on her new smart phone to let her know of my actions, and wasn't surprised to have gotten no text back several days later to acknowledge she understood.  I called my daughter several days later, who lives near mom, to ask if she knew whether mom understood.  She said yes, mom got my text but didn't know how to text me back ... and apparently was struggling with that whole "phone" part of her smart phone.  She also said "the books have already been delivered, and nana can't believe she ended up getting you atheist books for Christmas."  Yes, I ordered three books from Christopher Hitchens that I have not had the opportunity to read yet, so that my God fearing mother can give them to me as gifts.  I won't be surprised if she refuses to pay me back for the order, or even give them to me.  Hey, that what she gets.  It kills me that our communications are so limited because she can't figure out how to use basic technology.

Anyone else have an awkward xmas gathering coming up?

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Kind of an interesting read on about.com about manufactured reality, with some comment about the  artificial nostalgia of Xmas.  Although then the author generalizes to politics and other issues.


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