Hmm, this is an interesting question because I'm in pretty much the same position with my family. If they knew of my Atheism I think I'd be smited on the spot. However, I don't believe in morals in the sense that most people do. In my mind, it's more of a survival/this-makes-me-happy-so-it-must-be-good kinda thing; my idea of morals sort of goes back to the primitive, savage human (or so I've been told) before government and religion was invented (please pardon me if I insult anyone by saying this; this is not my intention). Hopefully I've explained that enough. So in my mind, I'm not being amoral or immoral or anything when I lie about my beliefs; I'm surviving so I'm fine with lying for the time being.
There is a lot of people like you. Some of the older generation are a little too much manipulated and simply stupid. Some of them just want to make everyone around them think that they're the best people on earth because they're following every word written in holy book. Or maybe they're just weak and need people around them who share their thoughts and beliefs because otherwise they might feel unsafe and lonely.
People shouldn't ask that kind of questions. Religions and beliefs should be highly personal. People who don't understand that are a bit crazy in my opinion. But it doesn't really matter what is your answer. Praying can be just thoughts about something better or that everything stays as they are right now. More important question should be: do you want to believe in (insert religion/god here)? I bet that most of us wants to believe in something as good as God but it isn't always easy. Im open-minded person and accept all beliefs and religions.
Best place is in the middle. Not clearly believing (because it might be lying to your relatives and yourself) nor atheist. People who stick to something specific and don't even want to think about any different religions etc. are stupid. We can form our own ways of thinkin... Does it really matter if someone else beieves different way than you?
Btw i have a bit same problem as you, but in Finland we're not that interested in other people's beliefs. Here it's personal thing and my parents aren't forcing us to anything. Sure it's sometimes best to do as others if you don't want to make it a big number. Maybe it is just better to go with "mainstream"? Everybody feels good as long as it doesn't start to bug your conscience. At least it should be safe to say that you don't know what to believe in. It's not that big thing but saying that you don't believe in any deity would be stupid. Im against atheism. We know so little about our world.
for the longest I pretended to be a religion I wasn't, until one day I woke up and stated that this is me, why am I lying to make myself less of a target. they don't even socialize with me anymore to those I came out to, but I really don't care. I feel better that I stopped pretending to be something I am not. for others, this might not be the case. there is location and family dealing with this situation. in some countries/families you could die or be disowned if you state you're something else. if you know the people you're dealing with, then act upon this as being better to fake or come out. it's not wrong, in my opinion, because you're either trying to save face, or you're trying to avoid conflict.
A question like DO YOU PRAY? only deserves one instant reply: DO YOU? Well, maybe two: WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY "PRAY"?
I've been in and out of so many "religions" -the main one mostly when I was a kid (twelve years of Catholic school, where they're good at teaching students how to do research but never really teach a "religion," so that many students find out how literally evil that church was [and can still be] and leave it the instant they graduate school) -that I can say some later years of bible study (a Protestant bible) is good for trivia games and the odd question someone might ask about something "unreligious"... Then others I looked into (whoa, what was I thinking?!) sent folks to dance in airports wearing robes but hid their real agenda (at first--and they're not very nice)--and don't even talk about L. Ron Hubbard (that was an instant "Let's get outta here!").
There were so many "religions" I got nosey about that now I just say, "I'm not religious, I'm spiritual." That seems to puzzle people enough to stop that topic cold. What's 'spiritual'? is a question few seem willing to ask. Don't ask me why. I even have an answer, deep inside. *rummages around in there for future reference*
They definitely pray. I mean, not even a question in this case. Like I didn't say above (but really I should have), it's super cultural. I mean, they even say a quick prayer in Hindu temples and we are not Hindu.
Man, some of those...yeah. I think the problem is usually with the practitioners, though.
It's a bit dishonest, I'm not sure I'd describe it as "immoral". To make someone else happy, it'd be much better to come to an agreement with somebody else where they understand why you believe/don't believe or do/don't do certain things, though I know by my own account some people just can't be reached in this aspect.
lol. living up to the expectations of ones family and friends etc is not possible usually. As far as religion goes, I always answer: "Who is right and who is wrong? The catholic or the protestant, the christian or the muslim?" or maybe "Who does god love the most out of those just mentioned and who amongst them has the right god? and which prophet is right, was it Jesus or Buddha or Mohammed or Krishna?" xx
I guess I don't know what you mean by "amoral". I'd say it's not a good idea for several reasons.
--Deceiving people is hard on your psyche, especially when it's about something important, like your religious beliefs. --Some people will figure out you're probably lying and will be suspicious of you. --If you decide to answer truthfully in the future, it will be harder to do, and people will be hurt that you lied earlier.
I mean, yeah, it stinks that there are people who think they can browbeat you and judge you because you don't follow whatever it is they think is Normal and/or Right. But that's not your problem. If they're seriously going to make your life miserable because you don't agree with them, you reserve the right to withdraw, and that's their loss.
Though if there's a way to sidestep the issue, I wouldn't hesitate to take it!
And who knows? It's possible some of them may decide that it's not that big a deal, or that clearly you're not going to change your mind so they might as well stop bothering you.
(I say this as a conservative Evangelical Christian who spends copious time online in communities where the majority are atheists, agnostics, and people hostile to my convictions. Some of them are my dear friends. But believe it or not, I feel your pain!)
Gotcha on the definition of "amoral." always good to be on the same page!
People do change their beliefs over time. They don't have to change religions to do it, though some do. I'm the same "religion" I was twenty years ago, but my beliefs have deepened and expanded according to my life experience and to the theology I've studied.
The core of a person's identity is always going to be important to them, and it seems to me that the majority of the world puts "religion" at the very foundation of who they are. There always seems to be a disconnect between people who consider a thing essential to their being and those who don't, with neither side really comprehending the other. I'm not sure how to deal with that, myself.
The only advice I feel I can offer is to encourage you to make it clear to your family that you understand how important their religion is to them, and that by rejecting their religion, you're not rejecting them. (It's very common for people to assume otherwise.)
I tend to lie by omission. I don't know why would I be supposed to feel guilty for a lie that is either for my own physical safety (yes) or just for general peace. Same reason why I lie about sexuality and political views.
No. I'm Wiccan, and sadly it is right there in the tenants of our belief that to announce one of our brothers or sisters in faith is basically a mortal sin.
However, one of the tenants of Christianity is to never deny your faith. So, it depends.
I'm pretty open-minded about religion. I'm disabled, so people are all the time telling me they'll pray for me and that Jesus still performs miracles, etc. Part of me is annoyed that they just assume that everyone is Christian like them, but mostly I find it touching that they care, and I appreciate it, because any positive spiritual energy makes a difference. I tend to answer them that yes, I believe in miracles and I do pray, etc. I just don't mention that I pray to Hecate.
Well, in older times being outed as a practitioner of Witchcraft could open you up t violence. It still can nowadays, especially in certain parts of the country. It can cause people to be afraid of you, not like you, etc. I mean, my mom is a Wiccan and was a teacher for a long time. She couldn't really be open about her faith because so many of her students were Christian. People are pretty prejudiced against us, mostly because so many people are uninformed about magick practitioners. So it is considered that if you intentionally reveal this secret without said person's permission, it is a deliberately harmful act.
Well, I'd say it depends. It seems, from this very limited insight you provide, that it is to avoid the conflict that goes along with not being religious(or follow another religion than the majority religion). This in itself isn't something I object to, as long as people don't take to the position of being an enabler(that you don't question things you think are wrong because they give faith based reasons and just go along with it etc.).
If you're an enabler, I'd say you're doing it wrong. If not, I don't really see a problem with it. Naturally, I think it would be good if all non-religious people in highly religious nations like the US were open about it, so the religious could get a better idea of what being an Atheist actually means, instead of making up fantasies(not all do this, but it seems a lot still do), but that is for another debate.
In theory the US is secular, but when you look at debates abiut things like homosexual marriage, abortion and the teaching of evolution in the classrooms you can see that the religious institutions of the land have a lot of power still.
Yes, part of keeping the lie is to accept certain behaviors. However, there is nothing about keeping the lie that should make anyone support things that might infringe in the rights of others. A fine line to use here is "Would Jesus do this?" or "What would Jesus do to those who disagree with him?", followed by a few of the bible verses where Jesus talks about turning the other cheek, "do not repay evil with evil" and "do onto others what you want others to do onto you". It should be rather easy to stay a morally good person, even if you keep up a lie about being christian with the perception of Jesus being this awesomely good and kind person.
There's a reason they're 'debates', though--there's two sides And religion is just not culturally pervasive here in the same way. Some aspects of Judeo-Christian thought are, but people aren't always doing them in the name of religion.
Fortunately, the religion I'm supposed to be is first and foremost about not harming people.
I think you mean immoral. Amoral is an absence of morality (eg a stone is amoral). It's not immoral to claim you hold a belief if it's to prevent others making your life difficult. What is immoral is others putting you in a position where you feel you need to lie to protect yourself or not hurt their feelings.