Resisting pressure from relatives in religious matters :

practising religion, baptising children, getting married in the Church, having a religious funeral ceremony, etc.


In an adult relationship, you should not accept an asymmetrical relationship in which a third party imposes conduct on you. Demand a dialogue between equals, as well as balanced relationships that respect the other's freedom.

Mail, extract made anonymous

Can one "hide" one's exit from the Church from one's relatives, for example one's parents?


It is necessary to inform any person who might - if necessary - be called upon to organise your funeral. Depending on your family situation, this may be your parents, spouse, siblings, children or other close relatives. To be on the safe side, several people should be informed. It is possible to leave others in the dark.

By expressing their expectations, those among your family and friends who are believers may put some pressure on you, but "hiding" your exit from the Church from them is a regrettable attitude. Like them, you have the right to affirm your convictions, to defend your religious freedom, to not conform to their wishes in every respect, to hold your head high and to behave like an adult. Think that if they learn that you are hiding the truth from them, their disappointment will be compounded by your mistrust. Letting those around you believe the opposite of your last wishes can be, at your death, a source of family turmoil.

Mail, extract made anonymous

My wife doesn't accept that I don't go to Church anymore.

At the moment, I am experiencing a terrible inner struggle. A bit of history: At the time, I was an atheist and I met a very religious girl. She was quite open-minded and I didn't see any "problem". She often went to meetings in Church, and I became attached to her, so I decided to go with her one evening, because I wanted to see what was going on there. As time went by, I went more and more with her. At first for her - maybe even to please her - and then I "fell into it". Within a few months I converted, proposed to her and we got married.

To tell the truth, I didn't agree with everything, and the more I read the Bible, the more doubtful I became. After a few months, my doubts having taken over, I realised that the bible is full of contradictions, that the three monotheistic religions stem from the megalomaniac side of the Jews (I am not racist). Recently, I announced to my wife that I didn't want to go there anymore. And there, the drama!

Today I am in inner conflict, because I see that she is sad, and I am also struggling with my guilt and fears. It is confusion. I was much happier before religion! No matter what people say, all religion is a sect, because free will is not real. Do you have any advice? Testimonials?


The priority is to protect you. Remind your wife that you have long shown understanding for her spirituality and that, in return, you expect a gesture from her in the form of tolerance towards you. Try to reach some sort of agreement with her. Explain that

  • Your commitment to her is primarily conjugal and, in religious matters, you have tried to go a long way with her, out of love for her.
  • Unfortunately, religious conviction has not reached you - faith cannot be decided, you cannot continue your life by pretending; it cannot force your freedom of conscience.
  • In short, you sincerely tried, but to no avail. But that doesn't take anything away from the love you have for her.

For your part, in confirmation of the commitments made at the time of marriage, you respect her faith and religious practice and you accept that your children (future, possible) be brought up in your wife's religion. In return, you ask her to respect your religious freedom, to understand that you are following a different religious path from her, and to accept that you no longer go to Church. Tolerance has to work both ways, and she has to give up pressuring you.

Do not try to take him away from his faith. As long as she wishes to remain connected to her community, the chances of success are very low, and the only result would be to escalate the conflict. Tell her that as long as she will not pressure you, you will not criticize her religion. When she puts pressure on you to go with her, explain your position again: without faith, going to church would be an empty, insincere and even hypocritical process.

Generally speaking, in this kind of approach, one should only move forward with very clear positions that can be defended firmly. If your position is presented as a definitive state, the situation should stabilise fairly quickly, at least that is to be hoped. While waiting for the storm to pass, you have to be patient. On the other hand, if you suggest that you may still change your mind, the pressure may become relentless.

So you have to hold firmly to the announced line otherwise, from what I can guess, you are phagocytised and you lose your freedom. Don't go back to Church, not even once, ever!

Some people accept to be submissive. Freedom is not given to us: it is a territory that must be maintained and, if necessary, reclaimed.

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