Friday, August 15, 2008

Facebook Fallout

I'm a rather passive aggressive person, so rather than go through the trouble of confronting people about atheism individually, I decided to change my religion status on facebook to "Atheist." Back when facebook was populated entirely by college students this would have been fine, but unfortunately my change of religious preference coincided with a rather disturbing trend: all of my Mexican relatives are getting on facebook!

It started with my younger relatives, of course. Slowly but surely, I watched helplessly as facebook spread through the ranks of my relatives in Mexico, moving from young (14-16 year old) cousins to their older siblings and finally their parents.

This of course changes the game up a bit, since coming out as an Atheist to a bunch of American college kids and coming out to my Catholic (by default) family in Mexico are two entirely different animals. As the deed was already done, however, I decided to let it ride and see what happens. It was only a matter of time before my own MOTHER was on facebook. It started out innocently enough:

Hi Nandon,
How are you doing?

Yes thats right, my mom used a pet name, the strangely punctuated word "hugs' and an emoticon in one shot. As soon as she got on, I let her know what was up:

I'm rockin, mom! Have fun looking through pictures of me at parties!

And for a while, that was that. It wasn't until I came back from my summer internship in Oklahoma that I was confronted again with what I had done. My dad was the first to mention it, at dinner after he picked me up from the airport:

Your mom's really worried about this whole Atheist thing, but I told her that its not like you don't believe in a higher power, you just don't believe in the conception of one that has been fed to you by traditional religion.

At this point, I marveled at the fact that my dad decided to reinterpret my lack of religion into a simple denial of tradition or a rebellion against organized religion. I did not, of course, say anything, and instead I'm writing this blog post because, as we've already established, I'm passive aggressive. But he went on, and I shall continue depicting paraphrases as quotes:

So I told her, if he really didn't believe in anything higher than himself, he wouldn't be doing all this stuff for the environment. So its not like he's a selfish person, he does believe in *waves hands in circles as if to indicate the world* something.

Someday, I'll tell him that yes, I do believe in something, but that something has absolutely nothing to do with the supernatural. It has to do with nature, with morality, with the ability of each person to pass ideas to others. But for now, I kept quiet. I have to think before I try to do these things.

I got home, and my Mom, the ultimate source of my passive aggressiveness, of course did nothing. Nothing except for making two snide remarks:

Snide remark one (when asked at a company party about what church we went to)-
I go to Metodist church, but he *points at me and rolls eyes* doesn't go to churh anymore. (if only she knew that I've been going to Unitarian Universalist church)
Snide remark two (after a brazillian swimmer who had crossed himself catholically won a race on the Olympics)
See? It works!

I guess at some point I'll sit my parents down and try to explain my beliefs to them. For now, though, I think I'll let this ride for a month or two, and I'll let you know how it goes. Maybe they'll find this blog and I wont have to do anything.


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