Our rights to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness
can only be secured by a state strictly separated from religion

30 April 2013

Atheists Attending Religious Ceremonies: Philosophy in Action Podcast

By Diana Hsieh

On Sunday's Philosophy in Action Radio, I answered a question on atheists attending religious ceremonies. The question was:

Is it wrong for an atheist to refuse to attend a sibling's religious ceremony? I've decided not to attend the religious ceremony of my younger sister's upcoming Bat Mitzvah. I'm an atheist, and while I don't think attending would be immoral, I don't want to support any kind of religiosity or connection to religion. Other family members have criticized me for that decision, saying that I should support my sister and not pressure her into agreeing with my own views. Should I attend? If not, how should I handle the family dynamics?

My Answer, In Brief: Other things being equal, the morality of attending a religious ceremony depends on the morality and religiosity of the ceremony. Here, attendance is optional, and you should explain your reasons to your sister kindly, and tell your family to mind their own business.

Download or Listen to My Full Answer:

Tags: Atheism, Communication, Ethics, Family, Integrity, Judaism, Religion, Sanction, Siblings
To comment on this question or my answer, visit its comment thread.

A podcast of the full episode – where I answered questions on self-interest in marriage, atheists attending religious ceremonies, multigenerational space travel, drugs as treatment for mental illness, and more – is available here: Episode of 28 April 2013.

You can automatically download podcasts of Philosophy in Action Radio by subscribing to Philosophy in Action's Podcast RSS Feed:
About Philosophy in Action Radio

Philosophy in Action Radio applies rational principles to the challenges of real life in live internet radio shows on Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings. For information on upcoming shows, visit the Episodes on Tap. For podcasts of past shows, visit the Show Archives.

Philosophy in Action's NewsletterPhilosophy in Action's Facebook PagePhilosophy in Action's Twitter StreamPhilosophy in Action's RSS FeedPhilosophy in Action's YouTube Channel

Comment Rules

Rule #1: You are welcome to state your own views in these comments, as well as to criticize opposing views and arguments. Vulgar, nasty, and otherwise uncivilized comments will be deleted.

Rule #2: These comments are not a forum for discussion of any and all topics. Please stay roughly on-topic.

Back to TOP