The man, even after stating that he was an atheist, was pressured into saying the grace during the Christmas dinner by his family members.
Balancing different faiths in a family structure is not easy by any means. u/AtheistAtXmas23 knows it firsthand, as he has had to routinely balance his atheist faith with his family's religious beliefs. Throughout his life, he and his family have always been at loggerheads, but over the years, he has realized that the best way to deal with all of this peacefully is by following the policy of "live and let live." Unfortunately, his family did not give the same courtesy and pushed him into a corner during Christmas dinner. Still, he maintained calm and gave a speech suitable to both beliefs but could not satisfy his family.
The post begins with the 25-year-old man sharing how this Christmas was special for his family. He explained, "Normally, Christmas isn't this big, but the stars aligned, and all worked out to be here together." He wanted everything to go perfectly, but that was not meant to be. He went on to describe his and his family's background. He wrote, "We live in a very, very religious community. Most of my family take the Bible literally, my grandparents especially. Snake, apple, virgin birth, new Earth. Everything. Even the less religious members of my family still believe in most of it."
The man stands apart from his family on this and has been following atheism for the last 3 years. Even before that, he was already questioning the faith that he grew up in. He had already informed his immediate family about his decision and the response was devastating. His mother was most affected by everything. Despite knowing his preferences, she decided to put him in a spot. She asked him to say grace at the Christmas dinner. He tried to protest but was shut down. His answer was clear, "I don't want to. I don't believe in God, and instead, I embrace Christmas as a cultural tradition rather than a religious one, passed down from the pagan roots."
The son promised to respect their beliefs at the dinner table. He would bow down, close his eyes, and not interrupt. But he refused to pray to an entity he didn't believe in. His mother agreed, but the same request was made again at the table. He was pushed by his brother, father, and grandfather. Ultimately, he had to comply. His grace went something like this, "I thanked them all for being there, extended my sincere wishes to them all, and hoped that the season of goodwill would bring peace to the world. I thanked those who worked hard to rear the birds and on the farms and thanked my mother and sister for the effort of the food. I also asked those around the table to think about those no longer with us and our ancestors."
Through it all, he did not mention god even once. The whole family was offended by it but bit their tongue. He got a lot of talking to him after the incident, especially by his grandfather. Seeing their reaction, he felt a bit uneasy about his decision and asked people whether he was in the right. The comments section was on his side and applauded him for standing up for his beliefs. u/Csdkjdsk didn't find anything worth apologizing for in this incident and wrote, "NTA. Dad and brother shouldn't have pressured you to do it. You were respectful with your words anyway."
u/Glad_Quote_6087 put the blame on the family and commented, "NTA. You were clear that You would not be leading a traditional prayer. They put you on the spot, hoping social conventions would force you to participate. You weren't rude. You didn't quote Christopher Hitchens. You expressed your gratitude for the meal and the company. Your family freaked out. If anyone ruined Christmas, it was them."