Kindly atheist just wants to say “no” – The Denver Post

Dear Amy: I am an atheist. I believe in practicing kindness and respect for other people’s views.

In recent years, I have been working on becoming more honest about religious activities I would prefer not to attend. (These ceremonies make me very uncomfortable.)

I used to tell lies to preserve the feelings of people I love when I didn’t want to attend a baptism or other religious event (I’ve also attended many and have been very uncomfortable).

Now that I’m in my 50s, I want to be more honest.

A friend invited me to attend her twins’ Bar-Mitzvahs. This is a tough one.

I am not particularly close to these twins, but the mother’s friendship means a great deal to me.

I really don’t want to attend the ceremony, but I don’t want to hurt her feelings either.

Can you think of an honest but very kind way to bow out respectfully?

I’d rather send a gift and thoughtful note acknowledging the milestone.

This friend is likely to ask me why I am not going, and I am leaning toward giving her a more honest answer *because* our friendship (I hope) is strong and I think it would feel more respectful to have her know the truth if I can do it kindly. I value your input!

— Done with Religion

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