I enjoy the choice of home decor!
Similar situations have risen over the years, as I am quite happy and content to be Atheist.
My father's side of the family is Catholic, very strongly. My Boyfriends family, on his mother's side, are extremely religious to a point where I've gotten uncomfortable with some prejudice remarks that have been made, along with not so subtle hints about disliking other races. Boyfriend, who is Christian but not
a strong practicer, has told his mother I am not religious but I don't know if she realizes I don't believe in God at all. I am not entirely sure if the rest of his family (on his mothers side, I know almost no one from his fathers as they don't show up often) is aware of my lack of faith or to what extent, but I have a feeling they would not be too happy if they knew it wasn't just me 'not being particularly religious' but flat out not believing in a God.
We have discussed before that should/when we get married (which at this point in our relationship we both feel like is simply a given and he's proudly said he knows how he will purpose when the time is right, so discussing this topic was not unusual) if he would like to be married in a church with a pastor. Boyfriend said that he would like it just as much if we did something non-demoniacal where we could be married without the involvement of a church and by a Justice of the Peace. Part of me wonders how his mother and her family would feel about this, they have said before they wanted him to be baptized numerous times and put a high importance on this( he would not have a problem doing so and I would be more then happy to attend this event). It's just I know that his mother and her family put a high value on their religion, and have displayed a lack of understanding for other faiths (and races associated with them) which concerns me at times how they would feel about him having a non-Christian wedding. We have also discussed that should a child ever happen, what faith we would feel comfortable raising them under as he and I are both clearly completely different in our believes. Boyfriend stated that he would like to wait for the child to be old enough to pick their own faith and discuss with them the different beliefs that are out there, he doesn't want to raise strictly Christian children and would see nothing wrong with them being another faith or none at all. I do know his sister (with a small child) is of the same faith and is raising her daughter to be so as well, so I know that it would be what his mother would want of him. To raise a Christian child that is. I am aware these things are far into the future and are the sort of things you work with when they come up, but I cannot help but feel some trepidation on what may happen down the road.
Boyfriends mother tends to be very heavily into believing that when something is wrong with the world, it is the direct cause of the Christian Devil. That those who are in charge of the world are hands of Satan and that a lack of God in our culture (we live in the United States, where Christianity is the number one religion) is to blame for our problems. She will often go on long rants to me about such topics, to which I often stay politely silent and interject with a different topic when things become uncomfortable.
As a disclaimer to this I want everyone to know Boyfriends family is WONDERFUL to me. They are kind and welcoming and have offered an incredible amount of support to me during a difficult time. Boyfriends mother, though she may or may not know the extent of my religious belief, has been kind enough to respect and acknowledge that we don't believe the same thing. Things may occasionally feel uncomfortable, and I sometimes worry how that side of the family would feel if they knew just how different our views are, but his family has truly been good to me and I will never be able to repay them for it.
Our different beliefs do not in any way make their kindness any less heartwarming and incredibly helpful.
Over the years I have gotten very used to (and perhaps even good at) working my way around awkward religious situations. While it may feel like pulling out a single armpit hair at a time, I have found the best method for dealing with those who are pushy is to be honest and up front about your own beliefs. Lying about attending Church, even if you where %100 sure no one would catch the lie, is wrong. Not just because it's a lie, but because it's suggesting you are too ashamed of your own belief's to be confident and honest about who you are. This may lead people to believe you do not truly believe in your faith, or lack of, and may encourage them to try and convert you under the false impression you just don't know what you really want yet.
It may feel awkward and even frightening to tell someone you know (or believe) will not approve of this, but it will be far better then to lie or hide it from them. Be confident with who you are, and bring that confidence into how you handle situations like these.
"I am honored you would like to worship with me, but I follow X and worship to X Y and Z." /topic change/
"I understand that you are concerned, but I have made the right choice for myself and this is what I believe and hold dear. I have always respected you and your family for your beliefs and that's all I ask for myself and my beliefs."
If it becomes continually pushy, or already is, you may have to push back a little as well;
"Jane Doe it really does hurt that you can't respect me for my beliefs. Please do not bring this up with me again" and end the conversation, or bring up a new topic.
You have to simply say flat out "This is not up for discussion".
Similarly to you, I had someone once come to me out of genuine 'good concern' for me. They where NOT mean or angry with me, but truly concerned and I thoughtfully explained why I believe what I do and why I believe both of us deserved respect. She still believed in her concern, but no longer made an issue out of it and let it be.
I have had people who will angrily (why they did so angrily is beyond me..) tell me they will pray for my soul, some to heaven and some to hell. I have had a cousin at the tender age of 7 tell me I wont get into heaven and that I "don't believe anything I can't see with my own eyes" as if I was a horrible person (from the mouth of babes?). I have had people send me incredibly hurtful and horrible things through forums, threatening me with death and an eternity in hell. The reactions I have gotten have ranged from misplaced pity to outright rage. I have had people tell me I am not a true American, that I have no morals, or that I don't deserve rights.
I have had to say approximations of "This is not up for discussion" many times, more times then I care to admit. But when someone becomes belligerent or disrespectful I have no desire or reason to try and hold a polite discussion. It will only fuel the fire and make them angrier, so I find it wise to end the topic where it is and not drag it into the ground to fester.
"This is not up for discussion", used either firmly or casually with a shake of the head and a topic change can do wonders.