Atheist having a Hindu ceremony, do I need to convert?

posted 3 years ago in Interfaith
Post # 3
3394 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: April 2014

@aliciaspinnet:  Ugh. Such a difficult concept. On one hand I, like you, would be really uncomfortable declaring I believe in something I do not. But OTOH it’s going to make you in-laws accept your marriage. It’s really a personal thing and totally up to you. But if it were me I’d probably do it. I wouldn’t like it and I’d fight with my own conscience. But in the end I’d probably just suck it up and do it. I kind of have a similar thing, though not as extreme because I wouldn’t have to convert to anything. But I am completely not religious/don’t believe in anything and FI’s family is Evangelical (and some are Jehovah’s Witness). So they’ll be expecting a religious ceremony. Since I don’t believe in it I’d rather not get married in a church. But then I don’t plan on telling them my beliefs because they would judge me and I know it. So I will most likely do it in a church at some point (for the 2nd ceremony, we’re going to the courthouse here first). So I’m with you. It sucks and it’s not fair, but it’s hard enough to get along with in-laws as it is without adding issues.

Post # 4
1793 posts
Buzzing bee

For me, converting to any belief system to make someone else happy is always wrong.  This is such an intensely personal thing and is just one of those things that I feel is non-negotiable.

Have you and FI discussed this?  Does he feel it is important to you to convert or does he support you in not converting?

FI needs to explain to his father that you are not Hindu, are not planning to convert to Hinduism, and that you will be his wife.

Also, I feel that if someone converts to a belief system under false pretenses it is very disrespectful to those who do practice that religion.  Have you ever looked at it from that perspective?

Post # 5
454 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

@aliciaspinnet:  Hi there,

I’m Hindu getting married to a Christian man and no one has ever said anything to him about having to convert ever. That would actually probably be a deal breaker for him.

I have never ever heard of a non hindu being forced to convert for the sake of marriage, and I know of quite a few hindu people married to non hindus.

Where did you find out about a conversion ceremony? Perhaps they mean a cleansing ceremony? This is also known as a haldi or nalangu. 

Hopefully this puts your mind at ease a bit. Obviously it would also depend on the priest marrying you guys as well as perhaps where in India his family are from. Obviously some people are more orthodox than others.



Post # 6
7664 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2013 - UK

I’ve never heard of someone being forced to convert to Hinduism. I also second @hermom:  belief is intensely personal, and pretending to be something you are not is very disrespectful to actual believers.

Your in-laws have to learn to respect you for who you are, and this includes respecting your beliefs. What if you have children? Will they expect them to be raised Hindu as well? You need to stand up for yourself. Be counted!

Post # 9
49 posts
  • Wedding: October 2013

@aliciaspinnet:  I am a Hindu and my FI is Jewish – there has been absolutely no talk of conversion, even though we are having a Hindu ceremony (and also a Jewish one, to celebrate both sides).  Our priest, though very traditional, has married several interfaith couples without requiring conversion – so it can definitely be done depending on the sect and individual preferences of the priest.  Maybe look into a different priest? 

Post # 11
49 posts
  • Wedding: October 2013

@aliciaspinnet:  I can imagine that is tough.  I re-read your original post and it said your future FIL is ok with you not being Hindu?  That’s a huge positive that you might be able to leverage – maybe you can just be honest with him and say that while you would love to have (and it is important to you that you have) a religious ceremony that celebrates the heritage of your FH, you are not comfortable with the idea of conversion, and is there a way that you can still have that ceremony without having to convert.  Maybe he has some other ideas – or at least he would be in a better position to investigate. You may also want to see if you can find a resource online (maybe a forum of some sort) with more educated folks on the tenets of Hinduism so you can pose the question to them too?  Good luck 🙂

Post # 13
641 posts
Busy bee

@aliciaspinnet:   From a little googling, it seems you can get an Arya Samaj wedding as a non Hindu, provided you are not a member of one of The Book religious branches (Jewish/Muslim/Christian.) Try using the term “Arya Samaj Inter Religion” to search for Indian temples that will perform these rites. “Inter Religion” seems to be the popular phrase offered by translators, rather than “interfaith.” 


You also might get some usage out of reading over particularly as using the native term for not worshipping a god may give you some extra temple clout. I would suggest NOT mentioning your former Christianity.


I do agree with you that converting for the purpose of being allowed to marry is wrong. Religious (or lack thereof) choices should come from a personal level. Doing it out of obligation is missing the point, and disrespectful to the system of beliefs. 


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