A man turned to Reddit after he faced a situation that questioned his morality. Should he hold onto the $10,000,000 inheritance he got from his Christian father, even if he’s a firm atheist?
A Complex Situation
OP (Original Poster) turned to Reddit for unbiased advice regarding a hefty inheritance he received. He’s 33 and came from a “devoutly religious family,” who are members of a prominent and wealthy religious community.
The twist was that OP has been an atheist since his early 20s.
Hiding a Big Part of Himself
However, due to their community’s nature, OP has always feared ostracization. So, he hid the fact that he’s an atheist from his family.
He never revealed it nor had plans to do so until he faced this dire circumstance.
Identity and Social Constructs
He was always hesitant to do so since his parents are respected figures in their community, known for their “unwavering faith and generosity.” If people knew of his religious beliefs—or lack thereof—his family’s religious reputation and social standing might crumble.
The Lion’s Share
Unfortunately, OP’s father recently passed away, and this was when things started getting “really complicated” for him. To his shock, his dad left him an “incredibly significant part” of their family’s wealth.
The inheritance amounted to about $10,000,000. But this amount isn’t just money; it’s heavily tied to the family’s religious assets—sacred artifacts, ownership of religious properties, shares in religiously affiliated businesses, and more.
Implications of the Will
If OP accepts the $10,000,000 inheritance from his father, he will also be entrusted with continuing their family’s religious leadership and legacy. This isn’t something he’s so keen on doing.
His Sibling’s Roaring Thoughts
OP has an older brother and sister who are “fervent believers,” and they were left with a smaller portion of their dad’s estate because he always saw OP as a “spiritual leader.” He explained, “He always saw me as the spiritual leader due to my ability to convincingly perform religious rituals and quote scriptures—something I’ve been excellent at since childhood.”
Because of this, OP’s siblings feel betrayed by the will. They argued they should be the “rightful heirs” to the family’s religious inheritance due to their “unwavering faith.”
A Moral Dilemma
OP empathizes with his siblings’ feelings and thoughts. However, though he’s not ready to take on the responsibilities tied up with the money, he also couldn’t readily let go of the $10,000,000 that’s now in his hands.
The Solution to All His Problems
He is currently in a “morally challenging position.”
On the one hand, he knows he can’t accept the responsibilities tied up with the inheritance. But, on the other, he knows the money could solve “many financial problems he’s been facing,” including his debt and the cost of his children’s education.
It’s Hypocritical and Ethically Wrong
OP knows, deep down, that accepting the money is both “hypocritical” and “ethically wrong” since it’s based on a faith or belief that doesn’t ring true to his heart.
He said, “But then again, is it unethical to continue pretending to be religious for the sake of my family’s peace and societal standing?”
He said he’d already considered coming clean about his atheism. However, he fears the damage it could do to his family’s reputation, their community, and the potential backlash toward his immediate family.
What Do I Do?
OP is at a loss about what to do. Many questions run through his mind, and he’s yet to have answers to them.
He asked, “Am I the a**hole for hiding my atheism and considering accepting a religious inheritance, despite my siblings’ objections?”
What the Community Has to Say
The community rushed to the comments section to provide OP with guidance on how to move forward.
A Reddit user stated, “You need to speak to a lawyer and have them decode the language in the will. Is it a condition of accepting your inheritance that you continue your father’s religious work? If so, you would have to decline it. If not, you can do with it what you want. Maybe sell it to your family or religious order and phrase it with language that you cannot do what your father wanted you to do with your current obligations, so you are passing it on to others. You need a lawyer to untangle these things and write appropriate statements that do not harm you or your family’s reputations if this is important to you,” suggested one Redditor.
The Ups and Downs
A few Redditors then provided some valuable viewpoints for OP to think about if he decides to accept the inheritance’s obligations.
One user wrote, “If you intend to move the leadership into a more socially liberal and charitable stance and discharge those responsibilities to the best of your ability, then, ‘Not the a**hole.’ I suspect that more than a few churchmen have been atheists at heart over the years. You don’t have to believe to be a priest; much of the role is pastoral. You’re the a**hole if you take the money and refuse the obligations you think come with it.”
You Define Your Life
According to other users, if the will does not clearly state that OP must continue his father’s legacy, he can use the $10,000,000 to benefit the community in the way he deems appropriate.
For example, one Redditor asked, “If you accept the money, would it mean pretty much committing to a life of this religion? Will you be okay with living that type of fake life for who knows how long?”
Then, he added, “I belong to a religion myself, but my own personal philosophies are I rather helping a person in need, like volunteering my time for a day or giving my elderly neighbor a drive to the doctor, for example, than say, going to church for one afternoon. So honestly, if I were you, I’ll probably just take the money and use it to help those less fortunate or donate to charity. Because to me, helping people in need is much more important than religious rituals or my attendance in the church because I can help more people directly this way.”
Should OP take the money and come clean? What would you do if you were in his shoes?
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This post first appeared as He Hid the Fact That He’s an Atheist So He Could Receive the $10M Inheritance His Christian Father Left. Now His Devout Siblings Are Furious, Saying They Deserve It More! on Quote Ambition.