My eldest brother and I never had a close relationship. We are seven years apart and always fought through my childhood. In my teens and twenties, we tolerated each other, and then now we barely communicate.
Some years ago, he and his wife became part of a “born again” church, and he wrote to me to ask what were my religious beliefs. When I wrote to tell him that I do not conform to any religion, and that I am a spiritual man that believes we are all equal under God's eyes, and it does not matter what religion anyone practices so long as we all have genuine love and respect for each other, I did not hear from him again except for a birthday and Christmas text.
I now live in the US, and he is still living in my birth land. Last week I went back to visit my mother who had to move into a home for the aged as she suddenly was unable to walk. She's now 84, and agreed it was the best thing for her as she needs 24 hour care.
I let my eldest brother know I was coming back weeks in advance and a week before I returned, I wrote to suggest we get together, but he wrote back and told me he would be out of the country on business that week I was going to be there.
When I got back, I called his wife to say “hi”, out of courtesy, only to have her tell me she was too busy to talk and that she would call back, only to never hear back from her.
I am not surprised nor am I hurt or angry. I am actually relieved that now the pretense is not there and I know that they want nothing to do with me. The thing is I don't take offense at all. I know that what ever issue they have, it's them and not me. They have ostracized the entire family in the name of religion. My brother and his wife don't talk to any family members and on my trip, people were asking what is up with them. All I would say is that it is their choice and don't take it personally. Just wish them the best and move on.
I would say though that I am constantly amazed how people that claim to be “Christians” can be alienating of every one else that do not belong to their “church” which is fundamentally the polar opposite of the teachings of the man they follow. So many wars are fought in the name of religion, many beginning at home.