nutrichuckles93

Feeling Trapped: My Story

20 posts in this topic

Hello everyone, first time to post. You can call me Chuckles. First things first, I don’t know how long this post will be. My brain has a tendency to want to cover everything, no matter how insignificant the detail. Also, I am rather young (23) and have only been in the church for just over two years, so I know I can’t possibly understand the pain and frustration that so many of you who are older have experienced. I couldn’t imagine experiencing the stories I’ve heard since I started browsing this site four months ago (October 2016).

 

I didn’t grow up in a Christian household. Throughout my school years, I never gave religion much thought. I was about the most relaxed agnostic you could meet. I figured that if you weren’t hurting anyone, you could believe whatever you wished. I realize now that pain caused by religion isn’t always obvious or newsworthy.

 

In January 2015 (a timeline helps me organize my thoughts), I met the man who would introduce me to evangelical “non-denominational” Christianity. He’s a year older than me, and worked in the same building as me at the time. I’d dropped out of the local college, but he was still a student there. Almost immediately he asked me over to his dorms the next night, which I thought was weird considering we’d just met. But I never did much and my girlfriend lived two hours away at her college. Figured I could use an evening out.

 

The next evening I went to his dorm and was startled by what I saw. Not that he appeared so popular that he could stuff his 4-man dorm with so many people, but by the large banner above the living room couches: “JESUS SAVES.” I immediately knew I was in the wrong place. Not because I had anything against Christianity, but because I figured it wouldn’t take long for these Jesus people to realize I wasn’t one of them.

 

Only…that didn’t happen. I was approached by several of his friends who all wanted to know who I was and all about me. It made me feel good. I never had more than a few friends in school. I only spent about 20 minutes in the dorm before leaving. As I left, the guy I initially met (whom I’ll call Jamie for the rest of the post) asked if I knew anything about the Bible. I told him I didn’t, that I vaguely knew the names Noah, Jesus, and Moses from movies.

 

Jamie asked me if I’d like to do a Bible study with him sometime. I cannot tell you what compelled me to say yes, but I said yes. I figured it’d be like any time in school when someone said we should hang out. That nothing would ever come of it. But Jamie made sure something came of it. I’m still in ruins over whether or not saying yes was the biggest mistake I’ve ever made.

 

Over the next few months, Jamie and I pored over several Bible studies. In late January we went over the sinner’s prayer study and I followed the instructions to accept Christ as my savior. At the time it felt quite genuine. Nowadays I’m thinking that I felt pressured to follow through with it because it was the way to continue spending time with these people. And it felt so great to have so many new good friends. I was baptized in March 2015, and the church I joined that sponsored that college ministry group went crazy over it. It’s funny to me that up to this point, I’m telling you all the same story that I told them then at my baptism. Only now, there’s a twist to it that they wouldn’t approve of.

 

May 2015: My girlfriend (whom I’ll call Rachel here) graduated from her college and moved to my city. We had long planned to move in with each other due to our financial circumstances. Jamie strongly urged me to do otherwise. He spoke of past experiences with women in his life and how God “changed his heart” about how to live with them. One of the pastors (who becomes important that I’ll call Adam) of a “sister church,” who also manages Jamie’s college ministry group, an hour down the interstate confronted me with the same general message: that God would greatly bless my relationship with Rachel if we honored what I was being told. So Rachel, who was now in as deep with the church as I was, moved in with some of the college girls while I was forced to move in with a thoroughly unlikable roommate who was one of the church’s young working singles.

 

That summer, Rachel and I were also persuaded to take part in the summer leadership training program at Adam’s sister church. Considering my work hours, my Monday to Friday schedule that summer was: up at 4:00am to drive to my city for work, work from 6:00am to 12:/1:00pm, free time (that I felt guilty if I didn’t give it all to God in reading/prayer) until Rachel got off at 4:30pm, driving to the sister church by 6:30pm for a dinner and sermon/prayer/small group activity, chatting with guys until sometimes midnight, and repeat the next day. From 6/1/2015 to 7/31/2015. I’m surprised that I actually lived through that summer.

 

I was also made to feel guilty whenever we went out for cold turkey evangelism downtown on Saturday nights. Being incredibly introverted, I always felt horrible that I was the only one who didn’t have it in them to talk to total strangers about the gospel. I now realize that I just don’t have what it takes to be a sleazy car salesman (no offense to any actual decent car salesmen). This is what first made me start doubting the legitimacy of the Bible.

 

But those doubts went away for a while. Through fall 2015, Rachel and I continued with the college ministry group, even though we didn’t go to the college. It was around Labor Day that I had the conversation with Adam that made me begin to despise how utterly pushy yet “loving” these Christian people could be when they wanted to me.

 

Adam had the brass balls to ask me why I was stringing Rachel along and where our relationship was going. Most marriages in the church were from brief courtships after years of “brother/sisterhood.” And you had to receive a pastor’s greenlight not just to propose to a woman, but to initiate a dating relationship, period. Being that Rachel and I had met and dated before we met the church, I thought we would avoid this. I was wrong.

 

I wanted to tell him that it was none of his effing business and that we were perfectly happy on our own timeline, but of course I didn’t. I’ve hated Adam for this, but I don’t think he’d ever understand why. To be married in the church, you had to exemplify “a true Godly man.”

 

So I fake prayed for several months to get Adam’s approval to propose (which he had jumpstarted like an a-hole instead of it being on our time, or even God’s time that you’d think they’d want). I proposed to Rachel in November 2015 and we married in July 2016.

 

Our marriage so far has largely been happy. Until I came to the conclusion that I no longer believed what this church was telling me. Sometime in 2016, I can’t figure out what led to what exactly, I lost my faith. I stopped reading the Bible in May. I feel like I wanted to discover the legitimacy of the faith, and not just trust blindly in “God moments” that I now know are just select coincidences among dozens of unanswered prayers.

 

So many people in this forum have made posts that more accurately convey my feelings that I could ever write or even try to repeat, so I’m going to begin wrapping up here. The “Confused” topic in the “Ex-Christian Life” forum particularly speaks to me. The evidence for the Bible is weak at best, and it makes me sad that grown men and women so readily believe in such obvious fantasy fiction. I feel sorry for their children that will grow up without a choice in whether or not to have the same belief system.

 

My wife is not pushy thankfully, but it tears her apart that we are no longer on the same page regarding the faith. I just feel so angry during Sunday mornings at the lies the pastors are telling. I wanted so badly yesterday to tell her that I wasn’t going to go to church with her, but I couldn’t do it yet. But I’m reaching the breaking point with my frustration. I feel like I’ve lost her to this religion (or “relationship” as they condescendingly call it), and I’m lost on what to do (though not lost in the way they think they can fix). This conflict of faith has thrown the first major wrench into our relationship in the 3 ½ years we’ve been together now.

 

I hate apologetics with a passion. They use them to no end. Just because you can’t thoroughly disprove something doesn’t automatically prove that something.

 

Oh, and also: “freedom in Christ?” What a freaking joke. There isn’t freedom to do anything that isn’t pre-approved.

 

Thank you for bearing through this lengthy post. I apologize for any typos. I wanted to post this as soon as my account was approved.

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Hi Chuckles

Welcome to Ex-C.

It seems you fell prey to the God mind virus, but happily it looks like it was a relatively short infection. While this doesn't make your family issues easier, it is easier on yourself and your own state of mind.


"I was also made to feel guilty whenever we went out for cold turkey evangelism downtown on Saturday nights. Being incredibly introverted, I always felt horrible that I was the only one who didn’t have it in them to talk to total strangers about the gospel. I now realize that I just don’t have what it takes to be a sleazy car salesman (no offense to any actual decent car salesmen). This is what first made me start doubting the legitimacy of the Bible."

I can pretty much relate to this, while I did tell people what I believed if asked I never 'witnessed' to anyone for the simple reason I find it hard to strike up conversation with strangers. You may have noticed, depending on the type of church you were in, that you were also less inclined to 'show fruits of the spirit' than others. (Read screaming like a baby, and dancing about while proclaiming its the holy spirit.)

It would seem that your relationship with your wife, and how you deal with the challenges ahead that is of primary importance. How you deal with an issue is largely on an individual basis, so any ideas we give you will need to be tailored or thought about in relation to what you know of your wife.

How open is she to talking about... errr... problems with the bible? How open is she to examining evidence that shows the claims of the bible to be false?

If she is "No, the bible is the literal inerrant word of God and I won't listen" type it's going to be hard to talk to her. However if she is will to at least listen to you then we can help with what subjects you might wish to bring up with her.

 

A lot of how you approach this will depend on whether she is a literalist or a liberal as far as the bible is concerned. If literal then you can show that Genesis 1-6 fails because of what we know according to science. If she is a liberal then the entire point and validity of Jesus as the son of God dying for our sins is called into question with evolution. If she wants to take the view that the bible might not be literal, but still divinely inspired then she has to contend with archaeological and historical evidence showing that the Abrahamic religions were born out of ancient near east polytheistic religions. (I guess the list is endless, we need to have a reference starting point to know how to approach this fully)

 

Feel free to ask any questions and we will do our best to help - some great folks around here with great advice.

 

LF

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You found out quickly that some churches are especially into controlling the sheep. They take advantage of people's unwillingness to say NO and push all kinds of stuff on you quickly to keep you submerged emotionally, and thus easier to control. It is a common tactic in all cults. Questioning authority is automatically assumed to come from sin or demons instead of actual questions. And when you aren't willing to accept doubletalk as an answer, they label you "contentious". And they will be working overtime on your wife to convince her that you are under the influence of a "rebellious spirit" which was already there when you two wanted to live together. If she's pretty, they will work triple-time on her because pretty women draw in more potential converts, and pastors like to control pretty women. Pastors wank as much or more than the men they try to counsel. This is because nobody is born-again, there is no new creation, there is no holy spirit, there is no lamb of god, there is no god, no devil, no demons, just humans with unfortunately gullible minds. I was a believer for 30 years.

 

I watched this shit for decades, especially in the more controlling congregations like Maranatha, Christian Center, and Foursquare. The first two had a rule where you must approach a pastor if you feel god is leading you to a particular woman, and they'd have to pray over you and rebuke spirits of lust before they could ever grant consent. Vile disgusting controlling little shits! None of that is even in the Bible, but they extrapolate it to CONTROL people. Control gets them more tithes, and obedient people are a lot easier to deal with than those who have minds. One of the last churches I visited didn't want to hear questions about tithing or the sermon, because that meant you were thinking. They literally said to me, "You'd be happier somewhere else." Meaning they'd be happier if I were somewhere else.

 

They also pushed you into "leadership" training right away, so you could create more drones for them to control. Many cults do the long-hours and little-rest, some only letting you eat sugary foods. Tons of prayer sessions and spiritual warfare bullshit so you think you have invisible enemies trying to trick you into leaving the cult, but you are a mighty warrior of god blah blah blah. Religion like this should be illegal, but isn't.

 

If your wife is willing to unplug from that congregation, move out of town and away from their influence. They'd far rather concentrate on new lackies than try and pursue you. Most of us who left church found out that they forget about you fairly quickly. The constant barrage of "praying for you" and such keeps her underwater emotionally and unwilling to question.

 

I wish you well.

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Chuckles,

 

That's a funny screen name. It makes me...well...chuckle.

 

When I met Mrs. MOHO 20 years ago she informed me that she would not date anyone who was not an xitan. Of course I said that I was because who in the US was not?

 

So, my initial concept of an xtian, and that religion in general, went largely unchallenged until we moved to Ore-Gun and got mixed up with some screem'n fundies. Mrs. MOHO took to them like long-lost family while I went completely in the opposite direction.

 

Things were so tense on the home-front for 1.5 years after I proclaimed my deconversion that I eventually began going to church on Sunday again - just to smooth things over.

 

I'm telling you this because I want to convey the absolute daily pain this arrangement causes me and that I am only doing this because we have been together for 20 years (no kids but we have 3 lovely grand-daughters from Mrs MOHO's son from a previous marriage) and leaving seems unthinkable at this point.

 

I am trying to communicate to you what your life COULD become if you stay in the marriage and Mrs. Chuckles continues down the path of indoctrination and YOU continue towards enlightenment and freedom. It's tough. REALLY tough!

 

You, Sir,  are young enough, and married for such a short time, that changing your entire life will be relatively easy. Approach Mrs. Chuckles with honesty and frankness. Tell her your reasons, if she will listen, for not believing, and give it a few months. If nothing changes GET OUT!

 

GET OUT!

Don't  look back!

Run like the wind!

Don't wind up like MOHO where there is nothing but PAIN in either direction!

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Thanks for sharing your story. I know exactly what you mean about apologetics. It's become a game of words and hidden agenda's rather than clear, concise reasoning. It's all about winning arguments. What a waste of f'ing time!

 

I really hope you can hold onto your relationship with your wife, but I have to agree with MOHO. You have a LOT of life ahead of you. Don't waste it all on useless arguing pain and fighting.

 

Not. Worth. It.

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I would recommend the book The God Virus by Darrell Ray. It's available in a Kindle addition on Amazon. He's a clinical psychologist that was raised in a Christian Fundamentalists environment. It's a very informative book that I would strongly recommend to anyone who has left their religion or is considering leaving.

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Hmm, I appreciate the thoughts.

 

One thing I'll note is that I've discovered the reason why I've come to hate my church as much as I do.

 

As for my wife, I love her. I really do. I'm glad I married her and our wedding was great. Everything is great except when I openly grumble about church.

 

What pisses me off is that we didn't get to decide to get married for ourselves. The decision was forced upon us, as my pastor practically said I either needed to marry her or dump her that one day. It wasn't naturally our decision, even though it might/probably would have been. Just later in the future. Same goes for my friend and the pastor telling us not to move in with each other. My wife and I didn't get to make and discover these big relationship decisions for ourselves.

 

Sure, the end result may have been the same, but that doesn't matter. What matters is the force and guilt the church (or merely two people) pressed on us/me to do it their way.

 

What sucks also is that, for the most part, I like the people in my church. Our small group folk are fun to be around on game nights and such or anytime one of them isn't talking about Jesus or the gospel. It's Sunday mornings that get me. The preaching. I wanted to scream at the pastor speaking today (different from the other one). The judgmental prick. Telling people how to live their lives. Looking down on those who don't bow to the people and simply want to live their lives the best they can.

 

Ugh. Sorry. I have no real place to rant except this site. Thank goodness I found it.

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Chuckles, I would encourage you to keep the line of communication open with your wife. Keeping your thoughts and feelings hidden away is not a good way to start a marriage as young as yours.  You don't necessarily need to persuade her.  But you do need to be true to yourself.  You're certainly not the only one in this predicament.  Keep reading here.  There are a lot of smart people with great strategies for coping in "unequally yoked" marriages. 

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Oh, and also: “freedom in Christ?” What a freaking joke. There isn’t freedom to do anything that isn’t pre-approved.

 

Jesus will set you free ... to do  what the congregation approves of. :) As a Christian I used to get an internal laugh when the pastor would drone on for an hour about God's expectations then say "Jesus sets you free!" It was obviously counter-inutuitive after what he'd just said but the masses slowly nodded and amen'd. lol

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Chuck, sorry to hear that religion is causing a problem with your marriage. Be yourself, not what someone else wants you to be. A marriage is between 2 people, not 2 people and an imaginary being.

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Chuckles, I was also forced into marrying my husband by the church. We were living together at the time and we were being extremely discreet about it. We got found out and called to the 'office'. I did not want to get married again and my now hubby knew this about me... but he, (the pastor) convinced me that God's blessing's would be so much greater if I got married. We were going on a trip and my husband was not even fully divorced at that time. (It was just a matter of a couple of months) The pastor performed a 'fake' ceremony and told us that we were now 'good' in the eyes of the lord. That's how desperate they are!! Grrrrrrrrr!!

 

Does your wife know how you truly feel?

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I was also made to feel guilty whenever we went out for cold turkey evangelism downtown on Saturday nights. Being incredibly introverted, I always felt horrible that I was the only one who didn’t have it in them to talk to total strangers about the gospel. I now realize that I just don’t have what it takes to be a sleazy car salesman...

 

 

Hi Chuckles! I had similar experiences with that brand of Christianity. I am an introvert and frankly, I felt awful for not "witnessing" more. In perfect hindsight, I realize I had difficulty with evangelism because I have a conscience and because I am a decent human being who believes it's important to listen to people, not just tell them stuff.

 

Towards the end of my "faith journey" I felt like a door-to-door vendor of broken vacuum cleaners: the product I sell does not perform as advertised but you want it anyhow. Wendytwitch.gif 

 

Our marriage so far has largely been happy.

<snip>

This conflict of faith has thrown the first major wrench into our relationship in the 3 ½ years we’ve been together now.

 

Sounds like you made some good choices and avoided some of the more toxic (Joshua Harris-flavoured) Koolaid of Christianity. It sounds like your marriage is worth fighting for; too bad the enemy is Christianity. 

 

 

Keep us posted!

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I grew up going to mass every Sunday as a catholic. I also attended many non-denominational events and read my bible. While I rebelled during my high school and college years, I considered myself saved as I eventually transferred to a christian college and recommitted myself to sticking to my christian convictions.


After graduating, I was introduced into a church by a friend. This church is the PCA (Presbyterian Church of America) denomination. I trusted the pastor as a friend with everything going on in my life. I told him everything. He eventually called my employer due to what I was telling him about my misconduct at work. I was then shorted hours and almost lost my job. My pastor would also call me repeatedly, wanting to meet and telling me to break up with my girlfriend over the phone.


A member of this PCA church eventually became what I thought was a close friend. However, in reality he seemed to act as a spy. Everything I said and did seemed to be reported through my friend to pastors and other church members. This friend even knocked on my door and asked to use the bathroom. He continued to push the door open and push me aside as he scanned my apartment and pretended to go to the bathroom. I would later find out this is common practice for church officers to make house calls and spy on church members.


So I bought into all of these group ideals and dynamics, believing that maybe I hadn't been saved and I wasn't a christian yet. I was then placed in front of the congregation one Sunday and proclaimed a new believer, something I didn't really think of myself as being.


I attended weekly bible studies, prayer meetings, and Sunday services. I broke up with my christian girlfriend because supposedly it was bad. I went out to eat with my new church friends, including the good friend who really acted as a spy. I moved in with an intern at Reformed University Fellowship (RUF) who eventually was found to be homosexual and lazy and was fired for not doing his job.


I eventually dated a girl from my church friend group for thirty days before her best girl friend (a youth group leader at the church) convinced her that our relationship was bad. I took some time away from church and these friends, only to rejoin and find out how much my reputation had increasingly plummeted. Everything I had told people in bible studies, pastor meetings, and to my girlfriend was now practically public knowledge. My close friend started taking interested in my ex-girlfriend from the church and they both continued to make fun of me. 


I tried going to another PCA church affiliated with my past church, only to find my reputation follow me. The elders and pastors mocked me from the pulpit based upon what they had been told from the plethora of church spies, all spouting off gossip about everyone and everything. I would even get mocked for good answers at bible studies. For example, I answered a question pertaining to justification and sanctification that was very close to what I had read in the westminster confession of faith. The pastor leading the bible study then proceeded to outright sarcastically mock what I had answered.


It then became difficult to notice whether someone was calling me out for sin or simply being friendly or sarcastic. Did they know my words or behavior and were mocking me? Or were they not in the know and simply pursuing fellowship?


I have since tried to make amends with my ex girlfriend, ex best friend, and all the people in the church. However, my reputation as a supposed new christian and my reputation of all of my supposed non-christian words and actions did not leave. I was continuously mocked and decided to leave for good. Now I feel that I never want to attend a church again. 


While I know I am in the stages of getting over this experience, I don't consider myself to be a big victim of church/religious/spiritual abuse. But maybe I am. What do you think?

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ExPCA,

Quote

" This friend even knocked on my door and asked to use the bathroom. He continued to push the door open and push me aside as he scanned my apartment and pretended to go to the bathroom. I would later find out this is common practice for church officers to make house calls and spy on church members. "

 

Holy Shit!

That is creepy AND an absolute show-stopper!

 

I don't' know about spiritual abuse because I don't feel any of us HAS on, but this sure as hell is abuse and mistreatment by a bunch of coke-socking arsholes who think they can tresspass and browbeat because "they gots jebus!"

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ExPCA: Jeez. It just goes to show that the impression of church people being aggressively pushy that I learned in high school definitely is true when it comes to most of the sects. I can't say I ever had anyone scan my apartment like the FBI, but I've definitely had the suspicion that my "private" conversations with small group leaders were "turned in" to the pastors so that said person could be "set straight" in their life choices. Hence why I actively avoid being alone with any of the church men anyone. I'm surprised I haven't been "talked to" about my lack of communion. My story feels small compared to the religious abuse (which your story definitely is, in my opinion) of other posters. But I do feel for you.

 

In regards to replies from people concerning my original posts, things are better at least where my wife is concerned. She seems to accept that maybe we'll just have different views, which is fine to me as long as she isn't pushy about getting me "back in the faith." I think I'd outright leave the church if it weren't for two things: 1. I fear for my wife being bombarded by others as to why I don't come anymore and then getting shamed for marrying an ungodly man. I don't want her to be the subject of a gossip or shame train. 2. I'll miss most of my church friends because I genuinely enjoy their company when God stuff is coming out of their mouths. But everytime it does, I get so ragingly angry at the apologetics on the inside. Plus, my wife would be my only friend if I didn't go to any church events or gatherings anymore. Which maybe wouldn't be so bad. Ugh. I wish I could just unlive these last two years and start with saying no to that bible study.

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Sorry for posting my story in your thread! I'm really new to even considering writing on an online forum so I didn't really know where to put my story.

 

I've definitely dealt with feeling guilty about not putting enough time into church-related and god-related matters. It seems like you have, in many ways, a similar story to many people on this site.

 

Keep asking yourself and others a lot of questions. As an introvert myself, I can understand where you are coming from with a lot of what you wrote. And maybe try to have confidence in voicing your thoughts and opinions, even if they don't align with your pastor, wife, or church's beliefs or "christian-language."

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Hi Chuckles!  Welcome to our group!  You've already received some good advice above.  I'm not sure how I missed your original post but when I read it just now, three weeks after you posted it, I thought Wow, I've GOT to respond to this!

 

You see, I made the same mistake you did when I was in my twenties.  Unlike you, I was raised in religion, but I lapsed into a vague agnosticism in my twenties.  Then at the age of 28, I found myself in a new city where I knew nobody at all.  In hindsight it was a great opportunity to start a new phase of my life.  I met some people who invited me to their church.  Everybody was very friendly and hospitable and suddenly I had a ready-made family.  I started doing a Bible study and within months, in a brief burst of enthusiasm, I decided to be baptized.  Biggest mistake of my life.  Unlike you, I did not soon realize my mistake, other than having some doubts about some aspects of Christianity.  My church was conservative but less pushy than yours.  Comfortable among all the welcoming folk, I soon stopped thinking for myself and set my doubts aside.  I was never an enthusiastic Christian, never evangelized anybody (because deep down in my subconscious, I didn't believe), but just settled into churchgoing. In the meantime I met (at church) and married my wife. It was not until twenty years after my baptism that I finally started questioning things again - privately.  Within a year or two, my faith vanished and I quickly went from being a Christian to vague theism to atheism.  And let me tell you, I am happier and more comfortable here than I ever was as a Christian.  Everything fits together now; everything is exactly as it would be if there were no God intervening and answering prayers.  And I bitterly regret my baptism and the years I spent in the church, and only wish I had realized my mistake so much sooner.

 

I can only give you general advice about some aspects of your life, but there are a few important things that I want to tell you.  Firstly, I see that you are not cut out to be a Christian: you are thinking for yourself and using reason in how you view the world.  Maybe you could go through the motions of being a believer, but I'm sure that one day you won't be able to stand it any longer, and the longer that takes, the harder it will be.  So you must be true to yourself here: you are not one of them.

 

Secondly, I strongly urge you not to start a family with your wife until certain things are resolved.  I'm sure it would be excruciating for you to see your children indoctrinated into any religion.  It might be equally painful for 'Rachel' to see her kids raised without religion.  So I think you would be making a big mistake if you started a family unless she either deconverted or agreed to raise your kids without religion.  Not being ignorant of religions - far from it, they should learn about the many belief systems - but certainly not being taught what to believe. You have a free mind now: hold onto it and do not deny your kids the same gift by indoctrinating them. 

 

Thirdly,  I urge you to leave this particular church.  You need to make a break here.  You don't have to stop going to church, unless your wife is OK with that, but at least find one where you can be open about your unbelief, where they accept you as a non-believer and know better than to try to convert you.  You may eventually find church attendance intolerable anyway. 

 

Those are the main things I want to stress.  Much else will depend on you and your wife's attitudes.  A marriage like this can work, if you can respect your differences.  The best case would be if she were to deconvert sooner or later, of course.  But only you two can know whether this is worth staying around for.  If you want a life together, I think your chances will be helped if you follow the three pieces of advice I gave you above.  You must be true to yourself and you must put your wife before anybody else.  Everything and everybody else needs to take a back seat.

 

I hope you will stay around and become a part of our community.  You will get lots of support here, not least from myself, who has been where you've been. Learn from my mistakes!

 

All the Best,

TABA

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Hey Chuckles

 

I know it's been over a month since you posted this initially, but thought I'd throw in my $0.02

 

I echo the others in encouraging you to keep the line of communication open with your wife.  Me...I wrote my story years ago and it's burired someplace within this site, but in short I walked out of the church in April 2014 and haven't gone back since.  I couldn't be in a relationship with someone who practices organized religion, but many people successfully are in such relationships.  I think that communication and respect are definitely important in this regard.

 

I enjoy reading your posts.  Keep at it! :)

 

-Andrew

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On 07/02/2017 at 8:15 AM, nutrichuckles93 said:

Oh, and also: “freedom in Christ?” What a freaking joke. There isn’t freedom to do anything that isn’t pre-approved.

Yes! Ive been backsliding properly for about a year now and I've never felt so free. It's like a burden has been lifted, hallelujah!!

 

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I'm a little late to this party, but here's a suggestion: I don't know how similar the beliefs are in your current church to the one you originally attended, but you might suggest to your wife that you want to find a church with less controlling, less objectionable beliefs.  It's not a total solution, it's definitely a compromise, but it might make going to church with her a little easier.  You'd have to be able to articulate what specifically is a problem, not something vague.

 

I still go to church with my wife.  She's hoping I'm just in a phase.  Which I would be, if God ever actually showed up or demonstrated something unambiguous.  Hasn't happened yet.  And I used to be a pastor.  But my point is that if she will agree to a church that is less controlling or guilt-inducing, it will making going easier.  Or maybe you can attend just the small group meetings for the friendship.  I go with my wife to a small group and the folks there are nice.  It's purely a social thing for me.  Well, and it keeps the church thing from causing a rift with my wife.  Which is the important thing.  Now, if she said she wanted us to go on a missions trip, that would be something different.  But neither of us has been much into that, even when I was an ordained pastor.  The church we go to now is kind of "lightweight", theologically, and that suits me fine.  No guilting, short services, and we have some friends who go there.  We often go out to dinner with them after church.

 

You can be a committed Christian and still not like emotional manipulation, controlling tactics, and poor reasoning. I certainly tried to avoid those things when I was a pastor.  So it is legitimate for your wife (and you) to attend a church that is reasonable, without her feeling like she is leaving the Christian fold.  Of course, she may not believe that.  And by "reasonable" I don't mean you have to agree with them, just that they treat people decently without the mind games.  They still are going to believe what they believe, and it will be different from what you believe, but how they treat you and other people who attend can be different from how people are treated where you attend now.

 

I know in your mind the best solution is probably for your wife to agree and abandon church with you.  But, as I've said on these pages a few times, you didn't get to your conclusions instantly.  Most of us took a long time to get there and even if your wife is starting to see the discrepancies, you can't expect her to get there any faster than you did.  And it may take longer, most of us who were in church for a long time take a long time to get out.  There is too much emotional, time, and personal investment to just walk away instantly. 

 

 

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