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Finally Told My Husband- Not What I Expected...


Guest Freethinka
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Guest Freethinka

3 years after realizing that there is no God- I have told my husband. I thought at first I would never tell him, or anyone for that matter, but as time went I realized this was just not possible. My husband considered me "anti-religion" but didn't know that I consider myself Atheist. I played out in my head a hundred times what would happen. He was shocked, but calm. He wasn't mad, but rather, quiet. I don't know what he is thinking. I am backing off, trying to give him time. He said something that I had no answer for. He told me that if there is no God, no afterlife, then what IS the point of life? I never really thougth about that. He of course then told me that since I don't believe in God, I will not go to heaven, and this saddens him. Again, I didn't know what to say. He hasn't been giving me the "silent treatment" or anything like that, but there is just a tone to his voice. It's as if this has broken his spirit. I guess the only thing is to give him time to digest this news, and then hopfully we can calmly talk about it. If anyone has any input, I would be very gratefull!

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Hi Freethinka,

 

The answer to your husband's question is that you have the same reasons to live as he does. He only thinks that there is an afterlife. He, however, just like you, is spending his time working on the here and now. You just have a healthier focus. You know that this is all you get, he may be spending time contemplating what might be, which is really sad if you think about it.

 

Just because you reject as unbelievable the afterlife claims does not mean that you have to delve into a fit of depression, self-pity, and nihilism. You are now free to be what you want to be and you don't have to consider the eternal consequences of your actions, so nothing is holding you back from being free and alive.

 

Just my .02

 

I've been an atheist for over 10 years BTW, and I have self deluded myself to the idea that nihilism is not the only way to view the short life I have.

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Guest Freethinka

Thank you very much for you .02! I was so floored when he said that if there is no afterlife, there is no point to life because we mean nothing. I just don't understand what he means, really. He said that in 300 hundred years, what will we matter if there is no afterlife? I just don't get it. My husband is a smart guy- calls himself and Skeptic and a critical thinker. He has the smarts to understand Atheism, but his emotions are getting in the way! My hope is that in time, he will start think a little more logically about things- and maybe he will see what I see: the TRUTH.

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Don't worry about not having "answers" or knowing what to say to him. You've never allowed yourself the position of having to verbalize your thoughts before... that's all. You know the answers but your first concern was your husband and his reaction. Give it time.

 

His question is a typical strawman argument. It actually tells more about himself than he will admit... anyone who requires an invisible friend to assimilate any meaning in their life is questioning their own value as a human... tread lightly as his ego is fragile at this point. Remember that the Bible god (as most gods) is a patriarchal being. Many men feel some sort of entitlement to superiority over women based on the model presented in the Bible. (I am a man, BTW) Because of this, he MAY feel a little bit threatened that you are not accepting his god. Even the most feminist-sensitive among os have much of that thought process built into our social conditioning - especially if raised in a conservative religious environment.

 

While Christians make claim to "god" as their purpose in life, they do NOT live that way. They, like everyone, strive to improve themselves and their lives via education, accomplishments, social involvments, etc. If they really believed god to be the sole reason for purpose in life, they would spend it all in pursuing god via prayer and bible study - give the monks a bit of credit there I suppose.

 

Hang in there kid. There is a grand new world of thought and action awaiting your exploration. Enjoy the journey!!

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If an afterlife is the goal, then there is no reason for life. It's just a waiting time until you get to the after life. Live has whatever reason you give it. You have to make your reason. This life is all we have and wasting it in waiting for some afterlife that isn't going to come is about the worst thing one can do.

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If an afterlife is the goal, then there is no reason for life. It's just a waiting time until you get to the after life. Live has whatever reason you give it. You have to make your reason. This life is all we have and wasting it in waiting for some afterlife that isn't going to come is about the worst thing one can do.

 

 

And if the 'afterlife' makes 'the life' worth living then what makes the 'afterlife' worth living? The 'after-afterlife'? It gets sooooo confusing. :Doh:

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"Life doesn't have a point, life is the point."

 

Hey, I like that! Because I am alive I plan to enjoy it and make some use of myself. Three centuries from now--will anybody know I lived? That is, for me, beside the point. I won't be alive then so it won't matter. The point, I believe, is to be an enjoyable person to have around, to be of help when and if I can, and let go of the rest. Just light up the corner where I am.

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I would have to agree with all the responses so far. The fact that there is no afterlife, makes this life even more precious. This is all we have. We spend it building and shaping our lives, family and cultures. Raising our children and hoping they have a bright and happy future, so on and so on.

 

Perhaps your husband is afraid of death and you are really making him think. If you think you need answers, I suggest you look for them. There are alot of great books out there. But if you don't, that's absolutly fine too, there is no reason for answers. This is just life.

 

Will people know who I am in 300 years? Nope. Not even my decendents will know my name. Does it bother me? No, it doesn't. I can only hope that the choices we make today help those people lead healthy and safe lives.

 

As Mark Twain once said, we were dead for billions of years before we were born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it.

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"Life doesn't have a point, life is the point."

 

Hey, I like that! Because I am alive I plan to enjoy it and make some use of myself. Three centuries from now--will anybody know I lived? That is, for me, beside the point. I won't be alive then so it won't matter. The point, I believe, is to be an enjoyable person to have around, to be of help when and if I can, and let go of the rest. Just light up the corner where I am.

 

Agreed. Why does there have to be a meaning to life? Why can't life itself be the meaning? Sometimes I can't help but think that all these ancient people who kept trying to figure out the meaning to life were missing the point. Life itself is the meaning of life.

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If there is no afterlife, then there is no meaning to life.

 

That's something I used to say myself. That's something Christianity infuses into believers, as if living longer -- i.e., forever -- somehow gives life more meaning than living for 80 years. Does the length of time lived really have anything to do with the value of someone's life? Mozart didn't live long. Is his live meaningless compared to my parents whom no one has ever heard of?

 

A significant life doesn't need eternity to make it significant. And an insignificant life will continue to be insignificant no matter how long it continues.

 

However, I wouldn't recommend arguing with him about it. When I left Christianity, my wife reacted much like your husband. I didn't push; I just kept reading, leaving books like Dan Barker's book around the house, and when she asked questions, I told her what I was thinking. Perhaps the best answer to "What's the purpose of life" would be "I don't know, but I do know that I find it hard to accept the mythological stories in the Bible anymore. Regardless of my doubts about the magic in the Bible, the love I feel for you is real magic."

 

Of course you're invited to expand on that theme to the extent of your own imagination.

 

Oh, my wife eventually left Christianity, is now full fledged atheist, and is happier than ever to be free of the chains of religion. And, she is a missionary's kid. All her family are dyed-in-the-wool fundamentalist believers.

 

This is just my opinion, so take it as nothing more than that: If you love him, then I'd suggest you go slow and be patient.

 

Sincerely,

 

Dave

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Guest Gooneybird

If there is no death, what is the point of life?

 

Here, here. Life IS the point.

 

OK, you're in the afterlife. Now what? No big goal to achieve now. "If we're not going somewhere else, what's the point?" Sounds like somebody doesn't understand that eternity is always right NOW.

 

There is nowhere else that one can be.

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3 years after realizing that there is no God- I have told my husband. I thought at first I would never tell him, or anyone for that matter, but as time went I realized this was just not possible. My husband considered me "anti-religion" but didn't know that I consider myself Atheist. I played out in my head a hundred times what would happen. He was shocked, but calm. He wasn't mad, but rather, quiet. I don't know what he is thinking. I am backing off, trying to give him time. He said something that I had no answer for. He told me that if there is no God, no afterlife, then what IS the point of life? I never really thougth about that. He of course then told me that since I don't believe in God, I will not go to heaven, and this saddens him. Again, I didn't know what to say. He hasn't been giving me the "silent treatment" or anything like that, but there is just a tone to his voice. It's as if this has broken his spirit. I guess the only thing is to give him time to digest this news, and then hopfully we can calmly talk about it. If anyone has any input, I would be very gratefull!

 

 

ask your husband this: is a movie no good because it ends? does a ride on a ferris wheel suck because it ends? does his various activities of enjoyment suck because they end?

 

someone who believes this life is worthless without an "after party" is in bad shape, mentally. for him to think such a thing means he's not happy with life, and he hopes there's something better afterwards. your husband needs to accept reality.

 

what the hell is so fun about going to heaven to worships some big, twisted, egotistical maniac anyway? i could think of much better things to do, all without leaving this universe.

 

 

He has the smarts to understand Atheism, but his emotions are getting in the way!

 

you're right. if he's using this as a reason to believe, then he's not using logic. your husband probably doesn't believe in god-he HOPES there is one, although, he cannot really believe. give your husband a little time to soak this in, and then tell him it's time to suck it up and live THIS life, because living in a fantasy land is a waste of a life. introduce him to this website and have him read some testimonials and FAQ's. i wish both of you luck.

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I just read this and thought it would fit appropriately in this thread:

 

Epicurus, one of the Hellenistic period philosophers, was intent on trying to find true happiness. In essence he argued for a moderation-based pleasure filled life. He argued that in order to live a truly happy and pleasure filled life that it is important to overcome fear of death.

 

His reasoning on the matter is very simple, and yet so profound.

 

He wrote: "Death does not concern us because as long as we exist, death is not here. And when it does come, we no longer exist."

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I was so floored when he said that if there is no afterlife, there is no point to life because we mean nothing. I just don't understand what he means, really. He said that in 300 hundred years, what will we matter if there is no afterlife?

 

I have heard this so often as to be completely sick of it. To me, this is more than just nihilism. It is more even than futilism. This is quite literally saying and denying that there is purpose in living here and now. This says that we must live forever in some afterlife to even have meaning and purpose.

 

And to top it off, this says that we as humans cannot create purpose and meaning for ourselves, but must have it given to us by some greater being.

 

Truly, the saddest thing about most people who use this argument is that they see purpose from a dualistic vantage, stating that either there must be an afterlife to provide eternal purpose or that everything is futile in the end. They fail to see other philosophic alternatives for meaning and purpose, no matter how many times you point them out.

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Don't worry about not having "answers" or knowing what to say to him. You've never allowed yourself the position of having to verbalize your thoughts before... that's all. You know the answers but your first concern was your husband and his reaction. Give it time.

 

You've been given some great advice all round and this nugget is really true. As you gently discuss issues with your husband you will discover the words you need.

 

I'm much more direct. I'd be the one to put the butcher knife into my spouses hand and ask why she don't get it over with. Truth is, xtians don't want to leave this earth and every reason they have to stay is equally a reason to live and gives meaning. The problem is, they don't think of it.

 

Maybe the point is... that your husband, like many here and as you too admitted, avoid these kinds of issues and are suprised when they surface.

 

My style is to come back to an earlier discussion several days later once I have a new way to explain what has escaped me earlier. If you lack words, this may be your best approach. If your husband is a thinker... it will show and you can both learn more.

 

I also think I would approach eternity from the hell perspective. Fear of hell is huge with a lot of people. Read up on hell. The doctrine is badly flawed. Jews don't even believe in it. Now me... I'd look my loved one in the eye and ask, "Do you REALLY think god is going to send me to hell?". You will get a "yes" for an answer and your reply is, "I really think you should reconsider that".

 

Read this thread on reasons to live too: http://www.ex-christian.net/index.php?showtopic=13374

 

Mongo

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I'll be quick and succint. the meaning of life for me, is to generate its meaning.

 

Richard Dawkins put it so clearly, that humans have evolved beyond setting goals of food gathering, predator evasion, and so forth. We can now generate our own purpose in life rather being confined to Darwin's structure for selection.

 

When I heard that, it was the most uplifiting and fulfilling statement I've heard in a long time.

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Guest Freethinka

Thank you all for your words of advice- they have really helped. Oddly enough, that night my husband was a bit quiet- not angry but just quiet. The next day- he was fine. I think that this whole thing has "come out" during a somewhat trying time. His father died this summer, and where it hasn't made him start going to church I am sure it has made him think about loved ones and meeting them again, etc. You have all really helped, thank you again!

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If an afterlife is the goal, then there is no reason for life. It's just a waiting time until you get to the after life. Live has whatever reason you give it. You have to make your reason. This life is all we have and wasting it in waiting for some afterlife that isn't going to come is about the worst thing one can do.

 

I think this nails it, at least for me.

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His father died this summer, and where it hasn't made him start going to church I am sure it has made him think about loved ones and meeting them again, etc.

 

Freethinka,

 

Your husband doesn't go to church??!!!

 

You're 80% of the way there! Hal-a-blew-ya!

 

Mongo

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Guest Durthorin

3 years after realizing that there is no God- I have told my husband. I thought at first I would never tell him, or anyone for that matter, but as time went I realized this was just not possible. My husband considered me "anti-religion" but didn't know that I consider myself Atheist. I played out in my head a hundred times what would happen. He was shocked, but calm. He wasn't mad, but rather, quiet. I don't know what he is thinking. I am backing off, trying to give him time. He said something that I had no answer for. He told me that if there is no God, no afterlife, then what IS the point of life? I never really thougth about that. He of course then told me that since I don't believe in God, I will not go to heaven, and this saddens him. Again, I didn't know what to say. He hasn't been giving me the "silent treatment" or anything like that, but there is just a tone to his voice. It's as if this has broken his spirit. I guess the only thing is to give him time to digest this news, and then hopfully we can calmly talk about it. If anyone has any input, I would be very gratefull!

 

My wife is a Baptist, I got pretty much the same reaaction followed by not wanting to talk about the "Pagan Thing" since I did not renounce religion but instead followed a Pagan path. The hurt an belief that I had chosen to abandon her and I was going to hell.

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What would the world have been like if we had not invented gods. Simple; it would have been free of lots of guilt, pity, fear of death probably; lesser wars; the evolvement of science would have put us way ahead of were we're at now. Just to name a few. Something to think about I guess.

 

As for your husband; he's just scared right now because he probably thinks you're right. Give him time and comfort because becoming free of beliefs in the supernatural are not without pain.

 

And one more point. I remember how scared as a child I would get thinking about living forever in some clouds. That is not my definition of a good time. Forever; WOW!

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Here, here. Life IS the point.

 

This is what Ive always thought. Without any life at all their would be no such thing as meaning to anything period, and thus life becomes its own meaning in its own right.

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I don't think Christians really think through the afterlife, just as they don't think through the other problems with their world views.

 

Life on a greater scale has no meaning, but life for the individual is full of meaning: grow up, get an education, have a career, play sports, reproduce and take care of the next generation, and enjoy living and reflecting on life with your peers.

 

Our sense of fulfilment is driven by survival instincts. We get a buzz out of sizing up potential mates, trying to mate with them, and then when that is done, as any parent will know, we have this wonderful, overwhelming desire to dedicate ourselves to our offspring and help them and protect them. This becomes one of our main reasons for living. Meanwhile, we are constantly trying to build our social network as all intelligent species do, and fight to get to the top of the heap. This particular drive ensures our species survives and evolves.

 

These primary drives would be absent in an afterlife. It would not only be a pointless existence, but because there would be no reason to live, it would fail to stimulate and would get boring. I can imagine the city of Jehovah as a place of despair and dismay. If praising a supreme being sounds like slavery, you can put it down to being because the only need to do it would be to avoid getting tossed into a fire.

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I'm going to ask a Christian in some conversation soon that if God told you that you only have this life to live, and when you die you will be gone forever, would you still live for Jesus? If not, then isn't the basis for your faith in God a purely selfish one of wanting to live for ever and you don't really care that much about God? If not, and you would still worship God because you see the world He made is beautiful to you, and you feel thankful for that and wish to live your life to the fullest, loving and thanking Him for life, then how is it so hard to see how someone who doesn't believe in an afterlife can't find meaning in this world, with or without a belief in God?

 

Isn't it possible to love life the same as every other human being, without the added attaching of some anthropomorphized face of a human-like, Ultra-Being on top of it? Don't those feelings of love come from the same place? Do those feelings come from a teaching about gods, or from just living and being alive?

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