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Living Together, A Non Christian And His Wife


Guest Rob Barnes

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Guest Rob Barnes

Hi all. I'd really appreciate some guidance concerning striking the right balance between living as a non Christian and the amount of exposure my Children should have to Christianity.

 

I am recently de-converted; my wife remains an ardent Christian. She is a wonderful woman and a fantastic wife and and amazing mother to my two beautiful girls. Thing is, this obviously creates issues regarding how best to raise our Children.

 

This coming weeking, my wife is taking the Children off to a huge Christian festival known as spring harvest, where for 5 days they will be fully part of the childrens groups and presumably taught to believe the "truths" of Christianity. I feel uncomfortable with this but another part of me wants them to have access to matters of faith. I don't want young minds stultified with nonsense, and I don't want mature adults lying to them, even if out of ignorance rather than malice.

 

How do I counter these teachings in such a way as not to cause them much confusion? And how can I support my wife, even when every part of me wants to encourage her to think critically, to get away from cognitive bias and think through all the

mountains of evidence that scream "there is no god".

 

In short, I have absolutely no idea what to do. Are there others on this forum who are facing or have faced the same difficult challenges?

 

May thanks for sparing the time to give this your attention.

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There are some others here who are in similar situations, and can be of more help than I. The best advice I've heard from people is to make sure the kids are exposed to everything concerning supernatural beliefs. Teaching about other religions points out that Mom's choice of belief is but one of many possible belief systems. Smart kids will put it all together and start to question, rather than blindly follow.

 

I know I have no first hand experience, but I want to wish you the best.

 

- Chris

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This might help in a round about way ...

 

We used to take our children to Spring Harvest (we did Minehead once and Skeggy dozens of times!)

 

They survived. They even had quite a bit of fun although not much of the fun was to do with the teaching. Once they were in their later teens they used to bunk off from their 'groups' and spent most of their time on the dance mat's in the amusement arcade. One year they even managed to get their names into the top ten scores - I did wonder at the time how they got to be so good in such a short space of time!

 

Its lovely to hear you talk so positively about your wife. Don't rock the boat. Sounds like a great boat.

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RB,

 

"Choose your fights and battles carefully".

 

I use this a lot here with questions like yours. Thing is, there is so much that on the immediate the situation seems "important" enough to go_to_battle over, but after the shit and fur settles, turns out to "be negotiable".

 

Consider on this path that you are walking now what you want to do, and in turn how to enjoy the journey.

Not a hella lot of fun if you have to continually find things to make war over.

 

I would suggest that you continue to accent the positives, show family that you are not only the same, but more focused, less religiously_insane, and desirous of "the good life".

 

Hang around here, there are many of we who have kids of all ages, many have spouses who are still religious, and there are a few like my family who have never raised the kid with religion..

 

Enjoy stay here, ask a lotta questions, quite a few good people who are sharing part of the direction you've chose to go.

 

Welcome to Exc.

 

kevinL

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Rob, I'm going to deal in real specifics, but feel free to disregard or amend or adapt anything I recommend.

 

Imo, the most important thing is that the children know that even though Mom and Dad think differently about religion, Mom and Dad are united about how this difference will be visited on the children.

 

This will take probably many series of discussions between you and your wife, and it's good that you see her so favorably. Find out from each other what's easy for each of you to have the other discuss with the children and what's hard. Find out which activities are easy to have the other engage in with the children, and which are hard. Rate these on a 1 (easy) to 10 (hard) scale, and take notes. Start with a positive agreement that you each intend to be respectful of the other, and that you'll begin your united front engaging the children only in those talks and activities which the spouse gives a rating of 1, 2, or 3. Understand that as the children age, the numbers will get into the "hard" territory, but that your history of cooperation will make hard issues easier than they would otherwise have been.

 

The children will be able to avoid a lot of anxiety... especially when they hear you or your wife say, "I can't get into that now, because your father/mother and I agree that's an issue for later."

 

I'm an atheist and my husband is a theist Jew, and our respectful handling of each other's views has caused our now-adult kids no heartache. They would attest to that. One is a nominal agnostic Jew and the other is a pierced and tattooed pagan.

 

Good luck to your family!

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