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Deconversion Complications


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Guest daver

My wife and kids just left for church -- the perfect time to finally post. It's a young family: 4 kids, ranging from 11 to 3. I've been a ex-Christian now for a little over 1.5 years; and I'm kinda frustrated that I'm STILL dealing with the same issues. It's just tough to find a balance.

 

My wife (of 15 years) is still very Christian. A bit of background: we came together in a Pentecostal setting, moved through a Baptist phase, and settled quite some time ago on the Vineyard denomination (still rather Baptist-ish). Our local church is fairly small and close-knit. She insists on taking the kids every week, and I've decided not to dispute it -- there is enough dispute already and I am trying my best to keep this marriage together. As part of my compromise I've also promised to attend church every 2nd week. We've got a lot of friends there; a lot of young families; its really a big part of our social network. The compromise is also helpful in dealing with my large extended family: all Christian to the best of my knowledge (along lines of Dutch Reformed, Baptist, Alliance), and I can still claim to go to church.

 

I can't hardly stand church for many reasons, but compromising seems to be the best way to keep the peace. Have I given away too much? Should I allow my kids to receive the same kind of indoctrination that I received? Somehow, in my life "reason" has triumphed over religious heritage, but it took traumatic circumstances to get me here (a head-turning financial scam was the last straw). What I hope for now is that reason will eventually win in my kids lives too. Although I've also promised her that I will not actively "sow the seeds of doubt", at the same time I will honestly and openly discuss these issues with the kids when they grow older and ask me directly about my beliefs.

 

Prayer in the house is another difficult issue. Before I was re-born-again, I established the routines of dinner prayer and bedtime prayers. Now, they seem ludicrous to me, but all I can do is refuse to participate myself. Am I making a big deal over nothing? As it stands, my wife does most of the praying, and also gets the kids to pray. Since I now consider myself an agnostic deist, I can manage to say grace at larger family gatherings (although excluding references to Jesus). [Deist: I BELIEVE a god probably exists, with good reason. Agnostic: I admit that I don't really KNOW.]

 

I love my wife, and we actually have gotten along in our marriage really well apart from this issue. What scares me is that I think our marriage is ultimately doomed. That is an outcome neither of us want but it just seems increasingly unavoidable. The basis for any marriage is mutual respect; but how can we respect each others views that are so diametrically opposed? To her evangelical mind I am becoming the enemy and the potential deceiver of her kids. And likewise, because I love them, I too want them to "see the light" and walk away from religious superstition, coercion, and nonsense. Is there hope for our marriage?

 

I just re-read my post. Lots of questions -- but such is my life! However I should mention how happy I am to have come away from religion. Freedom is so good! Even with all these complications, I could never go back to the old ways.

 

Thanks for reading, and thanks in advance for all your help!

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Welcome, daver! I don’t have much advice to offer but I must admit this made me feel sad for you and your wife.

I love my wife, and we actually have gotten along in our marriage really well apart from this issue. What scares me is that I think our marriage is ultimately doomed. That is an outcome neither of us want but it just seems increasingly unavoidable. The basis for any marriage is mutual respect; but how can we respect each others views that are so diametrically opposed?

I know there are many, many couples that manage to have wonderful marriages and raise children in spite of having different religious beliefs. I really hope there are others here who can give you good advice. It seems to me there must be a sensible way for you and your wife to deal with each other and with the way you handle the children’s religious upbringing. Again, welcome. Best wishes to you!!!

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Daver,

 

 

Welcome to Ex-C!

 

 

I have 4 kids also! :) Congrats!

 

 

What a hard one... I can only speak for myself of course and my own perspective. Maybe my point of view might help you, maybe it wont. In any case I wish you much luck in this most uncomfortable part of losing faith. Possibly offending or fear of losing people we love.

 

 

My husband is of the belief of once saved always saved, he's a currently non-practicing Baptist. He worries about our kids, as dogma produces fear about death/ after death and so forth. I grew up Pentecostal in an Assembly of God Church and school (To which now I refer to as the Ass of God, Yeah I'm still bitter! :P ) Over the years we've grown to accept each others beliefs and non-beliefs. It's been a long road. He has the right to ask my kids to go to church, tell them about the lord, and I have the right to ask questions, encourage them to use their reason skills and encourage them to question everything. I also have the right to stress that Faith does not equate truth. A Just God can not be unjust, A loving God can not be cruel, If god contradicts it's not god, so on and so forth.

 

All 4 of my kids today are unwavering Non-Believers, and tell their father to some degree they will believe when their's proof. (Their ages 19, 18, 18 and 17). My kids are very comfortable not believing, and hold no ill will or judgment to those that do. Lots of strife, arguing and public family battles to get where we are today tho. I was going thru the pain of losing god, losing what I was taught was Truth, Justice and God was Lies, Abuse, and deceit. Unfortunately, the entire family took the trip with me weather they wanted to or not. From Christianity to Judaism to eventually non belief. It was an emotional trauma that effected me to the level of being put on medication. (for panic disorder). A persons mind can only take so much fear mongering and devils behind every corner waiting to trip you up before the fear controls you. It is how all religions operate, fear of death, fear of walking out of gods good wishes and inflicting harm on loved ones. Fear is a very powerful thing.

 

I dunno that I personally could ever agree to not sowing the seeds of doubt unless it was equal on the other side of not sowing the seeds of blind faith without facts. How else is one to "Seek and Ye shall find" if not to question? How is one to discern what is of god and what is not if they aren't allowed to seek, question or doubt?

 

I don't pray, I don't pray at at school events, I don't pray at funerals.. I stand there and look around. I'm respectful and quiet, but I don't go along to make others happy. If my lack of belief makes people uncomfortable, or bothers them on some level it's their issue, their own insecurity's. If prayer makes people feel better, good on them, I don't want to take it away, but I won't participate in what I see as buffoonery and antics to save face. I respect peoples choice to believe until they start pushing me, then I give them a run for their money with a debate and hard questions.

 

In short, be true to yourself, people will either accept you as you are or not. If not... then they never accepted you for you to begin with, and really what have you lost? A harsh reality, but somethings are past our control. You know your wife loves you, and you love her. Living a lie or a charade doesn't benefit anyone, least of all yourself or your family.

 

Dogma can be crippling, personally I wanted to spare my kids any of the trauma that the church inflicted on me. The mind control of what if's and might be's, living a superstitious life because if I don't do something just right, God's going to punish me, maybe make one of my kids sick, or cause me to lay in a coma. Life is MUCH MUCH better living with the what's is instead of the what if's. As a Christian I was forced to make everyone happy. I was forced to walk the fine line of attempting to be perfect, fearing being criticized or failing god. With Free Thought, I'm allowed to fail and get up and try again. I'm allowed to be my individual self with no apology's, no bending over backwards and hating myself for being a worthless sinful human. That is something I cherish most about leaving the dogma.

 

 

Good luck and again welcome to ex-c,

 

All the best to you and your family! :)

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Hi Daver,

 

I have a very similar situation. My wife is an extreme fundy still. In my case, I have decided to go full out, wont ever go to church, and I am totally blunt and honest with my children. They are now 12, 11, and 8, and all know I am an atheist. They thankfully have been protected from indoctrination. My marriage is very rough, but we both claim to be committed. I feel for you. I could not go half way with deconversion. I had to go all the way. ANyone that talks about God with me for more than 30 seconds learns that am a FORMER Christian and now ATHEIST. LOL

 

My wife and kids just left for church -- the perfect time to finally post. It's a young family: 4 kids, ranging from 11 to 3. I've been a ex-Christian now for a little over 1.5 years; and I'm kinda frustrated that I'm STILL dealing with the same issues. It's just tough to find a balance.

 

My wife (of 15 years) is still very Christian. A bit of background: we came together in a Pentecostal setting, moved through a Baptist phase, and settled quite some time ago on the Vineyard denomination (still rather Baptist-ish). Our local church is fairly small and close-knit. She insists on taking the kids every week, and I've decided not to dispute it -- there is enough dispute already and I am trying my best to keep this marriage together. As part of my compromise I've also promised to attend church every 2nd week. We've got a lot of friends there; a lot of young families; its really a big part of our social network. The compromise is also helpful in dealing with my large extended family: all Christian to the best of my knowledge (along lines of Dutch Reformed, Baptist, Alliance), and I can still claim to go to church.

 

I can't hardly stand church for many reasons, but compromising seems to be the best way to keep the peace. Have I given away too much? Should I allow my kids to receive the same kind of indoctrination that I received? Somehow, in my life "reason" has triumphed over religious heritage, but it took traumatic circumstances to get me here (a head-turning financial scam was the last straw). What I hope for now is that reason will eventually win in my kids lives too. Although I've also promised her that I will not actively "sow the seeds of doubt", at the same time I will honestly and openly discuss these issues with the kids when they grow older and ask me directly about my beliefs.

 

Prayer in the house is another difficult issue. Before I was re-born-again, I established the routines of dinner prayer and bedtime prayers. Now, they seem ludicrous to me, but all I can do is refuse to participate myself. Am I making a big deal over nothing? As it stands, my wife does most of the praying, and also gets the kids to pray. Since I now consider myself an agnostic deist, I can manage to say grace at larger family gatherings (although excluding references to Jesus). [Deist: I BELIEVE a god probably exists, with good reason. Agnostic: I admit that I don't really KNOW.]

 

I love my wife, and we actually have gotten along in our marriage really well apart from this issue. What scares me is that I think our marriage is ultimately doomed. That is an outcome neither of us want but it just seems increasingly unavoidable. The basis for any marriage is mutual respect; but how can we respect each others views that are so diametrically opposed? To her evangelical mind I am becoming the enemy and the potential deceiver of her kids. And likewise, because I love them, I too want them to "see the light" and walk away from religious superstition, coercion, and nonsense. Is there hope for our marriage?

 

I just re-read my post. Lots of questions -- but such is my life! However I should mention how happy I am to have come away from religion. Freedom is so good! Even with all these complications, I could never go back to the old ways.

 

Thanks for reading, and thanks in advance for all your help!

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Guest daver

Thanks everyone for your replies! It encourages me to hear from others who have gone through this. Hope is a very powerful thing, and I still have hope that I can pick my way through this minefield and keep my marriage happy and healthy. We saw a counsellor about a year ago and he said that of the cases like this he's seen that it can take five years or more for everything to shake out. Its just really cool to hear your stories.

 

Plus, an amazing thing just happened: my wife came home from church and said she may be willing to accept my permanent absence from church, and may also be willing to talk to the older kids about it. I can't believe it... just as I post about this impasse she makes a move. Awesome. Almost enough to make me believe a higher power was at work... :scratch: ... but not quite! :HaHa:

 

BTW Japedo: I love that avatar!

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Guest danny64
Prayer in the house is another difficult issue. Before I was re-born-again, I established the routines of dinner prayer and bedtime prayers. Now, they seem ludicrous to me, but all I can do is refuse to participate myself. Am I making a big deal over nothing? As it stands, my wife does most of the praying, and also gets the kids to pray. Since I now consider myself an agnostic deist, I can manage to say grace at larger family gatherings (although excluding references to Jesus). [Deist: I BELIEVE a god probably exists, with good reason. Agnostic: I admit that I don't really KNOW.]

 

I love my wife, and we actually have gotten along in our marriage really well apart from this issue. What scares me is that I think our marriage is ultimately doomed. That is an outcome neither of us want but it just seems increasingly unavoidable. The basis for any marriage is mutual respect; but how can we respect each others views that are so diametrically opposed? To her evangelical mind I am becoming the enemy and the potential deceiver of her kids. And likewise, because I love them, I too want them to "see the light" and walk away from religious superstition, coercion, and nonsense. Is there hope for our marriage?

 

oh man. the prayer thing. my dad (fundy preacher) has not asked me to pray at any family gatherings. i dont think i could do it. i have not told him or mom. dont really want to. but dontknow that i could pray.

 

then your "i love my wife" paragraph. ditto. the doomed bit, the mutual respect, and the kids part. mine are 11, 13, and 14. the age for baptism in the ole c of c. the guilt she will feel if they dont get baptized...sometimes i wonder if i should just fake it more and encourage them to follow the path she wants them to follow. i have honsestly answered a few questions they have asked me. the kids know, for instance, that i do not agree with many things in the bible. (the chavanism for one) we have been attending a methodist church for 2 years. since my deconversion, i told her i would go to a church, but only one that has both men and women in leadership roles and also i appreciate the fact that the methodist i attend (college town) seems to interpret the ot as symbolic, not literal. i just wonder what will come next.thanks for the link and for your thoughts.

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My wife and kids just left for church -- the perfect time to finally post. It's a young family: 4 kids, ranging from 11 to 3. I've been a ex-Christian now for a little over 1.5 years; and I'm kinda frustrated that I'm STILL dealing with the same issues. It's just tough to find a balance.

 

My wife (of 15 years) is still very Christian. A bit of background: we came together in a Pentecostal setting, moved through a Baptist phase, and settled quite some time ago on the Vineyard denomination (still rather Baptist-ish). Our local church is fairly small and close-knit. She insists on taking the kids every week, and I've decided not to dispute it -- there is enough dispute already and I am trying my best to keep this marriage together. As part of my compromise I've also promised to attend church every 2nd week. We've got a lot of friends there; a lot of young families; its really a big part of our social network. The compromise is also helpful in dealing with my large extended family: all Christian to the best of my knowledge (along lines of Dutch Reformed, Baptist, Alliance), and I can still claim to go to church.

 

I can't hardly stand church for many reasons, but compromising seems to be the best way to keep the peace. Have I given away too much? Should I allow my kids to receive the same kind of indoctrination that I received? Somehow, in my life "reason" has triumphed over religious heritage, but it took traumatic circumstances to get me here (a head-turning financial scam was the last straw). What I hope for now is that reason will eventually win in my kids lives too. Although I've also promised her that I will not actively "sow the seeds of doubt", at the same time I will honestly and openly discuss these issues with the kids when they grow older and ask me directly about my beliefs.

 

Prayer in the house is another difficult issue. Before I was re-born-again, I established the routines of dinner prayer and bedtime prayers. Now, they seem ludicrous to me, but all I can do is refuse to participate myself. Am I making a big deal over nothing? As it stands, my wife does most of the praying, and also gets the kids to pray. Since I now consider myself an agnostic deist, I can manage to say grace at larger family gatherings (although excluding references to Jesus). [Deist: I BELIEVE a god probably exists, with good reason. Agnostic: I admit that I don't really KNOW.]

 

I love my wife, and we actually have gotten along in our marriage really well apart from this issue. What scares me is that I think our marriage is ultimately doomed. That is an outcome neither of us want but it just seems increasingly unavoidable. The basis for any marriage is mutual respect; but how can we respect each others views that are so diametrically opposed? To her evangelical mind I am becoming the enemy and the potential deceiver of her kids. And likewise, because I love them, I too want them to "see the light" and walk away from religious superstition, coercion, and nonsense. Is there hope for our marriage?

 

I just re-read my post. Lots of questions -- but such is my life! However I should mention how happy I am to have come away from religion. Freedom is so good! Even with all these complications, I could never go back to the old ways.

 

Thanks for reading, and thanks in advance for all your help!

 

Wow! I understand! My kids are about 1/2 in and 1/2 undecided for xtian faith. My hubby is still evangelical, and I think, hoping my backsliding is temporary. We have sought the help of a marraige therapist, religion isn't our only issue, but is the biggest one right now. I want to have a stable home for my kids, but I also want an authentic marriage. one where we can each be free to be who we are. Just keep loving on her and the kids and they will see thay you have not become some green-headed monster. My family, while unhappy with my deconversion, has admitted to seeing a positive change in my attitude, etc. MAybe my "testimony"? Anyway, keep thinking, writing, loving, we all want to hear what's happening with you.

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Right with you, four kids ages 3 - 10. Stick around, and definitely give the marriage thing a lot of time. For me and my wife, even though my deconversion seemed slow to me, it seemed very sudden to her. It takes a lot of time to work though the issues of understanding each other. Each new thing for your wife takes time to process and adjust to. I can't say for you of course, but our marriage is definitely worth sticking with. It sounds like you have a good approach to prayer, kids, all those issues you mentioned.

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