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Posing For Peace


SEEtheScorn
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I've been reading around as much as I could, but my internet connection is poor (damn satellite + unclear southern sky) and I can't search as conveniently as I would like to. So I have one topic/question I've been dying to ask.

 

Has anyone else faked being a Christian for the sake of keeping peace with the family/fiends/spouse?

 

The only person I've been frank with right now is my husband, and the few friends who I can trust to understand. My family is all Christian, fundie, evangelicals. My husbands, Catholic. My parents are convinced I'm called to ministry, my church family are half relatives (small town, everyone marries everyone) and half sunday school teachers of the young, older me. So I can't imagine coming out with it, but I also can't stand feeling fake.

 

My main concern, is has anyone else tried faking it for a while? Go to church, sing the songs, do the altar calls, receive prayer, etc etc. I'm glad I have my husband to make snide sarcastic comments to during sermons, or I might have gone insane long ago.

 

Suggestions? Is it better to keep the mother from dying from a heart attack and being sad the rest of her life? Or is it better to be true to oneself and stand up for one's beliefs and lack thereof?

 

Also, if I've just been lazy or haven't been able to find a topic already addressing this, feel free to smack me with a link.

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feel free to smack me with a link.

That's funny - this is a primary topic of conversation here! Should I tell Mom? Will I lose my Christian friends if I come out? Etc., etc.

 

It seems to be a very individual decision. Some people are able to live the lie (at least with certain people) and others can't. Nobody wants to needlessly upset 90 year old Aunt Millie. Few are willing to face the possibility of being ostracized, unloved, or unemployed over their lack of religion. It seems to be a balancing act for many.

 

Personally, I favor honesty. I don't want the love or friendship of anyone who is only interested if they mistakenly think I share their religious beliefs. I am who I am, take it or leave it.

 

The record shows, I took the blows, and did it my way (sorry Frank).

 

Oh yeah, your mileage may vary.

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Honesty is my goal, not yet achieved. I've started slowly "coming out" to various friends and family members as the situation seems to warrant. As for the others, I won't actively pretend, though I'll use non-commital silences freely. I do still go to church, but only to sing. I don't say the prayers and leave before Communion. The current project is to drop enough hints that when I do tell all and sundry, they won't be completely shocked. I kind of think my mother has an inkling, as she now never asks me to participate in anything religious.

 

Edit: This has been a process of many small steps, so feel free to take your time. The decision you make now may not be the decision you make in a couple of months.

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The only people who don't know are my aunts on my dads side..else they all do.

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I tried faking it for the sake of my family, and it led to me making one of the worst decisions of my life. I thought that I could make the sacrifice to make them happy- but I incorrectly thought that I would only be sacrificing my Sunday mornings. However, once I started, I was already in over my head and I became too depressed to see my way out.

 

My questions to you (which you've pretty much already answered) would be how direct your family/friends are in asking you questions about your (perceived) Christianity, and how involved they are in your life. If you had family/friends who never talked about religious matters and who you saw infrequently, I see no reason that your change in religious beliefs would have to be broadcast to them. I'm not going to call up the Christian friend I went to school with years ago and now we send a few emails a year to announce that I'm an atheist. However, it seems obvious that your family isn't the type where you can just drift away from religious involvement without anyone really noticing or caring.

 

I was single when I deconverted, and although I didn't live with my parents, they were very controlling over my life. I found that going to church occasionally wasn't good enough- I had to answer direct questions about my spiritual life, my friends, my boyfriends - I started lying almost constantly. When they found out about a non-Christian boyfriend, they put a huge amount of pressure on me to break up with him... and even then I thought I could still make the sacrifice. And that's how I ended up marrying the Christian man from hell. After three failed relationships with non-Christians (due to my own guilt and the pressure of my parents), I was spiraling into a dark place- I couldn't bear the thought of continuing to fake it, but I thought I could still see it through- and I married the first Christian who expressed interest in me. For a variety of reasons, I incorrectly thought that he was more nominal/liberal, but his fundamentalist family and church pulled him right back in.

 

Now, I see that you're married- but even so, it seems that you won't be able to keep putting up a front without a lot of lies and faking. Do you want children (or already have them)? Coming out now is going to be nothing compared to coming out at the same time as the birth of your first child- or horribly worse, letting the faking mean that your child is indoctrinated. Could you let your lie hurt your children that way? What will you do when your family keeps asking you about going into the ministry, over and over again- what lie can tell to hold them off forever? Yours seems like a situation where just a little fakery will not suffice.

 

Edit: I did deconvert and divorce eventually. Lost 90% of my friends and moved across the country. Best thing I ever did.

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I guess it depends on what one considers "faking."

 

I did continue going to church for a long time after deconversion, even though I detested every minute of it. I did so out of respect for my wife who wanted me there, but she knew I no longer believed and I didn't do any pretending to be something I'm not. I stopped teaching Sunday School, stopped giving input in SS, etc.

 

Now I pretty much only go to church when visiting with my parents, and then I go out of respect for their expectations. I haven't "come out" as a nonbeliever to them, but I don't pretend to believe either. I simply try to avoid conversations about religion as best I can, and I don't talk in Christianese or say prayers or whatever around them, because I don't believe in faking things. I just go to church with them.

 

So, basically, if you consider going to church to be "faking" it, then I guess I occasionally do, but otherwise I'm definitely not "faking" anything, I just avoid the issue. For how much longer, I don't know, since it's bound to come out sometime that I no longer believe that shit.

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Welcome, StS.

 

As Florduh said, this is a topic that comes up frequently. Frankly, too often to simply provide a couple of links. I'm sorry if your web connection issues make that problematic for you.

 

However, I can narrow your search parameters a bit by suggesting that you go to the index page of this forum (Ex-Christian Life), and just look through the back pages for likely sounding thread titles. This is the forum where that particular topic will be most likely to be discussed.

 

Usually though, an OP like yours will get plenty of pertinent replies. By the time this thread winds down, it's quite likely that you may no longer feel that you need to do any further searching for answers, at least for the time being. We have some great people here, and a lot of quite varied experience with precisely what you asked.

 

If you have any questions or problems, please feel free to contact any of us mods. We'll be happy to help if we can.

 

Loren

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Ah, I had a feeling I was just making a topic that was 1 out of a 100. Sorry, hope I don't make a fool out of myself.

 

It seems like there's a consensus with "coming out of the closet," so to speak. Which I can agree with. There's also been great suggestions of how to do so without destroying all relationships all at once.

 

ClaraOlive, your post was very helpful and informative. Your questions alone were very thought provocative. To answer your questions, and to answer a lot of others I'm sure, it's difficult. Since I'm pursuing Biblical scholarship, almost finished with my bachelors, religion and Bible is always discussed and my answers are always sought. Some of my answers I can easily pass off as "what most scholars say" and others I can weasle by as a new found belief of mine. Still, my family obviously interprets my strive for an Old Testament (or related, haven't decided the specific degree yet) Ph.D as some call from God to do good things i.e. ministry, while I see it as simple scholarship.

 

Mix in my Pastor who is also related to me, and a close relationship with the Associate Pastor who married me and Steve only a year ago and it's not so hard to avoid. Also mix in my fervent, very involved past history with the church (mission trips, evangelism runs, teenage and child ministry leadership) I can hardly dissapear or slowly drift off without people caring very much. Small town, already my prom date's mother who was also a teacher at my high school, and also a pastor's wife, got the drift and keeps expressing concern for my soul and praying for me. Scary.

 

That was a long way to answer, sorry.

 

With your children question, none yet. I totally understand your concern though, and it does concern me too. I could never ever lie to my children. I wasn't raised that way myself. Lying is a soft spot with me. I wonder how the husband would want the children raised though, it's be curious. We had a great conversation last night, he still believes and wants to believe. So I'm guessing he would want the children doing the church things and preferably believing themselves.

 

Hm. I'll have to look up past posts for a lot of things.

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Ah, I had a feeling I was just making a topic that was 1 out of a 100. Sorry, hope I don't make a fool out of myself.

Not at all. And please don't let it stop you from starting new threads, either.

 

One of the things I've noticed over the years is that personality tendencies pretty much remain the same after deconversion as they were before deconversion. A shallow, uncaring Christian makes for a shallow, uncaring ex-Christian. A caring, compassionate Christian is still a caring, compassionate ex-Christian. I've found that there are a lot of very ministerially-minded ex-Christians here, although many of them would hit me with a chair for connecting their good names with a word like, "minister," in a positive way. For such people, helping others feeds something important within themselves. Your own experience and input can be very useful to others here. I get the feeling that you would find it very meaningful to be of service in a context where you don't have to plaster everything you do with Jesus paint. Some things are simply worth doing for their own sake.

 

Looking forward to your participation.

Loren

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It's hard to come out, especially if your family is one of those 'don't rock the boats' families that deals with conflict in unhealthy ways. I certainly did not tell my parents I was questioning the faith, and that I did not miss church at all. Eventually I felt that I was living a lie though, and the child they loved was not the child I am. And I decided that that was not fair to anyone. Maybe they would reject the real me, maybe they would not, but having a parent accept you despite not agreeing with your lifestyle is much more pleasing and then ideally they won't bother you about church in the same way and you won't have to walk on eggshells, and feel like you don't want to be with them.

 

Real relationships are built on honesty. The question is do you love your family enough to have a real relationship with them.

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Real relationships are built on honesty. The question is do you love your family enough to have a real relationship with them.

This view seems too idealistic. In my eyes, telling my parents the truth would be an entirely selfish act, and the only benefit would be ridding myself of the burden of pretending. I absolutely know that my parents' love for me would not waver a bit were I to tell them that I no longer believe. However, they would be completely devastated. My mother would lie awake every night crying out to God to spare my soul. My father would become angry and bitter at the thought that his daughter had turned her back on the most important thing in the universe. The grief it would cause them would not abate, and it would not be worth it to me.

 

I love my parents enough to not subject them to such self-serving anguish.

 

 

 

(I reserve the right to change my mind without prior notice, however. :) I do realize that it's only been 1 month since D-Day, and given the longevity in my family, I might have to continue to pretend in front of my parents for another 30 years or so.... Am I up for that? I don't honestly know.)

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Edit: I did deconvert and divorce eventually. Lost 90% of my friends and moved across the country. Best thing I ever did.

 

Loved your whole post; your story is very similar to mine. I did my best to pose for the first couple of years and ran into many of the same issues -- parents begging me to go to church, witnessing constantly, criticizing my boyfriends, and belittling my career. Though I didn't get married then, I did reach a point where enough was enough. On a few weeks' notice I moved to Colorado from the East coast. I spent nine years there, learning to breathe and think for myself. I got a job, bought a house, played the field for a while, married a freethinker when I was good and ready, went to nursing school (lifelong dream derailed by gospel-of-prosperity parents), and generally became an adult.

 

Now I am back East and a day's drive from them. That's as close as I'm going to get. They aren't interested in visiting me, I make the requisite appearance for holidays and emergencies, and they know better than to witness to me (they still try, but it's becoming rare.) There is definitely something to be said for the benefits of some physical distance.

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This view seems too idealistic. In my eyes, telling my parents the truth would be an entirely selfish act, and the only benefit would be ridding myself of the burden of pretending. I absolutely know that my parents' love for me would not waver a bit were I to tell them that I no longer believe. However, they would be completely devastated. My mother would lie awake every night crying out to God to spare my soul. My father would become angry and bitter at the thought that his daughter had turned her back on the most important thing in the universe. The grief it would cause them would not abate, and it would not be worth it to me.

 

I love my parents enough to not subject them to such self-serving anguish.

 

First, you seem to be making assumptions here, that lying to your parents will hurt them less then the truth. However it is possible that their love for you would deflect the thoughts of you going to Hell. They may decide to believe that you will accept Jesus later in life for example. Your projected fears do not give your parents much credit.

 

Secondly, you are sacrificing yourself for them. When nobody stands up for themselves, nothing is accomplished. I could easily say you are being selfish in your lie because you fear the guilt of upsetting them. And if they discover the lie on their own all is for nothing, and the betrayal will be worse. And how much does one do to please their parents? Would you marry someone they choose? Wear what they think you should wear?

 

Thirdly, the current course that is set is one of decay. You can not grow in stability...it is only when we are challenged that we have an opportunity to improve our lives. Maybe watching your parents grow old and pass on believing this lie is what you want, but maybe taking a hail mary shot at sharing yourself with them is worth it.

 

Just some things to think about. Believe me I understand your position, but there are arguments against it that should be weighed. I recommend you watch the movie Prayers for Bobby if you don't believe fundie parents can ever change, even though that case is not exactly parallel.

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Thanks Loren, your comments are quite helpful and interesting. That does seem true though, does it? I had to correct a Christian friend who assumed that lack of God meant increase in sin. If I wasn't "sinful" while being a Christian, why would I all of a sudden start being a jerk or rebellious while not a Christian? Sure I do some things out of freedom that Christianity would not allow (smoke, drink, swear when it's merited, enjoy sex with my husband) but I don't go lying, killing, destroying, and painting the town red either.

 

Good thoughts. And thanks, I suck at starting topics honestly. Bad luck I guess, but I will try to stay encouraged to contribute if I have an original thought. Even though there is, I suppose, "nothing new under the sun."

 

As for the above discussion, the debate between honestly and selfishness is exactly what I intended this topic to be. It's so helpful to see both opinions!

 

I still wonder, is complete honesty in the form of coming out with the truth necessary? I've been racking my brain about it, do I just have a sit down talk? Or let them slowly come to realize it? I don't think my parents will notice it, they're too convinced. I mean heck, my mother prayed for me every day I was in her womb.

 

I can completely see both sides of the argument: honesty, or keep from hurting them? Sure, it's an assumption to say they'll be traumatized. My parents, I think, believe in the "once saved, always saved" doctrine, so I guess to them I'd still be going to Heaven. But still, I can't break mom's heart. She's been through way too much. Makes one sure think though on which is better..

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Sure I do some things out of freedom that Christianity would not allow (smoke, drink, swear when it's merited, enjoy sex with my husband)

 

Huh? Marriage is the one place where sex is allowed in christianity. Are you referring to some fringe cult or something?

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I'm keeping mum about it with my brother and with my best friend who lives on the other side of the country but whom I still talk to regularly. As for everyone else, they haven't come calling in a few years, so I let sleeping dogs lie and hope that they stay asleep. I don't know what I would do if my youth pastor one day randomly called me up out of the blue because "the Lord laid it on my heart" like he did two years ago. I always admired the guy and appreciated how he helped me out, aside from the me getting slaved part, and I know it would break his heart.

 

Basically, everyone I regularly hang out with now, as well as my dad (and I presume my mom; both my parents aren't/weren't Christians), knows what I am now.

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First, you seem to be making assumptions here, that lying to your parents will hurt them less then the truth. However it is possible that their love for you would deflect the thoughts of you going to Hell. They may decide to believe that you will accept Jesus later in life for example. Your projected fears do not give your parents much credit.

You have fantastic insight, and I really appreciate your reply. A couple of your comments struck me deeply.

 

To your first point, my aunt (mother's sister) "came out" as an atheist 30+ years ago, and my mother still holds onto the hope that one day God will bring my aunt back into his fold. (My parents are staunch believers in predestination/election.) So perhaps you're right in that my parents would choose to believe that this is all a phase.

 

Secondly, you are sacrificing yourself for them. When nobody stands up for themselves, nothing is accomplished. I could easily say you are being selfish in your lie because you fear the guilt of upsetting them. [...] And how much does one do to please their parents? Would you marry someone they choose? Wear what they think you should wear?

You're right, I am sacrificing myself for them. This is a problem I've had my whole life, but I'm just now coming to realize how much of a problem it is. I love my parents, and we get along very well, yet (or...because?) I've never been able to have heart-to-heart, honest conversations with them about any of my problems or weaknesses, for fear of tarnishing my "good daughter" image. I think I can honestly say that I've never caused them any real grief, unlike my other siblings, and I (selfishly? self-righteously?) cling to that at my own expense. I have made decisions they weren't thrilled about, like marrying my husband just months after we met and later moving 1000 miles away from them, but they now view both of those as good decisions on my part.

 

And if they discover the lie on their own all is for nothing, and the betrayal will be worse.

That is something I have been pondering a lot lately. Part of me thinks that, given the choice, my parents would want to know the truth. You are right again in saying that the betrayal would be worse if they found out on their own, because they would then have to deal with knowing I'd spent years deceiving them. I have to admit that it seems unrealistic to think that they would never find out; therefore, how they find out becomes even more important.

 

To complicate matters, I *just* found out that my sister has also been going through her very own deconversion. While it thrills me to know there's someone in my family who actually understands where I am, this question of whether or not to tell my parents now involves not only me and my husband, but also my sister, her husband, and any future children they might have. If I decide to keep it a secret, that burdens them, as well. (Wow, I automatically turned this around so that my actions are, once again, designed for the benefit of others. Am I really such a people-pleaser?)

 

Thirdly, the current course that is set is one of decay. You can not grow in stability...it is only when we are challenged that we have an opportunity to improve our lives. Maybe watching your parents grow old and pass on believing this lie is what you want, but maybe taking a hail mary shot at sharing yourself with them is worth it.

That is a terrifying thought, not only the prospect of causing them so much grief, but also the idea of letting them get to know the real me. Only my husband knows the real me; I pretend with everyone else.

 

Just some things to think about. Believe me I understand your position, but there are arguments against it that should be weighed. I recommend you watch the movie Prayers for Bobby if you don't believe fundie parents can ever change, even though that case is not exactly parallel.

Again, thank you for the insight. You've given me a lot to think about.

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Sure I do some things out of freedom that Christianity would not allow (smoke, drink, swear when it's merited, enjoy sex with my husband)

Huh? Marriage is the one place where sex is allowed in christianity. Are you referring to some fringe cult or something?

Maybe it's the thought of a woman actually enjoying sex, rather than just doing it to fulfill her wifely duties?

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Sure I do some things out of freedom that Christianity would not allow (smoke, drink, swear when it's merited, enjoy sex with my husband)

Huh? Marriage is the one place where sex is allowed in christianity. Are you referring to some fringe cult or something?

Maybe it's the thought of a woman actually enjoying sex, rather than just doing it to fulfill her wifely duties?

But even the conservative circles I came from didn't denounce enjoying sex with one's spouse. I've even heard evangelical christian radio programs claiming that women with strong commitments of faith generally have more enjoyment with sex than those with lower levels of faith or no faith at all.

 

But perhaps there are circles that don't think it should be enjoyed. Strange, of course, but it wouldn't be the strangest thing that christians believe....

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Not being ashamed and not hiding your beliefs doesn't mean that you have an obligation to go around telling everyone, even your family and friends, that you have different beliefs now- it's not like a reverse evangelism situation. The opposite of deceit doesn't have to be spilling your guts out.

 

What I'm trying to say is that there are good reasons for simply making religion NOT a topic of conversation with people. I feel that if you have to start lying to people and hiding who you are in order to have a "good" relationship with them, that's not very healthy, but if it doesn't come up, you don't have to be the one who makes it an issue. It's not like you should be feeling guilty about it and needing to "confess". So if you're not the kind of person who's compelled to write a long letter to everyone explaining your deconversion and the "real you"- just don't do it. Just because you've deconverted doesn't mean that the "real you" is all about your unbelief. Maybe now that you're not entangled in Christianity, the "real you" is about music or cooking or starting your own business. Share that person with your family instead.

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Thanks Loren, your comments are quite helpful and interesting. That does seem true though, does it? I had to correct a Christian friend who assumed that lack of God meant increase in sin. If I wasn't "sinful" while being a Christian, why would I all of a sudden start being a jerk or rebellious while not a Christian? Sure I do some things out of freedom that Christianity would not allow (smoke, drink, swear when it's merited, enjoy sex with my husband) but I don't go lying, killing, destroying, and painting the town red either.

It definitely does seem to be one of the most generally solid sociological patterns that I've seen. And the reaction of Christians to the idea that leaving the faith doesn't necessarily instantly turn one into a complete moral reprobate is most often met with a sort of shock: Rather than a more militant kind of denial, they seem very surprised and sort of puzzled at the idea, but very often, they are surprisingly open to it, albeit in a very careful sort of way. It's as though it had simply never occurred to them before, and the puzzlement comes from them having cognitive dissonance over why they had never thought of it, or why they hadn't been taught it by their spiritual leaders.

 

It's kind of funny, but this seems to me to be one of the few things which, when confronted by it, causes Christians to look within themselves. There are many other things which our existence confronts them with and very often, the reaction is to instantly focus on us. I have no idea why this seems to be the case, but this is one area where, when I've been face to face with a Christian, I could see that they reacted by going inside, rather than mindlessly focusing on me. Very strange. Exactly what they were looking at, I couldn't say, but it was clearly a different reaction from all those other things.

 

And thanks, I suck at starting topics honestly. Bad luck I guess, but I will try to stay encouraged to contribute if I have an original thought. Even though there is, I suppose, "nothing new under the sun."
I didn't express myself very well. More than anything, what I wanted to give you was the observation that you are already helping others with this very thread. Just as you might be helped by going back and reading old threads started by others, so also, others in the future can be helped by reading this one. I wasn't so much trying to get you to do something you wouldn't otherwise do, as if it were a duty or something, as much as I was trying to let you know that as well as the help you're receiving, you're also giving. The reason I wanted to put that out there was based on things you've said about yourself which lead me to think that any kind of giving or service is the sort of thing you're drawn to. You don't seem like the kind of person who's comfortable with only taking, and I wanted to give you something that might make you more comfortable.

 

Just participating gives to others, particularly when it involves discussion on a problem like this one.

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Not being ashamed and not hiding your beliefs doesn't mean that you have an obligation to go around telling everyone' date=' even your family and friends,[/quote']

 

But when put in situations where you either have to fake it, or be yourself, it's a different story. Sure, there's no reason to go out and proclaim it on the rooftops, but when not going to church anymore is going to raise red-flags everywhere-- well, that in it's own way is making it pretty obvious.

 

I'm starting to wonder if not hiding my beliefs is better. My taking baby steps into being who and what I believe is right for me is starting to harm my husband. I can see it. I was debating starting a new topic on it, "Sensitive with believing Spouse" but I think it still works here, and doesn't need its own topic, maybe.

 

I decided not to take Communion for the first time this Sunday. I didn't feel it was right anymore. I did it for a while because I like the Jewish connection with it, the symbolism of Exodusout of slavery. I drank the cup first, instead of the bread. Cup first is the way of Passover, the way Jesus would have done it. Bread first is the way of Christians. Then today... I just said no when my husband came back from the table with his cracker and cup of grape juice.

 

The look on his face sunk my heart a little. He didn't know what to do. Communion is supposed to be something shared with the family, I guess, and he just kinda sat there a while.

 

Before that, he had gone up for an altar call for those who "felt like they couldn't hear God." He was crying as they prayed for him.

 

Almost made me feel like it would be better for me to sing my songs and eat the cracker and bread. Sure, Steve still knows my inside beliefs... but at least pretending made it less obvious and made him more comfortable with his religious stuff. I made a decisive choice today by not taking Communion, and I think that scared him, a lot.

 

We had a talk, and I tried to comfort him. I told him a few days ago that I didn't want to come out of the closet, so to speak, yet. But today I told him that if he felt his God was telling him he needed to talk, or whatever it was, then that he should do it because that's what he feels is right to him.

 

I'm trying to stick to a baby steps approach, but I can see the little steps frightening him more and more.

 

But perhaps there are circles that don't think it should be enjoyed. Strange, of course, but it wouldn't be the strangest thing that christians believe....

 

What I say was half tongue-in-cheek, and half extremist. =P Only Puritanical streams of Christianity really believe that enjoying sex even within marriage is wrong. Anyone every read the Poisonwood Bible? Great book, read it if you haven't. One of the (many) scary problems with the Pastor main character was that he was tormented by having sex, he started freaking out, saying "Don't you realize God is watching is?" Thankfully, this kind of strange mentality isn't prevalent within mainstream Christianity, because the streams that did have it, like the Quakers, died off. No sex = no children. But I've seen my share of it still alive in the minds of Christians.

 

but this is one area where' date=' when I've been face to face with a Christian, I could see that they reacted by going inside, rather than mindlessly focusing on me.[/quote']

 

It's interesting. One of Christianity's moto's seems to be "live so that the world can see, Christ living in me." In other words, I'll be a better person and they will attach this "goodness" to Jesus. I think this is why they seem to really stop and think when they realize a non-christian can do good and be good as well. It changes the whole precept of Christ changing everything and removing sin. It changes the precept of "us" as righteous, and "everyone else" as sinners.

 

And I think I understand what you meant. I just have a certain personality type where I get frustrated when attempts to educate don't do what I intended. I can't remember the 4 letters of Myers-Brigg or whatever it was, but if I could it would make sense. =P I do see your point with it helping future people though, that is quite true.

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The look on his face sunk my heart a little. He didn't know what to do. Communion is supposed to be something shared with the family, I guess, and he just kinda sat there a while.

 

Almost made me feel like it would be better for me to sing my songs and eat the cracker and bread. Sure, Steve still knows my inside beliefs... but at least pretending made it less obvious and made him more comfortable with his religious stuff. I made a decisive choice today by not taking Communion, and I think that scared him, a lot.

 

And this is exactly why this is such an important topic. We're talking about meaning, here. Meaning itself is a fascinating concept. Meaning is something that can only come from an interaction between self and the other. Despite what many Christians (Not all.) say, loss of faith is not what kills meaning; Solipsism is what kills meaning. Ritual is formalized embodiment of meaning. Even if we ignore how this is affecting your husband who you love, we can't even say that communion has become completely empty for you just looking at you as a single person, because it's not truly empty. It's still filled with meaning, but it's a meaning which, for you, has changed. And even if it was truly empty for you, it's obviously not empty for your husband, so since you have a shared life, that meaning is still there for you to deal with, regardless of how you react to it. It's inescapable.

 

Meaning goes deep. What are the things which can bring a person to tears?

 

Love.

 

Joy.

 

Fear.

 

Anger.

 

Loss.

 

Meaning.

 

Isn't it interesting that meaning can comfortably fit on the same level within us as those others?

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True. It's a little more than subjective meaning though, I think. The church offers it for those who want to receive from Jesus x, y, or z. So am I not, if I take it, going back to the topic of this discussion: posing? In the eyes of others at least.

 

But, also, if I don't take it, I'm sending a very clear obvious red flag. No one, who is Christian, refuses to take communion.

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Guest sixidahos

I won't tell my mother I'm an atheist. It's kind of funny because she's cool with me being gay. She treats my partner like one of the family. However, she's 76 and there's no way I'm going to let her go to the grave worrying about me not making it into heaven because I'm an atheist. Other than her, I have no qualms telling anyone else.

 

Anthony

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