Jump to content

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

AltarEgo

Are You A Wolf In Sheep's Clothing? Living A Double Life? Do Tell.

Recommended Posts

Okay you Peter Parkers. You Bruce Waynes. Spill.

 

Are you living a double life? I imagine many of us are, at least in some small way. For example: maybe your parents don't know you aren't a practicing Christian. Maybe your kids don't know. Maybe you work for a Christian nonprofit and telling the truth could hurt you professionally. That is tough stuff. How do you manage it? How do you cope with the stress?

 

Personally:

My mother doesn't know I'm out of the Christianity closet. I'm disinclined to tell her, in part because it would break her heart and I love her too much to see that happen, and also because I'm pretty sure she'd disown me/write me out of the will. But I will say, even though she doesn't "know" - she knows, or at least should know. I'm dismissive/distracted when she asks me to pray for her. I don't talk about going to church and when she asks I just say nope and try to quickly change the subject. This causes me a lot of stress, though, I will admit. I wish/hope someday I can be honest with her without suffering intense ramifications.

 

Anyone else struggle with this sort of thing?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Most of my family doesn't know, though I think my mother is beginning to suspect. She's stopped talking to me about pretty much anything religious. It's nice. I hope someday to tell them, because it's really depressing have this gulf between me and the rest of them, but I'm to lead up to the news gradually, so it's less of a shock. And hopefully there will be no crying. Gawd, I can't take it if they cry.

 

The only family member who knows is my cousin. She's 17. She asked a series of direct questions that made it impossible not to tell her without lying. But she was, thankfully, not horrified. And it gave her the confidence to tell me a few weeks later that she thinks she might be gay.

 

And get this! I still go to church. Just for the choir. I like the singing, and I like the people. Plus, I think they've picked up on the fact that I'v got one foot out the door, so everytime I miss a week everyone says how much they missed me. But the moment when I realized I wasn't going anywhere for awhile? There's this sweet old man with Alzheimers in the bass section. One week, he was having a particularly bad day: confused about where to sit, what music to pull out, etc. When he shook my hand during the peace, I could tell he was trying to think of something. Then he told me he'd missed me the week before. So yeah...I'll be in this choir for awhile yet.

 

But in the meantime I try to minimize the hypocrisy of it all. I go in, I sing; I don't participate in the prayers or bow when the cross goes by. Then I leave as soon as the choir does its song for the week so that I don't have to be around for communion.

 

I had a near miss a couple of weeks ago. The bishop was in town and the choir was going to do a second piece during communion. I didn't want their bloody sacrament; I didn't want the blessing they usually give to the abstaining. So I went up to the bishop before the service and told him I'd be much more comfortable if he just quietly and without any fuss didn't hand me any bread. He was really cool about it: didn't miss a beat when the time came, just said the same little formula ("the body of christ, the bread of heaven") without attempting to actually give me any, so I was able to avoid communion without making a scene or disrupting matters any.

 

(In the congregation I could've just stayed in my seat, but in the choir we're served on the platform and people would've been tripping over me. Then again, if it were a matter of just being in the congregation, I wouldn't be there at all)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My sister knows; the rest of my family doesn't, but my next older brother is the only one who's really deeply Xtian anyway, he and his wife and two kids. Most of my facebook contacts are from back in my Xtian days and only one of them knows; since we're not close friends anymore, simply by the natural flow of life, I don't see any reason to bring it up. I just don't want to deal with all the questions it would inevitably generate.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A few weeks ago, I came out and told my Christian wife I was no longer a theist. She was upset. Thre were tears. She's in denial right now.

 

Essentially, only a couple of people know about my atheism. I have not told my son. I don't discuss it with my Mom or siblings. But, we don't ever talk about such things anyway.

 

It's fairly common for there to be "secret" atheists who for convenience or survival reasons don't tell other about where they are at in their faith or lack thereof.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

tried it and it ate me up inside. I can't do that. Not everyone knows but my close family and friends do.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For awhile I tried to keep the facade going with family, mom especially, but too much of my views started to come through and she got very suspicious. Finally I broke it to her although from a "christian" point of view - I told her that my choice in beliefs was between me and god, not me and her, then I put religion off topic. She's been respectful of that with me, and I'm guessing she may be in a bit of denial (or convinced I'll come back) since I am under the impression her friends don't know - and she's not the type to keep things quiet.

 

Either way, everyone in my life is either aware of it, or if they aren't it's only because I haven't really talked to them about anything more interesting than the weather. For me, it's way to hard to keep up the facade, my views on such things are so radically different plus I find most fundy religious contexts manage to piss me off more than anything, at the very least are disdainful. I can be respectful of their views as much as I expect them to be respectful of mine. I shall not condone or befriend their beliefs, but I won't preach to them - I demand the same in return.

 

Living the double life was too difficult - I can't stand not being true to myself, and this is pretty elemental considering how I was raised and lived for the better part of 25+ years. So no double life here....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yep, I'm living a double life. I made a commitment to a group that is only going to last through the end of February (at which time the director is leaving and it will disband) - so I've been going every week to rehearsals but not to services. It's something I've been kind of trained to do and it wouldn't be easy to just slip somebody into my position - especially since there's only a few months left. (If it were to be ongoing forever I would have quit!)

 

This last week I was asked to say the prayer before the group began rehearsal. I wish I would have just said "I'd rather not if that's ok" instead I "prayed" with all the right words all the time thinking in my head "this is so ridiculous!"

 

The good news is I probably won't be asked to say the prayer again in a while since there are 12 other people to go through. The bad news is I will have to attend a church service for the first time in a long time soon since the group will be performing on a Sunday morning soon. I'm just biding my time until the group disbands - if for some reason a new director is found or steps up, I will quit at that time.

 

I also have not said anything to my family. My Dad knows I am no longer going to church and knows something is up - last time I saw him he asked me if I was at least teaching the bible to my kids since we weren't going to church. I told him no, I'm not, I'm teaching them to be kind to others and to make good choices in life. I then changed the subject basically letting him know I wasn't going to debate him about the subject. He didn't say anything else.

 

I doubt I'll ever bother to tell my Mom - it's not like we have any kind of real mother/daughter relationship as it is (long story!) so I see no reason to invite further contempt from her. It's just not a subject we talk about. Were she to ask me outright I wouldn't lie though.

 

I'm also new to being an exchristian so I think that might make some difference - it's only been a few months. After a few years of being free, I think it'll be easier to stand my ground.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The only person I was ever leading a double life with was myself; my grandmother was a strong believer, and it was hard to let go, even after she died. However, it just got to the point where it no longer made sense to me, and the more I read and studied the Bible, the more I realized I could no longer wrap my head around it. I won't go to church no matter how many times I get invited, and I make it pretty clear that I don't want anything to do with anyone else's religion.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I only deconverted (after a several year process) about three or so months ago. Thankfully, my wife and I decoverted together (indeed, long talks about doubts pushed both of us along). Our children are 5 and 7, who weren't terribly fond of church so they haven't really asked any questions, though my 5 year old occasionally talks about Jesus (with all the right beliefs). Both of us were consistent with the Christian message right up til the end, so it will be interesting when we finnally have to oppose something we had said (perhaps just months before). The only practical day to day difference in my home is that we don't pray (another thing the kids were never all that fond of).

 

Now, for everyone else. . . . No one knows. No one at all. Not even my best friend who is an athiest. You would think I would tell him but somehow I just want to bottle it up (and besides, he does know all my family and while good at keeping secrets he might slip). The good thing is that my family lives thousands of miles away in all sorts of directions. The bad thing is that they all religious, ranging from conservative to fundie with a few converted Catholics. It will be hard on each and every one of them, and it will especially be hard on my in-laws who will likewise make things hard for us. So for now, we keep it to ourselves, though that surely can't last forever.

 

I have a believing friend who is entirely nominal until a few years ago when he started going back to church, in part from my encourgment. He is very suspecious. He invited my family over for dinner and I prayed, I have done that twice now and it was entirely a lie.

 

I went to a Christian college and all of my college friends are still Christian. It will be hard to come out to them.

 

I have a lot of life ahead of me, I suppose I can't lie forever. But these things are just so difficult.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A few weeks ago, I came out and told my Christian wife I was no longer a theist. She was upset. Thre were tears. She's in denial right now.

 

Essentially, only a couple of people know about my atheism. I have not told my son. I don't discuss it with my Mom or siblings. But, we don't ever talk about such things anyway.

 

It's fairly common for there to be "secret" atheists who for convenience or survival reasons don't tell other about where they are at in their faith or lack thereof.

 

that is tough stuff, oddbird. i'm glad you were able to be intellectually honest with your wife though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

And get this! I still go to church. Just for the choir. I like the singing, and I like the people. Plus, I think they've picked up on the fact that I'v got one foot out the door, so everytime I miss a week everyone says how much they missed me. But the moment when I realized I wasn't going anywhere for awhile? There's this sweet old man with Alzheimers in the bass section. One week, he was having a particularly bad day: confused about where to sit, what music to pull out, etc. When he shook my hand during the peace, I could tell he was trying to think of something. Then he told me he'd missed me the week before. So yeah...I'll be in this choir for awhile yet.

 

 

One thing i really miss about church is corporate singing. Now I have to go to concerts to get it - its no where near the same.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I only deconverted (after a several year process) about three or so months ago. Thankfully, my wife and I decoverted together (indeed, long talks about doubts pushed both of us along). Our children are 5 and 7, who weren't terribly fond of church so they haven't really asked any questions, though my 5 year old occasionally talks about Jesus (with all the right beliefs). Both of us were consistent with the Christian message right up til the end, so it will be interesting when we finnally have to oppose something we had said (perhaps just months before). The only practical day to day difference in my home is that we don't pray (another thing the kids were never all that fond of).

 

Now, for everyone else. . . . No one knows. No one at all. Not even my best friend who is an athiest. You would think I would tell him but somehow I just want to bottle it up (and besides, he does know all my family and while good at keeping secrets he might slip). The good thing is that my family lives thousands of miles away in all sorts of directions. The bad thing is that they all religious, ranging from conservative to fundie with a few converted Catholics. It will be hard on each and every one of them, and it will especially be hard on my in-laws who will likewise make things hard for us. So for now, we keep it to ourselves, though that surely can't last forever.

 

I have a believing friend who is entirely nominal until a few years ago when he started going back to church, in part from my encourgment. He is very suspecious. He invited my family over for dinner and I prayed, I have done that twice now and it was entirely a lie.

 

I went to a Christian college and all of my college friends are still Christian. It will be hard to come out to them.

 

I have a lot of life ahead of me, I suppose I can't lie forever. But these things are just so difficult.

 

I'm glad you have a battle buddy in this (your wife). I also went to a Christian college - little did I know how much that would set up my young adult life to continue to orient around Xtianity. Of course, now if I could go back I'd pick a "secular" school and give myself some freedom.

 

A few people have mentioned praying outloud after they start de-coverting/are fully de-converted. Ya'll are so right - it's a tough, tough thing to do and be intellectually okay with. Hopefully as more of my friends and family get to know the "new" me, they won't expect me to offer grace.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No, but I'm still not to the point of wearing my atheism on my sleeve.

 

 

I do legal courier work for a couple of law firms, and they are choc full of various Christians, Jews, and agnostics.

 

My personal auto-mechanic is an evangelical Christian, so I'm not about to rain on his parade, either. I don't pretend to be Christian; because I'm an EX, I understand it all, so I'm pretty good at knowing how to phrase responses with these people. I often just hint about having "personal beliefs about it...maybe we will talk about it sometime....how's the wife and kids?"

 

A little deflection here and there. However, I do have other Christian friends (mostly Catholics) who know where I'm at but don't have a problem with it. That's another topic for another day, though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My (adoptive) parents and sister (and bro-in-law) know, most of my extended family does not, although I wouldn't hide it from them if they asked. For most of them it just hasn't come up.

 

My birth-mother and birth-grandparents and extended family on her side know because the topic came up and I said as much during the one weekend family reunion I attended with all of them years ago. Whoever was in earshot at the time heard directly from me that I was Pagan, and I suspect the other people found out through the family grapevine.

 

My birth-father is deceased but I had mentioned it to him. My birth-grandmother on his side, and his extended family (including my birth-half-sister) probably don't know, just because it has never come up. Again, I wouldn't lie if it did.

 

Any of my friends and co-workers who have asked about it know. I have been out of Christianity long enough that I have no entanglements with people who only knew me as a believer, and I am past the point of feeling the need to assert a non-Christian identity to others, too. If it comes up, it comes up, but most of the time it just doesn't.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My parents and a few friends know. But most of the family doesn't. Last year I was still going to a bible study, just for the social aspect, and I used that as an opportunity to sow subtle seeds of doubt in their minds. Don't think it worked and I eventually got bored with it so I'm not doing that anymore.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Most people who know me know I'm an atheist. I don't even bother hiding it anymore. Shit, I'm out of here in June.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have never admitted I'm not a Christian, but the religious Christians around me can figure out that I'm not. I try to avoid religious discussion due to fear of Christian persecution (especially at work).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Almost everyone except my parents know. To be more specific, no one on my mothers side of the family know but all of them are extremely apathetic to religion and wouldn't care. I Keep them out of the loop because one less person knowing is one less person I have to worry about spilling the beans and it wouldn't change our relationship if they did know. On my fathers side, pretty much everyone except my dad knows. It's actually kind of sad...but that's what they get for being fundy pentecostal nutters in a family of heathens and a. :shrug:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, I front. Wolf, hardly. I'm more frank than I used to be, but I don't hide that in a Christian sheep uniform, that comes right on out.

 

Confessed to not believe in Jesus, no. I still fake. I go to church and play along. Pray, I can not. I can only pray on my own. From time to time, I'll give a "God, if you're up there, I don't mean to be arrogant if you do exist.." kind of humbling prayer. But that's about it. I try to remain humble.

 

Since I'm a Bible student, it's easy to play along and share in discussions in an objective way. It's actually way too easy for me to still come off as a Christian.

 

My husband knows, and it upsets him. But he loves me, and respects my beliefs. He knows I'm humble in it, and I'm honestly seeking truth. My family, does not know.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't pray or sing or use any sort of religious language anymore, so I think my family and church friends know something's up. My wife knows more than the rest, but it's been tough to talk about it with her because in any discussion we usually both end up on the defensive.

 

I'm not sure yet if I'm an atheist or agnostic. I'm willing to believe that there is some kind of god, some kind of supernatural force, which gave us all the spark of life, but I can't see Yahweh as anything but a primitive thunder-god who won "Survivor: Ancient Middle-Eastern Gods." And Jesus, while more palatable, cannot be separated from his father so he's not much help.

 

The more I read the more I am convinced that the bible is mythology. And the bible is the entire basis of Christianity – without it, the religion fails. But any sort of discussion I've had with people about this tends towards them telling me I've got to trust the bible. My mom, bless her heart, just gave me a new bible and told me to keep reading. At least she cares about me, but right now religion makes me want to puke.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No double life going on here.

 

I’m gay

I’m married to someone of the same sex. (Picture of me and hubby on my desk at work)

I’m an atheist

I voted for Dennis Kucinich in the primary

I smoke weed and want it legalized

 

Everyone I know (family, friends & coworkers) knows all this. Most of them probably just wish I would shut up. :Wendywhatever:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have never admitted I'm not a Christian, but the religious Christians around me can figure out that I'm not. I try to avoid religious discussion due to fear of Christian persecution (especially at work).

 

I lost two jobs because of my non-religious beliefs; my last boss was a deacon at his church, on its board and everything else that had to do with it. Our workplace was filled with pictures that had scripture on it, and he carried a Bible with him everywhere. All the other people who worked with him also went to his church. They didn't start out going, but they managed to get "persuaded". He kept trying to get me to go, kept inviting me, and I kept politely turning him down. It became a really burning point, and I was ready to quit. Didn't have to, though; one day he came in and told me my services were no longer needed, but that he would be sure and pray for me. :loser:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have never admitted I'm not a Christian, but the religious Christians around me can figure out that I'm not. I try to avoid religious discussion due to fear of Christian persecution (especially at work).

 

I lost two jobs because of my non-religious beliefs; my last boss was a deacon at his church, on its board and everything else that had to do with it. Our workplace was filled with pictures that had scripture on it, and he carried a Bible with him everywhere. All the other people who worked with him also went to his church. They didn't start out going, but they managed to get "persuaded". He kept trying to get me to go, kept inviting me, and I kept politely turning him down. It became a really burning point, and I was ready to quit. Didn't have to, though; one day he came in and told me my services were no longer needed, but that he would be sure and pray for me. :loser:

 

Sorry to hear that story, Bella. I suspect this is not uncommon, especially in the southern U.S. I have some stories - The very first job interview I went on for a legal secretarial position the attorney asked me if I were a Christian. This is actually an illegal question, but hey, if you want to get hired you have to answer. At the time (early 90s) I could honestly say yes. I worked for this nut for about a year. He was a Catholic who was obsessed by the visions at Mejugorje Yugoslavia, which were happening around that time or earlier the 80s. He was nuts and his wife was an alcoholic/prescription drug addict. He even asked me to stay in their house and more or less babysit her while he was gone for a weekend. She told me at the end of it that I needed a psychiatrist. I left for a better job soon after that.

 

Now I work for a father/son small law firm. There are Jesus pictures in the old (88 yrs old) man's office, but none in the son's. I was asked at one point if I wanted to go to church by the old man's wife (the office manager, she's 80). I declined but one of my co-workers decided to get involved there. It didn't last long because (1) I don't think she's very religious to start with and (2) she started getting asked all the time at work about her church involvement so she didn't last long. No reprecussions for her though, since she is a very long term employee of 17 years.

 

Years ago I was still sort of sporadically attended churches I went to theirs, but I never liked their church that much even though it was liberal Episcopal. I am certainly not going to announce openly at work that I am an unbeliever. I sort of let them believe I am a lapsed Episcopalian. So far it has worked and I don't get any questions. Sometimes I wear Buddhist jewelry to work but it just doesn't register with them. I even have a small picture of the White Tara on my desk and no one has said anything except the co-worker I mentioned before who just sort of said "that's nice".

 

My lips are sealed as far as my religion, but they are just not very observant either.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
And get this! I still go to church. Just for the choir. I like the singing, and I like the people.

 

Me, too. In fact, it's been my only reason for stepping in churches for years.

 

Right now, I spend the most time with the Quakers. During the silent portion of the service, I read books that are spiritual to me, or practice various meditations (compassion, loving kindness, etc...). Then, singing. I love it! There was no pianist there this week, so I plunked out the melodies myself. I never was very good at playing, but at least I could get us started on the right notes. Fun!

 

I've been thinking about joining a local Broadway sing-along. I obviously miss singing... I just don't think I'm into that kind of music.

 

P

 

 

(Disclaimer: I've been lurking a while and this is my first post.)

 

I was singing in my husband's church's choir on and off for the past couple of years. I would want to sing, so I'd join for a few months and the weekly sermons would eventually make me nauseated or bored. (My husband is involved in the children's program, so he never has to sit through the service anyway.) Also, communion would come up and I'd either feel conspicuous abstaining or hypocritical if I participated. Then I'd quit for a few months and miss it. The cycle would start again.

 

 

I've finally found a solution by joining a Sweet Adelines chorus. At 25 I'm the youngest member, but there are fun songs instead of hymns and I don't have the Sunday morning commitment.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest ephymeris

I guess I somewhat live a double life. The only people in my life who would really care if they knew I was not a christian are my mom, father/mom/sis/bro in law, and my two young nieces. I hide my deconversion from my in-laws for my husband's sake. He's not ready to be out to his very religious father for fear that it would really cause pain. I tried to come out to my mom but she pretty much put her fingers in her ears and did a "LALALA I can't hear you!" routine. It freaked her out pretty badly so I don't bring it up. I'm out to people at work (not in their face but if it comes up, I don't lie), all my friends in St. Louis and Louisiana, of course my husband.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Guidelines.