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AltarEgo

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

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Oh, yes, I am living a double life.

 

My husband, my sister, and one old friend from college know. My husband deconverted right along with me. My sister is in the midst of her own deconversion right now, and that college friend is the only ex-Christian I know from long ago. (She's now a Buddhist.) No one else knows.

 

I wish I could tell my family, because I hate lying and being otherwise deceptive, but they are all (and I mean ALL) crazy fundies.

 

My parents' beliefs are getting more and more "out there" every day, it seems. Fortunately, I live 1000 miles away from them, but every time I talk to them on the phone (and in almost every e-mail from them), they bring up church and God. When I visited them a few months ago, my mom and I went on walks and talked about how beautiful the weather, land, trees, flowers, etc, were. And every time, her next sentence was "As beautiful as this is, it is just a *shadow* of how wonderful it must have been before The Fall! What we have here on Earth now is just a remnant, and everything has been wrecked by sin." She (and my dad) both made comments about how Adam and Eve probably talked with the animals in the Garden of Eden (i.e., the animals could talk!), and so on.

 

In my extended family, it's no better: One uncle is the senior pastor of a VERY large non-denominational church, another uncle and aunt work for a large missionary agency, two of my cousins are overseas missionaries, one cousin is the director of a large geographical area for a mission organization and does missionary training, one cousin owns a web-based mission ministry, another cousin is the founder of a missionary wives' ministry, my sister-in-law is the director of her church's Sunday School program, etc.

 

I know it would cause them all so much pain if I told them the truth. When they discuss God, I try to give vague responses that they can choose to interpret however they want, but I feel so guilty not being honest. As time passes, I feel more and more inclined to just rip off the band-aid and blurt it all out, but I sort of freak out when I imagine what their response will be. Especially my parents.

 

I hate this. :ugh:

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You know, I didn't think my beliefs were much of an issue for me be open about, but a little while back at my new job I was completely caught off guard when someone asked me what church I went to! My head spun around a bit, and I had to think quick. There's reasons why I had to choose my response carefully. It was a new job and I was trying to fit in. I'm a professional and this is a step up in my career job, working for a brokerage firm, where it's all about 'fitting in' - the 'old boys club', sort of thing. Being in a religion is part of that whole social connection thing. We have some pretty high-profile names there, and financial dealings with huge church organizations. However, I'm in technology, but a career professional nonetheless. So as I'm looking at him waiting for an answer, the thoughts were that too much information wouldn't help anyone and was way, way outside the realm of necessary to even open, way to much room for misunderstandings. I was admittedly taken back that anyone would ask me such a personal question, but there I was with him waiting for an answer. What did I come up with? I said, "I'm independent". :HaHa:

 

I thought that was pretty quick on my feet. It was a quick way to answer without answering. It was true, in the sense that I am not affiliated with any church, by virtue of having left the church altogether. I was in fact independent. I believe however suits me. To him it left the question of "God/No-God" open-ended. In his mind I'm sure it meant I was going to some no-name Christian church, thus even though I'm not part of the 'in-group' (which I wouldn't be anyway because I was a tech - not really part of the country club set, if you can imagine), I didn't set myself up as a perceived 'enemy'. I would just be some odd-ball, which would fit my profession anyway. It deflected the issue nicely, without me outright lying or being confrontational about the question in the first place. It is true, in a sense.

 

So, maybe that's a good way to answer them without opening a huge can of worms - Mom, I'm an atheist. I eat babies and HATE GOD - YOUR GOD SPECIFICALLY!!!" Which is how they would hear that because of all the propaganda against atheists. Much cleaner to deflect. "Sure, you can think I still believe, but I just have other tastes, that's all". Personally, once in a while I self-identify as a trans-theist. That leaves them thinking. It's not a rejection of their God, it's just growing past it to something beyond it (which to be clear isn't really atheism in the traditional sense as it leaves a sort of non-mythical transcendent spiritual view open - so that might not work for everyone). "I'm independent".

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I don't post much here. I am totally faking it to my in-laws, and everyone else except my husband. My husband and his whole family are very religious. They constantly ask about church, how was it? have we found a church home? They commented on how I don't talk about Jesus enough. I go to church, but I am giving my husband the run around and not committing to any church. I told him I would go if he would get out of the one he was going to and taking our kids to. It was so conservative it seriously made me feel ill. The thing that I am realizing is that they ALL make me feel that way. I tried not going for a while. But, then I'm the bad, lonely guy. It is very messy and complicated, but suprisingly my husband and I are ok right now. We had a big talk-fight today about morality and absolute truth. After we survived that, we made it to Garden Ridge where we shopped for secular xmas decor and had a great time.

 

It is hard to be in hiding. Our neighbors all go to church, one is a music minister. A lady a few doors down has the ten commanments displayed on her porch. I am slowly coming out as a Democrat, which is almost as big a deal around here. I think after people get used to that, the religion will come.

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Guest ephymeris

It is hard to be in hiding. Our neighbors all go to church, one is a music minister. A lady a few doors down has the ten commanments displayed on her porch. I am slowly coming out as a Democrat, which is almost as big a deal around here. I think after people get used to that, the religion will come.

 

Heya Happy! I know what you're saying about coming out democrat and living in a crazy fundy community. I was born and raised in north Louisiana so I can totally relate. Moving to a bigger town with more diversity (that happens to be 9 hours away from my family) helped tremendously. My husband slowly deconverted with me, even though it took him longer we're both ex-christians now. It takes a lot of courage to start coming out in that part of the south! You are right though, once you come out as a liberal, people will just assume you're a godless heathen anyway! ^_^

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I guess I very slowly morphed from sheep to wolf. I'm not sure just when I became a wolf, but I do know that I spent at least five years hiding in the phony fleece. I was an evangelical missionary doing evangelism and church-starting in Italy. I'd been there for close to thirty years before I finally "came out", which meant leaving the ministry and Italy. I didn't make any announcements when I left. In fact, I found other perfecdtly good reasons to leave that I used to explain it to our Christian friends and coworkers. But once I was "out", I found that increasingly I wanted to be TOTALLY out, totally free from "the ties that bind." It took about three more years after leaving the ministry, but I finally put a blurb on my FaceBook page that did a fairly good job of letting the cat out of the bag. The word started circulating and now, while I don't wave any banners, I enjoy breathing the fresh air of freedom from other people's expectations. Whew!

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It is hard to be in hiding. Our neighbors all go to church, one is a music minister. A lady a few doors down has the ten commanments displayed on her porch. I am slowly coming out as a Democrat, which is almost as big a deal around here. I think after people get used to that, the religion will come.

 

Heya Happy! I know what you're saying about coming out democrat and living in a crazy fundy community. I was born and raised in north Louisiana so I can totally relate. Moving to a bigger town with more diversity (that happens to be 9 hours away from my family) helped tremendously. My husband slowly deconverted with me, even though it took him longer we're both ex-christians now. It takes a lot of courage to start coming out in that part of the south! You are right though, once you come out as a liberal, people will just assume you're a godless heathen anyway! ^_^

 

 

I would love to move to a more diverse place. The problem is leaving family. We live in an area where the cost of living is pretty low, and there are good schools, if you don't mind the constant push for putting god in the school and forcing people to say One Nation UNDER GOD, and creation science being thought of as an actual science. The one place hubby and I can agree on is Austin, so maybe one day. I don't even know you, but I am happy your husband came around. What did it? I would love to know if there is something I haven't thought of. My husband is becoming an apologetic. He twists everything around to make the bible seem true to him. He thinks god make the earth appear old. About the being a democrat, I was afraid to put an Obama sign out because many of the signs around here were "Proud Gun Owner - McCain-Palin". These people try to bully their beliefs on everyone. I will put an Obama sign up for 2012. I am curious to see what happens. It is sad that I have little confidence it won't be kicked down, torn up, or burned. And this is the family values party. I don't mean to attack all republicans, there are so many of the far rights here, though.

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Guest ephymeris

I would love to move to a more diverse place. The problem is leaving family. We live in an area where the cost of living is pretty low, and there are good schools, if you don't mind the constant push for putting god in the school and forcing people to say One Nation UNDER GOD, and creation science being thought of as an actual science. The one place hubby and I can agree on is Austin, so maybe one day. I don't even know you, but I am happy your husband came around. What did it? I would love to know if there is something I haven't thought of. My husband is becoming an apologetic. He twists everything around to make the bible seem true to him. He thinks god make the earth appear old. About the being a democrat, I was afraid to put an Obama sign out because many of the signs around here were "Proud Gun Owner - McCain-Palin". These people try to bully their beliefs on everyone. I will put an Obama sign up for 2012. I am curious to see what happens. It is sad that I have little confidence it won't be kicked down, torn up, or burned. And this is the family values party. I don't mean to attack all republicans, there are so many of the far rights here, though.

 

Austin is awesome! We always thought about moving there but it's so dang hot in the summer. It's a kickass place! I don't think I really did anything that actually led my husband to his deconversion. He's always held an open mind, even when we were christians. He was actually more on the christian fringe than I was, despite heavy indoctrination by his school and parents. I just always let his beliefs be what they were but expressed my beliefs freely.

 

My deconversion started before we were even married. One day the shit in our church really hit the fan for me and I told him I didn't care what he did but I was never going to that church again and I meant it. He told his family if I wasn't going to this church then neither was he, oh and by the way, we're getting married in 2 months. I was always impressed that he loved me more than god. He'd always said that but I thought he couldn't really mean that...

 

After that, we went to several different chruches and tried to keep our christian faith alive and "strengthen it" by pursuing nonapologetic sources of information. We hoped this approach would reveal the truth (since christianity WAS truth, right??) but instead we saw the man behind the curtains, so to speak, and began to drift away from christianity instead. Once we moved away from home, we made friends of many different faiths and beliefs. We never even tried to find a new church and over time he apparently deconverted too. These days, he frequently shocks me (in a good way!) with statements that are pro-secularism, even to his family. We've been married 9 years. That's how long it's taken for us to get to where we are. It can work if he respects you and is willing to respect your beliefs and feelings.

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I haven't been to church since college & I was married outside by a minister who didn't say anything about religion during our ceremony. My dad & friends know that I'm an atheist. My mom has an inkling, but doesn't talk about it. I'm pretty sure other family members know, but I'm not close w/ them, so I don't care enough to tell them. :shrug:

 

I don't know what some of these church choirs sound like, but I was raised in the methodist church & the choir was NOT something that was good listening. It's some of the most monotone, boring drivel that you'll ever hear. I hope your choirs are better! LOL

 

BYD

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Yes, now the members of my family I live with are not so bad. Grandma is a strong Christian, but she no longer goes to church because of social anxiety and never questions me not going to church. She still listens to preachers on tv, and she has me stream them then over the internet... My aunt and uncle I live with too, I guess believe in God and think Christians are good, but they don't go to church and do a lot of things that would be considered sinning, heck, my uncle told me for example he didn't believe premarital sex was a sin, but at the same time he sent a letter to my atheist uncle telling him he's gonna burn in Hell.

 

I could never tell my best friend however. She's a very extreme Charismatic. Talks in tongues, etc... only gives me advice by feeding me bible verses, stuff like that.

 

And one of my aunts is a JW and keeps trying to get me to convert. She seems to think i am close because I'm a regular Christian, and she still thinks I hold to my old morals.

 

uggh, I just realized this stupid thing says I'm male... :P

 

Everyone thinks I'm a moral super Christian. I still can't get myself to cuss for example.

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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.

 

I remember telling you to GTFO of your little bitty town. Heading off to college? Awesome! Freedom awaits. :woohoo:

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Yes and no. For the last several years I am more agnostic than anything and am capable of being a somewhat reverant agnostic when circumstances call for it. My spouse (who I met through a bible study 25 years ago) knows about my current lack of faith, although she tends to conceptualize it in terms of a "Dark Night of the Soul" that I will sooner or later emerge from. I don't see any reason to contest her interpretation since it leads to greater maritial harmony (she is a fairly devout Catholic) and, since I don't know the future, she might actually be right in the long term, though I can't imagine how. Since we have always raised our children Catholic and they are in their teenage years now, I see no reason to trigger a family crisis and stop going to weekly mass. Marriage entails compromise, and I am willing to compromise here since it really is important to her and my agnosticism is still pretty far from frank atheism. I have the freedom to, e.g., convince my son that evolution is true, which I did successfuly several years ago when he briefly flirted with creationism, so within some broad parameters I have the ability to inculcate a scientific worldview to my children.

 

I teach math at a Catholic University that (like most Catholic Universities) is fairly open to the physical sciences (I can't think of any professor who is a creationist and, outside of maybe a couple in philosophy and/or theology, even any that have sympathy with the intelligent design movement). I once taught a special topics class in genetic algorithms that was cross-listed between the Computer Science and the Biology Department, and this class generated nothing but support from fellow professors, even after I explained that it involves problem solving by simulated Darwinian evolution. I'm tenured and didn't have to pass a religious litmus test to get the job in the first place, so there wouldn't be any major problem at work if I told my collegues that I was an agnostic, although I tend to operate under a don't ask/don't tell policy. Heck - I have a fair amount of skeptical literature in plain sight in my office (my wife prefers that I keep such books there). The only thing that could endanger my tenure would be if I not only announced my agnosticism but felt compelled to preach it to my students. That would be a rude case of biting the hand that feeds you and anyway, when I teach e.g. differential equations I don't see any reason to stray from the subject. I *like* my colleagues and my students and feel no need to attack their beliefs.

 

So - maybe I'm more like a tame wolf hanging out with some fairly intelligent sheep and who is happily married to a fairly cute one. I don't think of it as living a double life so much as living a private one. Maybe in a few years when the kids are adults I will be more open about it, but tempermentally I'll probably always be fairly private about my beliefs or lack thereof.

 

-semiopen

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I'm still leading quite a double life. My immediate family is all fundamentalist Baptist (well, except my sister, whom I'm fairly out to), one side of extended family is fundamentalist Protestant, and the other side is fairly Catholic. I'm still living with the parents because their idea of "family" means that if I move out of the house without moving out of the city or getting married, they'll take it as a personal attack. So while I'm living under their roof, and still unsure of myself, I play the game. Hate doing it, though.

 

After that, we went to several different chruches and tried to keep our christian faith alive and "strengthen it" by pursuing nonapologetic sources of information. We hoped this approach would reveal the truth (since christianity WAS truth, right??) but instead we saw the man behind the curtains, so to speak, and began to drift away from christianity instead.

 

That's about what happened to me. Intellectually, I've replaced a lot of my old ideas with atheist/humanist ones, but my emotions and many habits of thought have not caught up yet. I'm seeing a shrink (without my parents knowing; I've got a decent job with my own insurance so I can pull that off) to help me work through all this stuff. I go to church because of my family, but after all the horrible church experiences I've had, I finally found one that doesn't suck... but only shortly before I realized the Christian God does a horrible job of explaining the world and humanity.

 

While I'm stuck going to church, I've found I enjoy the communal experience (though it makes me sad that I cannot fully share in it) and enjoy the music. Sometimes I participate in the special music (uh, if that's not the terminology your church has used, it's the solo/small ensemble than plays/sings while everyone's just listening) because it's nice to keep up on my skills and to have somewhere to use them.

 

Most of my friends I made while I was a Christian, and many of them are Christians themselves. I'm out to... less than five of my closest friends. At least the few that do know are supportive and won't spread the word to other friends until I'm ready.

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I've lived a double life for 48 years and I am slowly coming out of the closet. I have come out as agnostic to some family, but I haven't talked to any of them about atheism. I've been studying some humanist material because that's really a good fit for me and gives me ammunition against the arguments that I know I will have to face especially as my oldest son finds out. And he will because I'm becoming claustrophobic in my "elder" years and I gotta get outta here!

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I know I lived the double-life for a few years, but although I haven't made a formal announcement that I'm no longer a christian, I'm making no deliberate attempt to look/sound/act/smell like a christian. My deconversion took a few years and actually began when I was deeply involved in a fundy bible camp and teacher in a christian school, so it happened in phases.

When I first started having doubts I did everything I could to hide it externally and continued going to church, saying the right things, and even still trying to win souls and disciple kids in the faith. However, as the doubts grew to the point of "I don't believe this crap anymore", I externally did the bare minimum as to not arouse suspicion (went to church & chapel at school, sang the hymns, prayed out loud, etc.), but slowly phased out all talk of "spiritual" things from my conversation. Eventually I dropped the last of the external shows of christianity (church, chapel, & prayer), which aroused at least minimal suspicion on the part of the school I worked at, and at this point was making no attempt to even mention christianity in my teaching. By then my conscience began to accuse me of being a fraud (the proverbial wolf) so I removed myself from teaching in a christian school and vowed to never put myself in that kind of situation again where I would have to submit to the crazy beliefs of other mortals.

So now I'm following the course of being "religiously neutral" and just avoiding all talk of religion, because all of my former colleagues, students, and family are all still very much evangelical christians (with very few exceptions whom I can talk more candidly with). I have enough in common with these people that religion was never the centerpiece of our relationships, so there are thankfully few instances where the conversation has turned to religion. On occasion I get the "have you found a church?" type questions, and I've gotten pretty good at giving a satisfactory non-answer ("still looking", etc.) so there's not much probing. I'm still single, but whenever I find a non-christian woman to marry I anticipate some questions that could help them piece the puzzle together.

I can't stand still having the christian label affixed to me; however in this part of the country it's required in order to be seen as a moral and upright person (although christians are supposed to judge a tree by its fruit, not by what it thinks). So I'll go on living life, not pretending to be a christian although everyone still assumes I am, until either they slowly figure it out or I can't take it anymore and just tell everyone. As much as I want to change the culture of the bible belt I'm not ready to become a pariah just yet.

I think christians are the true wolves-in-sheep's-clothing, outwardly proclaiming love, innocence, and morality, but quick to judge and condemn souls to hell and disown them for simply not believing the same way.

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I was a hard core Christian for 15 years. So, I became a hard core ex-christian, totally out and in all christians faces pretty much from the start. I didn't have any real depencies on CHristians, other than my wife of course (who is still hard core) so that may have made it easier. Plus I was 37 and fully established. I can see if you are 17 and your future depends on the support of your fundy parents that you would keep it buried. I have heard it wisely desribed by some on this site that you should look to your OWN self interests in this prcoess of "coming out of the closet". For instance if coming out causes you to become HOMELESS don't do it. Or if a paid for college education would go away don

t do it either. Easier said than done though. It wouold have tore me up to not be able to say I no longer believed publicly.

 

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?

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First post! Just found this site today, what a great community here. Glad to have found it.

 

Now on topic:

 

I don't feel that I am a wolf in sheep's clothing to anyone that has actually taken the time to talk to me, or observe me. Having said that I am sure I have tons of family and old friends etc... who assume I am a Christian still. You see I was raised as the child of a Missionary, so being Christian was a prerequisite and most of my friends etc... are of course Christian.

 

Fortunately I have always worked in "normal" corporate environments where religion was never a pressure.

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I was lucky. I was the only bat-shit-crazy christian in a bunch of nominal Lutherans. They were all relieved when I quit.

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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?

Everyone in my life knows I'm an atheist. I "officially" left Christianity this last summer, sending out emails to family and friends explaining what I'd been going through. I followed up with phone calls. Then I sent an email to the church and that about covered it all. I was very respectful in talking to everyone, and even though I knew it might hurt some people, I thought it might hurt far more if they found out from someone other than me. I feel good about what I did. However, everyone has said almost the exact same thing...."you're journey is not over yet. You'll return to Christ someday." It's a coping mechanism. But if they never learn to accept, they'll only be fooling themselves. Afterall, acceptance is generally the last stage in grieving.

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Everyone in my life knows I'm an atheist. I "officially" left Christianity this last summer, sending out emails to family and friends explaining what I'd been going through. I followed up with phone calls. Then I sent an email to the church and that about covered it all. I was very respectful in talking to everyone, and even though I knew it might hurt some people, I thought it might hurt far more if they found out from someone other than me. I feel good about what I did. However, everyone has said almost the exact same thing...."you're journey is not over yet. You'll return to Christ someday." It's a coping mechanism. But if they never learn to accept, they'll only be fooling themselves. Afterall, acceptance is generally the last stage in grieving.

 

Now this is real brave and I admire you for being so forthright and honest. I've been leading the double life for a few years now. After about a year, I told my wife, who was kind of getting the idea from the books I was reading and some of the comments I had made. She, with the kids, attends the church I grew up in. I went to a more liberal church up the street to keep up appearances for a few years, but I don't go so much any more. My parents still attend the church my wife attends and my dad is a bit of a bigwig there, trustee, elder, etc. It would kind of be a big deal if I spilled the beans. I'm in my 40's and I'd just assume be done with the whole thing, but I really don't want to hurt anyone's feelings and go through all the hassle. My in-laws are tight with Jesus too and opening up to them would be harder. My parents might understand, but the in-laws would be looking to exorcise the house. Everyone's old though and even though I will miss them, in 10 years or so, I won't have to worry about it.

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Wow! I felt like I was the only one going through this! I'm so happy I found this site and this post! I still go to mass even after I stopped believing. I like the Catholic rituals. My teenage daughter is going through the communion process. In a way I'm glad she has faith in an afterlife. That is much easier than comtemplating being dead forever. Sometimes I have trouble going to sleep thinking about death and what it will be like to "not exist" anymore. I told my daughter that I don't believe in heaven or hell (I haven't believed in either for a long time, a long time before becoming a non believer). I have always told her not to take the bible literally and to keep an open mind about other religions and that there is not just one way to God.

 

Then I asked myself "how can I be a Christian if I don't believe in heaven or hell and am not waiting for the second coming?". I used to believe only in Jesus teachings and disagreed with the church on A LOT of other issues. I've been in and out of the church my whole life studying and questioning everything, trying to reconcile logic and religion, trying to figure out where I fit into everything and find answers. I have gone through periods when I thought I was just an agnostic. I prayed to get faith back but it never came back. Logic won. I don't want to tell anyone that I think I'm now an athiest because I don't want to be ostricized. I just avoid the subject, or change the subject, or say I don't like to talk about religion or politics because I don't like arguments. I'm not sure what to do because I don't think I can continue to hide my beliefs from family and friends forever. I don't think it wise for me to discuss it at work and see no reason for it. But with family and friends it seems like there may come a time when I just spill the beans but I don't want them praying for my "wayward" soul! Also my significant other is a Christian who does not go to church and I know it will bother them a lot. I am not sure what to do about this situation except take it one day at a time.

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I know I lived the double-life for a few years, but although I haven't made a formal announcement that I'm no longer a christian, I'm making no deliberate attempt to look/sound/act/smell like a christian. My deconversion took a few years and actually began when I was deeply involved in a fundy bible camp and teacher in a christian school, so it happened in phases.

When I first started having doubts I did everything I could to hide it externally and continued going to church, saying the right things, and even still trying to win souls and disciple kids in the faith. However, as the doubts grew to the point of "I don't believe this crap anymore", I externally did the bare minimum as to not arouse suspicion (went to church & chapel at school, sang the hymns, prayed out loud, etc.), but slowly phased out all talk of "spiritual" things from my conversation. Eventually I dropped the last of the external shows of christianity (church, chapel, & prayer), which aroused at least minimal suspicion on the part of the school I worked at, and at this point was making no attempt to even mention christianity in my teaching. By then my conscience began to accuse me of being a fraud (the proverbial wolf) so I removed myself from teaching in a christian school and vowed to never put myself in that kind of situation again where I would have to submit to the crazy beliefs of other mortals.

So now I'm following the course of being "religiously neutral" and just avoiding all talk of religion, because all of my former colleagues, students, and family are all still very much evangelical christians (with very few exceptions whom I can talk more candidly with). I have enough in common with these people that religion was never the centerpiece of our relationships, so there are thankfully few instances where the conversation has turned to religion. On occasion I get the "have you found a church?" type questions, and I've gotten pretty good at giving a satisfactory non-answer ("still looking", etc.) so there's not much probing. I'm still single, but whenever I find a non-christian woman to marry I anticipate some questions that could help them piece the puzzle together.

I can't stand still having the christian label affixed to me; however in this part of the country it's required in order to be seen as a moral and upright person (although christians are supposed to judge a tree by its fruit, not by what it thinks). So I'll go on living life, not pretending to be a christian although everyone still assumes I am, until either they slowly figure it out or I can't take it anymore and just tell everyone. As much as I want to change the culture of the bible belt I'm not ready to become a pariah just yet.

I think christians are the true wolves-in-sheep's-clothing, outwardly proclaiming love, innocence, and morality, but quick to judge and condemn souls to hell and disown them for simply not believing the same way.

 

I completely agree with what you said.

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You know, I didn't think my beliefs were much of an issue for me be open about, but a little while back at my new job I was completely caught off guard when someone asked me what church I went to! My head spun around a bit, and I had to think quick. There's reasons why I had to choose my response carefully. It was a new job and I was trying to fit in. I'm a professional and this is a step up in my career job, working for a brokerage firm, where it's all about 'fitting in' - the 'old boys club', sort of thing. Being in a religion is part of that whole social connection thing. We have some pretty high-profile names there, and financial dealings with huge church organizations. However, I'm in technology, but a career professional nonetheless. So as I'm looking at him waiting for an answer, the thoughts were that too much information wouldn't help anyone and was way, way outside the realm of necessary to even open, way to much room for misunderstandings. I was admittedly taken back that anyone would ask me such a personal question, but there I was with him waiting for an answer. What did I come up with? I said, "I'm independent". :HaHa:

 

I thought that was pretty quick on my feet. It was a quick way to answer without answering. It was true, in the sense that I am not affiliated with any church, by virtue of having left the church altogether. I was in fact independent. I believe however suits me. To him it left the question of "God/No-God" open-ended. In his mind I'm sure it meant I was going to some no-name Christian church, thus even though I'm not part of the 'in-group' (which I wouldn't be anyway because I was a tech - not really part of the country club set, if you can imagine), I didn't set myself up as a perceived 'enemy'. I would just be some odd-ball, which would fit my profession anyway. It deflected the issue nicely, without me outright lying or being confrontational about the question in the first place. It is true, in a sense.

 

So, maybe that's a good way to answer them without opening a huge can of worms - Mom, I'm an atheist. I eat babies and HATE GOD - YOUR GOD SPECIFICALLY!!!" Which is how they would hear that because of all the propaganda against atheists. Much cleaner to deflect. "Sure, you can think I still believe, but I just have other tastes, that's all". Personally, once in a while I self-identify as a trans-theist. That leaves them thinking. It's not a rejection of their God, it's just growing past it to something beyond it (which to be clear isn't really atheism in the traditional sense as it leaves a sort of non-mythical transcendent spiritual view open - so that might not work for everyone). "I'm independent".

 

OMG you are brilliant! :)

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I'm very much a wolf in sheep's clothing, but I only really do it for the benefit of my Mother and Grandfather. I could care less if everyone else knew, but dealing with them would be horrible about it. Not so much horrible in that I couldn't take their disappointment about it, but that they would make it a huge issue and would not want to talk to be about anything else but me coming back. I'm just glad I got through Christmas & Thanksgiving without anyone asking me to pray at any meals.

 

I sincerely want to come out in the open about it, but I'm mostly a non-confrontational person. I want to be able to just send out emails and make some phone calls and be all "that's that" like an above poster did, but I don't think I have it in me sadly.

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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:

 

I wish I could be so out about my life! Props! I am Bi and my partner right now is female. I came out to all my family and friends twelve years ago about my sexual orientation which was easier for me than telling them I'm not a Christian anymore. I am working up the nerve to tell them I'm an athiest now. I'm also a Democrat and we finally have a lesbian mayor in Houston! It seems like the religious people will really have it out for me now LOL. I don't see any point in telling people at work though, it only gives them ammunition (I live in the Bible belt).

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I wish I could be so out about my life! Props! I am Bi and my partner right now is female. I came out to all my family and friends twelve years ago about my sexual orientation which was easier for me than telling them I'm not a Christian anymore. I am working up the nerve to tell them I'm an athiest now. I'm also a Democrat and we finally have a lesbian mayor in Houston! It seems like the religious people will really have it out for me now LOL. I don't see any point in telling people at work though, it only gives them ammunition (I live in the Bible belt).

 

How did your family take that if you don't mind me asking? And are they accepting, even begrudgingly? I'm just asking since that would seem to be a foot in the door already. Their god calls you an abomination flat out. You can simply follow the line that you obviously believe there is nothing wrong with homosexuality, and that you can not and will not abide an deity that is such a bigot.

 

I live in Tennessee, so I know how bad people in the religious south can be. I'm right there too.

 

Oh yeah, as for the people at work. If they are non affiliated with your family then by all means keep them in the dark. It's your right to not be discriminated, and a don't ask don't tell policy is the best way to keep that from happening.

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