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AltarEgo

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

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I just thought of another possible response to these invasive questions. "I go to a very private church. I'm both the minister and the entire congregation." I wonder what the response would be. :)

 

I guess it would be going a bit too far to add, "Hell, at my church I'm even God!" :grin:

I think at that point you might find them wanting to burn your church down, which in this case would happen to be your own body. Not the desired response hoped for, I'd think. Either that, or they'd start praying to you and then you'd have to be troubled with all their selfish requests. You'd become known as the god who says, "Just go away!". :)

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I just thought of another possible response to these invasive questions. "I go to a very private church. I'm both the minister and the entire congregation." I wonder what the response would be. :)

 

I guess it would be going a bit too far to add, "Hell, at my church I'm even God!" :grin:

 

I'd enjoy being a fly on the wall in this situation!

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Most of my friends and family know that I'm an atheist. Most of them found out through either MySpace or Facebook as I haven't been shy about putting "Godless Liberal" for my political views and "Antitheist" for my religous views.

 

My mom took it a bit rough when she first found out (I told her face-to-face) and we had a few fights about it at first. These days, we mostly don't talk about it but occasionally fire a warning shot across each others bow. ;) There was zero drama from my siblings, of which only my little sister is in any way a firm believer. She often attends religious services with my mom...sort of a mother-daughter thing, I guess. The only time my step-dad ever commented on the issue was to say, one Thanksgiving, that I should join in the family prayer to make my mom happy.

 

I haven't "come out" to my grandparents because I know it'd cause a shitstorm. Otherwise, pretty much all my extended family knows I'm an unbeliever, if for no other reason than that I'd added them as friends on Facebook and they've seen my profile page. One of my aunts and her husband are borderline fundamentalists and he was posting thrice "daily devotionals" on his profile when I finally decided to hide his posts. We had one brief argument on my profile page one day ages ago, but haven't approached the topic again since.

 

As for my friends, I've added most of them on Facebook so they can just look at my profile, there. Otherwise, I generally don't talk about religion unless they bring it up. Even then, I've tried to stay polite while asserting that I'm an atheist. Some of my friends are theists, some agnostic, and probably a few atheists (although I don't think any of them are as open about it as I am). Religion isn't a topic that comes up very often, though.

 

I generally don't discuss my views with coworkers unless I have a good sense that they won't take issue with them. I have a number of religious coworkers so I generally avoid the topic. Actually, regardless of their views, most of my coworkers generally avoid the issue, which is just fine by me.

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I told my youngest daughter (23) last week and explained my reasoning. She didn't freak, didn't thnk she would. She had asked my opinion on a religious matter so it was inevitable. I go to Sunday services with my wife to play along. Right now I'm reading The God Delusion and she thinks nothing of it but then again she just thinks I'm reading it to understand someone else's opinion on religion. My parents may suspect cause they knew in my youth that I never did buy into religion. I think it might be kind of hazardous to my employment to "come out" but then again there's never an instance where religion would be discussed in the work place. Years ago my wife and I had a brief discussion about religion so that I could understand her POV. It became obvious that she could never entertain the thought of Christianity having any flaws so future discussions seemed out of the question. We did however recently discuss a sermon that touched on prayer for the sick and elderly. I voiced how it shouldn't matter because "it's the plan". Since then I don't think she has done any praying before bed and we have gone to services a lot less frequently. Hmmmmmmm.

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Nobody from my family knows that I don't believe in God any more because I'm just not sure how they will take it. I was raised in an extremely conservative, Lutheran family (my mom's side is more laid back, but my dad's side are much more fundemental), and I feel like the black sheep, even without religion considered. My family already sees me as the naive, liberal, vegetarian freak. Adding my atheism will just make things worse for me. Just last week, I got a taste of what my family might react if I tell them, when I had a little slip-up.

 

My family and I were watching the news, and they started talking about the Bible. Now, I don't know what I was thinking, but I started talking about some of the contradictions (dumb). My sister looked at me in horror and discust and askes, "What? You don't believe in the Bible?" I had the urge to yell tell them the truth, but I held back because I still live at home while I go to college. I might tell them after I move out, but right now, it's not the most financially smart desicion.

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I've had short periods where I've gone back to the Church. Even went to Bible Study last year for about three months and kind of enjoyed it. BUT, once I tried to read the BIBLE again, I realized how silly I was being.

 

Every time I go back to church it's when I'm in emotional turmoil. When sanity and clarity return, I no longer go anymore.

 

I don't go to church anymore (haven't since Nov. 2009) but I haven't told anyone why.

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I've explained as best as I can to everyone that I'm an atheist. But my family and my wife's family are in denial. They're still waiting for me to come around. I haven't been to church in a couple of months, and even then it was only to honor my wife. But now even she hasn't gone (due to laziness) so I don't mind at all!

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Sometimes I want to shout it from the rooftops that I don't believe anymore, but it would hurt my grandma too much, she already cries sometimes thinking about her atheist son going to hell.

 

My college friends, maybe, I met them at Campus Crusade and stuff and the one I keep in contact with keeps calling me child of God and stuff and speaks in tongues and junk and is way over the top... I can't have a convo with her that doesn't involve God and it's driving me nuts. I almost feel like telling her I don't want to be her friend anymore.

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Long-time-lurker, first-time-poster. I've de-converted rather suddenly in the last few months, and really the only reason I never had before was because I was so steeped in church life that I never really stopped to question the fundamentals (Does God exist? Is the picture we get of him in the Bible at all accurate?) though I had wavered back and forth between varying levels of fundyism for a while. Anyway, I'm living a quasi-double-life. I'm at a relatively secular college and my girlfriend has gone through this de-conversion more or less with me, so it's easy during the year, but I know it's going to become increasingly difficult at home.

 

My mom is the Director of Youth for our church - she sensed something and asked me point-blank whether I believed in God and I couldn't lie. She was heartbroken, but so far she's the only one from home who knows. I'm liked and respected in the church, a leader - if it got around that I became an atheist, it would not only cause a lot of anguish but also hurt my mom's ability to keep her job (after all, how can she be trusted with youth when her own son went so far astray). My sister would be flabbergasted. She's a fabulous musician, and her faith is her inspiration. Frankly, I'm not afraid that that I'll anger these people - I'm afraid I'll de-convert them! I know Christianity is a marvelous barrier against facts and logic, but my fear is that they'll think any argument that made *me* fall away carries greater heft.

 

In other words, I'm living a double life (or, once the summer begins, soon will be) because Christianity is working for them. Doesn't make it a whit more true, of course, but there it is nonetheless. My dad passed away last year, and church is pretty much the only thing getting my mom out of the house. Considering what I know now, that we have this one life to live, I can't in good conscience deprive my friends and family of something that brings them motivation and comfort - even if it's built on lies. I wish it were otherwise.

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Long-time-lurker, first-time-poster.

Greetings, and welcome to the community. Which ties nicely into my thoughts about this:

 

I've de-converted rather suddenly in the last few months, and really the only reason I never had before was because I was so steeped in church life that I never really stopped to question the fundamentals (Does God exist? Is the picture we get of him in the Bible at all accurate?) though I had wavered back and forth between varying levels of fundyism for a while. Anyway, I'm living a quasi-double-life. I'm at a relatively secular college and my girlfriend has gone through this de-conversion more or less with me, so it's easy during the year, but I know it's going to become increasingly difficult at home.

 

My mom is the Director of Youth for our church - she sensed something and asked me point-blank whether I believed in God and I couldn't lie. She was heartbroken, but so far she's the only one from home who knows. I'm liked and respected in the church, a leader - if it got around that I became an atheist, it would not only cause a lot of anguish but also hurt my mom's ability to keep her job (after all, how can she be trusted with youth when her own son went so far astray). My sister would be flabbergasted. She's a fabulous musician, and her faith is her inspiration. Frankly, I'm not afraid that that I'll anger these people - I'm afraid I'll de-convert them! I know Christianity is a marvelous barrier against facts and logic, but my fear is that they'll think any argument that made *me* fall away carries greater heft.

 

In other words, I'm living a double life (or, once the summer begins, soon will be) because Christianity is working for them. Doesn't make it a whit more true, of course, but there it is nonetheless. My dad passed away last year, and church is pretty much the only thing getting my mom out of the house. Considering what I know now, that we have this one life to live, I can't in good conscience deprive my friends and family of something that brings them motivation and comfort - even if it's built on lies. I wish it were otherwise.

What I'm hearing in this is underscoring some of what I'm tying to put together for some thoughts on a topic about Faith elsewhere in this forum which I'll start later on. This is far from fleshed out the way I anticipate it will be (or that it needs to be), but I'll take a stab at it here for now to make my point.

 

Faith is different in many regards from belief, though beliefs are supports for a faith, and this is true no matter what the object of faith is, whether it contains religious icons, or is a secular ideal. Beliefs can be changed, but faith is much more than mental interpretations of facts. Faith is in essence about our motives towards life, a worldview, our philosophy of life, and it has both individual and social components to it. These components interact with each other and appear so intertwined as to be one thing, one reality, one truth.

 

For instance, I see the world as thus; I interact with you who shares the same canopy of faith; we have our symbolic language we share that gives us a means to interact with each other and our own mental processes about that motive towards life; the symbolic language can be analytical, scientific, mythological, traditional, cultural, familial, etc; the world that includes my relationship with myself, with you - which becomes part of myself, and with the world are all tied together in a dynamic, interacting web of truth tied to symbolic systems of social and philosophical realities, which at the end of the day define identity, our sense of being in the Universe as reasoning, emotional, social and cultural beings.

 

Now, all that to say what may seem obvious, that changing one's faith system is considerably more, a whole intertwined world of reasons more, than just "there is no evidence that God exists", sort of thing. It is far from a dependency on a fact/lie, true/false binary equation. When your mother, or your church hears "I no longer believe in God", this is interpreted much more existentially as a rejection of all shared values, community, hopes, dreams, ideals, emotions, mutual respects and trusts, etc. It is not compartmentalized into an evidence sort of analytical evaluation, any more that their faith was based on that in the first place - or anymore than a change in faith is on that alone itself. Though we can get into debates with 'believers' over the facts, those beliefs about facts are in essence themselves symbolic supports for a shifting, a modification, a revision in world view.

 

To me, the discussion is about a new canopy of Faith, a world-vision, under which we all interact and love, share, dream, hope, trust, grow, support, and define ourselves to ourselves, and through ourselves to others, and others through themselves to us. To me, it's not about a rejection of "God", but moving forward as humans in the world towards that motive for life. If you peel back the layers of existence as social, emotional, reasoning human beings living in a symbolic reality, it becomes apparent as to our interconnectedness, our interdependence, the means to support this, and moreover, the Heart that drives and pulls and binds, behind and beyond all the symbols.

 

 

Like I said, I'll flesh this out a little better and start a topic on it later. Hope this offers perhaps some meaningful insights for you. Again, welcome to this community. :)

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I'm undercover at church. My husband is a music minister at an Episcopalian church, I sing in the choir. When he started working there I was a little distanced, attributable to my being raised fundamentalist Baptist so with a very different church experience. During the time he was working there I began deconverting, unbeknownst to them, so now have a different reason for the distance. I really like the priest, but I didn't want to talk to him about my concerns because I thought I could figure it out on my own and didn't think he could really help. The only suggestion that something might be going on was that I stopped taking Communion for some months until I was sure I didn't have to worry about my immortal soul (I Cor. 11:29).

 

I also did not tell my husband, until I was really absolutely sure that God did not exist. The first one I told was my little sister, since she is lesbian and my religious views had driven a wedge between us. I didn't tell anyone else in my family, although they might have guessed it. My sister's coming out had a big impact on my family's religious views. My dad is agnostic but my mom and older sister were Christian (my younger sister deconverted when she came out). My older sister is still Christian, but very moderate, but I think my mom is becoming more deist from what my little sister says. She doesn't go to church any more.

 

At church still no one knows that I don't believe in God. I wonder how many others there do not. It's an Episcopalian church, and of course growing up we were always told they were pretty much going to hell anyway! Kind of funny, considering that many of the sermons would be perfectly appropriate in a Baptist church, being about the more laudable aspects of Christian faith.

 

It's a little strange going to church still while not believing in any of it--the first Christmas and Easter were very strange. I don't say any of the words for the service except the Lord's Prayer, for sentimental reasons, and the Nicene Creed, for historical reasons. I sing everything, and actually like the music. But it makes me wonder if I'll be able to put up with it forever. Being there can be good when the priest has something about morality to say that's relevant, but most of the time makes me just feel cynical. When we have kids I don't know what I'll do. They've got to go to church because they have to sing in dad's children's choir, but I won't tell them I believe stuff that I don't.

 

Assuming our marriage lasts, anyway. We have a lot of stress in our marriage anyway, and then my husband is not happy about my not being Christian. He mostly seems ok with it, but at one point right after I told him said he didn't want to have kids with me (backed down from that, good since that would have been a deal-breaker for me) and recently told me during an argument that I was going to hell (but apparently because I'm mean to him, not because I'm a heathen). So we'll have to see what happens.

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My parents don't know, they know I have never been fond of going to church and don't like talking about religion much.

 

To cover my tracks though to ensure they believe that I am still a Christian (I can't break their heart it is wrong) I insist when things are going bad we need to pray.

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I de-converted a few weeks ago but haven't told anyone, even friends. I still live with my parents since their paying for college(Im 19) and am forced to go with them every Sunday. I don't want to get sucked back in but they would freak. I just stay queit about it and don't pay attention in church, ignore invites for other church functions and pretend like I'm praying sometimes. I feel bad, but I don't want to hurt them.

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Well, this a bit cathartic for me so thanks for asking.

I am totally undercover…the secret agent man deep behind enemy lines….

 

I have been an exchristian for about three years. I told my wife two years ago. She kept asking why I wasn’t reading my bible, why I wouldn’t lead family worship, why my prayers were flat and short etc. Finally I just had to come out and explain to her. I guess it could have gone worse…....there was a lot of crying and things like “I can’t believe it”. It was bad for awhile and then she started realizing I was the same guy as I was before for the most part…..dedicated family man, good father.

 

I am by nature empathetic. So I understand what this must be like from her perspective. I think her biggest fear was that I was going to lead the kids away from God and that would just be the worst possible thing in the world for her. I understand that. From her perspective I would be sending them to Hell. She didn’t want me to tell anyone and I basically didn’t want to tell anyone either. We live in small town, her parents are close by. It would have been a tremendous amount of fall out and I would have become the target for her fundamentalist parents.

I am trying to maximize my happiness and in my personal life equation, staying with my believing wife and kids and staying undercover does that for me. We are all different and have different life equations...this is working for me.

 

 

So how bad is it….

I still go to church every Sunday- enjoy the singing, the coffee, the cookies and the people for the most part. The pastor is entertaining, and when he goes off on some crazy stuff...I just Zone out and think about my own things. The people are nice, some are friends ...I just appreciate the social aspect.

 

I still pray with the wife and family. It gives her comfort…it is easy for me to do...its almost automatic...push the button...it’s more like wishing out loud. I try to avoid using the word god and jesus. Also I keep praying for things that people have stopped praying for because they know nothing is going to happen – I don’t want to be specific…I am a little paranoid…Kinda like praying for the amputee…It highlights Gods impotence!

 

I still give to the Church…This is embarrassing …but here is my thinking. We do go every week. They have overhead that needs to be paid for. I would feel like a free loader if I didn’t give anything. It’s not 10%. It’s not even 1% - but it is something.

 

By staying involved in my kids lives I do get a chance to influence there POV. For example, there are people at the church who speak in tongues…we have talked about this and they now believe that it is baloney and that people are making this up. We also discuss Science and if they share some crazy reliqious argument against Evolution I can subtly point out how the reasoning is wrong.

 

Thanks for reading

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Zyzyx, you sound like a great guy. Good for you for being so dedicated to your family.

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I would say that my experience is similar to a lot of those I have read in these forums. My process has been going on for, well I guess most of my life, but only in the last several months has it pushed over the precipice of deconverting. I have always questioned and sought answers but often when I received answers that did not fit with reality I simply pushed them into the back of my mind. Then at the age of 25 I went back to college to pursue my education. This experience lifted my out of the bubble of independent, fundamentalist, kjv-only baptists that I had been surrounded by all of my life. It allowed me to question and search in ways that I had never done before. As I learned and searched I began to see that a large degree of what I had been taught just did not make sense. Still, I continued basing my arguments on the assumption that the Bible was true. I questioned the standards that I had been raised in, no drinking, dancing, movies, etc., but I did not at that point question the Bible itself. You see, at this point my wife and I attended that same church that I had attended since I was 8 and virtually all of the friends that we had were within this circle.

 

Now we have moved away (3000 miles) and have separated ourselves from most of those friends and it has given me the clarity to truly question the basis for my beliefs. I posted on this topic, because I too am living somewhat of a double life. When my wife and I moved here we met some old friends from back home and started attending church with them. Same denomination but much less judgmental. My wife knows about my deconversion, we have had many discussions on the subject - most ending in fights. However, recently we have been having more where she is open to the evidence that I have shared with her. She continues to attend church, if only on Sunday morning, but thankfully I usually end up working so I can avoid going. She still insists on having my children pray before meals, but no longer asks me to pray since she knows that, even as a christian, I found the practice to be ridiculous and meaningless. She does not want me speaking with our children about my beliefs, yet this too has been difficult as my son (9) is very inquisitive has begun to pick up on some of the inconsistencies between what he is taught in sunday school and what he learns through the discovery channel and the museums (he loves dinosaurs). It also came up while I was reading a recent article regarding the purported Noah's ark finding and I expressed my opinion that it was a made up story.

 

Not sure where all of this will end - but I guess that is the beauty of life when you do not have some pre-ordained plan for your life that you must not stray from or you will be stuck down!

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