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krby71

Hello From Texas

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Hi. I have recently discovered this site and after reading so many posts from people that hit so close to home I realized that I am among many kindred spirits. I have recently come to reason and officially left the church and organized religion.

 

Religion has always been difficult for me. I grew up in a home where Christian principles were taught but attendance in church was not something we did. I did attend many different worship services while growing up. I went to Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Catholic, and Episcopal churches. My family identified as Methodists but I was more aligned with the church through my scouting experiences. I didn't know at the time that it was because my dad had a falling out with the church as a young adult to be the main reason why we did not go as a family. He has the belief that we are all God's children, no matter how we worship, so why let a church decide who is worshiping the correct way.

 

It wasn't until I was in my 20's before I became a regular church attendee. My best friends were going to church with their spouses and to continue the group I started going too. Fast forward a few years and I really became attached to the church when, as a part of the becoming a couple, my then fiancée and I joined the church I grew up with in scouts. We were very active members, were married in the church, had both of our kids baptized there, and nearly our entire social circle revolved around the church. After a change in senior pastors our church experience was rocked. This new pastor was doing things that were just wrong. He was removing the people that made up the heart of that church. This was the first of the deep wounds that a church gave me. There were many of us from that church who decided to leave and attend another church on the other side of town. This was close to 20 families that moved to the old church. Our circle became tighter and somewhat bitter.

 

We remained at that church until I moved my family to Texas so I could start a new job. We felt it was important to find a new church home once we settled in so we visited many churches. We settled on the largest Methodist church in our town. We thought because we had been a part of a large and active church before, we would need another large church to provide what we wanted. We attended for two years and not once did we have a one-on-one talk with any of the clergy. I had become withdrawn again from church. I didn't want to attend another one, but my wife was teaching pre-school at one of the smaller Methodist churches, so we decided to give that one a try. On our first real visit we were made to feel welcome. They were having a dinner and as we ate, the senior pastor sat down at my table and we talked. He was a good person and the conversation was genuine. I felt we had a new church home. We were happy and active in the church again. That happiness was not to last long. A few months after we joined, the church office decided to move our pastor to a larger church that suddenly lost their pastor. We were assigned another pastor and this is when I started to see the bitterness and shallow actions of so many Christians.

 

The church was divided, half did not like the new pastor at all and the other half didn't seem to mind. Most of the people that didn't like the new paster were the older people with money. They made it known that they wanted the pastor gone and made the church struggle financially. Not wanting to have old wounds reopened, my family did not get involved in the fight. It was sad that a group of people could drive a person from a church like they did. The next pastor seemed to be better at first, but he went hat-in-hand to the people that drove out the last pastor and became their puppet. It was during this time my family had become really involved in the church. My wife was always the one to sing in the choir, but after participating in the spring musical, I too joined the choir. I was even nominated as a church trustee. It was there where I saw the pitched battle. The ugliness that I witnessed there made my first church wounds seem like a paper-cut. This was an all out war. Staff members were lying about one another, conspiring to get one or the other fired. Hostile work place lawsuits were being filed and people were leaving in droves. I was involved in the fight to try to save the church and the music ministry. But all my actions, passion, love, prayers, and tears were for nothing as the people that we were closest to were removed. When I saw others celebrating this loss, I lost it. I could not believe that so-called Christians could act in such a manner. It was then when I decided to not attend church anymore.

 

After that, there were many tragedies that hit us. My wife's best friend was diagnosed with brain cancer and died quickly. The same weekend that my wife's friend died, I learned that a childhood friend of mine took his own life. We were shocked. During this time the wildfires were raging just to our west. I saw a report on tv where a woman was looking at everything she owned burnt up and said "God only gives us what makes us stronger"

 

I had reached my breaking point. What kind of God destroys everything FOR those people? My wife's friend was probably the most devout person one could know. She had gotten married and her personal life was finally turning good for her. They were even talking about children. She went in to see the doctor about headaches and within three weeks she was dead. What kind of God would do something like that?

 

I began to really question my faith and what I believe in. I studied many writings and I now believe that religion is just a way for the ruling class to quiet and control the masses -- and it has always been that.

 

My wife is still a devout believer, and this has created some issues in our house. I finally told her that I no longer believe in religion and that I do not plan on going to church again. She asked me if I was an Atheist. I told her no to make her more comfortable. That was the last time that we discussed religion. We still have a loving relationship, we just don't talk about spiritual matters.

 

Since I left the church, it has been difficult for me. Our social scene still revolves around our church friends. I do not want them to end friendships just because I am no longer a church person, so I live a bit of a lie when around them. It eats me up. I want to yell from the mountain tops what freedom I have discovered, but I can't for fear of isolation for the rest of my family.

 

I am sorry this was so long of a post. I'll try to be more direct next time. Thank you for letting me speak.

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Welcome to Ex-C, krby!

 

The consequences of coming out as an atheist, and the risk of destroying cherished relationships, are both all too real. Feel free to rant any time, and if there's anything we can do to help we'll give it our best shot.

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Welcome krby71. Thanks for sharing your story. There are many of us on here, including myself, that live in "mixed" marriages. You can probably find some topics on this in the forums.

 

Some have come out to their spouses and worked things out, some have deconverted side-by-side, for some it doesn't work out so well. Whatever happens for you please take care of yourself, too.

 

I want to yell from the mountain tops what freedom I have discovered, but I can't for fear of isolation for the rest of my family.

I know exactly how you feel! I felt the same way!

 

It's not good for you to keep it bottled up. Share here until you feel ready to share with your wife. Find a freethinkers or a Recovering from Religion group in your area if you can because talking to people in real life is good too.

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Welcome to our sanctuary -- from another "unequally-yoked" ex-c'er!

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Your third to last last paragraph is saddening - first because you do not feel comfortable telling your wife that you are an atheist, and second because your wife probably doesn't know what an atheist really is.

 

If she ever asks again, I would recommend countering with a question "so that i can answer in a way that ensures we are on the same page, please define atheism?". Then when she defines it - mostly likely incorrectly - you can say "well that is not the standard dictionary definition, but by your definition, no I am not.". Then tell her what the accepted definition is.

 

My husband and I jumped through these hoops early on (when we were still dating, as I have been an atheist since I can remember) and I am glad we did, because while he never quite told me what he really thought atheists were, it was clear he had been under the impression that they were some sort of self-described baby killing Satan worshippers. As it turns out, just a scant few years later, he's an atheist too. :D

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Welcome! I felt and still feel the same as you, in that I want to tell everyone about my newfound freedom as well. But for fear of rejection from some of my closest friends, I can't So I too tell little lies to evade telling them that. I've finally started expressing doubts to many of them, but not full blown expressed my extreme disbelief.

 

Anyways, welcome to the forum! You'll find much knowledge is to be acquired here. Good luck in the future!

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Thank you for the warm greetings.

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Welcome to Ex-C, krby!

 

I can relate to your story a great deal. I think the source of my own difficulty with Christianity arose from the questions about the degree to which god intervenes in our lives. It'd be well and good (sort of) if god just sort of 'was', but the bible makes all kinds of grandiose promises about how god cares for us, loves us as a father would his children, and heals us when we ask. I too have a friend who has been through the mill--breast cancer in her 30s, while waiting to meet the man that god has for her. Chemo put her into menopause (goodbye dreams of children) and surgery left her with a total mastectomy. It's outrageous and heartbreaking.

 

Anyhow, you are among friends here. There are a few people at Ex-C who live in the DFW area--maybe you can get together with them IRL!

 

Hope to see you around here!

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Welcome, krby! Thanks for sharing your story.

 

I'm in the North Dallas area, btw. From your profile it looks like we have a lot in common.

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Krby, welcome to ex-c! I hope you find a home away from home and the strength you need to be who you are in the "real world"! Thank you for sharing your story (no such thing as too long when it's what you need to say). Looking forward to hearing more from you and about your healing journey.

Hugs!

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Welcome from a fellow Texan! We live in the DFW area, too. :)

 

I'm sorry for all the trouble you've been through in the church. We have some horror stories, too. How long have you been out of the church? How long have you been a wicked unbeliever? <jk>

 

We left the church and faith around the same time - last October. It's been a pretty difficult process but like you said, we're so much more free now. I hope your wife comes around eventually, I know it must be really hard to go through this on your own. There are many people here in your situation.

 

If you are interested in getting together with other "freethinkers", there are actually a lot of opportunities in the DFW area for that.

 

http://meetup.fofdallas.org/

 

http://www.meetup.com/FWFreethinkers/

 

http://www.meetup.com/church-of-freethought/

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Welcome to the group. Thanks for sharing with us. I agree 100% that religion is a tool to control the masses by the ruling class and there most certainly is a ruling class...

 

It's horrible that people believe their loving creator would take so much from them... Give them diseases, steal them from their loved ones and leave children parent-less. Where's the lesson in that? Where's the love in that? Where's God?

 

It was situations like this that turned me away from God. Which even magnifies the problems of a loving, all-knowing God actually existing and belief being the mechanism in which governs our eternal destiny. God knew these trials would stifle or outright stop my belief thus putting my eternal well-being in jeopardy, but he did it anyway.

 

I love Him so much!!!!!

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Welcome aboard! Thanks for sharing your story; a lot of us can relate.

 

Hope you are able to talk with your wife about this when the time is right. One of the hardest things is losing that social support because you no longer part of the fold. Hope you meet other like-minded folks, too. Take care!

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I understand you disappointment but unfortunately that may happen in so many churches. Wounds, spiritual abuses, etc...

 

It only confirms that christians are not different of world people. People or ministers like pastors are in competition between

them when the bible teaches humility.

 

I realize that being holy is something so unrealistic, everyone has the a good and black side in his personality. But it does not excuse

all the harm we can see in churches of course but what the bible teaches is just impossible because we are human.

 

And on the other side, being human can be seen like a sin I think about sex for example in christianity with our needs, our passion

/the bible describes passion like a sin...isnt it stupid ?

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Welcome from another DFW Ex-C!

 

You have found the right place. Stick around and make some friends :)

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Wow, thank you for all the warm greetings. I will check out some of those groups and hopefully some will be in my area. Or maybe we can have some "fellowship" at some golf course as I have decided to get back to nature as much as possible :)

 

2Honest, the "last straw" was last spring. I was having a hard time finding the way to tell my wife how I felt and I think I took a bad action when I decided to sit in the car while they (with her parents) went to Christmas Eve service. I didn't even enter the building. Forgive the expression, but there was hell to pay for that move. I embarrassed her and that was a mistake. We didn't talk about it before hand and that too was a mistake. I have been back to the church twice since then, but both times it was because our kids were performing. I will not go otherwise.

 

Speaking of kids, for those of you with kids and you and your spouse have differing beliefs, how do you talk about it to and around your kids? My daughter is 15 and son will be 13 in October. They know that I am not going to church. Recently only my son has been going to church with his mother. I have been trying to gently interject some theological conversation when I have one or the other alone with me. I'll ask them some very leading questions about what the Bible is, if they know about inconsistencies in the books, and other things just to make sure that they still have a grasp on what can be proven. Another thing that I try to get them to think about is how much of Christianity's stories and ceremonies borrowed/stole from other non-Christian or even non-religious civilizations. I am hoping that these little seeds can grow into trees of wisdom in their lives.

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Welcome from another fellow Texan! There's a lot of people here in similar situations (recent deconverts with believing spouses). Hang in there! There's a lot of support to be found here.

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Hi again.  Sorry it has been so long since my last update.  However, I wanted to spread some encouraging news.

 

In the course of my active battles with many fundie-idiots I seem to draw a lot of the young Earth creationist to me.  Their ignorance has allowed me to escalate my talks with my kids (15 and 13) about how ignorant those people are.  I even showed my son (the 13 year old) the You Tube video "To Xmas and beyond" to show him that Christians really have nothing to do with the traditional holiday.  I am pretty positive that I have illuminated a path for him to at least question the things that he is "taught" at church.  He is an intelligent kid that puts a lot of thought into the things that he does.  I even told him "son, I don't want you to ever just accept the thing that I am saying or anyone else is saying just because they are older than you.  I want you to question what they say and find the facts to support your answers."  I was so proud when he said "Dad, people can have beliefs in all sorts of things, but if they don't have facts that doesn't make them right."

 

He may still call himself a Christian, but I am sure that when he gets older that he will be able to think for himself.

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What a smart kid he sounds like! And welcome to the forums.

 

Quick linkie to the video in question because it is THAT AWESOME:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rLjHAzqqOm0

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Welcome krby71. As has already been said, there are a number of us in this forum who have a spouse who is still a christion. It sure can put an elephant in the living  room, can't it? I have come to believe that these christion spouse situations can't all be handled the same, which is probably self apparent. It very much depends upon how tolerant you and your wife are of each others' religious views. Also, how strong is your marriage is and how fundamental/charismatic her church is. Of course, you are in the best position to asses your wife's personality as to how she will likely react if you decide to tell her. 

 

I told my wife and, while she doesn't like my non-belief, she is willing to tolerate it, as I have agreed to tolerate her faith. I'm not saying it's easy because sometimes I misjudge what she will or will not tolerate. (I bump into the elephant.) The thing is, she and I are willing to make this sacrifice for each other. If you believe you or your wife could not tolerate her faith or your non-belief, the option is open for you just to not tell her. Just grin and bear it, so to speak. If you are able to do that, and if you would rather do that than run a risk that your disclosure might ruin your marriage, this might be your best solution. And I don't think it's "wrong" to withhold that information if you believe it will save your marriage. 

 

I mentioning these things just give something (more) to think about, not to tell you what you should do. As you know, that is your decision. 

I think you are handling your teenager very well. He seems to have a good head on his shoulders. 

 

Good luck. You've come to the right place. bill

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Hi there!  Just want to let you know I am one of those in a mixed marriage.  My husband is a fundy and it is difficult.  If he could ditch all the religion we would be good.  He really does want what is best for the family.  Unfortunately that is brain washing, creation science, and for other religions to not be tolerated.  Which is basically exactly the opposite of what I think is best for the kids.  We have been having a decent go at it for the last couple of months.  We usually have some major fight every few months.  I don't know if we will survive.  When it is good, it is really good.  But, when my husband (and everyone we know think "people like me" are what caused the shootings, it gets kind of heated.  He is the only person in my circle that knows I am an atheist.  He has recently gotten on facebook and has started to post stupid religious stuff.  I do know it can work, though!!!  Don't be discouraged by me.  My husband is very stubborn and narrow-minded when it comes to god.  Maybe your wife is a little more open!  Best of luck to you!  Feel free to message me if you have any questions.  I wish I had some great nuggets of advice.  I have searched and searched and have realized there are no easy solutions. 

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