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Update On How The "pretending" Is Going.


Lerk
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About 3 months ago I posted that I was going to pretend, again, to be a Christian, for the sake of making my life easier. In a lot of ways, that's going fairly well.

 

My wife is certainly less upset, and we don't really have to deal with the issue any more, although I still hesitate when she wants to talk about religion. The thing I want to do most is to reenforce her doubts, and I manage that sometimes without having to come out and say "hey, can't you see that it's all phony?!"

 

I'm sitting through church. It's better when she isn't feeling well (not that that's a good thing) and I go by myself on Sunday morning, because I make sure to get there late, ensuring that I don't have to participate. (If I arrive even 30 seconds before they've started, I am always asked to lead the singing. And I do it. It's a tiny church and the singing is almost insufferable.) When I'm there by myself, I've been reading The Outsider Test of Faith on my phone during the sermon. As far as anyone knows, I'm using the bible on my phone.

 

Essentially, I'm coexisting with religion.

 

I did do something I'm somewhat ashamed of today. On a blog website that I still read and occasionally post on where most bloggers are members of the "non-institutional" (NI) churches of christ, one woman asked about having confidence in her salvation. This is a huge problem for church-of-christers because they believe that "preseverance of the saints" is false doctrine. In fact, if you Google "impossibility of apostacy", almost the entire first two pages of results with be NI Church of Christ websites looking to refute the doctrine.

 

So I couldn't help it, I posted something to assure her that losing ones soul isn't an easy thing to do, and it only happens if one abandons "seeking god" altogether. Religion causes a lot of problems in this world, and the one that impacts me the most I think is my wife's fear of hell. I suppose if I know it would be impossible to deconvert them, the least I can do is try to put this fear out of their minds.

 

I still feel guilty for participating in the discussion. I've normally, since my deconversion, tried to stay away from making comments online or in public regarding different doctrines, because there's no real point in discussion mythology as if it were real, and I certainly don't want to lend credence to it.

 

Anyway, a number of you posted encouraging remarks on my status update when I said "goodbye" to this site. I have actually found that I can, for the most part, live with it.

 

I finally cancelled my monthly donation to the local Florida College booster group. (It was $10/month automatically deducted from my checking account, used for scolarships to that "non-church-sponsored" bible college.) I have also started contributing $10/month to CARE, Doctors Without Borders, and the Houston PBS station (KUHT channel 8). I want to add a monthly donation to one of the organizations in Texas that's trying to make sure creationism stays out of the science textbooks and classrooms, but I haven't narrowed down the list yet.

 

I've also thought some about regrets. Always before in my life I would say that I didn't really regret anything, and that if I had it to do over again, I would even make the poor decisions again; reason being that I knew they were poor decisions to begin with, and I had my reasons for making them. But now, I do truly have a regret: I regret becoming a Christian at age 11. When I first thought that to myself, it reminded me that I've heard, in the past, that that is something no one ever says late in life that they regret.

 

1000 members of this website would say differently, wouldn't they? Had I never "obeyed the gospel" as a child, my entire life would be different. I can't say whether everything would have been better, but at least I would have lived it in the real world.

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I'm sure you have already discussed this and I just missed the original discussion, but do you really think living a lie is worth it?

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I'm sure you have already discussed this and I just missed the original discussion, but do you really think living a lie is worth it?

 

I really haven't discussed it before. I posted it as a "status update" back in March, then changed my password to something unintelligible so that it would be difficult for me to sign back in to the site. But it's hard to stay away.

 

Is living a lie worth it? I would have to say at this time it is better than living the truth, and by "better" I mean "easier". Life isn't easy by a long shot, as my wife is clinically depressed. (She was that way before I met her, and our 32nd wedding anniversary is this month.)

 

Giving up trying to be truthful has reduced the stress in my life considerably, simply because my wife couldn't deal with it. I suppose she just thinks now that I was having doubts before. Or maybe not, because she seems quite aware that I have no desire to go to church. If she isn't going to feel like going on Wednesday night she'll say something like "... so you don't have to worry about it tonight." Generally, though, we just don't talk about it, and unless I think I can get her to see the truth I don't want to talk about it any more. I love peace more than anything, and peace is often hard to come by when you live with a depressed person.

 

I do hope that I do not have to live the lie the rest of my life simply to enjoy peace. If she asks me directly again I will not lie, but I doubt she's going to ask again because she would rather not know. Or maybe she's as good at pretending as I am. Whatever: it's working for now.

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I definitely understand that living with someone with an emotional disorder is stressful. Not suggesting anything here, but if I may ask, what motivates you to stay in? Have you considered marriage counseling (with a secular therapist)? I noticed from your profile that you wish you had your Sundays back and I wonder if further on down the road you might wish that you had done something about the marriage sooner rather than later.

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I think we're already "further down the road". 32 years married. Grown children. (No grandchildren yet.) I'm 53 and she's 58.

 

I typed a whole lot here, but I'm just not prepared to share it. Let's just say that despite being often miserable, I do care about her and would not abandon her. It isn't like every day is bad, it just seems to come in bunches.

 

We haven't done marriage counselling. I have been trying to get her to go to a psychologist that does CBT but she hasn't made an appointment. She wrote down the name and number of a hypnotist the other day, and I would be in favor of her seeing him.

 

I don't think that more upheaval is the answer. Though I might eventually enjoy a more peaceful, contented life, alone, the process of getting there might be unbearable, and our lives are tied together in ways besides marriage. If grandchildren ever come into the picture, they'll be even more tied together.

 

I talked to her on the phone a little while ago, and she seems cheery today. I suspect that we'll have a perfectly pleasant evening.

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If it works for you then it's all good.

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What I'm going to say is probably not popular here. But here it is: I don't believe lying to avoid

hurting people is wrong. Whether you come clean with your wife and family should depend, in my humble

opinion, upon which coarse of action would be the most beneficial to you and your family. The issue is

not whether it's "wrong" to lie. What's wrong or right depends upon the circumstances. When you take

into account all that is likely or probable to occur if you disclose your non-belief in Xtianity, which choice causes the most benefit and the least harm?

 

This is a judgment call. Neither "right" nor "wrong" should be rigid as is the bible god's law to the

Jews in the desert. We don't have to follow rules like robots. That's why we have brains. In my opinion it is impossible to live a happy life without lying some of the time. You know, truth is often used as a weapon to hurt people. And the one who so uses the truth frequently gloats because he is proud of

being truthful, when in fact he has been an asshole.

 

MisterTwo, only you can make the decision, taking all factors into account. If your marriage is good, I say don't destroy it over a dispute about a myth. Who is going to reward you for that?

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MisterTwo, I was curious if you think participation in this type of forum makes it harder or easier to pretend.  I find it makes it harder for me, because I think about these issues more and bring them up in conversation accidentally.

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I think we're already "further down the road". 32 years married. Grown children. (No grandchildren yet.) I'm 53 and she's 58.

 

 

You two are my age. I agree with the above posters who say if you like life the way it is, then it's all good. However, it is my personal opinion that at my age one is still young enough that it is worth the while to make improvements if one's life situation is not good and there is opportunity to make changes. These days, when people live to be ninety and a hundred years old, we 50-year-olds have every reason to expect another twenty or thirty years of life.

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Man, it's tough. Coming out to my wife and the fallout that resulted was not a fun experience and she's not hard core religious. If our marriage had fallen apart, the experience would have been absolutely devastating. I am not going to say pretending is wrong. I simply could not live a lie any longer and living a hidden life where I could not express my beliefs and live a full experience wore me down to the point where the truth just burst out from me. I can't imagine how miserable it must be to live an unfulfilled life hiding away behind a persona when every fibre of your real being is desperate to bust forth. Religion and religious indoctrination are truly terrible things.

 

My thoughts are with you.

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Hi MisterTwo.  I feel I'm not qualified to give you any suggestions here, given that I've been alive for three years less than you've been married.  Even otherwise, there's an extent to which I can relate to your situation, and a point beyond which I can only appreciate the gravity of the situation you find yourself in.

 

I also have lied to people rather tell them I disbelieve Jesus.  When I deconverted, four years ago, I went from being a staunch believer to an ex-Christian in the timespan of about a week.  Realizing that my Christian friends from church are plagued with a belief that unbelievers suffer eternal punishment upon death, I likewise chose to not reveal my lack of belief in Jesus to them.  I simply divested myself of Christian interaction slowly, and over a period of many months got to the point where I saw them once or at most twice a week.  It's relatively easy for me, at this point, to interact with them as I otherwise would and spare them the grief that comes with the abominable teachings of Jesus.  So I would respectfully disagree with Bill's claim that what he said is unpopular.  On the contrary I think Bill makes an excellent point that any reasonable person here should be able to understand, even if they choose not to implement it in their own lives.  Sometimes lying to spare someone grief is better than being an asshole and telling the truth.  Christians think that what they say is true, and they use their perceived truth to harm people by converting them.

 

Now what I will say is that I my choice to lie to these people works for me for some pretty specific reasons that may not be applicable to others.  First, my entire family is Hindu, as is my fiancee (whom I obviously met after deconverting), as am I.  So I don't have to lie to anyone at home (well I live alone, but you get my meaning), and I can practice my beliefs free of any interference from Christians.  Second, being a scientist I work with mostly atheists, and so almost all of my friends and coworkers are likewise not going to push me into any Christian social obligations.  Third, my interaction with my Christian friends is quite minimal, and since I'll be moving in a few months as soon as I finish my dissertation and get a job offer, I'll never see these Christians again; I obviously will not make any Christian friends at my future place of residence.  I recently thought of all the Christians I interacted with regularly, and realized that there are only about six or eight Christians that I see on a weekly basis.  I figure that lying to them for a couple hours per week is a very minimal investment, if only to avoid the uncomfortable discussion regarding my rejection of their truly harmful but prevalent mythology.  This is quite different from being married to a Christian, and I could not imagine lying every day.

 

But the fact remains that making people believe in "the Truth" isn't the most important thing in the world.  Having a happy life is.  Of course there are practical considerations too.  I think for most ex-Christians, going to church is a huge burden.  Back when we were believers we loved going to worship Christ and celebrate his death and resurrection.  Now that we realize it's all a lie, we know that it's a meaningless gathering of people.  Truth be told, I'd much rather sleep in on Sunday, and I've invented further lies for my few Christian friends about having to work on Sunday mornings so that they don't ask why I don't show up for church most of the time.  And it's not just a desire to sleep.  There are many Sundays when I've gone to a Hindu temple, and while no one is keeping tabs on me (since I have such minimal interaction with Christians), the irony of the situation has crossed my mind.  The fact is that church is empty and meaningless, and to people like us attendance is a minor torment.  If you're married to a Christian you have much less choice in the matter, I suppose.

 

Again I don't know what I'd do in your situation.  But I can definitely say that it is not ignoble to lie to keep the peace.  You can't put a price on peace of mind.  And if you get more of that from pretending to be a Christian than from telling the truth, then why not keep pretending until a better solution presents itself?  After all, you can always come out with the truth.  But once you do, you can't take it back.

 

One other comment.  You said that you regret becoming a Christian at age 11.  This is one other thing I can truly relate too.  I likewise don't have any serious regrets in life, whether in regards to my career choices, interpersonal relationships, and so forth.  What I do wholeheartedly regret is becoming a Christian at age 19.  I regret not only the decision, but the cascade of effects it had on my life: rejecting the way I was raised, wasting the most important years of my life on Bible study and church, telling people they were going to hell and trying to convert them, and putting so much effort into the lies of Jesus.  The only mitigating factors here is that I left the religion when I was 25 and could salvage a fair bit of my life from this trainwreck.  I have spent four years picking up the pieces and rebuilding relationships with people whom that demon Jesus caused me to hurt.  I'm quite happy to let a handful of people think I am still a Christian, but I couldn't be happier to know the truth that Jesus is a false god and a false messiah, and to know that I needn't ever again spend any effort trying to feed his insatiable appetite.

 

Jesus is a parasite, the ultimate consumer of human anguish.  Whatever you choose to let your wife believe, at least you can rest secure in the knowledge that you never again need worry that anyone you know is going to hell, that their very thoughts and beliefs will be judged by a merciless deity who dispenses impotent forgiveness.  Even if you never tell your wife the truth, isn't this a fair degree of consolation?  Indeed, I believe that deconversion gives us what was offered in Jesus' empty promise: escape from hell.

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MisterTwo, I was curious if you think participation in this type of forum makes it harder or easier to pretend.  I find it makes it harder for me, because I think about these issues more and bring them up in conversation accidentally.

I agree, it makes it harder, which is why I quit participating back in March. But here I am again! If I find it to be too difficult I'll bail again, I suppose.

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Bhim, thank you for your thoughtful reply. I don't quite understand how you can go back to Hinduism after deconverting from it! But if you're going to practice a religion I suppose that isn't a bad choice. Still, from what I've read, I don't think it passes the outsider test of faith any more than Christianity or Judaism. It's still just so much philosophy from ages past.

 

Still, I appreciate your insight.

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Bhim, thank you for your thoughtful reply. I don't quite understand how you can go back to Hinduism after deconverting from it! But if you're going to practice a religion I suppose that isn't a bad choice. Still, from what I've read, I don't think it passes the outsider test of faith any more than Christianity or Judaism. It's still just so much philosophy from ages past.

 

Still, I appreciate your insight.

 

Ah, well to answer that question, I've come to realize that the connection between religious practice and intellectual assent is a purely Christian and Islamic notion.  Do I actually believe that factual statements in Hinduism are objectively true?  Honestly I'm not sure, and I don't even know that I'll answer that question in this lifetime.  Unlike Christians, who epitomize arrogance despite their claims to the contrary, I can accept that I don't have all the answers.  I do know that Hinduism is inextricably tied to my culture.  And given that I'm otherwise thoroughly American (I was born here), it's something I feel I should probably retain.  I've also taken some inspiration from atheist Jews who practice their religion despite a lack of belief.  In the end it's an integral part of Indian culture; I feel there's a lot of benefit in keeping it and nothing to be to be lost.  I've also come to realize the only reason I left Hinduism is because Jesus poisoned my mind against it.  Perhaps there's some element of rebellion against Christianity at work, but I don't know how much benefit there is in psychoanalyzing myself.

 

Here in the West, most people associate belief in God with belief in Jesus, because Christianity is their only association with religion.  So when ex-Christians realize how horrible of a faith Christianity is, "religion" is generally blamed instead of targetting Christianity itself.  Since I was raised Hindu and have never held belief in Jesus as a prerequisite for belief in God, I guess I never made that association.  As such, despite my unabashed ire regarding Christianity, I don't have any personal antipathy towards the idea of religious belief.  This is the reason I consciously direct my rather harsh comments towards Jesus, rather than accusing God (in whatever form he may exist) of any wrongdoing.

 

Anyway I don't want to detract from the serious issue you wanted to raise here.  But this something that I am not at all shy about discussing if you've got any other questions or comments.

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MisterTwo, there are two things you mentioned that really struck me.

 

You said if she is not feeling well, you go to church alone. Are you just keeping up appearances? That sounds positively dreadful to me. I understand your reasoning, I think, but still... man, you are strong to go and sit through that nonsense! Is it possible to tell her you'd like to stay home with her and catch up on some reading or laundry or something?

 

This might be a touchy subject, but I'm wondering why your wife is still suffering so badly from the depression after all this time. Is it time to try different avenues for relief? I applaud you for sticking with her through her nightmare, as I know it is awful to pussyfoot around someone else's mental rollercoasters. (My husband stuck with me through my debilitating post partum depression and the "regular" depression that lingered after that.) But really after all this time it sounds like you are becoming a martyr. Don't balk but I must ask... Is it possible that you are enabling her? Is it time to stand up and say we need to try something else?

 

The religious discussion, in my opinion, is only a symptom of the larger problem here. She needs to get that depression under control. I don't think you need marriage counseling; I think she needs a new doctor, a second opinion, new meds, a new counselor, or something. I am telling you this from personal experience with my own depression (and my husband would agree) -- much of YOUR other shit will fade away if she can get HER moods under control. My husband had to kind of "snap me out of it" to get me to change course and get new help... he hated seeing me tortured by the illness, and I now see that it was hurting him immensely too.

 

Honestly, once I got my mind straight again, I was able to see what I had been doing to my husband. (It was nothing major, mean or evil, just not as considerate of his feelings and efforts as I could have been.) Once your wife is feeling better, she may have a new respect for your religious stance, and just not care as much any more. In my non-professional opinion, I would fix her problem first, and yours will fix itself.

 

ClaraOlive gave a very terse but poignant response above. You may think you are helping her, but you are not.

 

I'm sorry if this sounds harsh, MisterTwo. I am honestly trying to help you see things differently. I mean well, I promise!

 

Usually I like to sign off my posts wishing the poster "peace", but in this case, I wish for peace for your wife -- and peace for you will follow.

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Mister Two, I see that we are both in the Bible belt and that tends to complicate things. Religion is part of the fabric of the culture we live in. My situation is similar to yours. My wife continues to be a believer but I’ve detected cracks developing in her beliefs.

 

She knows I’m not a believer anymore. She also knows I arrived at my decision by studying and researching religious history. She occasionally asks me a question that pertains to some religious issue or belief. I’ve learned to keep my responses short and on point. In other words, don’t tell her more than she wants to know.

 

We still attend a fundamentalist congregation. She knows I don’t want to be there. Last Sunday she told me she didn’t want to go to Church. She suggested we go out for breakfast. I assumed she wanted to talk and she did. On the way home after breakfast she broke down and cried. Then she confirmed what I already knew. She told me religion has been a huge part of her life since she was born and that is true. Then she added that she is simply unable to walk away from it. And I knew that too.

 

I told her I could meet her half way. There is a mega Presbyterian Church in our area this is radically liberal. I assume most Presbyterians wouldn’t acknowledge this church is even part of the Presbyterian denomination. Their services are more like a theatrical performance than a religious service. The preaching is focused more on how to live life than the traditional sin/hell stuff you hear in most churches. I told her I could at least do that with her, but I absolutely had to get away from traditional fundamentalism.  She said she could do that too. The only negative is that this church is 12 miles away and I don’t relish that drive, but it beats the alternatives.

 

If you are not unequally yoked then you probably can’t appreciate the situation those of us that are find ourselves in. I suppose I may be somewhat unique in that Christians don’t bother me. I understand why they believe, say, and do the things they do. I absolutely avoid getting involved in religious discussions and I absolutely do not comment on things they say, believe, or do. In other words I try and not to poke the snake and get it riled up.

 

This board is filled with the testimonies of people who are struggling with their de-conversion. Why would anyone expect a believer, who has no knowledge of religious history, to understand why we left the faith?  Truthfully, I’m not trying to de-convert my wife. She is struggling enough with me having left the faith, but some things have changed. She is willing to acknowledge every word in the Bible should not be interpreted literally. Honestly, for her to come to that conclusion was a huge step. And she is willing to attend a decidedly ultra liberal church. In her world those are monumental concessions. As far as I’m concerned that is meeting me more than halfway.

 

Those of us who have left the faith don't like it when Christians attempt to impose their beleifs on us, why is the reverse also not true? Why would we think we have the right to impose our lack of belief on them?  If people express an interest that's different, but if they don't why poke the snake?

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Those of us who have left the faith don't like it when Christians attempt to impose their beleifs on us, why is the reverse also not true? Why would we think we have the right to impose our lack of belief on them?  If people express an interest that's different, but if they don't why poke the snake?

 

I used to have the Real Truth of Life and it was Jesus and I had to tell everyone about it and make them like me.... but then I discovered (or changed my mind anyway) I was wrong .... now I have the Real Truth of Agnosticism and I must tell everyone about it and make them like me! A few years from now I might discover I was wrong again and find the new Real Truth and then I'll have to tell everyone about it and make them like me!  :-)

 

Why do we have to impose our belief/non-belief on someone? Maybe it boster's our self-esteem or confidence that our view is the 'right' view. :-) Maybe it's just the way our culture works. No matter what crowd you're in, those who don't share your view are inferior. It's one-upmanship. :-)

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I think one of the worst things in the world for me would be if my husband infantilized me to the point that he'd rather lie to me than upset me.

I understand what you're saying, but I tried being honest. Didn't work! Maybe I didn't stick with it long enough. But I'm not the only one who pussy-foots around her. It'll take some time to work up the courage again.

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MisterTwo, there are two things you mentioned that really struck me.

 

You said if she is not feeling well, you go to church alone. Are you just keeping up appearances? That sounds positively dreadful to me.

Yes, keeping up appearances. I need to get her on board to some extent before I completely ditch it. Then I can come out to my kids. Actually, being there Sunday a.m. helps, I think, with skipping Sunday p.m. and Wednesday. That is, it makes it more likely that she will skip. We changed churches a year ago and did not establish any expectations, so if "we" (meaning at least one of us) shows up occasionally, nobody thinks about it. You may think that strange, but people like me in the closet do strange things I suppose.

 

This might be a touchy subject, but I'm wondering why your wife is still suffering so badly from the depression after all this time. Is it time to try different avenues for relief?

She has changed doctors a number of times over the years, usually sticking with one for 3-4 years, but really there seems to be no difference. I do believe she has to have some sort of effective counselling, and I should insist. I'm not sure about hypnotism, but she's interested in that right now, and since the hypnotist she's interested states that all hypnotism is self-hypnosis, I can see some potential in his getting her to help herself. If that fails I'll insist on CBT.

 

Don't balk but I must ask... Is it possible that you're enabling her?

I have considered that, but I don't know how to know. I'm not very assertive, so it seems likely that I'm not helping.

 

Honestly, once I got my mind straight again, I was able to see what I had been doing to my husband. (It was nothing major, mean or evil, just not as considerate of his feelings and efforts as I could have been.) Once your wife is feeling better, she may have a new respect for your religious stance, and just not care as much any more. In my non-professional opinion, I would fix her problem first, and yours will fix itself.

 

I'm sorry if this sounds harsh, MisterTwo. I am honestly trying to help you see things differently. I mean well, I promise!

Yes, I appreciate it. Thank you! Exactly the kind of advice I need.

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We still attend a fundamentalist congregation. She knows I don’t want to be there.

You know what, the more I think about this, the more I think I need to hurry up. I need to be completely out and through with whoever is going to give me grief, mostly meaning my sons, before I become a grandparent. If they have time to get used to it before that time, they won't go through wondering if it's safe to let their children spend the weekends. As far as I know, that's several years off, so it's best to get this done ASAP when the conflict will be minimalized.

 

I don't want to be there. I don't want to sing (much less lead!) songs about Jesus. I don't want to say words pretending to speak to a non-existent god. I don't want to listen to foolish sermons about "the world" which means not only non-Christians, but Baptists, Methodists, and Catholics, too. Switching to this tiny church last year is the perfect opportunity for me to get away with minimal conflict.

 

She's going to act guilty and tell me she thinks it's her fault, because she has discouraged me. She did that a few months ago. (She's an expert at making things about her.) The fact that I backed off means it's going to happen all over again, when it could have been overwith by now.

 

Okay, I'm showing all sorts of resolve as the anonymous Mr. Two. Will I have the courage to make this happen?

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She's going to act guilty and tell me she thinks it's her fault, because she has discouraged me. She did that a few months ago. (She's an expert at making things about her.) The fact that I backed off means it's going to happen all over again, when it could have been over with by now.

 

 

If you value peace, then it sounds like confronting some of the conflict now but having it over with is ultimately going to bring a lot more peace to your life than carrying on years of charade. It's like ripping a bandaid off vs. letting a wound fester.

 

 

 

BTW, I don't think you can "impose" atheism on someone else by not going to church. Imposing atheism on a spouse would be refusing to let them go to church, not letting their Christian friends come over, harassing their Christian friends and family, etc. Not participating is not imposing.

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We still attend a fundamentalist congregation. She knows I don’t want to be there.

You know what, the more I think about this, the more I think I need to hurry up. I need to be completely out and through with whoever is going to give me grief, mostly meaning my sons, before I become a grandparent. If they have time to get used to it before that time, they won't go through wondering if it's safe to let their children spend the weekends. As far as I know, that's several years off, so it's best to get this done ASAP when the conflict will be minimalized.

 

I don't want to be there. I don't want to sing (much less lead!) songs about Jesus. I don't want to say words pretending to speak to a non-existent god. I don't want to listen to foolish sermons about "the world" which means not only non-Christians, but Baptists, Methodists, and Catholics, too. Switching to this tiny church last year is the perfect opportunity for me to get away with minimal conflict.

 

She's going to act guilty and tell me she thinks it's her fault, because she has discouraged me. She did that a few months ago. (She's an expert at making things about her.) The fact that I backed off means it's going to happen all over again, when it could have been overwith by now.

 

Okay, I'm showing all sorts of resolve as the anonymous Mr. Two. Will I have the courage to make this happen?

 

 

I am simply offering another POV on a very difficult issue. Every situation and person is different.  Ultimately we all have to do what we have to do. My wife is a cradle Christian. Jesus is a very big part of who she is. He’s in her DNA. We have terminally ill Daughter-in-law that is part of the mix too. I am apparently very fortunate that Christians and Christianity doesn’t get under my skin.  Having been a 40+ year Christian apparently gives me sufficient insight into that thinking that it allows me to simply tune it out.

 

My wife and I were deeply committed and involved in Christianity for 40+ plus years. I am the one that saw the problems and in my zeal to find solutions I ended up rejecting all of it. She didn’t ask or agree to be part of any of that. After 47 years of marriage I am still as deeply in love with her as I was on day one. I still attend church services with her because I feel that’s the right thing for me to do. I’m the one with the problem so I figure I’m the one that needs to be the most flexible and understanding of her feelings and needs in this situation.

 

I’m not pretending, she knows I am no longer a believer. She knows I’m going to church simply to support her. I think because I didn’t allow my de-conversion to become a marital issue, and I’m not attempting to de-convert her, so my rejection of Christianity hasn’t become a divisive issue.

With the passing of time she has become more open minded about her beliefs. She didn’t offer any objections when I told her I really wanted to get away from fundamentalism and worship in a lot less dogmatic environment.  At most church stuff takes an hour or hour and a half out of one day a week.  As far as I’m concerned that isn’t much of a sacrifice considering that my de-conversion epiphany rocked her world in ways she never contemplated and certainly didn’t agree to.

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Last night my wife was awake (about 4:30 if I remember correctly). She currently has a hairline fracture in her right foot (no idea what caused it), and also a small tear in her left rotator cuff. (Also for unknown reason, probably repetitive stress.) She had the other rotator cuff repaired a couple of years ago (complete tear!). All of this hurts and sometimes wakes her up at night. She also has fibromyalgia, so there's a lot of general pain with that.

 

She woke me, and asked if I ever prayed anymore. I said "no". She asked if I still did not believe in God. I said "no". (Or maybe I said "yes". I answered affirmatively anyway.)

 

Then she said "maybe he isn't blessing us because of our lack of faith." I started not to answer, but finally asked if she was blaming me. She said no, that wasn't it, she thought that her lack of faith was part of the problem, as well. (I believe her. She did not sound like she was mad at me when she asked the question. She really wasn't saying it was my fault.)

 

And that's why people turn to religion in the first place: To explain the unexplainable. In this case, the unexplainable is "why me?"

 

Next time this is discussed, hopefully I'll be awake enough to point out that she had way more than her share of problems at a time when we both prayed regularly, and that there have even been times when we prayed having convinced ourselves that the problems would be addressed because we were convinced that god would help her (where "convinced" equates to "had complete faith"). Her continued illness isn't evidence of a lack of faith on our part, because we haven't always lacked that faith. Instead, it's evidence that there's no invisible helper listening.

 

The stupid part is that it made me wonder whether there really could be a god trying to tell me something. We hadn't discussed it in some time, yet after I get back on this site and start posting, the subject coincidentally comes up. It's those coincidences in life that make us wonder whether there's something deliberate going on that we can't see. I know better. If I called thought there might be a "personal god" it would be because of these coincidences, yet it's obvious that the Bible is wrong all over, so if there was a god it wouldn't be that one.

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