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bfuddled
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Initially after I told my husband that I didn't believe in God anymore, he was upset and we had a huge fight/discussion. We smoothed it over and have largely avoided the subject since then (about 2 months ago). A few days ago we had a pretty decent discussion about things, but then yesterday he mentioned to me that he has been looking into apologetics stuff, and is now reading the WLC book "Reasonable Faith". I haven't read that one, but I've not heard great things about WLC and his style of apologetics.

 

I did some reading yesterday about the main arguments that WLC makes, and felt relatively comfortable should the conversation come up again. Last night we got into a conversation again, started out pretty good, but I could tell there was a bit of a fervent feeling behind his words.

 

The gist of his argument seemed to be that 1. We can't KNOW anything for sure (similarly to the solipsism argument), therefore *I* couldn't know that anything science discovered/stated was true, 2. That using logic as a basis for all your decisions is a sterile way to live and denies the emotional self. and 3. Atheism/Atheists are just cowards who don't want to be wrong, so choose to simply refute what everyone else says instead of making claims about the truth themselves.

 

I think I did a pretty good job countering his points, but there was a definite wall up. The belief/feeling/conviction that using emotional/personal experience as a basis for belief is important and essential was hard for me to get around. I tried pointing out how we use logic and cause/effect in everything else in our lives to make decisions. I brought up the difference between Andrea Yates "hearing" from God to kill her 5 children being recognized as delusional, but Abraham hearing the same thing about his child was praised as obedience. That didn't sit well and things kind of derailed from there.

 

He is not happy with the fact that I have been talking to my oldest daughter about what I believe (or my lack of belief), and thinks that by giving the kids 2 different opinions we will be confusing them. I said that I understand his frustration, but that there really isn't any other option, as I'm not willing to only present them with Christianity. He started to get upset and stated that it was hard enough for him to deal with the fact that I may be going to Hell, but that if one or more of our children ended up not accepting Christ, it would break his heart.

 

At this point I was pretty heated and said, "And you worship the God that would send them to Hell for eternity."

 

He argued that God doesn't SEND them to hell, that that's the consequences of their own choices, blah blah blah. I stated (as I've said before to him) that I am NOT in any way, shape or form, okay with Hell being used as a contro/fear tactic with any child, and that if he planned on telling them that they were going to Hell if they didn't accept jesus that that was disgusting and that I would vehemently oppose the idea on every front.

 

The entire conversation devolved from there and we had to walk away. I have a bad feeling that he's digging in and is going to further entrench himself in belief.

 

I think I'm going to back off of things for awhile and not pursue any conversations about it, as he seems to be looking for a fight and not willing to really entertain any logic on the issue.

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I will first like to say congratulations for revealing your secret to your husband, and telling him that you completely reject the notion of eternal torment. Also many things he says are ironic, for example, when he says we don't know that science is true.  I think your situation is rather bad, how do you hope things turn out?

 

Let me say a few things

 

1. Why can't he accept the fact that the Christian god is evil?

 

2.  Why doesn't he read the teachings of Jesus to see what Jesus really wants?

 

3.  Predestination is a truth in Christianity, so God will send non Christians to hell because he selected them as hellbound before they were born.

 

4. Who is more important, Unconditional love for your wife or love for your religion?

 

5. If the children want to be atheists, let them be.

 

6. Atheists are not cowards for rejecting Jesus/God, they see their stories as similar to the Easter bunny or Santa Claus, Many Christians may be cowards because they only join this cult out of the fear of going to hell.

 

7. Why can't he learn to be more understanding and quizzical of things?

 

8. So belief is more reliable than reason to him?

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I'm done posting here, but I've come to care about you, even if just as an efriend, bfuddled.

 

I just hope you find peace in this, somehow or some way. To tell you that you're going to hell...Idk. I don't know think I could stomach fighting or struggling with a partner day in and day out, over something that isn't really their business.

 

I just hope for the best for you! Stay true to you...stay strong. ((hugs))

 

I'll send you my email address in pm, and hopefully we can stay in touch like that. :)

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bfuddled,

 

I have had similar conversations with my wife.  It's very tough, esp with kids!  I can't go along with it either.  Why?  Because I think fundamentalist and traditional Christianity has very harmful elements and I don't want my kids to be harmed.  I have explained that to my wife-- and she could get the idea at least.

 

Personally, I think it can be helpful to seize on his sentiments that we can't "know" anything for certain.  We are finite and fallible beings-- we are always having to go based on limited info and imperfect minds.  But that applies to him as well.

 

I think it's helpful to consider how many different hells there supposedly are and how many different ways there are of supposedly getting there.

I posted today about how some rabbis used to think that Jesus was in hell (see "What Really Happened to Jesus!")

Pascal's Wager was the two choices of hell and Catholicism.  Muslims often think Christians go to hell.

There are all sorts of threats from polytheistic cultures about infertility, failed crops, natural disasters, and other things if gods are not worshipped.

 The options here are almost limitless...

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I'm sorry to hear that. Unfortunately, his arguments show that he doesn't really understand the scientific method. It is correct to say that we cannot "know" or measure the universe with absolute, arbitrarily precision and accuracy. This has been understood for nearly a century. However, when a certain framework or theory makes consistent predictions, at some point it's reasonable to believe that said framework can be used to know something about the universe. In many cases, it's a matter of how many decimal points will you go with? 99.9%, 99.99, 99.999999? This is the kind of knowledge we speak about in science. We are well aware of measurement uncertainty and often include that in the error bars. What I find interesting is how low persons of faith set the knowledge bar when it cons to their belief. A piece of burned toast with a pattern that resembles a face is taken to be a miracle while a theory that is accurate and precise to severs decimal places is not enough to pass the "knowledge" threshold?

 

Unfortunately, your husband is not really coming from a place of logic and intellectual honesty. I wish you all the best. I know my wife had a tough time when I came out to her. It's a tough position to put them into. Luckily, atheism, unlike many types of theism such as Christianity, makes no mandate about where to place families and loved ones, so you are free to put your family first and do what you feel necessary.

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That's rough.  Sorry ((bfuddled)).  Perhaps you can offer to read WLC if he will agree to read Ehrman or Loftus.  Regarding the doctrine of hell, there is plenty of debate on that in Christian circles.  A study if the history of the doctrine within the church might be helpful.  *hugs*

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I learned a lot from the debate between Sean Carroll, a theoretical physicist, and Wm. Lane Craig about the origins of the universe. One of Carroll's points is that theism is ill-defined, so theists can explain pretty much anything somehow as coming from God; they can move the goalposts, etc.

 

There are a number of videos of the debate floating around. Here's a link to one of the videos, this one from Carroll's own website:

 

http://www.preposterousuniverse.com/blog/2014/02/27/godcosmology-debate-videos/

 

 

 

Here are some comments Carroll made afterwards:

 

http://freethoughtblogs.com/singham/2014/02/24/sean-carrolls-reflections-on-his-debate-with-william-lane-craig/

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When this stuff comes up with my family I stick to my answers:

 

1.  I don't want to talk about this.

 

2.  You wouldn't like the answer.

 

3.  I'm not trying to change your mind.

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I would not trust WLC to water my plants when I went on holiday, let alone base any real world decisions concerning his "teaching" 

 

WLC makes money from promoting Christianity. Actual real life cash in the bank money by pretending he is in a relationship with a monster called Yahweh. Pitiful really. Polly Toynbee is a leading writer and humanist here in the UK, Initially she agreed to debate WLC, but withdrew purely because she  felt he was such a slippery bastard (although she didn't word it quite so harshly)

 

Bfuddled, you write beautifully and it is to your absolute credit you should want to question the beliefs handed down to you. It may be a hard journey, but it is a rewarding one.

 

I am familiar with the Andrea Yates story (very,very sad it is as well) Christians rarely kill their children , thank goodness, but such is the horror of the Bible when taken to its literal meaning.

 

I don't presume to offer you marriage advice, but you most certainly have my very best wishes.

 

Good luck

 

Cas

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"He argued that God doesn't SEND them to hell, that that's the consequences of their own choices, blah blah blah. I stated (as I've said before to him) that I am NOT in any way, shape or form, okay with Hell being used as a contro/fear tactic with any child, and that if he planned on telling them that they were going to Hell if they didn't accept jesus that that was disgusting and that I would vehemently oppose the idea on every front."   bfuddled

 

 

 

Gawd bless you, I know precisely how you feel, I'm in the same boat. It is astounding how these irrational thoughts get so ingrained that they can't even discuss rationally any alternative to theirs. My wife thinks the idea of not believing in god is horrible and yet she absolutely refuses to have a discussion about why I don't believe. She does not want to even hear my reasons.

 

The argument that children if they go to hell will be responsible for their own choices, as I know you are aware, is a cop out. Does your husband believe that a real god would send his children to hell forever because they honestly, in good faith, do not believe that god would do such a horrible thing simply because of the lack of evidence?   The bible has so many horrible things in it supposedly done by god that is  hard for a thinking person to believe it is the Word of God. 

 

If you come up with a solution please let me know. And good luck.  bill

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Found the damn thing, praise be to the ham and cheese sandwich.

 

Steve Shives does have his "An Atheist Reads" commentary on Reasonable Faith.  

 

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Sorry to hear about this. I hope it gets better.

 

Have you read Peter Boghossian's book A Manual For Creating Atheists? It has some really useful tips for talking to people without it turning into a fight. The short version is: don't get into debates about facts, use Socratic questioning to ask lots of questions about how we know things and whether faith is a reliable way to learn about the world. Here's a short interview with him about this approach.

 

I normally don't think it's a good idea for partners to try to change each other's beliefs, especially so fresh after deconverting, but he seems to be starting the conversations. Ironically, even though he questions how you can be so certain about your beliefs (apparently he doesn't get that you are not making any claims to belief, but rather rejecting theistic/supernatural claims), he seems pretty certain about his own. Let me encourage you to not fall into the trap of debating him, and instead just focus on asking questions about how he can possibly be so certain about his own beliefs. 

 

Good luck, hope things improve!

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I was thinking about your OP on my walk around the reservoir, bfuddled.

 

I can't give any better advice about your relationship than people have already given. Mercifully, the issues that have come up for me are not religious.

 

As to the "you can't know anything" argument, I think what RS said is excellent. Christians use the scientific method, or at least, benefit from its applications every day, but they don't want to apply it to "knowledge" about God. So...

 

one model for having knowledge about something is having a means of making predictions that are testable, and then checking your assumptions by the outcome of your prediction. The more times the assumption holds up, the stronger your claim to knowledge, even if not knowledge in the strongest sense.

 

What testable predictions do religious doctrines, or biblical assertions, enable us to make? Can we make predictions, and then test them, and find they pan out 99+% of the time, in the domains of:

healings?

prophecies?

other answered prayer?

snake handling (I think churches that do this game the system and mistreat the snakes)?

even, biblical interpretation? Pick a topic and see if experts will come up with the same answer from the bible with a high degree of unanimity, a high percentage of the time.

 

etc.

 

J.P. Morgan, when asked to predict what the stock market would do, famously replied, "It will fluctuate." When asked to predict what theologians will come up with from the Bible on any topic, I'd venture to say, "They will disagree."

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Sounds like you made your point eloquently.  Unfortunately it seems that the more intelligent and to-the-point your statements are, the more angry (and frightened) the bible-thumpers become.  This is what they call "a test of faith": because if it makes perfect sense but threatens their beliefs, then it must come from that cunning, confusing devil.  They pass the test by making their minds go completely blank.  Obtuseness is to them a great victory.  This is not a test of faith though; it's a test of submission.  Which is all dog wants more than anything - it is, you could say, the best synonym of "love" for him.

 

Please continue to fight for your children to have the right to believe in whatever they will.  When they grow older, that's what they will end up doing anyway.  Millions of Catholic school kids grow up to be not very good Catholics - yours truly included.

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Sorry to hear things are not going well with your husband.  I agree it might be good time to step back and not discuss religion for a while. 

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Initially after I told my husband that I didn't believe in God anymore, he was upset and we had a huge fight/discussion. We smoothed it over and have largely avoided the subject since then (about 2 months ago). A few days ago we had a pretty decent discussion about things, but then yesterday he mentioned to me that he has been looking into apologetics stuff, and is now reading the WLC book "Reasonable Faith". I haven't read that one, but I've not heard great things about WLC and his style of apologetics.

 

That guy makes me throw up. He's a sophist of the highest order. 

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I hate that you are going through this bfuddled.  I can't imagine how difficult it is, having never been through it.  All I can really say is that basing major life decisions on pure emotion is a recipe for complete disaster.  Every major life decision I ever made base on "it just feels right" turned out to be huge mistakes, every single one of them.  

 

With that as a given, I prefer logic.  Hell, a simple list of pros and cons is better than, "I think the lord is leading me."  Emotions have their place, as I'm sure you know; but they are a poor platform for formulating a life strategy.

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Initially after I told my husband that I didn't believe in God anymore, he was upset and we had a huge fight/discussion. We smoothed it over and have largely avoided the subject since then (about 2 months ago). A few days ago we had a pretty decent discussion about things, but then yesterday he mentioned to me that he has been looking into apologetics stuff, and is now reading the WLC book "Reasonable Faith". I haven't read that one, but I've not heard great things about WLC and his style of apologetics.

 

I did some reading yesterday about the main arguments that WLC makes, and felt relatively comfortable should the conversation come up again. Last night we got into a conversation again, started out pretty good, but I could tell there was a bit of a fervent feeling behind his words.

 

The gist of his argument seemed to be that 1. We can't KNOW anything for sure (similarly to the solipsism argument), therefore *I* couldn't know that anything science discovered/stated was true, 2. That using logic as a basis for all your decisions is a sterile way to live and denies the emotional self. and 3. Atheism/Atheists are just cowards who don't want to be wrong, so choose to simply refute what everyone else says instead of making claims about the truth themselves.

 

I think I did a pretty good job countering his points, but there was a definite wall up. The belief/feeling/conviction that using emotional/personal experience as a basis for belief is important and essential was hard for me to get around. I tried pointing out how we use logic and cause/effect in everything else in our lives to make decisions. I brought up the difference between Andrea Yates "hearing" from God to kill her 5 children being recognized as delusional, but Abraham hearing the same thing about his child was praised as obedience. That didn't sit well and things kind of derailed from there.

 

He is not happy with the fact that I have been talking to my oldest daughter about what I believe (or my lack of belief), and thinks that by giving the kids 2 different opinions we will be confusing them. I said that I understand his frustration, but that there really isn't any other option, as I'm not willing to only present them with Christianity. He started to get upset and stated that it was hard enough for him to deal with the fact that I may be going to Hell, but that if one or more of our children ended up not accepting Christ, it would break his heart.

 

At this point I was pretty heated and said, "And you worship the God that would send them to Hell for eternity."

 

He argued that God doesn't SEND them to hell, that that's the consequences of their own choices, blah blah blah. I stated (as I've said before to him) that I am NOT in any way, shape or form, okay with Hell being used as a contro/fear tactic with any child, and that if he planned on telling them that they were going to Hell if they didn't accept jesus that that was disgusting and that I would vehemently oppose the idea on every front.

 

The entire conversation devolved from there and we had to walk away. I have a bad feeling that he's digging in and is going to further entrench himself in belief.

 

I think I'm going to back off of things for awhile and not pursue any conversations about it, as he seems to be looking for a fight and not willing to really entertain any logic on the issue.

 

If we "can't know anything for sure" then toss the bible in the trash. A Christian surely would NOT want to read something that could be bullshit. And ignore WLC as well cuz we can't know what he's saying is true either.

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Initially after I told my husband that I didn't believe in God anymore, he was upset and we had a huge fight/discussion. We smoothed it over and have largely avoided the subject since then (about 2 months ago). A few days ago we had a pretty decent discussion about things, but then yesterday he mentioned to me that he has been looking into apologetics stuff, and is now reading the WLC book "Reasonable Faith". I haven't read that one, but I've not heard great things about WLC and his style of apologetics.

 

I did some reading yesterday about the main arguments that WLC makes, and felt relatively comfortable should the conversation come up again. Last night we got into a conversation again, started out pretty good, but I could tell there was a bit of a fervent feeling behind his words.

 

The gist of his argument seemed to be that 1. We can't KNOW anything for sure (similarly to the solipsism argument), therefore *I* couldn't know that anything science discovered/stated was true, 2. That using logic as a basis for all your decisions is a sterile way to live and denies the emotional self. and 3. Atheism/Atheists are just cowards who don't want to be wrong, so choose to simply refute what everyone else says instead of making claims about the truth themselves.

 

I think I did a pretty good job countering his points, but there was a definite wall up. The belief/feeling/conviction that using emotional/personal experience as a basis for belief is important and essential was hard for me to get around. I tried pointing out how we use logic and cause/effect in everything else in our lives to make decisions. I brought up the difference between Andrea Yates "hearing" from God to kill her 5 children being recognized as delusional, but Abraham hearing the same thing about his child was praised as obedience. That didn't sit well and things kind of derailed from there.

 

He is not happy with the fact that I have been talking to my oldest daughter about what I believe (or my lack of belief), and thinks that by giving the kids 2 different opinions we will be confusing them. I said that I understand his frustration, but that there really isn't any other option, as I'm not willing to only present them with Christianity. He started to get upset and stated that it was hard enough for him to deal with the fact that I may be going to Hell, but that if one or more of our children ended up not accepting Christ, it would break his heart.

 

At this point I was pretty heated and said, "And you worship the God that would send them to Hell for eternity."

 

He argued that God doesn't SEND them to hell, that that's the consequences of their own choices, blah blah blah. I stated (as I've said before to him) that I am NOT in any way, shape or form, okay with Hell being used as a contro/fear tactic with any child, and that if he planned on telling them that they were going to Hell if they didn't accept jesus that that was disgusting and that I would vehemently oppose the idea on every front.

 

The entire conversation devolved from there and we had to walk away. I have a bad feeling that he's digging in and is going to further entrench himself in belief.

 

I think I'm going to back off of things for awhile and not pursue any conversations about it, as he seems to be looking for a fight and not willing to really entertain any logic on the issue.

 

 

If he is afraid of his religion standing or failing on its own merit and doesn't think it is ok to present them with both sides and let them decide for himself I would say he is not very confident in his position in the first place.

 

Is his argument so weak that it cannot stand up to legitimate debate? Might want to challenge him with that as it is not right that he would desire that his own flesh and blood be denied a chance to think for themselves.

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Hi bfuddled...I just want to check in today. I sent you a pm, and I told you about a chat I had with a dear friend.

 

You know, I've typically defended against the idea of marriage for a long time. And if I'm honest, it's because it scares me. The idea that you can love someone THAT much, enough to give your life to him/her? That's really wow to me.

 

You have found that, apparently...and I just want to say...like I said in pm, that if you have found that kind of love...maybe it's worth fighting for.

 

However the heck that plays out...lol That's up to you both. Maybe two people can find common ground, in a case like yours. Maybe for love? I'm willing to believe that it could be possible. :)

 

Anyways, my best to you and your hubby... <3

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Hey everyone ,thanks for the great replies and advice! I'm running around chasing the kids today, so I don't have time to reply to everything indivudally, I will try to get to it tonite. I just wanted to say THANKS in the meantime.:)

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bfuddled, I feel for you.  it's really tough on relationships when major life changes are happening.  When I deconverted it was at my wife's lead. She's always been more of the searcher for as long as I've known her (since 7 @ sunday school).  I found it tough to initially hear her thoughts and opinions on the subject of her deconversion.  I was hearing everything based on the guilt/shame complex that was installed in me from years of faith blinded indoctrination.  But after several conversations her logic really one me over, as it typically does.  And now I feel SO much better about life and I feel I have so much more control, I wasn't expecting to god to fix or punish me...it's awesome!  (thanks for the help with that babe)

 

I hope for you and everyone involved that your husband will take the time to listen...honestly.  If that happens, I'm sure he'll come around.  

 

Warning: it's obviously going to take a lot of effort and patience and lots of love wouldn't hurt the sitch.  For so many people the dogma that helped shape their intellect or lack there of is incredibly difficult to shake loose from.  'cause if you do you'll burn in hell for eternity...right

 

Good luck. I'll hope to read some good news.

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Wow. "can't know anything for sure" That's just stupid. Well you could just be a brain floating in a tank somewhere, therefore Jesus.

 

"He argued that God doesn't SEND them to hell, that that's the consequences of their own choices". He made hell, is the judge, has his angels do the throwing, but he isn't SENDing them there. Good thing he and his angels are no more real than Quetzalcoatl.

 

Don't hide what you know to be true. Your kids deserve better than a life spent serving myths out of fear. So does your husband, but believers are afraid to not believe. They were promised a big payout if they believe, and horrible punishment if they don't. It's a childish tiny mental programming loop, but it keeps millions of people going to church and proclaiming their faith as Real Truth.

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bfuddled, there's been plenty of advice already, and I don't really have anything offhand to add. I will say, though, that I wish you the best as you deal with this stressful situation.

 

Have you read Peter Boghossian's book A Manual For Creating Atheists? It has some really useful tips for talking to people without it turning into a fight. The short version is: don't get into debates about facts, use Socratic questioning to ask lots of questions about how we know things and whether faith is a reliable way to learn about the world. Here's a short interview with him about this approach.

 

I normally don't think it's a good idea for partners to try to change each other's beliefs, especially so fresh after deconverting, but he seems to be starting the conversations. Ironically, even though he questions how you can be so certain about your beliefs (apparently he doesn't get that you are not making any claims to belief, but rather rejecting theistic/supernatural claims), he seems pretty certain about his own. Let me encourage you to not fall into the trap of debating him, and instead just focus on asking questions about how he can possibly be so certain about his own beliefs.

 

That sounds like a good approach. Thanks for mentioning this, as that book sounds like an interesting read. I may have to get a copy (though the title is probably not something that bfuddled would want her husband to see, nor I my wife).

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That sounds like a good approach. Thanks for mentioning this, as that book sounds like an interesting read. I may have to get a copy (though the title is probably not something that bfuddled would want her husband to see, nor I my wife).

 

As long as you keep it right next to any of  their books on evangelism, I think you should be OK. ;) 

 

I mean, it's a win-win, right? Either they ask you to get rid of the book and agree to get rid of their evangelism books too, or they see that it's absurd that they can keep the living room bookshelf full of Bibles and Christian books while you have to keep your few in the freaking nightstand drawer. 

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