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Spiritual Conflict - Infertility changed me...


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Hi, I currently am in the midst of a spiritual/religious conflict and need some advice. I grew up with an agnostic dad and a Catholic mom so I was exposed to both sides growing up. Most of my family is agnostic today. I became a christian in college, but then fell back into my more agnostic roots, and then went back to christianity a few years later (I know some would argue that means I was never really christian to begin with).

 

Anyways, I have been attending a christian church the past 1.5 year and most people are pretty nice there, etc. However, I have always been a bit hesitant around fanatical christians or very right wing views since I grew up in a very left-wing, liberal family. Regardless, most of the people are nice people, and it was going well even though I felt deep down some belief differences I ignored it as to just being our essential political differences and nothing more important.

 

To explain the conflict....I have been struggling with infertility for 4 years (please no hurtful comments) and have lived through multiple failed treatments with my husband. It has been awful and while I was able to manage being positive the first 3.75 years of it, these past few months I have literally had a switch go off and I feel like I have changed.  I recently decided to take a break from church. I feel like no matter how much I pray, or ask others to pray, nothing happens. Many people at church try to offer "comfort" which I honestly appreciate because I know their intentions are good, but often their words are not the best choice. I feel like I get tired of their generic comments about how to deal with this issue. I even wrote a novel to the pastor about my current spiritual conflict, and he took over a week to respond to my message and his reply was basically, in summary. "I don't know what to say." which just left me feeling disappointed. I guess I expected more support aside from "I am praying for you" from a pastor. I felt like he should have reached out more, or made more of an effort. I am not trying to bad mouth him, he is a decent person, just how it honestly made me feel. 

 

I know many christian couples who have gone through infertility and had success, or even adopted said they could not see the light at the end of the tunnel while in 'the storm'. 

 

I feel like I do not know where I stand right now. It is easy for me to fall back into being agnostic since my family is, but I also feel like I am being pulled to be christian. I live in a foreign country with my husband and as bad as this sounds, I am afraid I will lose all of my friends if I do not go to church since that is where I met all my friends here. I like them too, but I know it would change the nature of the friendships.  I also feel a lot of guilt right now about not attending church and that I might be making a mistake. ALSO, my MIL is an extreme fanatic christian (puts her religion in everyone's face) so I have that to deal with as well. My husband fortunately is on the same page as me and he works in medicine/science. 

 

Anyone else been through this back and forth pull? I feel so confused and torn. 

 

I never thought I would be writing here and even feel guilty writing this post. 

 

[The reason I chose to write here is because pretty much everything I find on google is biased and written by a pastor. I need something more neutral or from people who know what this conflict is like.]

 

Thank you

 

 

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I strongly suspect the reason(s) for your infertility is biological and has nothing whatsoever to do with your personal beliefs, whether they be religious, agnostic or something else.

 

I suggest you should emotionally and intellectually decouple your infertility from all the things you have attached it to, except the actual evidence and science surrounding it.  Make life simple.

 

As to your concern of how certain theists will react if you choose to reveal your true beliefs (i.e., non-religious) to them, the related religion-based peer pressure and rejection you fear or perceive, and the consequences of all that, I don't know what to say.  You need to weigh the internal moral consequences to yourself of lying or being truthful.  Those are more important, at least to some folks. 

 

Fortunately, you have a husband who is on the same page as you.  Stand together.

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Thanks @sdelsolray - I appreciate your response. I agree about being honest. My husband is a dr so he tells me to look at my health issues from a biological perspective, but then because we go (or used to go) to church we also prayed a lot and I just felt worn out and disappointed after so many years. 

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12 minutes ago, aila said:

Thanks @sdelsolray - I appreciate your response. I agree about being honest. My husband is a dr so he tells me to look at my health issues from a biological perspective, but then because we go (or used to go) to church we also prayed a lot and I just felt worn out and disappointed after so many years. 

 

What about the peer pressure?  That seems to be a more difficult issue than just spending time going to church and praying, particularly if internally you value reality more than make-believe.

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Hi @sdelsolray Good question, yes the peer pressure is a big factor, especially since my good friends where I live I met here at church. I even saw one yesterday and felt disappointment and sadness coming from her because I have not been going to church. I felt kinda judged even though I know she prob wishes I were there because we are friends and I think she truly is worried about me. Also, people will not mention religion but then every now and then mention how I should go back, or not abandon the church. It does feel like pressure. I know they mean well and I am glad I met them, I just hope they do not base our friendship on whether or not we attend the same church. Back in the US my friends were/are my friends regardless of my personal beliefs and I liked that. 

 

My MIL will be the real challenge when we see her soon. She is a very "in your face" evangelical that "I am right you are wrong". I am not sure how that will be. I told her via texting to not send me certain things, but in person will be another story. 

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Oh @sdelsolray, I also wanted to add that 2 days ago the pastor told me about a "fundamentals of faith" course he is doing (which conflicts with my work schedule and is happening during this time I am possibly stepping away) and he sent me messages about it asking if I am going. I replied saying it conflicts with my schedule but thanks for letting me know. His reply really got under my skin becaue it was "You were the one who convinced me to do this course in the first place...we will miss you.". That irritated me because it came off very "guilt tripping". Yeah over a YEAR ago I had asked about the course and would have gone last year, but even if I wanted to go this year, you don't notify someone 2 days before it starts who has a job. But I guess there is the assumption that my job is not as important as the course...ugg

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22 minutes ago, aila said:

Oh @sdelsolray, I also wanted to add that 2 days ago the pastor told me about a "fundamentals of faith" course he is doing (which conflicts with my work schedule and is happening during this time I am possibly stepping away) and he sent me messages about it asking if I am going. I replied saying it conflicts with my schedule but thanks for letting me know. His reply really got under my skin becaue it was "You were the one who convinced me to do this course in the first place...we will miss you.". That irritated me because it came off very "guilt tripping". Yeah over a YEAR ago I had asked about the course and would have gone last year, but even if I wanted to go this year, you don't notify someone 2 days before it starts who has a job. But I guess there is the assumption that my job is not as important as the course...ugg

 

You may be reading more into the situation than what actually exists.  A possible response you could make to the pastor:

 

"I'm glad I inspired you to prepare your course.  I hope it will be beneficial for those who attend".

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:) good response

 

I guess my initial response though is because that particular church does expect people to often skip work for their events and even if someone just had a baby, church is always priority over anything else.

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35 minutes ago, aila said:

:) good response

 

I guess my initial response though is because that particular church does expect people to often skip work for their events and even if someone just had a baby, church is always priority over anything else.

 

That's their problem if they think that way.  You don't need to take ownership of their problem, enable that behavior or be codependent upon the behavior.

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On 1/6/2018 at 8:31 PM, aila said:

 

 I feel like no matter how much I pray, or ask others to pray, nothing happens. Many people at church try to offer "comfort" which I honestly appreciate because I know their intentions are good, but often their words are not the best choice. I feel like I get tired of their generic comments about how to deal with this issue. I even wrote a novel to the pastor about my current spiritual conflict, and he took over a week to respond to my message and his reply was basically, in summary. "I don't know what to say." which just left me feeling disappointed. I guess I expected more support aside from "I am praying for you" from a pastor. I felt like he should have reached out more, or made more of an effort. I am not trying to bad mouth him, he is a decent person, just how it honestly made me feel. 
 

Although your experience is different, I can identify with the well meant comments and good intentions of people. Are they comforting for you, that is the question. They brought no comfort for me, only disquiet, but at the heart of the matter it wasn't people's comments, but the foundation of my faith and relationship with god that was on very shaky ground because of the amount of pain in my life, and the silence on god's end. It's a path you must walk yourself, the uncertainty, and search for answers. I gained peace and quickly when I began to read, some of those books have already been recommended to you. This is a very individual path we all walk, but for me, atheism has brought far more comfort and peace with personal struggles than my former belief in a god who was silent and distant.

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On 1/7/2018 at 1:21 PM, aila said:

That irritated me because it came off very "guilt tripping"

 

Of course it was guilt tripping. If I ever wanted to do something else, the phrase in my old church was "We could really use you..."  Accent on the USE.

You also said that they expect you to stop whatever else might be going on and go to church. This is how they keep people obedient to them, and emotionally dependent on the structure of their church. Our pastor wanted my wife to quit her job and take care of the books for the church, for free. We left the church and that was the last of it for us. I'd been in other churches that used slick Zig Ziglar sales techniques all the time on the congregation to get them to cough up money for the latest project. Bleah!

 

You don't deserve to be treated like a child with controlling parents. The friends you say you would lose, would they stick with you if you left the church? If not, they likely aren't really friends. If all you have in common is the shared myth, then you aren't really going to lose much except emotional manipulation. If you can get out and involved in other things you really enjoy doing, and meet people in those circles, you'll find after a while that you will have new friends.

 

Mother in law sounds like a flaming tyrant that needs to be put in her place rather harshly. She can freak out and have tantrums and bind the devil in her own house away from you. All of this drama and control-freaks and invisible enemies and invisible friends is clouding your life with stuff that isn't real or and is distinctly not healthful.

 

It sounds like you are tired of the non-answers, endless bible verses, and failed promises. It also sounds like you are becoming willing to stand up to the lies and toss them for a healthy lifestyle away from all the chaos and mind-control. That is wonderful! I hope you find your strength, and I hope your husband is also strong. He'll need to be to shut up the MIL and get her out of your life. Block her and boot her out. Her religion is one of "ooga-booga" and has no real power outside of fear, so she's going to try and throw all kinds of shit your way to stay in control. Others on this forum have some terrible family issues with controlling mothers, and would be better off a few thousand miles away with an unlisted number.

 

Welcome to the forums, I hope you stay.

 

 

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