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LostinParis

My husband says I am going to hell

Question

I feel like this is a deal-breaker for me. How can I continue to stay married to someone who thinks I am deserving of hell? Has anyone else found themselves in this same position?

 

We have three kids and he is terrified that they will end up in hell too.

 

hellp

 

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35 minutes ago, TruthSeeker0 said:

He likely has a very us vs them approach to religious and non-religious people, ie "this therapist will never be on my side" or even "this therapist is also led by the devil." It's difficult to make progress in that scenario. The key is getting him to see your perspective.

 

Edit: also, religion often goes hand in hand with denying or repressing problems in your life.

 

Bingo. He has a polarized view of the world, eg. good vs evil, saved vs unsaved, you are either with us or against us.

 

How exactly do you think religion and repressing/denial of problems are connected? This is a fascinating concept.

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6 hours ago, MOHO said:

 

Issuing an ultimatum is an approach that is likely the quickest path to divorce.

 

Mrs. MOHO went through the "my husband is going to Hell" emotion. Apparently it was a phaze with her and I hope, for the sake of your marriage and your happiness that it is for Mr. LostInParis as well. Surprisingly to me this phase only lasted a couple of months - or less - and I'm thinking that the reason may be two fold. 

 

1. She already had a very strong inkling of my disbelief even before I came out. 

2. Due to her extensive law experience she possesses the ability and willingness to use a modicum of logic and reason even in the face of a religion that frowns on such "worldly"       concepts. 

 

What has transpired over the past year is that I have shown that I am not evil, I am not controlled by anything other than my own reason (good or bad), and I am not leaving. By simply being the loving, attentive, helpful, and doting husband that I have always been she has come to doubt the horrible doctrine which holds that good, kind, decent people are damned just because they don't simply go along with a crowed that wraps itself in a belief system that is fortified by a very very thin set of evidence and logic. Either that or she asked god to give me a by and, if you prey, god will grant your wish. RIGHT!? :)

 

Going forward there will be good and bad times, just like any other marriage. I socialize with her fundy friends and I have made it very clear what my position is and there have not been any attempts to yank me back into the fold in several months. She studies her Bible and does not engage me - she knows what that will result in. I'm hoping some day said studiousness will bring about an enlightenment that I can nurture - but I'm not holding my breath. 

 

All that mushy stuff aside if there is abuse or if abuse rears its ugly head then lawyer up and get out.  I get a little of the lording over now and then but I can stand up to it and they almost alway slink away. Hell I even enjoy the exchange in my own sick and twisted little way. I would not, however, suggest that anyone else endure any kind of abuse for any reason. 

 

I hope I helped a little, @LostinParis and I hope I stayed reasonably on track with the original question/topic. The unequally yoked gig can have so many facets and properties that discussing one aspect of it can be challenging and frequently not the best approach. 

 

Keep us posted and...where is your skating helmut young lady!? 

 

Thanks @MOHO Fingers crossed that this phase only lasts a couple of months like Mrs Moho. 🤞

 

There is no abuse, the hell comment is by far the worst thing he has said. Can yelling be considered emotional abuse?

 

Marriage is hard ☹️

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16 minutes ago, LostinParis said:

 

Thanks @MOHO Fingers crossed that this phase only lasts a couple of months like Mrs Moho. 🤞

 

There is no abuse, the hell comment is by far the worst thing he has said. Can yelling be considered emotional abuse?

 

Marriage is hard ☹️

It depends what he was yelling about, was he just venting frustration over the issue? Or was he yelling at you that you're going to hell, in a dominating way? I'm curious, because domination is all part of the patriarchy thing, ie "you're my wife, you should be listening to ME, because MY opinion matters."

First off the bat, if yelling starts, I would wait until he's finished, calmly tell him you both need a time out and you should return to the discussion when you've both calmed down. But before you do that acknowledge each others frustration etc. Geez I'm starting to sound like a counsellor here etc, I'm just thinking what I'd do in this scenario, because I know yelling is a major trigger for me and I easily yell back and no that doesn't help.

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2 hours ago, DanForsman said:

Wow LostinParis you are getting a ton of info and brain storming of possible responses here! Good for you. I totally have to add my two cents. I think you do need to say something in the near future to stick up for yourself and also to give your husband a chance by letting him know how what he says and feels affects you. So in my view the question is just regarding what you should say and how you say it. I’m not partial about whether you start with a letter or a conversation but I think (as I nearly always advise lately) you should stay away from specific reasons for why Christianity comes up short of it’s promises. Just be clear you’ve made a considered opinion that is not very likely to change and maybe say he can look at a book that explains some of your concerns (pick your favorite) or that if he really wants to hear specifically from you that you will be willing to respond to his specific questions as long as the conversation remains low keyed. I just think these discussions of what’s wrong with Christianity head into a never ending circle of conflict and bruised egos. Especially in your case because what needs to be discussed is whether or not Mr LostinParis is willing to venture into an unequally yoked relationship with you. You are both committed to your religious/non religious positions and you want to continue with the marriage even with the difficulties inherent in the situation, but does he? It can’t work if he has absolutely nothing to offer (as for example Mrs HOHO did offer a bit) regarding letting you make your own decisions impacting your own soul. And this goes into my last item. I know you say you have a good husband and i’m sure that is true in very many areas but I can’t help but suspect that he is also very patriarchal because of his inability after all these years of living with you to show absolutely any respect whatever for your judgment. No doubt it is easiest and probably hasn’t seemed like that big of a deal to subjugate your own feelings and thoughts to your husband’s over the years but you may one day come to discover that you have given too much of yourself away and have a very big price to pay when you have to go in search of your true self. If this is possibly the case your need to start sticking up for and making much more accommodation for your own thoughts and feelings. You didn’t really disclose a lot so there is necessarily a lot of guessing going on but just throw away the stuff that doesn’t make any sense. Good luck and good for you for wanting to take up for yourself in this instance. Who knows? Maybe this will turn out to be the best thing that’s ever happened in you marriage as well as in your parenting. Patriarchy is damaging to children both directly and through the roll modeling of harmful relationships. So glad you came to this site LostinParis where we really do want the best for you.

 

You guessed it, my husband was raised in a very patriarchal household and he carries some residual patriarchal attitudes on a subconscious level. Our daughters are strong, independent thinkers. He admires and encourages that in every situation except church. They must stay silent and comply with the rules and dress feminine. 

 

I loathe conflict and in the past have kept the peace by complying with his wishes, especially with regards to how we raise our children. I paid a high price; I became depressed. Since my own deconversion a couple of years ago I have been standing up to him more often. It feels wonderful to find my voice again, after all these years.

 

My husband and I had a calm discussion today about his warnings about hell. I spoke about how much his words hurt me and he apologised.

 

Our 16yo son recently announced he is atheist. He has Aspergers and a very rational, unemotional way of thinking, Similar to Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory. No doubt our son’s views were the catalyst for his recent preaching about hell. I calmly asked my husband today how he could possibly be blissfully happy in heaven with the knowledge that his wife and son are suffering in hell for eternity. He was lost for words. I’m hoping he will think about this paradox. If heaven exists then there can be no hell.

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46 minutes ago, LostinParis said:

 

Bingo. He has a polarized view of the world, eg. good vs evil, saved vs unsaved, you are either with us or against us.

 

How exactly do you think religion and repressing/denial of problems are connected? This is a fascinating concept.

 Something along the lines of "I noticed when I was religious that the polarized us vs them, religious vs non religious view of the world was bothering me (if thats the case), and I began to question why" in that letter might help enlighten him a bit. Anything that might help him relate to how you felt or are feeling.

 

Perhaps it's not so much repression as denying responsibility for creating one's problems and responsibility for solving them, because with xtianity, everything is god-given, solutions included. Personal responsibility is something that is difficult with fundies. I highly recommend reading Marlene Winell's book Leaving the Fold, this is what she has to say about responsibility and avoiding problems:

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Edit: I denied my own problems when I was fundie, I had a real struggle with how much I absolutely hated and was angry about everything that had been put on my plate because "god is love" and "all things are good with god." You are not supposed to question that. If there are solutions, those as well will be god-given. Thus, people end up sitting there passively, thinking shit like "god will heal me" or "god will heal my marriage." It's crazy.

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10 minutes ago, LostinParis said:

I spoke about how much his words hurt me and he apologised.

 

10 minutes ago, LostinParis said:

Our 16yo son recently announced he is atheist

 

Wooo hooooooo!

Er. I mean woo hooo!

Sorry. Didn't mean to yell. 

I kill me!

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44 minutes ago, LostinParis said:

 

Bingo. He has a polarized view of the world, eg. good vs evil, saved vs unsaved, you are either with us or against us.

 

How exactly do you think religion and repressing/denial of problems are connected? This is a fascinating concept.

I think morality in religion seems to be focused on forcing it's standards of good and evil on people. Every religion or group has differing standards of good and evil, but the link is there. 

 

 

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MOHO hit the two things that jumped out at me LostinParis. First of all you did everything right in the calm conversation with your husband that ended with him apologizing. Great job!! The second point is that when you double the number of firm disbelievers in a small family like yours you really shift the power dynamics. Great that your son is so level headed and therefore can almost certainly be counted on to back you up. Your husband is already working on this uncomfortable development in his mind i’m sure. He doesn’t want to have this blow up in his face so I suspect this 2 atheist issue is going to make him more willing to compromise in hopes of keeping it as under the table as much as possible. I’m also glad to hear that you have started to assert yourself more and more. You really have to for your own sake and then of course you can never think that your daughters aren’t watching your every move trying to figure out how to handle this situation or that. Anyhow I think you’re already doing great and are super lucky to have the son that have. “God” gave  you your very own DNA and maybe it’s your responsibility to express that as fully as you possibly can.

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3 hours ago, LostinParis said:

 

You guessed it, my husband was raised in a very patriarchal household and he carries some residual patriarchal attitudes on a subconscious level. Our daughters are strong, independent thinkers. He admires and encourages that in every situation except church. They must stay silent and comply with the rules and dress feminine.

If they are strong independent thinkers I wouldn't be very worried about them. They may feel they have no "permission" to explore their beliefs (or let on they are) if their dad is authoritarian about religion, but if they want to do so, they will do so (speaking as someone who did this and dropped a complete bombshell on my parents). They have you as a great example which is really important and from what you've said about your son, you have an important ally. Your husband may feel increasingly on the defensive since the power dimension has changed in the household, so I would just keep open communication and be patient, this is major change for him and probably threatening if he's the 'man of the house' type. A few statements here and there such as the ones you gave him that left him at a loss for words may be all that is required for things to begin to gradually shift in his mind.

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18 hours ago, LostinParis said:

 

Bingo. He has a polarized view of the world, eg. good vs evil, saved vs unsaved, you are either with us or against us.

 

 

That was very important in my own relationship. My wife sees that I haven't fundamentally changed in the 7 years since I realized the Bible wasn't true. I don't believe the same things, but I haven't become some sort of evil person. In fact, I've become a better person. But the fear of what's going to happen to the relationship is real because of what we were always taught as believers. It takes time for a believing partner to realize that that there's no basis for this thinking.

 

In my case, arguments still erupt from time to time, but they don't last as long as they used to and the next day we're okay. And although I wouldn't have done it at the beginning, somewhere along the way when the subject of Hell came up I just said "that. is. not. real." But it really took a long time to get to the point where I could say that to her.

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On 2/13/2019 at 10:46 AM, TruthSeeker0 said:

 Something along the lines of "I noticed when I was religious that the polarized us vs them, religious vs non religious view of the world was bothering me (if thats the case), and I began to question why" in that letter might help enlighten him a bit. Anything that might help him relate to how you felt or are feeling.

 

Perhaps it's not so much repression as denying responsibility for creating one's problems and responsibility for solving them, because with xtianity, everything is god-given, solutions included. Personal responsibility is something that is difficult with fundies. I highly recommend reading Marlene Winell's book Leaving the Fold, this is what she has to say about responsibility and avoiding problems:

1.png

2.png

3.png

4.png

Edit: I denied my own problems when I was fundie, I had a real struggle with how much I absolutely hated and was angry about everything that had been put on my plate because "god is love" and "all things are good with god." You are not supposed to question that. If there are solutions, those as well will be god-given. Thus, people end up sitting there passively, thinking shit like "god will heal me" or "god will heal my marriage." It's crazy.

 

Wow I really need to read this book. 

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23 hours ago, TruthSeeker0 said:

If they are strong independent thinkers I wouldn't be very worried about them. They may feel they have no "permission" to explore their beliefs (or let on they are) if their dad is authoritarian about religion, but if they want to do so, they will do so (speaking as someone who did this and dropped a complete bombshell on my parents). They have you as a great example which is really important and from what you've said about your son, you have an important ally. Your husband may feel increasingly on the defensive since the power dimension has changed in the household, so I would just keep open communication and be patient, this is major change for him and probably threatening if he's the 'man of the house' type. A few statements here and there such as the ones you gave him that left him at a loss for words may be all that is required for things to begin to gradually shift in his mind.

 

You’re right, perhaps I just need more patience.

 

His beliefs have in fact shifted considerably since my deconversion 2 years ago. He no longer believes in a literal Adam and Eve. He now believes in evolution. Hurrah!

 

On the flip side he now has this kind of flexible, impenetrable  belief that allows him to ignore the contradictions, eg. “There are many paths to god”, meaning that all religions may be worshipping the same god. 

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9 hours ago, Lerk said:

 

That was very important in my own relationship. My wife sees that I haven't fundamentally changed in the 7 years since I realized the Bible wasn't true. I don't believe the same things, but I haven't become some sort of evil person. In fact, I've become a better person. But the fear of what's going to happen to the relationship is real because of what we were always taught as believers. It takes time for a believing partner to realize that that there's no basis for this thinking.

 

In my case, arguments still erupt from time to time, but they don't last as long as they used to and the next day we're okay. And although I wouldn't have done it at the beginning, somewhere along the way when the subject of Hell came up I just said "that. is. not. real." But it really took a long time to get to the point where I could say that to her.

 

That’s heartening to hear. Have her beliefs shifted at all in the last 7 years?

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38 minutes ago, LostinParis said:

 

You’re right, perhaps I just need more patience.

 

His beliefs have in fact shifted considerably since my deconversion 2 years ago. He no longer believes in a literal Adam and Eve. He now believes in evolution. Hurrah!

 

On the flip side he now has this kind of flexible, impenetrable  belief that allows him to ignore the contradictions, eg. “There are many paths to god”, meaning that all religions may be worshipping the same god. 

This is not necessarily a bad thing. For example your husband may eventually end up leaving fundamentalism, and joining a more liberal church if his beliefs change. This alone I'm guessing would be of major benefit to you, it's certainly easier to accomodate than very rigid, judgemental black and white thinking. Some people for some reason find letting go of god impossible to do, and compromise is necessary. It is natural that he is coming up with explanations that allow him to ignore contradictions - xtians must do this out of necessity. And he may not be comfortable with facing the really big difficult questions. Facing the possibility that your whole worldview may be a farce, and that your god may not be, is very daunting. If he shows any interest over time in exploring this I would casually mention books or authors that you have read.

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19 hours ago, LostinParis said:

 

That’s heartening to hear. Have her beliefs shifted at all in the last 7 years?

 

Before I deconverted, we had already both decided that the Church of Christ wasn't the "one true church," so that was helpful. We tried doing a study together with a preacher (her cousin) and I was asking questions that she didn't think he was giving very good answers to. She was actually getting discouraged. Once we got past the first subject, we didn't end up continuing the study, and after awhile she resolved the cognitive dissonance in her mind -- so she's still a believer. I don't know that I'd say her beliefs really have shifted much, but maybe some.

 

CoC is very much into what is scriptural and unscriptural (which is why there's no piano), but the other day we were having a conversation about the church fathers and how they were trying to come to conclusions about certain doctrines, and during the discussion she sort-of seemed to understand that the church fathers didn't have a canon to rely on. They had the some of the books of the NT that we have, plus some more that didn't make it into the canon, and there were contradictions. (There are contradictions in the canon, but that's another topic.) So she does think about that kind of stuff -- not something we would have considered at all 20 years ago.

 

She gets more upset when she suspects that our older son and his wife aren't going to church (and taking our 2-year-old granddaughter). I think they do go sometime, but not to a CoC (fortunately!). She still believes in Hell and is terrified that she herself will wind up there because she doesn't do enough. (Isn't being a Christian supposed to make a person confident in their salvation?) So, I don't know. I don't really have a good answer.

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A bit of advice to the side: I'd recommend that, in discussions, you avoid using the term "atheist." (I'm not saying you do use it.) But that term is often used as a pejorative and a call to arms among religionists. And the suffix "ism" causes some folks think atheism is a belief system, which we know is not. Atheists are painted as being anti-Christian, which is not always true, and being devil worshippers who barbecue babies. "Non-believer" I think is better. And I think it's better to say, "I don't believe in gods or spirits of any kind," rather than saying, "I'm an atheist."

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