Hey everyone. I go by "Beyonder" for now as I'm still figuring out my place in the world as a "closeted" agnostic atheist. The reason is that I'm married to a conservative Christian whom I have not told about my loss of belief in the supernatural or its associated dogma. I'm not sure how she'll take it. My parents are also pretty conservative Christians as well. Let's just say most of the people I've associated with in life are believers.
I've been blogging about my thoughts and experiences at http://beyondbelief.blog.com and would love for you to read and/or subscribe if you can.
If you have any advice on "coming out" as an agnostic atheist, that'd be great. Thanks!
Mark, there's no doubt that religious music, art and architecture has awed millions throughout the past two millennia, but these are HUMAN endeavors, tributes to HUMAN talent and imagination, and only attributed to religion.
In fact, if religion were carried on today as it was in the time in which Yeshua (Jesus) allegedly lived, in small, unadorned, stucco buildings, or open fields, or hilltops, rather than in ornate, high-ceilinged, stain-glass-windowed, heavily carpeted cathedrals, Cristianity wouldn't be nearly as awe-inspiring as it currently is.
It's the gilded-cage effect.
It would really be hard to come from such a stringent background. I grew up as the daughter of an Episcopal Priest and a school teacher, but I was always encouraged to think freely. There is a big difference between fundamentalist Christians and Episcopalians. I guess my case is just different. I am sorry I don't know what to say to you on this subject. :(
maybe get a really good divorce lawyer on retainer before you tell your wife. Just sayin.
Tell her you found yahweh on thinkatheist.
You should just tell her though. No sugarcoating. just the whole truth.
I told everyone in my family with a 10,000 word mini-auto-biography explaining how I had gotten to where I was in life. It turned out pretty well. I've had some long, individual talks with my family members (I recommend this) about being an atheist where I was surprised to learn that even my most devout family members had expressed a high degree of doubt at some point in their lives. There have been some points of contention between my father and my brother who are the most zealous of the bunch, but over all my family has been very accepting and since that time, my mother has started teetering on the edge of deconversion.
At the same time, my family tends to be more understanding, and I'm also not married.
Praise anyone whom you think deserves it.
But be careful Beyonder, whilst being an agnostic atheist is a valid stance, many people will go so far as to completely ruin relationships with those who do not believe in the same things as them. You are the only person that can make the choice to "come out", and the destruction of relationships versus the need to be yourself around those you love must be assessed.
I am a gnostic atheist, catholic until I was 20 when I found freedom from religion in a combination of reading the bible, reading the works of and watching debates with Christoper Hitchens and Matt Dillahunty versus numerous apologists.
Without taking into account their reaction I shared this fantastic discovery with my parents, my mother being a devout catholic and my father believing in the christian god but disagreeing with a lot of the horrors in the bible. If not for my father to help keep communications open from their end I would to this day not be allowed in their house.
So once again I say be careful. Don't drop it like a bomb.
I read your blog - I was only planning to skim over and get the gist of some of it, but you write exceptionally well! I found myself reading all of it, no skimming, and clicked back post by post until I reached your first post - and then, disappointingly for me, the well ran dry. You come across as a very sincere person, with a really good way of expressing yourself. Thank you indeed, for sharing your personal thoughts.
You may not have told your wife yet, but when you do - and I believe you will do that - you cannot control her reaction. She is a person unto herself, and she will say, do or behave the way she chooses to. I would guess that it is the havoc you are dreading wreaking in what is currently settled waters, that is giving you such concern.
Perhaps you could show her your blog - or at least excerpts from it. You write so openly that it would be hard to misconstrue what you mean. But again, from the open way you write, I am going to guess that you would be able to sit down and talk to her just as openly.
None of us know your wife or your interaction with her, so although some members have perhaps had similar situations to deal with, they will be different personalities with different interactivity. Not much help there, then.
So here is the million dollar question. Can you go through the rest of your life with your wife (and family), pretending you still believe? Or do you feel that you need to be honest with them at some stage?
If you can see yourself faking it for years to come, then that is an option for you. Having read your blog, I would not guess that this was the case, but if you chose this path, I don't think anyone would blame you. Certainly, nobody can judge the considerations of your own set of circumstances.
If you need to be honest with her then it is not a matter of 'whether', it is simply a matter of 'when' and 'how'. You have to realise that you cannot control the outcome, so you need to focus on clear delivery - it is amazing how people blur their delivery when they are giving information they believe will not be willingly received. So be clear and open, and give your wife a chance to understand and absorb the new information. Maybe even suggest that you have something to tell her, but you would like her to have time to digest it so that you can have a discussion after she has had time to absorb it and reflect.
I really hope it goes well for you.