Hi everyone, I'm here because I'm looking for some insight, advice and hopefully answers to my particular situation.
I'm a 32 year old married father of 2, I became a Christian back 2004 after a supposed 'word from God' but perhaps largely because my wife and all her family are members of the Anglican/Charasmatic movement and maybe felt some sort of affinity to them. I even went so far as to join the worship team of an extremely large and popular charasmatic church in Oxford which have been involved with since 2005.
Anyway, to cut a long story short, I've recently started to seriously question my belief structure. I've never felt entirely 'comfortable' with being a Christian in the way I always thought I should be, I never really prayed in public, I couldn't quote you specific scripture like a pro and always thought that the Church I am a part of uses emotional manipulation through 'sad and songs' and the pastors alter call to invoke a sense of vulnerability, surely not something I should be thinking if I truly 'get it'
In the last few years she has become more and more extreme in her views, dare I say fundamentalist. Don't get me wrong, she is a very kind, polite and caring woman, but I can no longer stomach some of the things she passionately believes and I'm seriously considering de conversion. She has been a Christian since she was born lived, breathed and evangelised the Christian doctrine and for the longest time we were very happy, having two gorgeous sons
However I've recently had cause to come clean to my wife of 7 years, who is what I would call a 'born' Christian of a string of indiscrections since before we were married, this understandably has caused her great pain for which I am truly sorry, however she has now told me that the ONLY way of saving our marriage is through Christian channels/the grace and love of God or not at all.
Now fair enough, hands up I should take what is coming, but I love my boys and would be prepared to do anything to stay with them, I feel a great affection for my wife as my best friend and indeed all the friends I have made through the Church, but knowing that I feel the way I do about my (lack of) faith I am torn as to weather I should take the step and tell her I can't pursue Christian channels with a clear conscience for the sake of staying in our marriage.
Thank you for taking the time to read this, I appreciate your comments
Here's an idea for your consideration - modern Christianity is all about the teachings of Paul, who essentially hijacked the Christian religion from the apostles and made it his own, and I've no doubt that it's his teachings that are fueling your wife's beliefs.
Have you considered sitting down with her, after the kids are tucked in, and one chapter at a time, reading the Bible from cover to cover, starting with Gen 1? I don't mean skipping around, as pastors do, picking verses out of context to prove their points, I mean really reading the whole thing from beginning to end. It will a) give the two of you something to do together, b) give you the appearance of really trying to meet her halfway, and c) could very well open her eyes to a lot of things, since I strongly suspect she has never bothered, like so many dyed-in-the-wool Christians, to actually read her religion's instruction manual from cover to cover.
Here're what a few of my old friends have to say on the subject:
"Most people are bothered by those passages of Scripture they do not understand, but the passages that bother me are those I do understand."
-- Mark Twain --
"A thorough reading and understanding of the Bible is the surest path to atheism."
-- Donald Morgan --
"Properly read, the Bible is the most potent force for atheism ever conceived."
-- Issac Asimov --
I was trying to find something witty, but this is much more serious and deserves a more gentle wisdom.
I lived with a gal who was catholic and I humanist/atheist. It was clear that as our relationship matured, the religious differences became more important, and after her mom died, thoughs differences were lifted to the front burner (that could be a pun, sorry).
Not being married, seemed to be a deal breaker for her, my commitment was not important. Finally I had enough and cut lose. Watching the process, it really looked like her religion was driving her bananas. I being a rather unaccomplished social engineer, cound find no repairs that would off any change.
Watching other couples go through this, it seems that the religious issue can be lifted above interests of children. This could be a place in the theist ideology that is atleast as distructive as actual physical abuse. Can interpersonal love, and interests of children, be lifted above ideology? Or have theists become so commited that they are blinded by their 'light'?
One must not forget that atheists can be very doctrineer also.
My wife and I have come to a place to agree to disagree on a few points. So far health issues seem to be getting harder to ignore as we have aged, but marriage never promised a rose garden. We did get a jungle out of it though...;p)
It is indeed a tough situation. I can simpathize with you ... My humble advice would be that you take your time and honestly seek guidance from that God you got the call from in 2004. If he exists and you honestly and humbly try to access him, you will get in touch with you ... If you are not sure now or have doubts, do not feel bad or alone, our faith dries up once in a while, specially when we do not water and feed it ... I do not think you have to believe under pressure. God does not want that from you, he actually gives you freedom to accept him or not, therefore, your wife has no rigth to ask you what God doesn't ... I will prey for you Richard ... God bless you ... Miguel ...
I love how you said "you will get in touch with you" how very true!! ONLY YOU can exhibit the strength to change or overcome you current situation, it's up to YOU...don't attribute that strength to a man in the sky! You don't need a God crutch you can get through this yourself just as you have every past situation in your life.
I caught it too Kara, though I don't think it was intentional - was that what they call a Freudian slip? (I heard he used to wear one --)
hahahaha...I do believe it was!! I think you may be right...:-P
Prey for him? Do you mean prey on him? This does bring up a good point and a question I have been wondering. Why do Christians have such horrible spelling and grammar? I have ADD and dyslexia and I am not nearly as bad as almost every christian I talk to. I think it is because the only reading they do is in 14th century old English.
Grammar: The difference in "knowing your shit" and "knowing you're shit".
Miguel, I noticed you just joined. It looks like you just joined to specifically comment on this post. People do not come here to hear the christian opinion. They get that every day in the world. The original poster has probably gotten the christian perspective until he is about to throw up since he is attending christian counseling. "our faith dries up once in a while, specially when we do not water and feed it". So what you are saying is; If you do not constantly delude yourself, you start to realize it is not true?
"I do not think you have to believe under pressure. God does not want that from you, he actually gives you freedom to accept him or not" And if you choose not to, he lovingly sends you to hell to burn for all eternity. Because he loves you. If that is not pressure to believe, I do not know what is.
Jaret - "I have ADD and dyslexia and I am not nearly as bad as almost every christian I talk to. I think it is because the only reading they do is in 14th century old English."
Anal retentive too?
"Miguel, I noticed you just joined. It looks like you just joined to specifically comment on this post."
"People do not come here to hear the christian opinion. They get that every day in the world."
Why close down half the debate? Why close your eyes to half the situation? If we can't be free-ranging, then we're just hobbled.
Do you still love her? Do you still find it a beautiful moment to have her by your side while you sleep together? Is she still beautiful to you? Do you wish to be with her for the rest of your life? If yes, then I think you need to do everything you can to remain a positive influence in the church that she is with - still give to charity and still attend services with her and still bring up your boys around the church. Just make it known that you personally can't believe some of the doctrines that the church might preach but perhaps you still respect Jesus as a good moral teacher and suggest to her that God aside, you still find value in many of the things that christianity observes - such as loving thy neighbor or doing good / charitable things.
Now if you can't admit those things I listed as being part of your philosophy then it appears you may not be at all even closely related to a christian philosophy.
I don't think you need to believe in virgin births and transubstantiation and hellfire to still be a part of a church. If she thinks you need to believe these things or if she feels that you are going to hell or leading your children to hell by going against what she believes is the 'true' christian theology - then I am afraid this might not help in keeping your relationship together. Good Luck and keep us updated.
By the way , what is this string of indiscretions you speak of? Did you cheat on your wife and were you an alcoholic or are these things other posters have conjured out of thin air?
I asked that too, Dustin, and I've yet to get a response. This was as close as anyone has yet come:
"So because I've had a few instances over the last 10 years where I've been a little weak in part due to the influence of alcohol (and I'm not even talking about sleeping around) that automatically disqualifies me from the right to bring up my kids?"
that's pretty much what it boils down to, over the last 10 years I've been unfaithful in the form of a few drunken kisses, only the last time I'd taken it much further with a colleague at work.. not easy admitting to anyone you're a cheating scumbag. Needless to say I recognise it's not right and don't want to be this sort of person anymore, hence coming clean.