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
That's a tough call, either you lie to her or you lie to yourself. I personally don't think I could keep up the charade for the rest of my life/marriage. If I were you I would seriously dig deep down and examine your beliefs or lack thereof and determine where you stand, then stand firm by them. Leave the decision up to her. If your friends are only friends with you because of a shared belief in God, they are not great friends.
BTW your wife wasn't born religious, she was brainwashed like the rest of them
I think I stand with you here, Marc - although having children would make it a very tough call.
I'd tolerate an awful lot for the sake of my son.
I think you should ensure that your relationship with your sons is solid, loving and full of trust before you get too public with your feelings about the church. People lose people when they come out as non-christian, it's not fair but it happens. If I was in your shoes, I'd keep my head down and shore up those relationships you want to keep before making drastic public moves. Because you can be sure that a church like that will back up your wife to block you out of their lives if they think you're not one of them. And then they'll be giving your boys religious guidance instead of you.
I don't have personal experience with this kind of thing, but others do. Maybe they'll chime in here with guidance for you, I hope they do.
Don't get me wrong, I really wish everyone who feels religion is misguided could come out and say it with confidence, and if they can, I think they should. But sometimes the timing isn't right, and sometimes you need to put on a shit-eating grin for a year or two until you're ready to fight for your kids.
Kevin, you have some key wisdom here!
I've been an atheist for ever. I'm 46. But I've had to politely nod when friends throughout life go on about the mystery of their god. But because of the last few years with atheists speaking out, and sites like this permitting connection with others going through this, I've come out on FaceBook. Some "friends" announced they will un-friend me because we don't "believe" the same way. I knew I would lose "friends" coming out. But if can't talk about anything more meaningful than the latest sports scores, because of the manufactured barrier of delusion, what are you saving? Would you and I trade 10 deluded quaintness for 1 friend who would never try to will unfounded assertions into existence?
As I read through your post, I initially was thinking: "don't judge Christianity by how comfortable it makes you, how annoying some practices are, or how inadequate your devotion is -- the only relevant issue is whether you think it's actually true or false." You know, because if it's true, none of that matters, you'd just better stick with it unless you want to burn for eternity. And if it's false, none of that matters because the whole thing is unfounded anyway. So decide which it is, and stand up and be true to yourself.
But then I got to the part where you've cheated on your spouse and could maybe lose your family if you come out as an atheist. So that's an even more important matter as far as I'm concerned, and the atheism thing seems fairly minor until your situation with your boys stabilizes. I don't have anything to offer you there. I stand by my advice about your Christianity, but that matter can wait.
First Richard, you're never clear on your "string of indiscrections" - one could easily assume you meant sexual affairs, but I noticed that in a post on the next page, you denied that they were. So before I could offer any advice, I'd have to know more.
One thing you need to ask yourSELF, is whatever the "string of indiscrections" were, why did they happen? What (besides religion) is wrong with your marriage? What (besides the children) is right about it? In short, with both religion and the boys out of the picture, what do you have? And be honest with yourself --
I have no advice, I'm afraid. I can't say I've ever really been in a situation like yours. But I did want to say that my heart goes out to you. I have some small idea of how this must be feeling for you, but can never truly know it. I am so sorry that you're going through this!
It's a horrible thing when faith will blind someone against the love they have for someone else as a human being and not as a "believer". It's as if they find it impossible to look past a lack of faith in what THEY believe to see the love, the personality, and the actual person behind that particular screen. I am always sad when someone will leave another, lover or friend, because they've discovered the other doesn't believe in their god...
That's quite a tough situation you're in there. I want to say the I think you should live what is true for you, but I know it is not that cut and dry. I would tend to do what I think would hurt or damage the kids less, and what, at the end of the day, I could live with.
It sounds like you are in the process of accepting your de-conversion process. I hate it that this is such a big deal. I don't see this as something we necessarily have control over - whether we believe or not. I think we can fake things like that for a while, but in the end we can't be where we are not at. It doesn't seem like you can be the way you were even if you try to force it.
I know it is poor consolation, but welcome back from your long excursion along the path of Christianity.
I am interested to know how this turns out (not to turn you into a science experiment or anything) because my cousin is getting close to seeing the fallacy of it all and him and his wife and children are all deeply involved in the church and I feel he would never be able to reject christianity because of this and he will continue to live a lie even after he realizes it is fake.
Unfortunately, your marriage may be in jeopardy. Do not take it upon yourself as a choice. Give the choice to her. Talk it out with your wife. If you have a good marriage the two of you should be able to talk about your beliefs together and come to a similar conclusion. If you cannot do this with religion, chances are that you cannot in other areas as well and your marriage is doomed to fail anyway, in my opinion.
She has just as much responsibility to accept your religion (or lack there of) as you do hers. Meet in the middle. Say she can have her church and you can have your atheism. My parents get along just fine like this. My mother is devout and my father is an agnostic/atheist. If she cannot accept this, it is not your problem, it is hers. You are compromising, she is not. You are not at fault at all for this.
What kind of person would you be if you left her because she wouldn't play the happy atheist against her beliefs? Therefore what kind of person is she if she will leave you if you do not play the happy christian against yours?
Also, point out that what the Bible says if needed. 1 Corinthians 7: 12-16
12Now, I will speak to the rest of you, though I do not have a direct command from the Lord. If a Christian manc has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to continue living with him, he must not leave her. 13And if a Christian woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to continue living with her, she must not leave him. 14For the Christian wife brings holiness to her marriage, and the Christian husbandd brings holiness to his marriage. Otherwise, your children would not be holy, but now they are holy. 15(But if the husband or wife who isn’t a believer insists on leaving, let them go. In such cases the Christian husband or wifee is no longer bound to the other, for God has called youf to live in peace.) 16Don’t you wives realize that your husbands might be saved because of you? And don’t you husbands realize that your wives might be saved because of you?
According to her beliefs, she cannot leave you unless you choose to leave.
I am curious what the counseling is for? Is it problems in your marriage? Have they been there long?
I do not envy your position. You can only listen to that spiritual voodoo so much before you cant stand it anymore. I think if you try to stay you will have a hard time. When I left Christianity, at first it was only the super weird things that pissed me off. (speaking in tongues, prophecy, etc). Then, as I became less and less jaded to Christianity, even prayer started to piss me off. Every time people say they will pray for someone else to help them I think, "Get off your lazy self righteous ass and actually do something about it!". Or when they say "Everything happens for a reason. It is Gods plan". Sometimes that reason is because you made bad decisions in your life.
What I am getting at is, right now you are coming from being pretty active in the church, which I was too. You are still jaded but you have opened Pandora's box now and it is going to get worse. A lot worse. The big lie will continue to unfold and you will begin to see people for who they are. Lost sheep, wolves preying on the weak, greedy people using false hope to steal others money. I cannot even step foot in a church anymore because I get so angry about what is going on there.
I don't see how you could put up with that long. If you love your wife and she can accept your beliefs and not try to push hers on you, then that is great. But if she is going to look at you as evil and try to shove religion down your throat, I say leave. It has to be better for your kids than seeing this huge religious battle every day.
Why didn't you comply with the counselor's request? It couldn't have hurt you, and it would have demonstrated to your wife that you were at least interested in trying to meet her halfway. Now you can rightfully be accused of not even trying - you have to understand that her beliefs, though likely born of fear, are very real to her - if you really want to save your marriage, you should at least acknowledge that, no matter how ridiculous they may seem to you. You've heard, "You are what you eat?" - sometimes, you are what you believe, and your rejection of her effort at counseling, is in effect a rejection of both her and your marriage.
I'm not suggesting that you concoct a story to appear to believe, be honest, but at least go through the process. You might also consider choosing a secular counselor.