I just joined this group today. I have been looking for a "safe" place to discuss/share my skeptizism (sp?) in god.Specifically, how to deal with my family who are either evangelical christians (my wife and two children-one adult one teenager), or church-going catholics (my sibilings, mother, cousins). I am finding it increasingly difficult to attend service on Sundays (to appease my wife)-and suffer the endless praising,singing, and ridiculous sermons. It is getting more and more difficult to sit through-and "communion day" is the worst, as you sit there alone singled out as the only one not partaking in this ritual (I dread Sundays, to be honest). I hope you all can give me some guidance, or at least some sympathy! Thanks
Ted, You're absolutely right about the sincerely wrong preachers. That reminded me of a particular sermon where a minister happened to have a neighbor/friend who was gay. so one day when this gay man came to cry on the shoulder of the minister after breaking up with his partner, he broke down sobbing and asked "what's wrong with me,it's not my fault I am like this".Well the minister told him "yes it is your fault!" (can you imagine how confused this poor fellow must have been?) Well the point of the story was that this fellow eventually started attending church and told this minister (so the story goes) that he was seeing a woman. The point being that "jesus" cured him.What I took away was a poor confused gay man seeking some kind of acceptance or approval from some group. I doubt if his relationship with the woman developed into anything serious.And maybe the minister made the whole thing up,who knows? Anyways, he was quite pleased with himself for the "advice" he gave.
Ryan-thanks for the heads up-I don't have a problem with anyone's politics or beliefs as long as they are rational and can have a civil discussion. I don't quite get the intolerance thing, it kind of goes against what being a liberal is all about IMO.
So glad to have you here. We are here to listen to you and help out any way we can.
Thanks, it feels like home.
As an outsider to the US, and brought up in a largely secular environment/country, I constantly feel sorry for so many Americans who have been are forced down the path of religion. :(
Sounds like you are ready for a change and it seems you are taking the first steps? The only words of encouragement I would give at this point, is imagine you are old and grey and looking in the mirror, back at your life and the things you have done.........the only person in life that casts judgement is first and foremost.....ourself! That's who you must please first, or esle we run the risk of living a lie!!
On a lighter note......a little story for you:)..........many years ago my previous partner was Catholic and one Sunday she badgered me into going to church, arhh the things you do for love!!!...this was before my hard nosed atheism had developed. Anyway as soon as I crossed the church threshold, she started acting strange.....dabbing water on her head, kneeling in the pews and praying........."who is this person I was thinking".....anyway the priest started coming down the aisle from the back of the church.....and that's when I got up, I couldn't take it anymore......I walked past him smiling and out the door...................I had lasted less than one minute in catholic mass...he, he :). The reason I have shared this, is to show a comparative. That as someone brought up secular I couldn't swallow one church service as an adult...........so, I take my hat of to you for week after week of sitting there, suffering in silence. I think you have done your 'whack' as they say............say hello to freedom & thinking for yourself....its great!!! :)
Hi, well thanks for the support. i was raised a Catholic, so i am well acquainted with the church.Frankly, I find catholic services much more bearable than evangelical ones which come off as down right creepy at times (waay over the top "Jesus is lord" stuff) -if you couldn't handle a catholic service, I would love to see your expression at an evangelical one!
Yep.....your probably right.....I would probably run screaming from an Evangelical one!!
However I am older now and in someways more measured....so I could no doubt discipline myself to sit through it.........a sort of self challenge........always good to see what others are doing and all that. :)
Once again welcome. :)
I was in a similar situation, but not identical to yours. My wife was a believer in the Seventh Day Adventist Church. Though she was hardly a model Christian, she did firmly believe the dogma. When I met her, I was pretty much a Deist. About 5 years in, I finally came to the conclusion there was no god. When I finally told her I was an atheist, she didn't understand, but she stuck with me though making me attend a few more Saturday services.
What I realized later is that my confession to her had sparked an internal debate for her. She always had harbored some doubts, but disregarded them as the devils doing. Knowing I was an atheist allowed her to open up to me and discuss things frankly and objectively. It took a couple more years, but she came around as well and is a straight up atheist too.
I'm not saying you should do the same thing. I don't know your wife or situation well enough to make any such recommendations. I'm just suggesting that for most believers in modern society, there is some level of cognitive dissonance that is ignored, and only exposed when someone close to them gives them the reason.
You have to do what is best for you and your family. You have to decide how long this conflict can go on and how it affects your collective happiness. Some people can do it and just keep up a front forever. Others fall into a deep depression and feelings of isolation because they feel they can't identify with anyone around them. Its very much like living inside the closet.
if you haven't already, definitely check out www.recoveringfromreligion.org
I would offer you good luck, but I don't believe that either. So hang in there.
Hi Jason, well you are right, I don't know how long the conflict can go on, I just hope that my wife can accept me as i am for now, and not force the church issue too much.Thanks for your support.
Since I came out very firmly as an atheist, I haven't even been asked to church. Not even when my mother was singing in the xmas eve service. It's awesome. Totally worth putting my foot down.
I don't have a wife and kids, and I know that is different.
I hope you can find some resolution. I can only imagine that "required" church going will lead to extreme resentment.
Hi dr kellie, you are probably right, there is a little resentment, but also a little guilt as my wife simply doesn't want to be alone at the services. she points out that there are others there who's spouses are not believers, but they attend nonetheless to support the other. I know the obvious question is "why support something you don't believe in?", but since i feel that my wife "needs" her religion, I just think I should be there for her.but yes, it is a little complicated.Thanks for the feedback.
Hey, Mark, and dr kellie! I'm lucky in that my wife goes to church to be with her parents so no problem me being out of that loop. What I wanted to comment on is your statement that your wife "needs" her religion. I think this is a point that those not in our situation can't grasp.
When we've been married a long time and have a very strong love and devotion to our spouse we naturally get to know them very well. We understand their psychological makeup as much, sometimes more, than their sometimes silly habits or thoughts on one or the other subject. Having gone through the hell--and it is hell--of loosing our faith entirely we know the trauma it can cause. I don't know about you but I had the most incredible fear for a couple months I was like a guy walking around with pins sticking in me all over. I never have been given to fear but buddy I learned it well then. It's not something I would wish on anyone, and I know that many, many former religious people have to go through that time to get out the other side.
I do want my wife to wake up to rational reality but I am loathe to push her into such an experience. I think many people arrive at a kind of agnostic atheism over years of turning loose of one after the other of the myths of their religion. To me it's not as important that someone cut loose entirely from some kind of nugget belief in a deity than it is they recognize the validity of truth.
I will not make the same mistake I made going the other way in christianity when I badgered her for failing to "live up" to certain standards and in the process very nearly destroyed her mental state and our marriage. I was not nasty or condescending but merely pushed myself to live a high standard and constantly coaxed and encouraged her to do as I did. Now I am not only ashamed of what I did to her back then but I also understand that while it is important that I hide nothing about who I am or what I think I must and will never insist she follow me.
I've learned how to be a much better person and to respect her more now than I ever did when I was on the other side. And I find that my attitudes are more acceptable and on occasion we have little conversations that open small doors into this atheist world.
Just the other day we were driving somewhere and I was telling her why I wanted to be involved in Recovering From Religion and how some people wind up loosing their entire lives, family, work, etc. I shared with her a story of some who experienced that. She said she couldn't quite understand why a wife would reject her husband just on those grounds. She said something like, "I don't have a problem with any of it, I just don't want to hear it!" Ha. She does hear it because I am not silent in general and on occasion I share stuff, like I did, but she picks things up as I go along. Long story short, yes, at the moment she needs the "crutch of belief" for her sanity. I understand that. And I understand that if I am a good husband and love her, something she has no doubt about, who and what I am will matter and she will quietly tag along even without realizing.
To some it might seem to be a bad thing to hang on and not just cut all the chords. Religion, to some, is so detestable that they cannot stand to be near it at all. It drives me nuts sometimes, sure, but a man once said a very wise thing (in spite of himself, he was my men's sunday school teacher), he said, "you must decide what hills to die on and the rest just let it go." Indeed. I am not willing to kill something that has been a part of myself and my wife for 35 years over religious disagreements. I'll let it go, for now, and let time work the way time tends to do.