I was a Protestant, a sort of evangelical, but not dogmatic in the sense of being intolerant of others. I married a Catholic. Now, five years later, I've shed any remaining pretense of religion for myself. I haven't told my wife yet. Has anyone else gone through this? How did it work out?

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If one is a believer, then doctrine says that the god of Abraham is a punisher. I would focus on questioning why those who blatantly deny him are not being punished, as well as why so many sinful Christians are being rewarded instead of punished. 'He works in mysterious ways' can only go so far, I would think.

I see where you're going. But you're assuming she's a dogmatic/by the book type of believer. She's not. She's a believer because that's all she knows how to be. She hasn't really thought it through, and I'm trying to help with that.

I hope it works out for you. If you haven't read it yet, I would emphatically suggest Sam Harris's Letter to a Christian Nation. It's a short read, full of logic that is hard to deny.

It's on my Kindle. I'll reread. Thanks for the advice.

The Socratic method may help as well.  Peter Boghossian's A Manual For Creating Atheists has created a real stir in the atheist community for its deft and well-thought-out approach to discussions with believers regarding their faith.

I am in the process of reading it now and am very impressed with it.  I believe it is worth your time as well.

Someone could bring up their own nonbelief by asking Socratic-style questions of a believer.  That would give you a feeling of what's happened to their opinions while giving them a sense of your own.

'He works in mysterious ways' can only go so far

"He works in mysterious ways" accommodated Nazi concentration camps and the plagues of the Middle Ages ... so it can accommodate anything.  As long as there's a person left after the catastrophe to say it.

Fair enough, but I struggled with how to handle this and dealt with it in my own way. We're doing okay.

I'm impressed with the caring and sensitivity shown in the posts here!

I have no advice TCS but I hope things work out for you both.

Just wanted to bring this thread to a close: My wife and I talked it out and she's okay with it. I think it helped that I didn't unload it all on her at once. I slowly but surely expressed a doubt here and a misgiving there until it became fairly clear that I no longer believe in God. And she's really good with it.

Next step is talking about the kids, but that is between her and me, and not something I intend to discuss here.

Thank you everyone for your concern, your sensitivity, your candor and your support.

BIG sigh of relief!! Thanks for keeping us posted along the way.

Kids should be easy enough. Maybe start with the history of Christmas (taking over the pagan celebrations)then eventually move on to the questionable existance of Jesus as a historical (rather than supernatural) figure.

Just be matter-of-fact, if they're reaching the age of reason (whatever that may be- maybe around the same age they start doubting Santa Claus) they most likely have doubts of their own. Even my fundamentalist nephews have been saying stuff like "Jesus wasn't really born on Dec. 25th" and stuff like that.

In fact, they will be the ones who question the believers in their peer groups, and start to re-balance the scales of belief around them. This is important, as you know.

Your wife should be greatly relieved to learn that the events in and around her life have nothing to do with punishment or a need to feel guilty.

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