I lied to someone I greatly respect and dearly love today. She has asked me to pray for her because she is very ill and I told her I would. If it were just her there at that moment I would have taken it as an opportunity to come out, and offer her whatever kind of support I can, but life is a strange thing and she has been in a relationship with my ex for a number of years. He is extremely superstitious and I fear his reaction. I know legally he couldn't do anything bc I'm an atheist but he could certainly drag my name through the mud by making false accusations. He has done it before and I could see him doing it bc of this. I wouldn't care about what he thinks, but we have a child together .I have been through WWIII with him in the past I don't want to suffer that again. We get along now and in all other areas I trust him and he trusts me. In about  6 years I won't have to deal with him if things sour between us but  I have to live in the present. It really bothers me that I lied to her. Anyone have any thoughts on this or advice as to what I can do in the future? I don't like the idea of skirting around the subject for 6  years but I hate the idea of lying even more. Even if it's a tiny lie.

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Replies to This Discussion

I'd suggest you make two pro and con lists and see which one makes more sense for you.
1. Pros and cons of continuing to lie for 6 more years.
2. Pros and cons of coming out.
Noh, life is tough enough without fretting over stuff like this. There's nothing wrong with consoling a sick friend.

It sounds like you're afraid to tell your ex that you don't share his supernatural beliefs. Fuck him! Remind him he's a Christian and tell him he'll burn in hell if he lies or is revengeful.

I don't like your using the term, "come out." Sounds like you have some secret personal problem and it's not. Most of your religious associates should come out and admit they have their doubts.
Don't fret over it. i think that intuitively you did the right thing. If "coming out" will cause you a great deal of grief at this time, then hold off and tell whatever pleasant white lies are necessary. Certainly in this case, you were thinking of her feeling more than yours.
Noh Name, I don't see a thing wrong with what you did - in the context as you describe, your reply was appropriate. Not a time for drama, just the time for giving comfort and peace to your friend.

Making a "statement" would have been inconsiderate and pointless in my opinion.

Don't beat yourself up over this, you actually did a kind thing and provided your friend what she needed.

Tell yourself that "I'll pray for you" equals "I hope things turn out OK for you" and be done with it.

You were just speaking her language, and that was what she needed. It builds her hope and strength to overcome her illness. When she is better you can tell her that you have lied to her and want to come clean. Or not, it's up to you.
Don't beat yourself up for making a split-second decision. If you had gone the other way and come out, you may be beating yourself up now for the grief that it caused you. What you did might have been the lesser of the two difficulties. I lost my faith while I was a music minister at a church, and I found ways to mask my beliefs even in a position of leadership, so there are ways. You can say things like "You're in my thoughts," or "I'm questioning the traditional view of god." Even religious people are very open to the idea of someone asking questions and progressing in their beliefs, but the word "atheist" is a real turn off. I'd use that word cautiously. Good luck and best wishes...
When someone asks me to pray for them or says some other religious phrase like "Isn't god good?" I just nod my head or say OK. I feel your frustration from those who you used to look up to or are older or sick. They are less likely to understand our deconversion. It takes so much time and energy to come out and explain all the reasons that we gave up our faiths. Trust me I don't mind explaining and planting little seeds of doubt, but it can be so time consuming and if you live around irrational people, like your ex, or co-workers who look down on you then it can get crazy.
My advice for the future is to just smile and nod and know when to pick your battles.
^Robin, You mention "their feelings". What about the original poster's feelings? Religious people assume EVERYONE is religious too. I can't stand it when they assume I'm Christian. It's wrong and it's ignorant and they need to be educated that they're not the only ones in the world. It's rude to wish someone a Happy Easter without even bothering to find out if they're Christian. I throw the "awkward" ball right back into their court by letting them know, "I'm not Christian so I don't celebrate it." Now we can BOTH feel awkward and maybe next time, they'll think to ask before mindlessly spouting their holiday greetings to all they meet. After all 20% of Americans are NOT Christian and that equates to one in five people.

Similarly, it's thoughtless to ask someone to pray assuming they're religious. Note, I used the word thought-less. It's thoughtless because they failed to think through the implications of asking an atheist to ask their god for a favor not to mention how thoughtless it is to ask an all-knowing, all-powerful being who supposedly has a will the supersedes all others to change his mind of one's own needs.

That being said, I agree with L.Hunter who advised, "just smile and nod and know when to pick your battles"--your situation being (in my opinion) an example of a battle you shouldn't pick.
LOL did you even read my post or did you just "read into" it? Please read the last sentence at least. We're in agreement.

When dealing with crazy you just can't respond as you would to a reasonable person.  You have to be careful. I've seen crazy like the universe is wide and I have to support you in lying.  Lying is 'not' always a bad thing. If it makes you feel better I will be skirting the subject with even my husband for over two years this March and I intend to skirt for another 6 or seven. That said, I hate lying, too.  In this case it's for the greater good. We are not required to come out.


What are they gonna do?  Send you to hell? (snicker-  Please accept my levity in the positive spirit it was intended.) Good luck with the new teenager.




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