I'm a 40-something public librarian. Fundamentalist Christianity is my family's culture, and I used to be married to a man who is still a pastor. Coming out atheist to myself has been slow and very lonely, but it has given me great peace of mind, and I wouldn't trade it for anything. Most people I know don't know about it.
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Oh yeah. A noticeable number of conversations, at the more social events of my local groups, end up turning into story-time about all of the crap that people went through, on their way out of religion. The religion-apologist nonbelievers, who think we shouldn't be criticizing religion because it doesn't do much harm, need to get out a bit more.
One of my best friends from college was married to a pastor and is now divorced. She told me he left Jesus before he left her.
Wow, what happened there? Was it something similar to Dan Barker's story?
I can see that one going either way, in terms of who left whom ... not the bit about him leaving Jesus or her first, but whether the religious person or the newly-nonreligious person was the one to leave. I think it's more common for the religious person to end things, because of the demands of their religion to not be unequally yoked, but a nonreligious person could also be the one to decide that things just aren't working anymore, depending upon the relationship dynamic.
I know I would never date a religious girl. I'm too aggressively anti-religious, to the point that she would start chafing at my comments on the subject, which I'm not sure I could hold back often enough, even if I wanted to. I've had religious girls pursue me before, but it's been over a decade since I've been open to anything of the sort. I'd be constantly worried about the potential re-dedication to Jesus and the evangelical push. Never mind if we had any kids ...
My ex husband is gay. Clergy was a second career for him and I left work on a Ph.D. to put him through it. A year into his first pastorate he came out to me. I divorced him five years later.
*blink* Wow. How common of a thing is that? ^.^
Is your ex-husband at least one of the more liberal, gay-friendly sorts of preachers? We have way too many of the other, self-hating sort.
My one friend's marriage didn't end because of her husband being gay, actually. They just made outside sexual arrangements.
Then, he started cheating on the guy who was supposed to be his exclusive boyfriend-on-the-side, and he generally turned into a total douche-bag, over time. They were a happy, little complex-open-relationship, for a while there, until her ex just went ... whatever the heck went wrong in his head.
I can sort of see how the state authority and other religious heads would be looking around for a cause like that, to make you lose your religious beliefs. They just don't get it, in part because they're still stuck within the religious mindset.
Events like that don't cause people to lose their religion, unless they turn into one of those mad-at-God sorts, who I'm not sure really even count as atheists. Events like that are a catalyst, which breaks someone out of their religious mindset long enough to let them examine things more objectively. You have to get out of the feedback loop to be able to think clearly. Those who become more introspective and thoughtful are more likely to break free.
I did some of the same sorts of things that you did, after I turned 18 (I have vague memories of not buying the stories they were telling us in church and CCD, going back to kindergarten or so) and was finally able to refuse going to church. I hung out with some local pagan groups for a little while; I looked into Buddh
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Whoah. Used to be married to a pastor? I know a couple people who were on the other side of the coin ... was a pastor and was married to someone who really wanted to be a preacher's wife.
Strangely, the one guy's marriage didn't last much past the revelation of his atheism and leaving the pulpit.
The other two were a couple who were both preachers, both ending up as atheists. Their marriage crashed and burned, but for other reasons, not the least of which was him coming out of the closet as gay. The woman is still friends with the guy whom her husband was sleeping with, though. ^.^