This past weekend was one of extreme highs and extreme lows. Sunday morning, I was high on intimacy after spending a romantic, adventurous, fun-filled weekend away with my husband. But within hours on Sunday afternoon, I had descended into hell.
We were on a long (5 hour) car ride, heading home after our amazing weekend together. It’s been too long since we have had real “alone time”, the kind that doesn’t involve cleaning or moving or accomplishing anything, so we were overdue. We took interesting detours on our drive to the city, wandered around hand-in-hand laughing, ate great food, enjoyed great music, and had great sex.
Before we left the city on Sunday morning, we went to a church service. It’s a big non-denominational church founded by a big name hip Christian pastor and led musically by another big name hip Christian song writer. My husband had been before. i had not. When he asked if I wanted to go, I said sure. I was really interested to see what it was like, hear what they talked about, and to have the experience. I think I also hoped maybe something there would jar my spirituality back to life.
I wish we had slept in.
I won’t go into describing the church service itself. It was pretty much what I expected, what I was familiar with. There were a ton of really nice hip-looking people, good music, good speaking, an offering, some baptisms, and words about a campaign to end modern day slavery. I sat there, not really joining in but listening intently and observing everything that went on around me. I asked people why they were there. Most said because a friend asked them.
After we left and were headed home, my husband asked me what I thought about the service.
Oh no, I thought – I don’t want to start a conversation about this right now. I’ve broached the subject of my doubt with him a few times, but those times didn’t go well. I really didn’t want to ruin our wonderful weekend by talking about this on the way home. I still have a lot of questions. I still don’t know what I think or believe. I don’t call myself an atheist. But I know one thing for sure: I have serious doubts about everything I’ve ever thought I knew about religion. My inner dialogue is hard enough. The idea of having external dialogue seemed very dangerous.
So my response was simple and honest without being confrontational: “Well, it was really well organized!”
He laughed and said that probably wasn’t the first thing he would have thought of, but yes they were organized. We talked a little more, and then he brought up my current struggle with God/religion.
I don’t remember the exact course of the conversation, but our closeness made me feel safe enough to be honest with him. It started off ok. But it escalated (or de-escalated) quickly when I likened the idea of Jesus holding the hands of every miscarried baby as “fantasy.” He asked if I thought everything he believed, everything we had always agreed on as the foundation for our lives, was a lie. I didn’t say it was but I couldn’t say it wasn’t. I just said I didn’t know.
He was incredulous that I could have lost my belief to this degree. I reminded him the he knew me better than anyone ever had, that he had to know this was not my choice, that I didn’t ask to stop believing, that I couldn’t point to one person or incident or thing that started this. He looked at me like he didn’t know who I was anymore.
It was a very long and very QUIET car ride home. The man who normally touches me and glances at me and kisses my hand as we drive across town focused only on the road ahead without a touch, without a kiss, without a word.
I was in agony. Our special weekend was ruined, and it was all my fault.
When we stopped to eat, I sat at the table in tears. He asked why I was crying. Hells bells, why do you think I am crying! You won’t talk to me or touch me, you won’t even look at me! He responded: “I have a lot to think about.”
So do I. If thinking rationally, if speaking and acting honestly will always feel like this, if asking questions and admitting my disbelief will always cost me relationships with people I care about….I don’t know if I can do it.
I’m not sure it’s worth it.
32 thoughts on “does the truth that sets you free always hurt like hell?”
Oh dear. Your conversation sounds like mine (which I know you’ve already read).
In my experience, I can’t go on living a lie for very long…I just can’t. That hurts me way more than anything else. I know not everyone is like this, and would rather maintain their relationships at the cost of their authenticity. However, hiding something this huge from your spouse would be pretty damn tough, actually I don’t know how you could do it long-term…he’d eventually see it if he even remotely paid attention to you.
I’m hoping *time* will take some of the sting away with my hubs, and maybe it will with yours too.
I’m sorry it all went so wrong.
That’s just it – we are very close, I have no poker face and he reads me like a book! I can’t hide things from him. It feels so wrong and even if I tried, he would know something was amiss. I’ve felt terrible not sharing every second of my doubt, every thought, every article I’ve read, every podcast I’ve listened to.I didn’t want tho bring him down. I was scared. I hoped maybe I could “fix” myself without having to discuss it. I’m too far gone for that now, at least with him. Regardless of whether I come clean with anyone else, he’s the one person I had to be honest with. I don’t know where things will land. I know we will be ok because our love is strong and he it’s an amazing and rational man. But being out of communion with him (to borrow a church term), even for an afternoon, is torture. If it feels like this with him, I don’t know if I’m strong enough to face certain rejection and judgment from the other people I care about…
My advice to you, since I have so recently done this myself, is to just let it lay for a bit. Don’t talk about it with him for the time being, just let him think about it and sort it out in his own head. Let him come to you with questions, don’t you ask him questions. I’m doing this same thing with my hubs because I don’t want to jam my disbelief down his throat and turn it into a crisis for him, when there’s no reason I can’t give him time to think on it. After all, it took you and I both quite some time to fully realize we’d lost our faith…it’s only fair to give our loved ones the same chance to digest it.
Now as far as telling anyone else, I’d give that a while too. I told my friends, family, and husband over a period of several months, because I felt I had to build up my strength between each one. In the end everyone pretty much dumped me, but honestly it feels sort of good to just have it done with it….I feel better knowing where I stand rather than constantly having to lie and hide. I will admit though, I’m a person who is uncommonly independent and who does not need a lot of approval to be happy. If your personality differs, it may be much harder on you.
Good luck on your journey…it’s one fraught with minefields.
Very sound advice, thank you. I hate confrontation, but I also hate leaving things unsaid. Right now, I need to give him time and space and love. Like you said, we didn’t get here without a lot of thought and introspection. We can’t expect them to just say “ok!” and act like nothing has happened. I’m sorry you’ve had such a terrible response from people. But knowing someone else understands and is walking the same unexpected path makes me feel not so alone. I hope it helps you, too 🙂
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I agree with “ANSV” above. Don’t bring up the subject, but know he will bring it back up. My girlfriend was patient with me and she didn’t push or anything. I had to do my own reading, pondering and contemplating for a long time and eventually I was able to put 30 years of fundamentalism behind me.
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Something you said reminded me of something my boyfriend has brought up: the idea that people don’t choose to have doubts or lose their faith. Personally, I agree with that. I would never in a million years have chosen doubt, but it eventually happened. A religion teacher once told me that faith is a gift; some writers, though, claim that faith is a choice to continue to believe without evidence. There may be room for argument there, but ultimately when you start to encounter information and ideas that lead you to doubt, and you see problems with your faith, you can’t un-see them. They’re there. They shape how you make decisions about religion, and what you think about it. One religious instructor told me, “You should fake it till you make it.” I couldn’t though. In my experience, I knew I was faking, and that made it even less meaningful and harder to maintain. Best of luck on your journey as you navigate this.
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Thanks Nancy. You’re right, you can’t un-see the problems once you perceive them. I never thought Christianity was flawless – it it was, there wouldn’t be so many varieties! But I did at least think there was, deep down somewhere, a foundation to rely on. At the very least, it felt good to believe that. Now, I have a hard time believing it, and as hard as it is, admitting I’m faithless feels better than faking it. I can’t believe a religious instructor would give such awful advice! I’ve only talked to my husband and one very rational friend about it. But I can’t keep up the charade for long. This Sunday I have to lead worship. Bowing out would create a hardship and I’m not ready for full disclosure. Right now I’m just doing the best I can. Having rational people like you ping in is reassuring that I’m not totally losing my stuff!
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Egads…you have to *lead worship*? That’s a tough position to be in…I’m not sure I cope with that. How are you managing?
Nancy brings up a good point. I’ve heard many christians say if you have a period of doubt you just keep your faith going anyway. Apparently mother teresa lost her faith but still carried on with her work….it was very controversial that she was given sainthood due to this. Google it if you want some interesting reading.
I think when we refer to the religious as having faith and the secular as being without it, we are building a false dichotomy. Personally I actually don’t think we have free will, at least in the way that it is commonly defined, but if we did, I think that faith would be a choice. But we all choose to have it. I may not have faith there is a God, but I have faith that certain friends will always come through, or faith that everything is going to be alright, or faith in humanity, or whatever. I think faith is extremely important for our well being, but it doesn’t matter what you have faith in, but you need to have it. We are able to see far into the future, and if we didn’t have some ability to have faith, I think life would become very worrisome and stressful always dwelling on the uncertainty of the future. And I think some people do worry about the future too much and such people are often very stressed. I agree with you, it is very hard living that lie.
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“When we refer to the religious as having faith and the secular as being without it, we are building a false dichotomy…. I may not have faith there is a God, but I have faith that certain friends will always come through, or faith that everything is going to be alright, or faith in humanity, or whatever. I think faith is extremely important for our well being…”
Wow. Swarn…. thank you. I don’t have to give up “faith” or worry about being a “fatheist”? That’s such a relief!!!! Having faith – in people, in situations, in decisions, in myself – is such a crucial part of who I am. I love helping and inspiring others, lifting people up, giving words of encouragement….not for some later glory, but because it makes me feel good, it makes other people feel good, and I’m good at it! I like being NICE (a word that seems anathema to so many in the blogosphere on both sides of the religious/humanist fence) And I like not having to worry about so many things. Even though Jesus is quoted as saying “Why worry?” most Christians I know (including myself) do worry, about everything. Now that I find myself totally adrift from religious belief, I find that I worry much, much less. Probably because I no longer think I have some spiritual responsibility for or power over what is going to happen. I can use my intellect and reasoning and instinct to make decisions without worrying if it fits in with God’s will or if it is right or if it is going to lead me down the right path. When things go badly I can just chalk it up to experience and try to make the best of it, not to the fact that I’m a proud and stupid and lowly wretch of a worm. I can have my faith and doubt together. That opens up a whole new world for me.
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“I can use my intellect and reasoning and instinct to make decisions without worrying if it fits in with God’s will or if it is right or if it is going to lead me down the right path. ”
I really like what you said here. One commonality that you find about people who are more fundamental in their beliefs is the tend to default to authority to the extreme. Whether it is glorifying all in uniform, or God. And when you think about it, Judeo-Christian religions are very “parental”. Somebody who watches you, tells you right from wrong, and then punishes (perhaps until the end of time) if you do, do something wrong. When you think about it, it’s pretty fucked up though. That would be a bad parent if we met somebody like that in real life. One could argue that such a figure might have value when we are young, just like a parent is essential when we are young, but becomes less so as the child grows older. As parents we value this, we want our children to be able to survive on their own and survive well, because we are getting older and may not be around anymore. Yet with religion we are expected to have that parent always and never able to make decisions for ourselves without some pretty extreme consequences. Yet for any action that is considered moral both in the bible and in today’s society, can be explained from a biological point of view as well. So why do we need to be told what’s right and what’s wrong from a higher authority when many of these things are self-evident? So what is the value of trying to guess what God wants or doesn’t want, we can do a pretty good job of it ourselves. Because the problem is, when you make it a habit to default to authority for what is right or wrong, things become black and white, and those in a position of authority can take advantage of people who they know will listen. Whether that’s a Southern Baptist reverend who wants convince you of his views, or a Muslim Cleric who wants to convince people of his views. We know what dangerous consequences can be when bad people are in a position of religious power.
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I think we’re talking about two different definitions of faith, and that’s where this dichotomy comes from–a very specific definition that fits that structure. I see faith as belief without evidence, and while in the colloquial sense I do, for example, have “faith” in my friends, the word I’d use there is trust. Trust is something that’s built by repeatedly being able to count on them when the going gets tough. It’s not the same as the kind of faith one has in a deity (without evidence). I agree though, that “faith in humanity” is an important thing, and being able to trust that the uncertain future will be OK is important too. I just use different language to describe that.
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I agree that “faith” is not based on evidence per se, whereas “trust” is. I trust based on a track record, whether it is a person, a financial institution, or something like gravity. When I have trust in someone or something, I don’t have to do much thinking unless something goes wrong to destroy that trust. However, I believe having faith – especially in people – is possible, necessary and desirable. For example, I trust my husband because he has never given me any reason to distrust him. However, I also express faith in him when he tells me he loves me, when he tries to do something new, when he doubts himself, when something unexpected comes along to challenge us. This faith has some basis in my trust of him but it is not totally based on evidence. It is born out of his value to me as a person, on my love for him, and on my own desire for his success. Even when trust wavers based on our ability to view the evidence, we can choose to take a risk and have faith even when we can’t explain why. I think there is something valid to the Christian scripture from Hebrews that says “faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” People put faith in all sorts of crazy things, I know. But that is part of our nature. In our human existence, there are many things we must take on faith, things that are important to us, things as basic and as necessary as love. You can’t give evidence for feelings. They are intangible. But they are still a valid part of our human, nay, our animal, dimension. I think throwing the word “faith” out with the holy water is a huge semantic loss and am comfortable keeping it in my toolkit.
I mean I agree with you that we can define faith differently, but I would argue that all faith is built on some evidence. While you and I might think that there is no evidence of a God, for many people they think that the Bible or anecdotal evidence constitutes proof. And there are even more philosophical arguments that apologists use to say that there is evidence of God. In my experience the difference between a theist and atheist is largely what we consider good or bad evidence. But many people think atheists don’t have faith, but I think we all use faith to a certain degree. Having religious faith serves the same purpose I think, at least a fundamental level. And sorry if it seemed like I was attacking you, I did know what you meant, I was just trying to suggest that if we broaden or definition and look at what faith is really used for from a psychological perspective we can find a lot of commonalities between all peoples whether they are religious or not. 🙂
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Nope, never felt attacked! You and nancyabramsblogger made me think. I’m a writer and words are my tools. The artist in me had to parse out and examine new ways of looking at these words. One thing for sure, when it comes to semantics, everything is subjective!
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Haha…I guess I should have been clear in my reply that this was to nancyabramsblogger. Sometimes I don’t know how to address people on here. I mean I could probably assume her name is Nancy and I can call you Skirt. lol One thing I noticed with WordPress that it doesn’t specify who your comments are in response to, it just notifies you of all comments on a blog piece that has been written. Sorry for the confusion! I had apologized to Nancy because I knew the response I had written was quick. I need to take more time with my responses, but sometimes I’m like…”I really want to respond to this before I have to rush off to class” because I’m so excited by the topic and having discussions with intelligent people that I end up writing quickly and excitedly instead of carefully and calmly. lol
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I came over from Violet’s blog.
I too have left the church. Born again at 16. Water baptized and baptized in the holy spirit within weeks of my conversion. Gave up everyone (they were “sinners”) and everything I knew to yoke myself to the lord. I burned my secular music. I went to church twice on Sundays, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. I married a born again Christian man.(We didn’t even have dancing at our wedding because it was a sin.) OK, are you getting my point? My faith and conversion (at that time) was 100% real. But then my daughter was born with a genetic disease. 9/11 happened. I started asking questions of my pastor and his wife. They told me I didn’t have enough faith. At this point I still was totally faithful but I didn’t understand. All I wanted was to understand. The leaders of our church came to my home to cast demons out of me. It was then that I first thoughts of, “What the fuck?” I too have had Christians tell me my conversion was not real. (!)
As yours likely is, it is a long, long, long story. Now I believe in a God so very different but be damned if I could tell you what that is. Your words about god allowing starving children in Africa but that same god gets your mother a parking space hit the nail on the head for me. That is exactly what I feel. The world is so fucked up. So fucked up. It confuses me to no end. Anyway, all these years later I still have the same questions. None have been answered. I believe in a god because I have to have faith in something. It is part of my nature. That said, I don’t believe that anybody else is required to have faith in anything. If there is a god and at the end of time all I have to believe in a god that loves us all and will allow (almost) all of us to be with him/her/it for eternity. Then again, if there is reincarnation there is a chance I was my g, g, g, g, grandmother. (Long story!) So, at the end of the day I have no clue. And really nobody else does either. We are all getting by on half luck, a few good choices and genetics.
So much love to you. Because that is all we have. That is all.
Skirty, I fear I’ve been a bad friend and have forgotten to show you some of the fun blogs on WP to give you humor therapy (and maybe the occasional heart attack). You’ll met all sorts of interesting characters, both atheist and christian, from these blogs.
Atheist blogs for fun, fiery conversation:
https://violetwisp.wordpress.com/ hosted by Violet
https://maasaiboys.wordpress.com/ hosted by Mak and Joseph
Atheist blogs for good information, and occasionally firey conversation:
https://findingtruth.wordpress.com/ hosted by Nate
https://victorianeuronotes.wordpress.com/ hosted by Victoria
https://aspiretofindtruth.wordpress.com/ hosted by ratamacue
Fun, but intense, christian blogs to visit for opposing arguments:
https://thei535project.wordpress.com/ hosted by James
https://thenakedtruth2.wordpress.com/ hosted by Colorstorm
https://insanitybytes2.wordpress.com/ hosted by InsanityBytes
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LOL, you are not a bad friend! (I thought I replied to this before, but apparently my phone crapped out on me and didn’t post) Can’t wait to check out these sites. One site I wanted to tell you about is http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/ You may already know it and Seth Andrews, but if you don’t you should definitely check him out. Seth was raised by theologian parents and worked for many years in Christian radio. He hosts weekly podcasts that I find very helpful coming from a decoverting Christian perspective. He is intelligent, funny, and his radio voice/persona is very easy on the ear, brain and heart (I can’t tolerate ranting or disorganization!)
I will definitely check him out…thanks!
Very well expressed. I really feel for what a difficult time you must be going through right now. I try to think about the reverse. What if my wife suddenly became a born again Christian. How would it be for me? I guess it would depend on how much views on actual important issues changed, or how much she wanted proselytize me or others. I know for sure it would be hard though. I’d like to think there was a good chance to make it work though Mostly because I think good people are good people and religiosity doesn’t necessarily take that away, and so as long as she remained the same kind, loving, and compassionate person, I think I could do it. But like you said, there would be a fundamental shift in what I feel is part of the foundation of the love I have for her. So as others said, it may simply take some time. It sounds as though you still accept and love him for who he is, and I expect you want the same. You might be able to hide your atheism from most of the world, but you need someone in your life who is going to love you exactly for who you are, and I suspect you won’t be happy keeping it hidden for the rest of your life. So I hope you don’t have to hide it for too long and that you both work it out. 🙂
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“Good people are good people and religiosity doesn’t necessarily take that away”
True, unfortunately also true for angry people and selfish people and bombastic people and greedy people, etc. – getting or leaving religion doesn’t seem to make much difference! 🙂 I’ve known a few people who changed their ways and attitudes when they found God, but that could have more to do with how fitting into a community act as a governor, giving accountability and counseling where there was none before. On the other hand, my lack of belief has not made me unlawful. I don’t suddenly want to go rob a bank or cheat on my husband or kill the moron who cut me off in traffic. I am still ME. If I never talked to my husband about what I was thinking, he would not have detected from my demeanor or behavior. (Aside from my lack of active participation in church and prayer.) I do love him exactly as he is – always did – and feel the most regret that I “required” him to attend church when we got married. He found belief on his own, but I was certainly his biggest incentive. It must be confounding to hear that I’m walking away; maybe he feels like I’m leaving him behind or fears that I will change or no longer want him. The most reassuring thing I can do is be normal and show him my love in real and practical ways, and slowly reveal that my change of thought does not mean a change of heart. Having lots and lots of sex would probably help also (doesn’t it always?) 🙂
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I think you have the right approach. It’s a reality of life that people do change, and entering into a marriage you have to accept that this is a possibility. I think it is probably frightening for him, because many people feel they embody their beliefs, and so your changing and he’s not so he’s worried about what that means. My mother is quite religious, but when I think about why I love her, it has nothing to do with her beliefs, but rather how she acts towards others and the goodness that flows from her. She may say that her beliefs make her that way, but since I know other people who do not share the same beliefs but are still good people, I know that once can simply celebrate goodness, and leave the mythology to the side. I hope that he is able to love what is good about you, just like you so about him. As I said, I think you demonstrating the best possible attitude for a difficult situation.
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“My mother is quite religious, but when I think about why I love her, it has nothing to do with her beliefs, but rather how she acts towards others and the goodness that flows from her”
I love how you talk about your mother. My mother is very religious but like yours she is also a very generous, giving person. She’s always been one to pray for people, but she’s also always been one to put legs on her prayer, to do real and practical things. She cares for the elderly and the sick, feeds the hungry, mourns with the mournful, she is the hands and feet of the God she believes in. Like your mom, she chalks it up to Christ in her. I think it is her inherent nature and she would do it no matter what she believed. She’s been a committed Christian as long as I’ve known her, but since my father’s death and living alone, her every breath and word has been extremely God-centered. Plus I left the denomination of my youth, so she focuses on what I am and am not doing and whether I’m in God’s will or not. It drove me nuts, even as a believer, and I always felt like I needed to argue with her and defend my beliefs. I recently dreaded spending an extended period of days with her, knowing I was going to be banged over the head with god talk for hours on end. My fear was well founded and there were a lot of those moments. But, I found as I redirected conversations and spent more time just being with her and loving her, a lot of that went away and she started acting like the normal, fun, loving, laughing mom that I grew up with. I discovered that if I put down my defenses and just acted like a loving person (who happens to be a daughter) to this woman (who happens to be a mom) the same as I would any other person, an amazing transformation took place in both of us. What started as a really tense couple of days ended in a really nice time together and with a new feeling of closeness. Which showed me that my love and caring didn’t come from God, because I actually am able to release more of myself to her when i’m not defending my own beliefs against hers. Our beliefs never really came into the picture again. She never once looked at me and said, “ah ha, god has told me you don’t believe in him anymore.” She just looked at me with gratitude and love because I was showing her the same. If that isn’t what life is about, then I don’t know what is.
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My eyes welled up with tears reading this. I can’t imagine how hard it is to lose faith while you are married to a partner who it means so much to. The only thing I would say is, like the others, don’t bring it up. Let him come to you with it. Perhaps when he does bring it up, which he inevitably will, you could explain to him that you are essentially the same person, that you love him with our without faith, and that this realization has been difficult for you. It isn’t something you’re doing to him. It’s something you’ve gone through and you can’t undo it.
I don’t know you and just started following today, but gentle hugs to you. I’m so, so sorry you’re going through this. Telling people scares the bajeezus out of me!
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Thank you, Ruth. You’re right, it is something I’m going through and I don’t know how to undo it. I don’t want it to cost me everything else that is dear. I’m trying to just what you and others have advised: keep being the same loving wife to him that I’ve always been and show him I am maybe even MORE loving than before (because I’ve dropped some of my old religious hang-ups). I have a bad history/habit of slowly and silently reaching my own conclusions, but then bombing other people with them unexpectedly and all at one time. Now that I’m more (ahem) mature, I am trying to heed and be patient. He’s slowly getting it. The other day he told me about a mutual friend converting to Christianity (this is a person who goes from one “woo” to another fairly often). I was polite but not enthusiastic. He said, “I know you’re having problems with God and no longer believe in the power of prayer, but I’ve been praying for her for a long time.” I sighed and said, “Yes, I used to as well. I’m glad she’s happy. And I love you.” Then we dropped it. It’s tough. You say “telling people scares the bajeezus out of me” – does that mean you are also in the closet per se?
For the most part, yes. My husband is not religious, but believes there something – a higher power, if you will. He doesn’t pray or believe in a lot of woo, he just doesn’t think everything came into being by accident. So I can pretty much be open and honest with him about what I think and feel (which is a relief, let me tell you) . My younger brother and sister are pretty much where I am, which is agnostic atheism. My older sister and her husband aren’t terribly religious but hold a negative view of those who don’t believe in the Christian God, which is odd if you ask me, but they didn’t so I don’t say so to them. 😉 I was a devoted Christian for 20+ years in the deep south so all of my friends are deeply devoted Christians. I haven’t told them of my unbelief. My views on a number of social issues have changed and they know that, but I haven’t advertized my deconversion. I don’t really know how to.
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I’m surprised by how many people who aren’t Christians or God-followers of any tradition feel so angry and threatened by the thought of someone not believing in God or “something” at all! Boggles my mind. I think it is cultural in part. I am in the deep South, so I hear you. Everything and everyone here is steeped in religion, mostly Christianity, even my gay friends! My take on social issues like abortion has changed drastically, but I can’t talk about them without being castigated. I think some of my Christian friends would still love me if I came out. My main reason for staying quiet is my mother. If I can find the courage to be honest with her and we both survive, then screw everyone else. But I can’t lift the veil with anyone but my husband and a few trusted non-religious friends (and my anonymous Skirt blogger ‘friends’ 🙂 ) in fear that she would find out through the grape vine. Again….we’re in the South and my how tongues do wag LOL. As for the grandeur and brilliance of our universe and feelings of spirituality, maybe there is “something” more out there. I can’t say there isn’t. But if there is, it definitely isn’t the God I was taught about. If the religion I had isn’t true, there is nothing else that even comes close and I don’t need any more mythology. Which leaves me…. well, here! Look forward to getting to know you.
I haven’t been castigated about anything in particular, though I’m pretty silent on abortion with those I know are totally against it. Rather than come out and say that I’ve changed my opinion I asked sort of pointed questions about the topic like, “Who is going to take care of these babies whose mothers can’t afford to or don’t want to? Are you going to do it,” and “What if your daughter were raped? How would you feel about that?” The thing I think I’ve received the most grief over is my stance on witchcraft, like the supernatural spell-casting kind. When I told my friend who was ranting about some people who are into black magic I told her I didn’t believe in bad demons and witches and what-have-you anymore. That went over like a lead balloon. Anyway, I think the reason I mostly don’t come out is because I don’t want to have to answer to them about my own personal journey. Not only that, I know what brought my faith crumbling down and I don’t really want to be the source of someone else’s faith coming undone.
Yeah, he and I are not too far apart on the wonder of the universe aspect. I’m definitely in awe and I can’t say for sure there’s nothing out there, I’m just not totally convinced there is either. It’s certainly not a point of contention either way. There’s no mystery attached to it and certainly no mythology.
Looking forward to reading more of your blog.
Back in 2006 my little family had only lived in San Diego for a month or so. We were still getting settled in and had not even visited a Church there yet. We had married in 2004 while we still lived in Hawaii and more less got kicked out of that same Church by the end of the year. From that time until we left Hawaii we had briefly attended a different Church then decided to go to another one for a few months, only to return to the previous one. (We did attend the Church we got kicked out of before trying the last two. It was a weekend of disaster!)
So, in less than two and a half years of marriage we had already been pretty beaten up by Church. I emotionally felt pressure (guilt) to really seek out God in our new home and find a home Church. We were only a family of three at the time, but we were all hurting and having a very hard time with all that we had already been through in the short time we were a family.
One day hubby and I were dealing with all of this and the dread of Christmas coming hit us super hard. We were thousands of miles from just about anyone we ever knew and had an absolutely horrible start to our marriage and family. We were arguing and yelling like a couple of crazy people. Then something strange happened, my husband broke down and got on his knees. If you knew him, you would know that he is a macho man and this is not a stance that he ever takes. I was still on my feet, hovering over him and so ignorant of what was going on before my eyes. He humbly says “I can’t do it anymore. I just want to quit. I can’t do this with God anymore.” Instead of compassion I turned to an angry place. I then told him that he had no right to do that to God. God has never hurt him, it’s been people, more specifically, Churches. I told him that he shouldn’t punish God for other peoples’ mistakes, blah, blah, blah. So, we both dusted ourselves off, wiped our tears and almost immediately became apart of a Calvary Chapel Church.
Over the years we were hitting our heads against the same drama in Church and in dealing with our Christian families and other Christians as well. Then some things began to get even worse with all of the above. We also started to open our eyes and ears to war, money, politics and religion in this country and saw how so much of it was entangled with each other. This awakening began in the spring of 2010. From that time until Independence Day 2012 we had visited, even regularly attended, MANY Churches here in Tennessee, SEVEN to be exact. The last two we visited a few times each after our deconversion that took place between Purim and Easter in 2012. My husband had asked if we would do so for the sake of our kids. It all seemed to just cement our decision instead and we haven’t gone to any church since.
Every relationship is as different as the people who are in it. We somehow survived the differences of opinions. However, I know that when I was bull headed and didn’t listen to my husband, he tried really hard to make his faith work. We both did. Now as I look back at it, I see that the fall of 2006 was actually a perfect time to break away altogether. The part of SD where we lived was only 10% Church goers and our only child at the time was just a year and a half old. I wish that instead of yelling at my husband, I would have gotten on my knees with my husband, taken him by the hand and offered him a religious break for half a year or so. I could have at least done that and we may have never returned to Church and ultimately left our faith once and for all.
I don’t know the makeup of your relationship. I just hope that there is a line of communication that opens for you two (instead of closes) regarding the God talk. I was foolish for a long time. To be honest, I second guessed my faith since I began Bible School in 1993. My husband reminded me of that when he said those things on his knees and I didn’t like it. Because good girls love Jesus. Good girls, especially wives and mommies, put God first, no matter what.
I know I wrote a lot. I just wanted you to know that just because he’s not verbalizing it, doesn’t mean he doesn’t agree with you or at least thinks about it at times. This is a difficult place where you are. This is the fork in the road that builds or breaks relationships. Although hubby and I ended up at the same place, which I’m grateful for, it’s still difficult. We have been reinventing our marriage, our family and ourselves individually for three years. It has not been easy, but I’m glad he’s with me. For either one of us could not have been on board with the other, causing dramatic issues emotionally, mentally and physically.
I wish you the best, Skirt. I honestly do. Please be encouraged. You have my email now that I’ve commented on your blog. Please message me if you want to vent or inquire about anything.
Wishing you well,
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Charity, thank you for sharing part of your story and for the encouragement. I’m in a better place now than I was when I wrote this; I guess I need to stop commenting on other people’s blogs and update my own! My husband and I have not had any discussion about this since our trip but he makes comments like “I know you don’t believe in the power of prayer” or “I know you’re struggling with the whole God thing.” but they aren’t biting or cutting, which is progress. I think his initial reaction was similar to yours. He was angry to think I was in a different place from him, angry to assume I was sitting in judgment that what he believed was stupid, angry that I hadn’t been discussing this with him all along, angry to think that our relationship and our life together might be jeopardized, that if I have doubts about God I might have doubts about him, too. I can see that now. He is where he is faith-wise because of my influence – how dare I change horses in mid-stream! But so much of our life together is decidedly NOT in line with the Christian theology our church teaches, especially when it comes to things like sex and pornography and profanity and marriage equality and even basic doctrine. I hope you are right, that he is still thinking on these things. We are as close as ever and love each other deeply. I feel like this will all pan out. Eventually I will have to reveal the truth – I’m no longer struggling with faith. It is totally gone. In the meantime, I continue to become a better and better version of myself. I think in time that will stand me in good stead. I think when i finally come clean, it will be unnecessary – he will already know. It wouldn’t surprise me if he followed suit. But even if he doesn’t, I think we will be ok.
I’m glad to hear that progress is being made in your life, as well as in your marriage. Thank you for replying so quickly. I know it will take time. I just hope that everything falls into place for the both of you. I hope that he begins to see your view point and understands where you’re at in your life. From what you’ve mentioned in your comment, it sounds as though he’s at least open minded.