Coming out slowly...
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28-01-2015, 05:11 PM
Coming out slowly...
This past week my wife and I went on a vacation to SoCal. We have been married for almost nine years, have two boys and hadn't been on a real vacation by ourselves since our honeymoon so it was long overdue. My wife is aware of my current struggle with faith, as we are both Christians, however I have been progressing slowly from fundamentalism to the deist camp and I honestly can't see myself coming up with any sort of revelation that would push me back towards theism / Christianity. So, in all honesty, I don't know what's holding me back from coming out agnostic / atheist other than the fact that my entire world will be rocked. Marriage may be terminated, family may disown me (probably) and many friends turn their backs. I will also almost assuredly lose my place of community within our church. (As stated in my intro a few weeks ago, I have been a worship leader for many years, but am now just serving as a guitar player. However, unfortunately, am still known in a fairly large church of about 6,000 people).

Coming back to my vacation, my wife and I went to Hillsong LA which is charismatic / pentacostal styled church out there. If anyone comes from a "christian" background you undoubtedly know Hillsong. I felt so awkward in the service. One side of me felt extremely moved as I am easily moved by music being a musician myself. The other side of me felt so dubious. I felt like I was standing there living a lie....trying so hard to be impervious to what was going on around me. Difficult and easy at the same time. I kept thinking, how I can I stand here and worship a God that really isn't just in the way he doles out punishment or sufferings etc. etc. During their prayers about breaking chains for people bound I could here my wife saying "amen" loudly, as if to say yes, my husband is bound by the devil and he needs those chains broken. I, on the other hand, kept thinking why aren't the chains for the woman in Uganda who doesn't know how to feed her 3 year old child being broken? What makes God pick and choose who he is going to allow to live and eat and mitigate suffering today? My wife, of course, could and can tell the difference in my dispensation. She was angry at me, asking me why I wasn't engaging and why I even went to church on that occasion. When we finally got to a place where we could discuss it (as we have done many times before) the same information came out, and of course she got extremely angry just as she has in the past. The anger leads to tears..which essentially leads her to say "I didn't sign up for this when we got married, I want a man of God who will lead our house and kids yada yada yada." Although it is difficult, my approach is always extremely soft with her and it is usually her that loses her cool. I try not to let emotions get involved because they seem to suppress the ability to think clearly. She believes an acquaintance, who is an atheist, was the one to "turn me away from god". I have told her many times before that if she wants to blame anyone it needs to be me because it was my desire to know god greater than I ever have; to grow that relationship. In the process I saw who this God really was. I saw the flags and the house of cards that started coming down. Anyway, I'm rambling now but I guess I needed a place to ramble. Dale McGowan's book "In Doubt and In Faith" is quickly climbing the charts of my next "need-to-read" book. Maybe I'll find some hope there and also with others here who have been through and come out of the same situations......thanks for listening.
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28-01-2015, 05:35 PM
RE: Coming out slowly...
well, that doesnt sound like a fun spot to be in, Hug

I think there are a few things you can do that can hopefully get the two of you in a place where more understanding happens rather than emotional one sided, out bursts.

1. she is most likely feeling that her world is being turned upside down. find small ways to show her that your family is still important in your life, that hasnt changed. in fact, don't only show it, but say it, and say it frequently.

2. don't argue points in the bible. now is not the time for debate or for deciding who is right and who is wrong.

3. find a way to discuss freedom of conscious, that each person chooses for themselves what path to go thru life. That wanting or forcing someone to submit to something they didnt choose is, well, abuse, but using that word might not be the one you want to use. In our house, with the kids, we talk alot about some people think this, some people think that, other people think this and so on. Many times we explain why they think those things, but we leave the judgement of whether amperson is right or wrong out if it. I am confident that my children are logical and skeptical enough to figure it out.

4. a bit of emotion on your part is ok. My husband is very logical and honestly, in times of stress, its hard because I don't always know if there is care and love involved in his answers or if he is just weighing facts like he would money. Relationships involve emotion.

5. Just keep talking about it, don't let it build up. the more you talk about it, the less scary it will be.

hang in there


"Life is a daring adventure or it is nothing"--Helen Keller
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28-01-2015, 05:41 PM
RE: Coming out slowly...
Hug

Wishing you and yours well.
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28-01-2015, 06:32 PM
RE: Coming out slowly...
(28-01-2015 05:11 PM)Tonechaser77 Wrote:  One side of me felt extremely moved as I am easily moved by music being a musician myself. The other side of me felt so dubious. I felt like I was standing there living a lie....trying so hard to be impervious to what was going on around me.

I am so sorry that you are going through these struggles. I can relate on several levels, having been an evangelical/fundamentalist myself, in the music leadership/music side of things, and still going back for many years just for the music (it IS so easy to be moved by it!). And, my family is still in that sub-culture, and I have not been able to fully come out to them, since I am afraid it would actually seriously harm my elderly parents at this point. My marriage was actually ruined by it, but not because my ex-husband was part of that sub-culture, but because my indoctrination had taught me serious self-hatred and greatly repressed me. I WISH fervently that I had listened more to his nudges (they started out gentle but became more and more fervent as the years passed), and been more open to reason. Perhaps your wife will... being gentle is important, and I am so very glad to hear that you are gentle and patient with her.

For myself, finding a place where I could embrace my music outside of the church was important. I KNOW how important music can be. May I suggest a local band or chorus? Most communities have local organizations - mine has both a community orchestra and a couple of singing groups that are awesome! I also started a chamber music group myself, and it brings me great joy and helps me meet awesome people, outside of a religious setting. Granted, there were a few years of abject loneliness and struggle after I admitted to myself I could never go back to church, and that Jesus would never be real to me. Hopefully, you will not have such a difficult road. You have the people here - I am new, so I haven't really delved into the depths yet, but they seem awesome.

May you find peace and enjoy the new road to reason and true enlightenment. Getting rid of the burden of fundamentalism is like emptying the trash. It is fantastic, but you may have the stink of it around for awhile.
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28-01-2015, 06:48 PM
RE: Coming out slowly...
Some great points have been made. I'd like to add that it's totally ok to take your time with coming out to friends and family. I have been an atheist for about six years, and although I have slowly gotten to the point where I feel fairly comfortable discussing my views with my immediate family and my friends, I have chosen to stay in the closet for the foreseeable future in terms of my extended family. I will be honest if I am ever asked about my beliefs point-blank (hasn't happened yet), but due to family dynamics, I feel it's best not to discuss my beliefs with grandparents, aunts, uncles, and most of my cousins - at least not right now.

Because all families and networks of friends are different, there isn't a one-size-fits-all approach, so I would advise playing it by ear and doing whatever you're most comfortable with.

Hang in there! Things will get better. Hug
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29-01-2015, 08:47 AM
RE: Coming out slowly...
I am really sorry for this (to say the least) difficult situation that you did not purposefully create. From your post you seem like a decent person. I don't really know you, so maybe I will say some things without having a basis for saying them, but I somehow feel that I will not be too far off base. First, the only thing in you that has changed is your belief in god. Second, you are still the same loving father and loving husband. You still are the same person who wants to raise kind and caring children. You still are the same father who wants to raise your children with the skills to be successful in life. You are still the same person that loves the family time and traditions (maybe minus going to church) that your family has. You are still the same person that wants to contribute to your community. I think you get the drift. You yourself know more of the same ways in which you are still the same. Maybe helping your wife realize this will smooth the transition. I truly wish you the best.
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29-01-2015, 12:01 PM
RE: Coming out slowly...
(29-01-2015 08:47 AM)Iñigo Wrote:  I am really sorry for this (to say the least) difficult situation that you did not purposefully create. From your post you seem like a decent person. I don't really know you, so maybe I will say some things without having a basis for saying them, but I somehow feel that I will not be too far off base. First, the only thing in you that has changed is your belief in god. Second, you are still the same loving father and loving husband. You still are the same person who wants to raise kind and caring children. You still are the same father who wants to raise your children with the skills to be successful in life. You are still the same person that loves the family time and traditions (maybe minus going to church) that your family has. You are still the same person that wants to contribute to your community. I think you get the drift. You yourself know more of the same ways in which you are still the same. Maybe helping your wife realize this will smooth the transition. I truly wish you the best.

Thanks for this. I have been trying to prop this view up constantly to my wife and I do think it is true. I talked to a co-worker today and said you know if I recanted my faith right now, my day-to-day life really wouldn't change much. The decisions I make wouldn't change, my love towards my family and people wouldn't change. The only thing that would change would be the concept of a deity.
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29-01-2015, 12:03 PM
RE: Coming out slowly...
Thank you everyone. It feels nice to unload every once in a while and I appreciate the kind words and feedback as I travel the journey that many of you have traveled already.
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29-01-2015, 12:19 PM (This post was last modified: 29-01-2015 08:14 PM by Full Circle.)
RE: Coming out slowly...
I think you have received good advice already, just goes to show you how compassionate and empathetic atheist heathens can be Big Grin

On thing you said made me write this post. You said “She believes an acquaintance, who is an atheist, was the one to “turn me away from god”. I ran into this with a family member, they wanted to desperately blame someone for leading me astray.

Perhaps, and I’m not a psychiatrist, if the aggrieved can lay the blame somewhere else then you haven’t really changed in their mind. The alternative is what they fear, that you have thought about this deeply and honestly and have come to the conclusion yourself. Gasp

This second scenario carries a lot more gravitas in your deconversion. Becuse of this my family member continued to assign blame to everything and anyone but me, if I could just think it through I would see the error of listening to these people. But alas, it was all me with a little bit of help from them ironically, they showed me the hypocrisy of their beliefs and that led me down the path of introspection.

I just wanted to share this observation, I don’t know how it can help you but there it is anyway.

Be extra kind and thoughtful to her right now, she is scared and confused.

“I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man’s reasoning powers are not above the monkey’s.”~Mark Twain
“Ocean: A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for man - who has no gills.”~ Ambrose Bierce
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29-01-2015, 09:49 PM
RE: Coming out slowly...
First off. One for you Hug

My wife of 11 years is also a devout believer and this is what I would say in addition to what the others have said: Lover on her and show her that love more than you have ever have before. From my experience, that is one of the most difficult things for a believer to reconcile: how a non-believer can love so deeply. I am sure that it won't be that hard for you to do, from your posts, you sound genuine. Many believers are told that one cannot love without god. They are so, so wrong. Good luck, we are here for you.

"If we are honest—and scientists have to be—we must admit that religion is a jumble of false assertions, with no basis in reality.
The very idea of God is a product of the human imagination."
- Paul Dirac
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