Going To Church With My Wife
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20-01-2015, 09:03 AM
Question Going To Church With My Wife
My wife and I have had some ups and downs since my gradual rejection of religion over the past few years. Thankfully, we are in a good place now and continue working through and discuss topics as they come up.

One of the negotiables that I have is going to church. I know that my wife will feel supported and encouraged if we go to church together, so we have decided to go to church this Sunday. Lecture_preist


This brings up 2 issues:
1.) It is a church that we visited occasionally when I was still a believer... and the more that I think about it the more I worry about how I am going to get through it. It is a charismatic evangelical church, so at least it won't be super boring, but listening to the worship songs and the pastor talking about nonsense (sin, blessings, tithing, Jesus, the holy spirit, etc.) is going to be difficult. I guess I can use it as a time to do some mindfulness meditation or something Huh

2.) We also have a 4 month old son, and our old small group of friends does not, so it seems like we may need to generate a new group of friends since we haven't seen much of them since the baby was born... and sadly church may be the best route. I told my wife that on top of going to church, I will join a "small group" with other families with small children to meet some new people. I told her that I will "play along" and not buck too much about the nonsense, or if it works, I will be completely open with my non-belief but still attend and not be a dick about it. We have yet to see how that will play out, but it will be interesting Consider


I have like 3 atheist friends, but none have similar situations, so I was curious if anyone was in a similar place or has gone through this before?

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20-01-2015, 09:25 AM
RE: Going To Church With My Wife
My wife and I have never attended church with our son (now almost 4-years-old) and we had no trouble at all meeting other people with kids and becoming friends. This sort of happens organically once the kid gets a little older and is out running around on a playground or something, they interact with other kids, you interact with the kid's parents, voila!

I guess I'm just saying, it's not necessarily a BAD idea to go to church purely for the social contact aspect, but you'll probably do just fine without it.
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20-01-2015, 10:14 AM
RE: Going To Church With My Wife
Wow, you sound a bit like me 12 years ago. When my wife and I were first married, I was in the deist realm but I was still looking. While we were dating, I went to church with her family when we were there and I also went with her at home. After we were married, I continued to do the same and attended a small group with her. However, I found that as I reflected upon it more and more I found myself at odds with it. Eventually, I had to tell her that I no longer could attend with her. One reason was the obvious assumption by people that I was a believer and I got sick of it. I could not tell them without embarrassing my wife and I also was not honest with myself. I also grew tired of hearing the arrogant prayers for "all those who do not know Jesus" and the like. I felt that I was lying to everyone, myself, and her by appearing to be something I was not. It took me a while to work up the courage to tell her. It gave me no pleasure to do it but in the long run, I have no regrets. I am so much happier about it because I am not living a lie, nor am I perpetuating one. She had asked me to in the beginning and I sort of agreed but in the end, my conscience won.

The kids are more complicated. When we were first married, she asked me whether I would support her in the religious indoctrination of our children. I told her that I would not support it but I wouldn't interfere. This did cause many fights on the interpretation but we got through it. What I did had implications that I could not have foreseen at the time. They are actually all positive. My kids see that her and I do not agree on this subject and if I were to play the part, they would not know that. Without saying a word, I am still teaching them something. Now, my oldest is 7 and is seeing that there are other opinions on the subject and he is asking some serious questions. Questions that he would not likely to ask if he thought that I was a believer. I am glad that I stood up for myself and although it scared me in the beginning, I am more happy because I don't hide my thoughts.

In terms of your situation, only you know. You know her and can maybe gauge her response. Ask this yourself this: are you being honest with yourself and others who do not know you and can you live with that?

"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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20-01-2015, 10:53 AM
RE: Going To Church With My Wife
ugh...I think you are only going to be able to tolerate this arrangement for awhile and then it will start getting under your skin. If you are going to agree to behaving as a believer to keep the peace then I would atleast pick a less intensive environment.

many of the members here go to church to keep the peace but not those churches seem to be less intrusive to their personal lives and they arent jumping thru the hoops of small groups, etc.

there comes a point where you just have to move on and explore other ways.

good luck.


"Life is a daring adventure or it is nothing"--Helen Keller
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20-01-2015, 11:29 AM
RE: Going To Church With My Wife
I agree with Mr Boston, that it is easy making friends with parents of kids at the playground, pool, or just walking around the neighborhood. It does help to get their phone numbers so you can follow up on play dates, etc. I also agree with Zach and organic (methamphetamine) chemist that it would be difficult to go to church and stand through all the nonsense and pretend to be something you are not. My wife is not particularly religious, but likes the sense of community she grew up with in her small country church which is why she would like us to go to church. I have looked for a local freethinker or humanist group that could perhaps substitute as source of community, but I have not found one (which is surprising in our not very religious state). Through digging around, I learned that unitarian universalists are secular humanists, so we have tentatively agreed to try it, but have not yet been and really have no idea what to expect.
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20-01-2015, 12:10 PM
RE: Going To Church With My Wife
(20-01-2015 11:29 AM)Iñigo Wrote:  I agree with Mr Boston, that it is easy making friends with parents of kids at the playground, pool, or just walking around the neighborhood. It does help to get their phone numbers so you can follow up on play dates, etc. I also agree with Zach and organic (methamphetamine) chemist that it would be difficult to go to church and stand through all the nonsense and pretend to be something you are not. My wife is not particularly religious, but likes the sense of community she grew up with in her small country church which is why she would like us to go to church. I have looked for a local freethinker or humanist group that could perhaps substitute as source of community, but I have not found one (which is surprising in our not very religious state). Through digging around, I learned that unitarian universalists are secular humanists, so we have tentatively agreed to try it, but have not yet been and really have no idea what to expect.

UU churches seem to work for the many families in my area that still want thT community and 'spiritual ' feel without he supernatural element. Quite a few of the members on a local atheist group go to it. They tend to blend the best of many religions (the humanist parts). I have heard each session is kind of unique do one week it might have an emphasis on one topic and the next be completely different.


"Life is a daring adventure or it is nothing"--Helen Keller
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21-01-2015, 08:27 AM
RE: Going To Church With My Wife
(20-01-2015 09:25 AM)Mr. Boston Wrote:  I guess I'm just saying, it's not necessarily a BAD idea to go to church purely for the social contact aspect, but you'll probably do just fine without it.

Thanks Mr. Boston- I know that as my son gets older, he will be in school and sports and that will, by default, create a social circle...I think that I just want to support my wife and help create a support group of other mothers for her at the moment, knowing that it might not happen without my help. I would be fine without out it, I'm just trying to talk through my feelings at the moment. Thanks for the response Smile


(20-01-2015 10:14 AM)The Organic Chemist Wrote:  In terms of your situation, only you know. You know her and can maybe gauge her response. Ask this yourself this: are you being honest with yourself and others who do not know you and can you live with that?

Chemist- Thanks for your story! A lot of our journey has been getting married on the same page and me "walking away," which has caused some drama. She knows that I am an atheist, and she seems open to the idea of me being open at church about it, but I am afraid that it will only stigmatize our family and will not assist in our goal of creating a community.

As far as indoctrination goes, we have a similar mindset to what you went through. I am not for indoctrination, and I will not allow it. The best option is to teach our son what mommy believes, what daddy believes, and how to make rational decisions on his own... all age appropriate of course.



Thanks guys. I may update here if we end up attending church this week...

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21-01-2015, 09:47 AM
RE: Going To Church With My Wife
My daughter goes to an evangelical church, she describes herself as agnostic and goes for social reasons. There are occasions that I am compelled to go, so my two major activities consist of:

1.Playing games on my phone.
2.Sleeping.

So far, this has worked pretty well except when the chucklehead pastor wants everyone to stand and chant, praise or some other stupid shit.

Gods derive their power from post-hoc rationalizations. -The Inquisition

Using the supernatural to explain events in your life is a failure of the intellect to comprehend the world around you. -The Inquisition
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21-01-2015, 08:07 PM
RE: Going To Church With My Wife
(21-01-2015 09:47 AM)TheInquisition Wrote:  My daughter goes to an evangelical church, she describes herself as agnostic and goes for social reasons. There are occasions that I am compelled to go, so my two major activities consist of:

1.Playing games on my phone.
2.Sleeping.

So far, this has worked pretty well except when the chucklehead pastor wants everyone to stand and chant, praise or some other stupid shit.

Sleeping was a favorite past time for me as a child since cell phones were still in a bag back then.

"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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23-01-2015, 09:33 PM
RE: Going To Church With My Wife
For quite a few years after I had "de-converted" in my heart (not entirely, I was still struggling but I knew I could never really go back) I used to go to church with my family because I thought it would make my mother happy. I had the impression that allowing her to live in the delusion that I was still a "believer" would help her sleep at night (she has routinely lost sleep at the thought of me being hell-bound, even though I have never actually told her I no longer believe in the god I was raised to). Unfortunately, as hard as I tried to play the part (and I know the routine well, believe me), I found I was more and more unable to do it convincingly enough, and invariably ended up with people "praying for me" and thinking that I somehow "needed help". This was too much for me, as it was already struggle enough to overcome years of indoctrination, and the feeling of being "broken" was most unhelpful. So I quit going altogether. I never took my kids back either. They both thank me profusely now, for not indoctrinating them and for allowing them to become thinking, rational adults. They are truly amazing and whenever I have those old feelings of worthlessness brought on by years of being told just that (you are a SINNER, and WORTHLESS etc.), I look at my daughters and remind myself of how worthwhile my life truly is. I also have new and wonderful friends who don't consider me either broken or a sinner, although that took quite a bit of time and loneliness at first.

I believe that everyone is different, and being able to do the "church thing" even though you do not believe or fit in is entirely personal. I hope you find peace in whatever decision you make. Congratulations on being a new father! Thumbsup
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