Stuck in the Matrix...
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03-04-2013, 09:01 AM
Stuck in the Matrix...
This is my first post. I'm a rather new "Atheist" - so new in fact that I am only starting to come to terms with it. I will try to keep this brief, but I'm going to cover a bunch of new issues I'm dealing with.

So, I found this forum and will read through it to learn from others. However, just needed to get something off my chest and there is no one to share it with in my city/work/family.

I'm not gay, but I was reading the different views on same couple marriage that have been coming up. It really gives you a view of just how narrow minded and mean people can be. I think people should be able to marry whoever they want. It is not my place to judge or condemn them.

So, I found myself at odds with a lot of people. I started seeing that the Atheist community seemed to share my belief and really be a more level headed open bunch of people.

I have never been a "religious" person. I just adopted whatever was in front of me. When my parents went to church I went with them. When my wife wanted to go to church we went. Church to me was just a "club" where people went to socialize and network. I could probably count on two hands the number of times I have prayed - and that was a LONG time ago. That is why all the atheist videos and website hit a nerve. It made me realize that I have just been pretending to believe so I will fit in and "WHAT IF" it's real... shouldn't I cover all bases... it's only an hour a week.

Before my recent "awakening" I would say that my wife and I shared the same views. We both groaned when we heard the guy at church telling everyone that the earth is only 5,000 years old. We both said "ARE YOU KIDDING ME" when I told her about my religious co-worker who believes that scientist all buried these so called "dinosaur bones" just so they can brain-wash the world. He is divorced and refuses to remarry because it's a SIN... this all coming from a guy who never goes to church. My wife and I don't read scriptures together or pray by the bedside at night. We say grace over the dinner table.

We attend church on a weekly basis and are involved in a LOT of committees and functions. My wife loves to sing and is in the choir. It has all come about over our membership there for 16 years.

So, now I'm having this new view and I was able to view the world through my "atheist eyeglasses" - it's amazing how different everything appears when you just play with the idea that "maybe this is all a lie" - then, all the religious people around me look like idiots.

I'm not ready to drop the "hey, guess what - I'm an atheist" bomb on my wife. She is going through menopause and we have a teenager testing her bounds. I decided to see just how deep my wife is into religion... here is what I know of her beliefs...

she does believe there is a god
she thinks the world is billions of years old and for the bible to try and put it all into 5,000 years is ridiculous
she thinks we as humans are so far below god that we cannot possibly understand time/space how to connect bible to reality
she is comforted IMMENSELY by the fact that a billion years AGO someone (god) knew her, knew everything about her
she is comforted IMMENSELY by the fact that a billion years FROM NOW someone (god) know her, know everything about her
she thinks that atheism is a scary place - the possibility of no god scares the crap out of her

For me to suddenly tell her - hey guess what - I don't believe all this stuff would really cause a rift.

Oh - but wait, there is more...

I am on a committee at church called Evangelism / Communication. The job of that committee is to get the word out and get as many people into the church as possible. Spread the word!

At this point I really feel like I should be on the UN-evangelism committee and tell everyone to WAKE UP.

- What about work?
Everyone I know is religious and has no problem saying so.

- What about my city?
I just found out there is a group of atheist that meet on Saturdays. They probably have less than 20 in there group.

So, I basically feel like I have been presented with the red pill / blue bill in the matrix.

I can take the blue pill and just keep on going to church. Basically I will be the "atheist sitting in the pew" - however, I now realize I've been doing that for YEARS.

I can take the red pill and see where this goes... if I was to truly embrace my non belief this would mean.
- not go to church anymore
- when people ask why I'm not going I tell them
- 50% of the people would try to SAVE me
- 50% of the people would disown me
- people at work would still tolerate me, but I would be "that guy"
- my moon-lighting design business might take a hit (I manage several religious websites and my major client is man of strong religious beliefs)

I had to go to the evangelism meeting a few days ago. That was pretty hard... everyone is brainstorming about what we can do to increase membership and all I could think about doing was trying to sell atheism... if I had, I would have been thrown out of the room. So, I just went along with everyone and made suggestions as if they were selling soap or something other than religion.

Well, I think I've gone on long enough - just needed to get some things off my chest and have no where else to turn.

Can't go to the local atheist group - since I have not told wife any of this and do not want to lie to her about where I'm going on a Saturday at 4pm.

Still in the closet,
Aramus
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03-04-2013, 10:24 AM
RE: Stuck in the Matrix...
(03-04-2013 09:01 AM)aramus Wrote:  This is my first post. I'm a rather new "Atheist" - so new in fact that I am only starting to come to terms with it. I will try to keep this brief, but I'm going to cover a bunch of new issues I'm dealing with.

So, I found this forum and will read through it to learn from others. However, just needed to get something off my chest and there is no one to share it with in my city/work/family.

I'm not gay, but I was reading the different views on same couple marriage that have been coming up. It really gives you a view of just how narrow minded and mean people can be. I think people should be able to marry whoever they want. It is not my place to judge or condemn them.

So, I found myself at odds with a lot of people. I started seeing that the Atheist community seemed to share my belief and really be a more level headed open bunch of people.

I have never been a "religious" person. I just adopted whatever was in front of me. When my parents went to church I went with them. When my wife wanted to go to church we went. Church to me was just a "club" where people went to socialize and network. I could probably count on two hands the number of times I have prayed - and that was a LONG time ago. That is why all the atheist videos and website hit a nerve. It made me realize that I have just been pretending to believe so I will fit in and "WHAT IF" it's real... shouldn't I cover all bases... it's only an hour a week.

Before my recent "awakening" I would say that my wife and I shared the same views. We both groaned when we heard the guy at church telling everyone that the earth is only 5,000 years old. We both said "ARE YOU KIDDING ME" when I told her about my religious co-worker who believes that scientist all buried these so called "dinosaur bones" just so they can brain-wash the world. He is divorced and refuses to remarry because it's a SIN... this all coming from a guy who never goes to church. My wife and I don't read scriptures together or pray by the bedside at night. We say grace over the dinner table.

We attend church on a weekly basis and are involved in a LOT of committees and functions. My wife loves to sing and is in the choir. It has all come about over our membership there for 16 years.

So, now I'm having this new view and I was able to view the world through my "atheist eyeglasses" - it's amazing how different everything appears when you just play with the idea that "maybe this is all a lie" - then, all the religious people around me look like idiots.

I'm not ready to drop the "hey, guess what - I'm an atheist" bomb on my wife. She is going through menopause and we have a teenager testing her bounds. I decided to see just how deep my wife is into religion... here is what I know of her beliefs...

she does believe there is a god
she thinks the world is billions of years old and for the bible to try and put it all into 5,000 years is ridiculous
she thinks we as humans are so far below god that we cannot possibly understand time/space how to connect bible to reality
she is comforted IMMENSELY by the fact that a billion years AGO someone (god) knew her, knew everything about her
she is comforted IMMENSELY by the fact that a billion years FROM NOW someone (god) know her, know everything about her
she thinks that atheism is a scary place - the possibility of no god scares the crap out of her

For me to suddenly tell her - hey guess what - I don't believe all this stuff would really cause a rift.

Oh - but wait, there is more...

I am on a committee at church called Evangelism / Communication. The job of that committee is to get the word out and get as many people into the church as possible. Spread the word!

At this point I really feel like I should be on the UN-evangelism committee and tell everyone to WAKE UP.

- What about work?
Everyone I know is religious and has no problem saying so.

- What about my city?
I just found out there is a group of atheist that meet on Saturdays. They probably have less than 20 in there group.

So, I basically feel like I have been presented with the red pill / blue bill in the matrix.

I can take the blue pill and just keep on going to church. Basically I will be the "atheist sitting in the pew" - however, I now realize I've been doing that for YEARS.

I can take the red pill and see where this goes... if I was to truly embrace my non belief this would mean.
- not go to church anymore
- when people ask why I'm not going I tell them
- 50% of the people would try to SAVE me
- 50% of the people would disown me
- people at work would still tolerate me, but I would be "that guy"
- my moon-lighting design business might take a hit (I manage several religious websites and my major client is man of strong religious beliefs)

I had to go to the evangelism meeting a few days ago. That was pretty hard... everyone is brainstorming about what we can do to increase membership and all I could think about doing was trying to sell atheism... if I had, I would have been thrown out of the room. So, I just went along with everyone and made suggestions as if they were selling soap or something other than religion.

Well, I think I've gone on long enough - just needed to get some things off my chest and have no where else to turn.

Can't go to the local atheist group - since I have not told wife any of this and do not want to lie to her about where I'm going on a Saturday at 4pm.

Still in the closet,
Aramus

Hello,

I have got to say that this is one of the better, or at least more clearer dilemmas of the atheist view. Me, being a 15 year old, can't possibly comprehend what exactly your atheism is going to amount to with your wife and work, and possibly a kid(?). For me, it was never such an issue, but that's mainly because I am young. First of all, I would always be truthful to the people you care about. Show them the respect you think they deserve by telling them the truth about your views.

I would try to make it a mix between the two. Tell them that your views have changed, but that you are accepting of theirs and will tolerate it as long as they can tolerate yours.

Now, I am sorry to cut this short, But I am confident my other fellow users will be more than glad to elaborate and help.

-Steven.

[Image: 0013382F-E507-48AE-906B-53008666631C-757...cc3639.jpg]
Credit goes to UndercoverAtheist.
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03-04-2013, 11:06 AM (This post was last modified: 03-04-2013 12:22 PM by HU.Junyuan.)
RE: Stuck in the Matrix...
I have a GREEN pill for you. And the basic mechanism of the green pill is that you are an atheist, not an anti-theist, which means that you can stay in the closet comfortably enough till the time is right.

- Go to the church, as a social activity, strengthen your ties with people, and this is a behavior favored by evolution.

- When people ask, tell them you still believe. Do this as a way to make people around you feel secured, especially your wife, which is not only right, but also a virtue and a responsibility of a grown-up.

- If people realized that you are 'less religious', let them SAVE you. Treat it as a means of showing concern and love, which is still needed even by an atheist.

- Try not to let people disown you suddenly. It would be painful for them and for you. If you really have to show you belief, do it slowly and gradually. Then let things happen naturally.

- About work, before you can't hold any more, stay in closet and try to find a good job of which religious or not is not a problem.

- Attend the evangelism meeting, try to imagine yourself floating above the meeting, use your ration to solve the question of how to increase membership. This can help you understand humanity better, and is therefore able to build a stronger atheist out of yourself.

- Don't go to the local atheist group for the moment. The atheist are also a group ordinary people with different ideas (if not beliefs). Talk about things and think about the responses on this forum till you are sure what type of atheist you are.

- Please treat your original religion with tolerance. The ancient people didn't want to lie. They just didn't understand. If there were people preaching things they themselves doubted or didn't believe in, they might be in the same difficult positions as you now are in. Thinking in this way might reduce the anger and make you feel better.

Being an atheist is exciting, so you may want to tell people about your new self. I understand this.

Being an atheist is another way of functioning in the society, often a better way. So the point is about better functioning, not just telling people.

You can release your pressure on this forum and ask for help when you become familiar with where to go.

And we sincerely welcome you as an atheist brother.

Edit: After reading your post, being a Chinese in a nation full of atheists, I really have to say that I am very very grateful.

Want something? Then do something.
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03-04-2013, 03:21 PM
RE: Stuck in the Matrix...
I really like the GREEN pill option.

Now is really not a good time in my life to "come out" - besides, I really feel like I was an atheist without knowing it for YEARS. I hate going to the adult sunday school class. All the stuff they discuss just never hit with me. During the sermon my mind is wondering to what chores I have to do. Even during the "let us pray" moments I just listen and think - REALLY?

I struggle between telling my wife because on one hand I don't want to "hide something" from her - on the other hand... she is in a rough spot and really holds onto the "there is an afterlife" belief. I don't think she would really accept "this is it." At least not now. I really feel that in the future religion will be viewed just like we look back on Zeus and all the other "gods" - I just wish it would get here in 5 years instead of 500.

As for our home environment...
If you took away us saying grace before we eat supper I don't think you could tell our home from an atheist home. There are no scriptures hanging on the wall, etc.
As for my wife - she is very LOW religion level wise... so, it's not like I'm forced to read scripture with her every night or discuss my religious feelings on a daily basis.

Wife sees the flaws sometimes too...
As a matter of fact - during the Easter sunday service the pastor was saying some pretty crazy stuff - one sentence was something like "you can go back to your flaccid life, your life with no meaning, your life with no hope...or you can be with God..." and I'm thinking - "my flaccid life? no meaning? WHAT? that is not me..."
On the ride home my wife actually brought that up and said that it kinda offended her... This made me happy, because it shows that she doesn't believe everything that is said from the pulpit.

As far as people trying to SAVE me... that would only happen if I came out...As long as I play along - no one will try to save me... no one tries to make me attend more bible study, etc. My wife does not push religion on me. So, I think I have it pretty good in that respect.

As for work - I don't need to find another job. People here don't really talk about religion or press their beliefs. I just know I've heard them say stuff that makes me cringe - like "my church all got together and prayed for 30 minutes to let it rain" - this does not offend me and I don't go to their church... so no problem - it just makes me think "OH BROTHER" in my head.

I think I'll just hang around here and read and vent for a while.

I think the part that pushed me over the ledge was watching the videos of the pastors that have come out. To hear them say... yes, I was preaching this for 20-30 years and then realized it just didn't add up... I was shocked!
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03-04-2013, 03:57 PM
RE: Stuck in the Matrix...
(03-04-2013 03:21 PM)aramus Wrote:  I really like the GREEN pill option.

Now is really not a good time in my life to "come out" - besides, I really feel like I was an atheist without knowing it for YEARS. I hate going to the adult sunday school class. All the stuff they discuss just never hit with me. During the sermon my mind is wondering to what chores I have to do. Even during the "let us pray" moments I just listen and think - REALLY?

I struggle between telling my wife because on one hand I don't want to "hide something" from her - on the other hand... she is in a rough spot and really holds onto the "there is an afterlife" belief. I don't think she would really accept "this is it." At least not now. I really feel that in the future religion will be viewed just like we look back on Zeus and all the other "gods" - I just wish it would get here in 5 years instead of 500.

As for our home environment...
If you took away us saying grace before we eat supper I don't think you could tell our home from an atheist home. There are no scriptures hanging on the wall, etc.
As for my wife - she is very LOW religion level wise... so, it's not like I'm forced to read scripture with her every night or discuss my religious feelings on a daily basis.

Wife sees the flaws sometimes too...
As a matter of fact - during the Easter sunday service the pastor was saying some pretty crazy stuff - one sentence was something like "you can go back to your flaccid life, your life with no meaning, your life with no hope...or you can be with God..." and I'm thinking - "my flaccid life? no meaning? WHAT? that is not me..."
On the ride home my wife actually brought that up and said that it kinda offended her... This made me happy, because it shows that she doesn't believe everything that is said from the pulpit.

As far as people trying to SAVE me... that would only happen if I came out...As long as I play along - no one will try to save me... no one tries to make me attend more bible study, etc. My wife does not push religion on me. So, I think I have it pretty good in that respect.

As for work - I don't need to find another job. People here don't really talk about religion or press their beliefs. I just know I've heard them say stuff that makes me cringe - like "my church all got together and prayed for 30 minutes to let it rain" - this does not offend me and I don't go to their church... so no problem - it just makes me think "OH BROTHER" in my head.

I think I'll just hang around here and read and vent for a while.

I think the part that pushed me over the ledge was watching the videos of the pastors that have come out. To hear them say... yes, I was preaching this for 20-30 years and then realized it just didn't add up... I was shocked!


First off welcome to TTA. Out of everything you've said I think the only person you "owe" any kind of explanation or "coming out" to is your wife. The rest of it, you're probably better not rocking the boat. You don't have to crush her with this new revelation either just introduce it slowly (as it sounds you have been) and you'll probably be suprised that she already suspected something was up. Its been my experince that women tend to pick up on stuff like this. Well thats my $.02 take it or leave it and enjoy your stay here.

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03-04-2013, 05:19 PM
RE: Stuck in the Matrix...
Welcome.
This topic has come up repeatedly on this forum. There are a few here dealing with that very theme. Some here have successful "mixed" marriages.

I semi-agree with Revenant77x that the only persons you need to come to terms with are your wife and I would add yourself as well.
You should be able to slowly extricate yourself from the church committees and you don't have to say a damn thing to your clients.

Like Atothetheist said, others here with personal experience in this will soon chime in.

Stay calm, carry on.

Throughout history conversions happen at the point of a sword, deconversions at the point of a pen - FC

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 in Eruption
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