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12-08-2018, 05:27 PM
The Buddha Pic
Hi All,

I have been a long time listener of the podcast and want to get involved in the community here. I need some of your suggestions on how I should handle a recent situation that has risen in my life. I am really confused on what to do and am hoping some of you who have been on the same path might be able to shed some light.

I suppose the reason I am writing this now is because I have so far been completely secretive about my new worldview so to speak. I have no one to talk to about issues like this and have now reached a point where I would like to become more open and proud about being a free thinker. My family are strong fundamentalist Christians and I was brought up as one myself. However this year
after a long series of events and unanswered questions, things changed for me and I finally began seeking the real truth.

I am married to a wonderful Christian woman and I am not sure how things will change if I break this news to her. At the same time, I am beginning to feel like a fraud because I keep making up excuses on Sunday to avoid church. She has been asking why I am not as interested as I was before in attending and I keep avoiding the question.

The catalyst for all this is recently I changed my whatsapp profile pic to a buddha statue. On a recent trip to Japan I visited this beautiful temple with a big statue of the Buddha. I really liked one of the pics I took there and decided to set this as my profile pic. Not long after this my mum who saw this sends me a spiel about how this is blasphemy and that no child of God should be using this as their profile pic.
I asked her to calm down and forget about it, while still keeping this as my profile pic. Today I received a message from my dad about how he knows me as a strong born again Christian and requested that I remove it from my profile. Sounds absurd I know but this has become the little symbol that I will not be blackmailed or coerced into removing something that is within my freedom of expression because it does not fit someone else's worldview even someone as close as a parent. It has also motivated me to come out as a free thinker and live free for the first time in my life. What happened after that is my wife logged into my phone and change the profile pic herself in order to please my parents. I was really upset at first as this was a breach of privacy and trust. It has caused a bit of a rift between me and my wife but I have let it go. However, this incident just tells me that I need to come out to my wife as an atheist sooner rather than later but I am really concerned about the repercussions this would have.
How do you suggest I approach this? I know there is no easy answer but some of you have walked the same path I am about to and I am hoping you can help.

Thanks in advance
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12-08-2018, 07:05 PM
RE: The Buddha Pic
First thing I would do is log into my phone, change my password, and never give it to my spouse again. (Whether you change the profile picture and what you change it to is a separate matter entirely.)

You have every right to be upset.

I'm sorry, but your beliefs are much too silly to take seriously. Got anything else we can discuss?
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12-08-2018, 07:25 PM
RE: The Buddha Pic
Firstly, Buddhism is more of a philosophy than a religion (no god).

Secondly, I really don't like your wife changing your avatar. It's disrespectful and an invasion of privacy.

However, you are the only one who knows your wife, what she means to you and how she might react. Maybe break the news slowly? First you dislike the church community specifically, later the religion, and save the god for last?

But, it's really hard to recommend something without knowing all the people and dynamics involved...

[Image: dobie.png]Science is the process we've designed to be responsible for generating our best guess as to what the fuck is going on. Girly Man
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12-08-2018, 07:39 PM
RE: The Buddha Pic
It's been over a year since I finally "came out" to my husband, who was never particularly devout to begin with and has never been a regular church-goer. The relationship suffered some damage from it and still does to this day. But I would still do it again. Living a lie was worse. I am more open about it now and he is more....tolerant. He has been able to start to strongly question the whole christian story. BUT, he is a recovering alcoholic (8 years) and a big BIG part of the whole AA thing is the belief in a higher power. So he seems to be reluctant to let go of that belief, for that reason, and I don't push it. For that reason. But honestly that pisses me off because I can promise you that neither god nor Jesus was there doing any of the work it took to get sober and stay sober. Hubby gets the credit for that as far as I'm concerned and deserves the "glory" for it. If we lived in a bigger town I'd push for the secular AA meetings but those are a good bit of a drive from here.

But I digress. I'd suggest small steps. No need to shout it from the rooftops. Whatever you do don't come out in anger. Choose wisely those who share it with, especially at first. My elderly father will go to his grave not knowing because of how upsetting it would be to him at this point in his life to think that he won't ever see me in heaven after he is gone. My peers here helped me to get past the guilt of living with that decision. It still feels like I'm living with a lie and that I would prefer to be able to be honest with him. But that honesty would be for MY sake, not his and that is selfish.

I wonder how upset your family would have been if your wife had changed her profile pic to a beautiful unicorn. Just as mythical as an imaginary god. But not a "false idol" I suppose. Please consider an experiment of embracing some humor and replace your picture with one of a leprechaun just for fun...

Whenever you come out please expect the road to be rocky. Expect to lose friends. Expect to be shunned by some and downright reviled by others. There are those who will take it as a personal affront. Know that once that genie is out of the bottle it can't be stuffed back in. Do you have children? That adds a whole other layer too...

Where are we going and why am I in this hand basket?
"Life is not all lovely thorns and singing vultures, you know." ~ Morticia Addams

"You're only given one little spark of madness. You mustn't lose it." Robin Williams
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12-08-2018, 09:16 PM
RE: The Buddha Pic
(12-08-2018 07:39 PM)outtathereligioncloset Wrote:  It's been over a year since I finally "came out" to my husband, who was never particularly devout to begin with and has never been a regular church-goer. The relationship suffered some damage from it and still does to this day. But I would still do it again. Living a lie was worse. I am more open about it now and he is more....tolerant. He has been able to start to strongly question the whole christian story. BUT, he is a recovering alcoholic (8 years) and a big BIG part of the whole AA thing is the belief in a higher power. So he seems to be reluctant to let go of that belief, for that reason, and I don't push it. For that reason. But honestly that pisses me off because I can promise you that neither god nor Jesus was there doing any of the work it took to get sober and stay sober. Hubby gets the credit for that as far as I'm concerned and deserves the "glory" for it. If we lived in a bigger town I'd push for the secular AA meetings but those are a good bit of a drive from here.

But I digress. I'd suggest small steps. No need to shout it from the rooftops. Whatever you do don't come out in anger. Choose wisely those who share it with, especially at first. My elderly father will go to his grave not knowing because of how upsetting it would be to him at this point in his life to think that he won't ever see me in heaven after he is gone. My peers here helped me to get past the guilt of living with that decision. It still feels like I'm living with a lie and that I would prefer to be able to be honest with him. But that honesty would be for MY sake, not his and that is selfish.

I wonder how upset your family would have been if your wife had changed her profile pic to a beautiful unicorn. Just as mythical as an imaginary god. But not a "false idol" I suppose. Please consider an experiment of embracing some humor and replace your picture with one of a leprechaun just for fun...

Whenever you come out please expect the road to be rocky. Expect to lose friends. Expect to be shunned by some and downright reviled by others. There are those who will take it as a personal affront. Know that once that genie is out of the bottle it can't be stuffed back in. Do you have children? That adds a whole other layer too...

No children thankfully. For now I just want to come out to her. My parents are in a different country so I am ok with not letting them know.
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12-08-2018, 10:16 PM
RE: The Buddha Pic
(12-08-2018 05:27 PM)deepakdavid1 Wrote:  ...
How do you suggest I approach this?
...

This all depends upon what you want to achieve.

Underpinning it all is the notion of identity (and perceived change of identity)... both:
How you see yourself and
How others see you.

If your goal is personal mental-freedom then taking a stand would be the beneficial thing to do. But we can all imagine the consequences to that.

If your goal is to achieve/restore some kind of workable balance in your life (ease the tension between you and those who support/impact you) then some incremental desensitisation might be required.

Create an environment where it is normal for you to be seen as someone who changes their avatar on a whim ...
... from "he knows me as a strong born again Christian" to "he knows me as someone who expresses their thoughts openly using the medium of a 'what'sapp profile pic' like someone who wears a different shirt every day".

In other words... change the pic every week just for fun and not as an expression of identity. Change it to progressively more advanced things e.g.
... family pic
... a nature scene
... something arty
... a sciencey quote
... etc.

Go from emotion-based things to fact-based things... a barely detectable progression. This will remove the shock of change.

Just a thought.

(12-08-2018 09:16 PM)deepakdavid1 Wrote:  ...
For now I just want to come out to her.
...

The goal is to show that you have changed your beliefs not that your beliefs have changed you.

Good luck.

Thumbsup

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12-08-2018, 10:32 PM
RE: The Buddha Pic
Thanks all for your help and support! really appreciate the advice.
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12-08-2018, 10:38 PM
RE: The Buddha Pic
To start with, secure whatever devices you're using to access this site. We've had a couple members accidentally out themselves that way and it's not the best option.

Don't use the A word, at least not at first. For some reason "atheist" gets right up the nose of some religious people. "I've lost my faith." or "I don't believe any more." express the same sentiment without triggering quite the same knee-jerk reaction.

Take baby steps. You didn't wake up one morning and become an atheist. Don't expect your wife to process it that way either. Start with a book on something small that doesn't threaten her religion but isn't the norm for it either. Cosmology or Ancient History or Japanese Art. Something that you'll enjoy and that she'll question so that you can gage her reaction and move onward from there.

Find a marriage counsellor. We're just a bunch of folks on the net. They're professionals.

---
Flesh and blood of a dead star, slain in the apocalypse of supernova, resurrected by four billion years of continuous autocatalytic reaction and crowned with the emergent property of sentience in the dream that the universe might one day understand itself.
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12-08-2018, 10:46 PM
RE: The Buddha Pic
(12-08-2018 10:38 PM)Paleophyte Wrote:  To start with, secure whatever devices you're using to access this site. We've had a couple members accidentally out themselves that way and it's not the best option.

Don't use the A word, at least not at first. For some reason "atheist" gets right up the nose of some religious people. "I've lost my faith." or "I don't believe any more." express the same sentiment without triggering quite the same knee-jerk reaction.

Take baby steps. You didn't wake up one morning and become an atheist. Don't expect your wife to process it that way either. Start with a book on something small that doesn't threaten her religion but isn't the norm for it either. Cosmology or Ancient History or Japanese Art. Something that you'll enjoy and that she'll question so that you can gage her reaction and move onward from there.

Find a marriage counsellor. We're just a bunch of folks on the net. They're professionals.

Yup I am using this site on my work Laptop. HAHA
Thanks for the heads up though.
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13-08-2018, 03:05 AM
RE: The Buddha Pic
 Firstly, G'day mate, and welcome to the forums. Smile

(12-08-2018 05:27 PM)deepakdavid1 Wrote:  I am married to a wonderful Christian woman and I am not sure how things will change if I break this news to her.

Sorry, but this is a bit of a crossed message. You're saying, apparently, that you relationship could be adversely affected if your wife discovers you're now an atheist, and yet she's "wonderful".
She's also invaded your privacy and tampered with your phone settings, which I consider unconscionable personally. My partner would never, ever presume to do that.

Quote:At the same time, I am beginning to feel like a fraud because I keep making up excuses on Sunday to avoid church. She has been asking why I am not as interested as I was before in attending and I keep avoiding the question.

This is problematic and is one of the reasons I'd (like a couple of others here have) suggest that you tell her up front. And bear the consequences whatever. When you think about it, from your position as an atheist, you have no issues with her theism, then the reasonable expectation should be that she has no issues with your atheism in return.

There's no particular reason that a marriage with partners of opposite religious beliefs should founder if it's built on true love, and respect and mutual consideration. I'm getting the feeling that you might not be totally confident of her future commitment to your marriage?

Quote:Not long after this my mum who saw this sends me a spiel about how this is blasphemy and that no child of God should be using this as their profile pic...
Today I received a message from my dad about how he knows me as a strong born again Christian and requested that I remove it from my profile.

As a mature adult living your own life, you have every right to live it as you see fit. Your parents need to acknowledge this, and not treat you as the child you once were. And I know it can be particularly difficult with your own parents, but you need to stand firm, and tell them to butt out—in the politest of terms of course.
BTW, "blasphemy" is defined as an act of disparaging or expressing contempt for deities, or beliefs sacred to people of faith. You've done none of those things.

Quote:It has also motivated me to come out as a free thinker and live free for the first time in my life.

I'm pleased to hear you say this. Well done mate.    Thumbsup

Quote:It has caused a bit of a rift between me and my wife but I have let it go.

From my perspective, this is not exactly correct. It's actually your wife's adverse, unrealistic opposition to your decision that's the catalyst for any possible rift.
Don't feel that it's your own fault in any way. To put it bluntly; any ructions are her fault.

Quote:How do you suggest I approach this?

I think head on. There's no point in beating about the bush, and it's not fair to you or to your relationship to be putting on a false front. Satisfactory relationships are definitely a two-way street.

(Bear in mind that I comment as someone who has absolutely no familiarity with you or your particular situation, so my advice could be totally misdirected.)

—Good luck.    Smile

I'm a creationist... I believe that man created God.
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