Author Topic: New member to the HAF  (Read 6978 times)

Angler28

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Re: New member to the HAF
« Reply #15 on: April 30, 2012, 10:33:56 PM »
That's what I told my wife, AnimatedDirt, that I am the same person that I was when we married, that only my outlook on life has changed, and in my opinion, for the better. She said that she found it impossible not to believe in something. I told her that I believe in humanity, in nature, and in the love that we have for each other and our family. My goal is to respect one another on even grounds, and not to try and persuade one another one way or the other.
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AnimatedDirt

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Re: New member to the HAF
« Reply #16 on: April 30, 2012, 11:00:25 PM »
That's what I told my wife, AnimatedDirt, that I am the same person that I was when we married, that only my outlook on life has changed, and in my opinion, for the better. She said that she found it impossible not to believe in something. I told her that I believe in humanity, in nature, and in the love that we have for each other and our family. My goal is to respect one another on even grounds, and not to try and persuade one another one way or the other.

Your wife is also probably worried that you may not let her teach your children in the Christian manner as she has assumed she would be able to.  How do you feel about this?  It is one reason that as Christians we tend not to marry unbelievers since when a family comes into the frame, these difficulties arise.  It can be done, but who "wins" on teaching your children what you want them to be taught?  It's just a point that will come up and there has to be a meeting of the minds so as not to put your children inbetween two opposing beliefs and asked to choose who "they love more".  At some point they will make their own decision.  Growing up in a Christian home is no guarantee that such will produce Christians 100% of the time (or vice versa).  Most here at HAF seem to have been brought up or at least exposed to Christianity in their lives.

The best thing to do (IMHO) is to talk about these points of contention.  If you love each other, you will be able to come to some agreement and all of you can live happily together.

Amicale

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Re: New member to the HAF
« Reply #17 on: April 30, 2012, 11:07:01 PM »
Hey Thom, a warm welcome to HAF. :)

I'm sorry you're on a rough journey right now. I'm glad you're here, though. I think we're a pretty friendly bunch, and I'm sure the married folks here will have lots of help and support for you. I'm not one of them, but I'm very happy to listen. You're among friends here!


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Angler28

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Re: New member to the HAF
« Reply #18 on: April 30, 2012, 11:09:43 PM »
Naturally, I would rather them not be exposed to religion at all. I was raised in a quite religious setting, not quite fundamentalist, but close enough, and it was horrible. I was constantly afraid of doing something wrong and going to hell. I remember nights that I would lay awake in bed, wondering if somethine I had done at school that day would cause me to go to hell. That is no way for a child to grow up.

I'm very open with my wife's religion, and I will tell her that, when she wants to talk about it. What I would like to do, is if she wants to teach them about God, and take them to church, she can. I don't want her to force it on them though, they should make up their own minds. I just simply don't talk about anything religious around them. I leave that to my wife.

I will go over more of the details when I'm able to post a real thread.  :)     I hope you will follow to that one AD.

Thank you for the warm welcome Amicale  :)
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Ali

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Re: New member to the HAF
« Reply #19 on: April 30, 2012, 11:13:14 PM »
Hi Thom,
Welcome to HAF.  So sorry to hear that your wife had such a bad reaction.  I can sort of understand it, as a wife.  If my husband came home one day and said he'd converted to a religion, that would be hard for me, just because I married him in the understanding that we agree on this stuff, and we had the same ideas about how we wanted to live our lives and raise our kids.  So I kind of get why your wife blew a gasket.  Even so, I hope that with time she will realize that you are the same man that she fell in love with and that she knows and respects, and it's okay to disagree with your spouse, even on the big stuff.

I agree with AD that a big thing is to make her understand that you respect her and love her and don't need her to change her mind about her religion.  Also figure out together what makes sense with your kids.  Personally I would have a hard time letting my spouse take our kids to church without comment, but you need to work out something that works for the whole family.  Maybe you could actually spend time as a family exploring different religious traditions (I find that there is something about "more" religion that actually has a sort of dilution affect.)  Anyway, welcome, and best of luck.

Angler28

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Re: New member to the HAF
« Reply #20 on: April 30, 2012, 11:21:58 PM »
Thanks Ali. I talked to an atheist coworker about this after it happened and he put it this way, "You have had years to mull this over, weight the options, and come to your decision. You just unload all those years on her in one breath."

So that being said, I somewhat understand why she reacted the way she did. On the other hand, we hardly ever talked about religion at all, and have never been to church since we were married, so I didn't think she believed it all that strongly. I will make a more detailed thread soon, and put up the whole conversation then.

Thanks again for all the kind words, I think I will like hanging out here.  :)
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DeterminedJuliet

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Re: New member to the HAF
« Reply #21 on: May 01, 2012, 12:11:38 AM »
That's what I told my wife, AnimatedDirt, that I am the same person that I was when we married, that only my outlook on life has changed, and in my opinion, for the better. She said that she found it impossible not to believe in something. I told her that I believe in humanity, in nature, and in the love that we have for each other and our family. My goal is to respect one another on even grounds, and not to try and persuade one another one way or the other.

You could always direct her here :) There are plenty of perfectly normal people on this forum. Plenty of us are boring married couples with kids who have jobs and pay their taxes, etc. If it was me, I think I'd try to figure out exactly what about your differences seems unacceptable to her. It seems like she had a bit of a knee-jerk reaction. Hopefully things will "settle" a bit and she'll realize that atheist =/= monster :)
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Re: New member to the HAF
« Reply #22 on: May 01, 2012, 01:47:30 AM »
Naturally, I would rather them not be exposed to religion at all. I was raised in a quite religious setting, not quite fundamentalist, but close enough, and it was horrible. I was constantly afraid of doing something wrong and going to hell. I remember nights that I would lay awake in bed, wondering if somethine I had done at school that day would cause me to go to hell. That is no way for a child to grow up.

I agree, but I would consider if that is what's likely to happen between your wife and kids?  From what you've written so far, she doesn't seem like the hellfire and damnation type.  Kids can grow up in a very conservative religious setting and still not get any of the H&D at all.  That was my experience, and I spent a good part of my childhood with Mormons.

And as AD pointed out, the beliefs we're raised with are no guarantee of indoctrination -- most atheists in America have had a religious upbringing and yet we're still atheists, and some people are raised atheist and become religious (I think one of Madylyn Murray O'Hare's sons is now a fundamentalist preacher).  Everybody finds their own level eventually.
« Last Edit: May 01, 2012, 02:17:10 AM by BooksCatsEtc »
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Re: New member to the HAF
« Reply #23 on: May 01, 2012, 01:52:00 AM »
(I think one of Madylyn Murray O'Hare's sons is now a fundamentalist preacher).  Everybody finds their own level eventually.


Yes, one of her sons did, and he even became an adviser of some sort to George W. Bush. Though it also caused a permanent break in their relationship.
Welcome to HAF! While I'm happy to count you as a fellow atheist, I am sorry to hear that you are going through so much difficulty as a result of it now. I hope you are your wife can come to some sort of understanding, and that this little corner of the internet helps somewhat.
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Angler28

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Re: New member to the HAF
« Reply #24 on: May 01, 2012, 04:57:07 AM »
Wow, thanks again for all the encouraging words. This should put me at 10 posts now, so I will start a new thread with the entire conversation, and I hope some of you will follow over. I am heading to bed now, but I will post it tomorrow. Thanks again.  :)
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Tank

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Re: New member to the HAF
« Reply #25 on: May 01, 2012, 08:37:37 AM »
Thom

This thread is now in Life as an Atheist so you can carry on to your hearts content.
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Tank

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Re: New member to the HAF
« Reply #26 on: May 01, 2012, 08:43:26 AM »
Thanks Ali. I talked to an atheist coworker about this after it happened and he put it this way, "You have had years to mull this over, weight the options, and come to your decision. You just unload all those years on her in one breath."

So that being said, I somewhat understand why she reacted the way she did. On the other hand, we hardly ever talked about religion at all, and have never been to church since we were married, so I didn't think she believed it all that strongly. I will make a more detailed thread soon, and put up the whole conversation then.

Thanks again for all the kind words, I think I will like hanging out here.  :)
And another issue in your wife's mind now is 'What else hasn't he told me?' While you have been working this out you have obviously, out of necessity, hidden your thoughts from her. That's going to unsettle any relationship whatever the subject. At some point you are going to have to explain why you chose to hide something so significant from her for so long.
If religions were TV channels atheism is turning the TV off.
“Religion is a culture of faith; science is a culture of doubt.” ― Richard P. Feynman
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Remember, your inability to grasp science is not a valid argument against it.

AnimatedDirt

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Re: New member to the HAF
« Reply #27 on: May 01, 2012, 03:50:55 PM »
You could always direct her here :) There are plenty of perfectly normal people on this forum. Plenty of us are boring married couples with kids who have jobs and pay their taxes, etc. If it was me, I think I'd try to figure out exactly what about your differences seems unacceptable to her. It seems like she had a bit of a knee-jerk reaction. Hopefully things will "settle" a bit and she'll realize that atheist =/= monster :)

Just block her from the Image Thread...  ;)

In all seriousness, it takes a "special" Christian to appreciate the atheist community.  Is it any wonder places like HAF doesn't have a larger Christian following?  It's not easy, but it is rewarding.

DeterminedJuliet

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Re: New member to the HAF
« Reply #28 on: May 01, 2012, 04:42:08 PM »
You could always direct her here :) There are plenty of perfectly normal people on this forum. Plenty of us are boring married couples with kids who have jobs and pay their taxes, etc. If it was me, I think I'd try to figure out exactly what about your differences seems unacceptable to her. It seems like she had a bit of a knee-jerk reaction. Hopefully things will "settle" a bit and she'll realize that atheist =/= monster :)

Just block her from the Image Thread...  ;)

Yes, for the love of FSM don't let her into that damned contentious Image Thread.
"We’ve thought of life by analogy with a journey, with pilgrimage which had a serious purpose at the end, and the THING was to get to that end; success, or whatever it is, or maybe heaven after you’re dead. But, we missed the point the whole way along; It was a musical thing and you were supposed to sing, or dance, while the music was being played.

Angler28

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Re: New member to the HAF
« Reply #29 on: May 01, 2012, 07:10:11 PM »
Thank you Tank, for moving this. I will now attempt to recreate our conversation for you the best I can. First, I should let you know a little about our relationship. We met at the place where we both worked and fell in love almost instantly. That was almost ten years ago and we still love each other unconditionally to this day. We have 3 children with a fourth on the way and they are the joys of our lives.

Before we got married, she asked me if I was a Christian. I was still up in the air, but at the time I did consider myself a Christian, even though looking back on it, it was more of a 'just incase there is a hell' kind of thing. I told her that I was, but I just wasn't religious, as in going to church and all that, I just worshiped in my own way. She was happy with that answer and said she felt the same way. Over the past few years, we have rarely talked about religion and when we did, it was usually about how crazy some fanatical people are and how they take it too far. I knew we weren't on the same page, but we were at least reading the same book, so to speak. That's why I thought that 'coming out' to my wife was the most logical first step. I know that my wife is super understanding and tolerant, it's one of the many, many things that I love about her.

So, we were eating dinner one evening, like normal. I waited for the kids to finish and head off into other parts of the house before I said anything. My kids don't know anything about me not believing. I intend to tell them, but not until after I find out how my wife would like to approach it. Anyway, here is the conversation, in story form.

Mr. Angler: "I have something very important to tell you, and I'm being completely serious. No joke."

Mrs. Angler: "Ok, What's on your mind?"

***pause***

Mr. Angler: "I'm an atheist."

Mrs. Angler: *smile completely disappears and replaced by look of disbelief and anguish, I did not see this coming.*

*She got up, left the table and disappeared into the laundry room. I thought, ok, just give her a few minutes to take in what I just said. Well, after I finished the dishes, about 15 minutes had passed. She finally came back in and I started to ask if she was alright, she just put her finger up at me and shook her head. She headed to our youngest sons room and I followed.

Mr. Angler: "What is it?"

Mrs. Angler: "I can't believe it. I mean, how can you not believe in anything? You have to believe in something!"

Mr. Angler: "I do believe in something."

Mrs. Angler: "Like what?" *All the while she's crying*

Mr. Angler: "I believe in the goodness of humanity, in nature, and in science."

Mrs. Angler: "I feel like you have just commited suicide...I really do, like you've just died. I thought you were going to tell me that you were gay. I wish you would have said that instead. I could handle that."

Mr. Angler: "Honey, I'm still the same person that you married, I just don't believe in god."

Mrs. Angler: "Well you better find him again pretty fucking fast or this marriage is over."

Mr. Angler: "You would do that? You would break our family apart over this? What would the kids think?"

Mrs. Angler: *thinks*

Mr. Angler: "What's wrong, seriously?"

Mrs. "What is wrong?! The kids and I are going to go to heaven, you're going to hell. We won't be together forever. How can you not accept Jesus for the loving Lord that he is?"

Mr. Angler: "Because you know that I grew up in the church and that I don't buy into it. I can't believe in something that is so unbelievable, and if there is a god, he is a cold, cruel being to allow so much evil to exist and such bad things to happen."

Mrs. Angler: "What bad things?"

Mr. Angler: "So many things in the Bible, and the slaves and people that god just kills because the didn't do what he said, just to name a small few."

Mrs. Angler: "That's all Old Testament stuff, we go by the New Testament now."

Mr. Angler: "But doesn't the Bible say that god is forever, that he is unchanging?"

Mrs. Angler: "That's not how it works....doesn't work like that."

Mr. Angler: "The thing that gets me most, is that it doesn't matter how good you are, what good deeds you do, who you help, if you don't believe, it's a one way ticket to hell."

Mrs. Angler: "Your deeds are judged too, just believing doesn't automatically get you in."

Mr. Angler: "Then what about people that commit the worst crimes and then find jesus in prison? They're saved, Jesus forgives their sins and they go to heaven. How is that right?"

Mrs. Angler: "They're just lying, they don't really find Jesus, they just say that to get out on good behavior."

Mr. Angler:  "I don't want to fight with you. I'm tired of living a lie and I wanted to be honest with you. Trust me, this isn't something that I just thought up. It's not a fad, or a whim. I thought for sure that you've seen this coming."

Mrs. Angler: "I can handle my friends being atheist's, but not you...anyone but you.."

Mr. Angler: "It doesn't have to change anything, I'm still the same person you married. I still love you and the kids more than life itself."

Mrs. Angler: "You can do your atheist thing, but I don't want to hear a single thing about it. You keep it to yourself. I don't wany you to try and make me lose my faith. And I was thinking about starting to go to church again..."

Mr. Angler: "I wouldn't do that. You can believe what you want to believe, you can go to church if you want to, I'll go with you if you want me to. You don't have to tell your friends even."

Mrs. Angler: "I mean it, I don't want to hear ANYTHING about it."




That's pretty much how it went. I really didn't want to get into an argument with her, but it ended up that way anyway. I made it a point to keep my voice calm and not be condescinding. I knew it was a lot for her to take in, especially after her initial reaction. She didn't talk to me for a couple of days, then she came around. Things are pretty much back to normal, but at the same time it kind of worries me. Like I said, I think that instead of her accepting it, she has chosen to ignore it completely and pretend that it never happened.

Tank: I don't think that she thinks that, because we have a very open and honest relationship. I'm a horrible liar and she knows that. I try to be as truthful as I can be, but if I do ever try, she calls me on it everytime. Kind of funny actually.

Here is my main concern. She has chosen to ignore it, and if I bring it up again, it will start the reaction all over again. Alternately, if she has accepted it but still doesn't want to talk about it, then how am I supposed to let her know that I'm not a monster/sinner/devil worshipper? I know my wife is a very sane and rationaly person, she is a nurse after all, but I have never seen her act so emotionally and strongly to anything since we've been together and that's what's making me hesitant to say anything more.

You all have given me brilliant advice and lots of things to consider. I hope that my full story will help fill in some gaps. I know that I'm a grown up and should know how to sort things like this out, but religion is a tricky thing. Thank again.

By the way, this all happened close to a month ago now.
« Last Edit: May 01, 2012, 07:14:33 PM by Angler28 »
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