A reader recently emailed me with some questions and I thought you all might be able to help him out. First I’ll quote from his emails (he has given me permission to do so) and then I’ll give some guidance for your responses.
I married my Baptist wife while I was still searching within Christianity. I was enjoying going to a Presbyterian church in Tulsa because the sermons the pastor preached were often from a viewpoint that I hadn’t heard in the version of Christianity I experienced growing up. One sermon he preached, he actually encouraged the congregation to try to see the world through the eyes of the 9/11 terrorists, although not as a way to justify their actions. But the short story of it is over the years of going to different churches trying to find one that I liked (my wife was very supportive of this), I came to realize that Christianity wasn’t for me (my wife is not aware of this).
Would you have any advice for my situation where I have essentially deconverted but my wife remains a rather faithful Christian? She and I recently had a conversation where she expressed concern that I was liking/sharing a lot of things from athiest sites but nothing from Christian places. In pressing her, she explained that she was concerned about the source but never stated if she disagreed or was concerned about the content, and I explained that I was sharing articles/memes that resonated with me and didn’t usually see those types of things on Christian pages.
My primary concern is how we will handle our religious differences in raising our daughter. While I don’t object to exposing my daughter to Christianity, my goal is to teach her how to think, ask questions, and follow the rabbit down the hole. I’m also troubled by how my wife has responded to me regarding our daughter sometimes. She’s used the phrase “I don’t want you doing xyz around Lucy”, which basically leaves me with the impression/sensation that I am an intruder or a guest in the life of my own daughter. I don’t know how to bring up or discuss differences with her, because every time I’ve tried in the past she accuses me of trying to start an argument and just shuts down.
This reader is essentially asking two questions: first, how to handle an interfaith marriage, and second, how to handle raising a child as an interfaith couple. As you compose your responses (please follow my comment policy as always), I would encourage you to think in terms of what resources you can provide this reader. Do you know of any books or articles that might help? Do you know of any blogs or websites that might help? Do you have any advice or personal anecdotes that might help? I’m sure this reader isn’t the only one here who is facing these sorts of challenges, and it is my hope that the resources put forward in this comment thread might be valuable to a good number of my readers.