Living in fear…
When I first came to the conclusion that I no longer accepted any established religion and washed Christianity off my palate I was at a crossroads. I was an agnostic deist when my wife and I exchanged vows and within the first year of marriage I came to the conclusion through my studies (and prayers) that there was no supreme being. My wife, however, had not altered her beliefs. Living in a state of perpetual fear that she would reject me for what I came to believe was something that haunted me for months.
Alas, I am a philosopher and could not ignore the teachings of Plato and Shakespeare. “Know thyself” and “To thine own self be true” were phrases that echoed to the very fiber of my being and as such I could not ignore these very truths that I held to be self-evident. I confessed to my wife and was amazed to find her loving and accepting of me in spite of having “turned my back upon god.”
There are many others I am sad to report who are not as fortunate as myself. I recently posted about my wife still being a Christian, being an open atheist myself, and subsequently received letters and emails in response. This is one that touched and moved me and I felt compelled to share it:
“Thanks for that blog post as I’m one of those few still peeking through the cracks in the closet door. I told my wife a couple yrs ago that I was taking an agnostic stance which was hard but she accepted it and we simply don’t talk about it which hurts but oh well. At that time I remember her stating that she was glad I wasn’t an atheist because she didn’t think she could take that or live with me. A year after that I came to the conclusion that I am an atheist and I shut the closet door.”
What do I say to that?
It saddens me when a person has to hide who they are from the one they love the most. I witnessed a man who did this for over a decade all the while pretending to worship and believe. How he could do this without going mad I cannot fathom. I don’t intend to bash and indeed don’t look down upon that at all. It IS scary living in fear of losing someone you love and thus perfectly understandable. But living a lie to oneself is just as scary…
What could you say?
I do not advocate pushing anyone into doing something they are not willing to do themselves.You could say it the nice way:
- You both read the same book and came to different conclusions
- It doesn’t change your feelings for your spouse
- It doesn’t change who you are or how you live your life
- A lack of god does not denote a lack of morals
- There are many couples who successfully respect differing belief systems
- You still love and appreciate them no matter what
- It isn’t your intent to hurt them but rather to be honest
- Play a Hitchens video
- Tell them Hitler’s Catholicism drove you away from the faith
- You refute the virgin birth because it’s a copycat story.
- Atheists never went on crusades to promote the lack of faith.
- Atheists never deny someone’s atheism because they were a bad person with moronic ideals even though…
- Christians denounce other Christians as fake believers because they commit “evil” acts.
Well, at least we atheists don’t hire people to kidnap our kids and take them to third world countries to “deconvert” them:
I personally wouldn’t advocate the dickish route unless you’re looking for a divorce.
In all seriousness, I think honesty is the best policy. It is certainly a shitty life to live a lie. If they truly love you then they will accept you (ALL OF YOU) and still honor their vows to spend the rest of their life with you. If not…well at least you were honest.
Like I said earlier I would NEVER tell someone when or how to do this as each relationship is different. I’m not a therapist, psychologist, or sociologist. I’m no expert. This is all just my take on things.