Monday, April 23, 2012

My Struggles, Part I

... The Struggles


There have been hard times. My very first struggle began when my husband started to change his beliefs. I was afraid! WHY would he stay married to me? Where would he get his morals? Was he going to all of a sudden be one of those guys who goes to strip clubs, watches porn, and leers over women? What would become of our marriage? And we did have some interesting events and discussions along these lines, but what I found was this: A person is going to do something or not REGARDLESS of their religion. And I could not deny the overwhelming evidence that Christians cheat as often as non-Christians. Christians get divorces as often as non-Christians. And non-religious people stay monogomous as often as Christians. I believed the myth that Christianity made marriages stronger. But after I started looking at the evidence for this, I realized there wasn't any! So, Brian and I decided what works for US. And to be honest, as long as we're not hurting anyone, it's none of anyone's business what we do! It was refreshing to be able to finally TALK about all of this.


And you know what? It brought us closer. I finally asked: what if we both agreed it was better to be apart than together? Well, then we'd be apart. It's silly to do otherwise! On the flip side of that, knowing he's with me because he LOVES me and NOT because the Bible says he has to be with me is quite nice. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am worth being with for ME. And the other way around. He is an unbelievable man and I WANT to be with him! We have a lot vested in our marriage and our family. We are in it for the long haul.


Another hard time was the original realization. It was very depressing to think that it's all me. Every single decision was not affected by a higher power. My life isn't orchestrated by anyone other than ME! First of all, it felt like a big weight and responsibility. But after a few weeks I began to realize that it had always been this way. There had never been a God, so really nothing changed. And now it's quite empowering.


Also, how are we going to raise our kids? This is still a very tough one. It's so easy to say: don't have premarital sex because the Bible says so. Honor your father and mother. Don't lie, steal, cheat, ...etc all because the Bible says so. Let me tell you one thing - I now have to think. for. myself. Seriously, for the first time since grade school, I'm having to explore the why's. It's not good enough to say "because God says so" because frankly, we did those things anyways! I mean really ... even as a Christian, most of us had sex before marriage (or everything but- HA!). Let's be honest, being a Christian gave us guilt about it, but we still did it. So, let's look at a real reason to behave morally. How about because we live in a society. Therefore we interact with other people daily. We must make these interactions pleasant so people will want to interact with us. We will be able to maintain trade (and thereby eat and play!) if we are honest. People will want to be around us (and therefore marry and procreate and play!) if we are humble and generous and kind. We, as humans, must work together to make this world a better place if we want to live in a society and play and enjoy life!


Let me tell you, I've had to THINK more than I ever did as a believer. I can no longer say "I'll pray for you" because, frankly, the results are no different. So now I ask: What can I DO? Can I bring a meal? Can I watch a kid while you go through this hard time? I've had to actually give of myself. I miss the easy answers, but ... in the voice of Barney Stinson: CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!

10 comments:

  1. I think it's cruel to indoctrinate kids and make them fear burning in hell for thinking on their own and making their own mistakes and decisions. Like you said in another post, it's brainwashing and it's not right. Hopefully my kids will be interested in different religions and beliefs, the same way they'll be interested in learning different cultures, places, etc. But they won't feel tied to one. They'll be free to enjoy their Sunday mornings instead of stuck in a pew bored and frustrated.

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    1. I agree. I heard "that would make the Baby Jesus cry" often from mothers "disciplining" their children. I hate the fear tactic - and it is proven not to work. It is a short-term answer and does not cause permanent change (neither does spanking for that matter). It is all about teaching our children to THINK. We need to encourage thinking and not "because the Bible says so" but "well, let's think about that." This is working very well for us.

      Thank you for sharing! And I agree with the joy of having Sunday mornings free!

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  2. I am interested to hear how you will cope with raising the children in the bible belt. The pressure will make it hard, and I know the last thing you want is for your kids to be outcasts (albeit from a willfully ignorant society). But before you let that fear dominate you - I'll give you my firsthand experience.

    I grew up with very little religious influence. I remember as a pre-teen, I was introduced to church. I thought it was the greatest thing, and I resented my mother for not trying to save my soul.

    But as I pressed further into religion, I saw what was behind the curtain. Without delving into the specifics, I'll just say... it wasn't for me. I was able to recognize that some people do need religion, and some people do not. It was such a relief, too. I thought that it was inherently a war (those who do believe vs those who do not) and you HAD to be a soldier on one side or the other. Shattering that illusion made me a much happier, more tolerant person.

    Most importantly I was glad that it was my choice. I was grateful that I could experience it at my own pace, and with my own clear head. I have absolutely no regrets.

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    1. I can tell you from my perspective. I live in Southwest Missouri, and my daughters have had a rough time with judgment from their peers, but all the while my partner and I have remained steadfast behind our children no matter what they decided. My youngest asked if she could go to church with friends, I have told her she could anytime. but I also know that when she gets back she will have a ton of questions. We will be ready for them (she hasn't gone yet, if she even will).

      My oldest was starting to become burdened with the treatment she was getting, until I introduced her to Jessica Ahlquist's story. The 16yr old young lady in Rhode Island that challenged her school on a prayer banner and won. When my daughter read about Jessica receiving threats of physical violence and even death, well my daughter then decided what she was going through was minor in comparison.

      As long as you are engaged with your children, stick by them and above all be vigilant, there shouldn't be any major problems. just be ready to face down those willing to let it occur like school admins and so forth.

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    2. Thank you Candace. I will talk about Parenting as an atheist (because it was my biggest concerned with actually "coming out" as an atheist) in my next post.

      Volzi, thank you. We have literally just "come out" and are very worried about our kids being judged and bullied because of our beliefs. All I can do is be as supportive as possible. I must raise my children to be thinkers, and not just blind-followers as I once was.

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  3. Congratulations! Thinking for one's self is hard but worth every erg of energy devoted to it. Welcome to reality - it's the only place to be :)

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    1. Thank you! "Reality - the only place to be" - should be a slogan somewhere! :-)

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  4. Congrats to you on finding your way from under religions hold and obfuscation I hope your find it as enlightening and pleasant as the rest of us have.

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  5. Beautifully written. You are not alone. My husband and I are both having to do more thinking than we ever did before, and at times it is very lonely, but it has brought us closer as well, and I realize more and more each day that I am not the only atheist I know in my city.

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    1. Like you, I have traveled this road with my husband, and am so very thankful for that! I do feel like we are an island in a sea of mis-information, but at least we are together on that island!!! I'm glad you're finding support. I'm having a hard time finding other parents... but I think it will happen. with time :-)

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